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August 18, 2016 01:00 AM

It goes without saying that horror, strictly speaking, is not among cinema’s most expansive genres. Most times, it’s as conservative and formulaic as porn, and its requisite elements are as familiar as a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

It goes without saying that horror, strictly speaking, is not among cinema’s most expansive genres. Most times, it’s as conservative and formulaic as porn, and its requisite elements are as familiar as a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

August 4, 2016 01:00 AM

Hunt for the Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi is about an unlikely pair of outcasts who scamper into the New Zealand backcountry to escape the bumbling clutches of a nationwide manhunt. The film is derivative, predictable, grandiose and utterly sentimental.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi is about an unlikely pair of outcasts who scamper into the New Zealand backcountry to escape the bumbling clutches of a nationwide manhunt. The film is derivative, predictable, grandiose and utterly sentimental.

It is also smart, funny, big-hearted and disarmingly adorable, and it juggles these absurd qualities with dexterity and a winking charm that is almost impossible to deny.

July 28, 2016 01:00 AM

Star Trek Beyond soared into theaters last weekend under the weight of 50 years of expectations. Some were notably lower after the mess that was 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness. Some can never be met; those belong to the old guard who would rather the movies be more like (one of) the series. When Justin Lin was announced as Beyond’s director, there was a certain amount of groaning online: “It’s just going to be Fast and Furious in space!” 

Star Trek Beyond soared into theaters last weekend under the weight of 50 years of expectations. Some were notably lower after the mess that was 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness. Some can never be met; those belong to the old guard who would rather the movies be more like (one of) the series. When Justin Lin was announced as Beyond’s director, there was a certain amount of groaning online: “It’s just going to be Fast and Furious in space!” 

July 21, 2016 01:00 AM

Clocking in at just 72 minutes, The Fits is less full-length feature than a new form of cinematic poetry, a visually stunning film that is at once as inscrutable and straightforward as a parable.

Clocking in at just 72 minutes, The Fits is less full-length feature than a new form of cinematic poetry, a visually stunning film that is at once as inscrutable and straightforward as a parable.

Co-written, co-produced and directed by Anna Rose Holmer in her filmmaking debut, the movie focuses — with physical intimacy and minimal dialogue — on Toni (Royalty Hightower), a quiet, observant 11-year-old girl who seems to spend all her waking hours in a gym, surrounded by boxers and the fierce women of a competitive dance team.

July 14, 2016 01:00 AM

What a strange beast Our Last Tango is. This short documentary (original title Un tango más) has the peculiar distinction of being both inventive and unsatisfying. It’s experimental in ways that work on an emotional level, but as a whole it leaves a viewer wanting much more.

What a strange beast Our Last Tango is. This short documentary (original title Un tango más) has the peculiar distinction of being both inventive and unsatisfying. It’s experimental in ways that work on an emotional level, but as a whole it leaves a viewer wanting much more.

July 7, 2016 01:00 AM

“I started this journey curious about a bizarre sport called competitive endurance tickling,” says New Zealand journalist David Farrier near the conclusion of his strange and upsetting documentary Tickled. “But I now think this was never even about tickling. This is about power, control and harassment. It’s about one person’s twistedness and how far that can go.”

“I started this journey curious about a bizarre sport called competitive endurance tickling,” says New Zealand journalist David Farrier near the conclusion of his strange and upsetting documentary Tickled. “But I now think this was never even about tickling. This is about power, control and harassment. It’s about one person’s twistedness and how far that can go.”

June 30, 2016 01:00 AM

Few things are as staid and predictable as the lone-athlete sports film. Since the sleeper success of Rocky in 1976, such movies have become increasingly formulaic potboilers in which we dutifully witness, as though through a fisheye lens, the algorithmic progress of an underdog as he confronts endless obstacles on the way to inevitable triumph. Cue ovation.

Few things are as staid and predictable as the lone-athlete sports film. Since the sleeper success of Rocky in 1976, such movies have become increasingly formulaic potboilers in which we dutifully witness, as though through a fisheye lens, the algorithmic progress of an underdog as he confronts endless obstacles on the way to inevitable triumph. Cue ovation.

June 23, 2016 01:00 AM

It’s always wonderful to be reminded that Kate Beckinsale is an excellent actress.

In 2003, Beckinsale became the face of the Underworld franchise, and people seemed to stop taking her the least bit seriously. She’s too often cast in dopey rom-coms (Serendipity) or knock-off action flicks (Van Helsing), and so we forget that she was great as Hero in Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing and as Charlotte in Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco.

It’s always wonderful to be reminded that Kate Beckinsale is an excellent actress.

In 2003, Beckinsale became the face of the Underworld franchise, and people seemed to stop taking her the least bit seriously. She’s too often cast in dopey rom-coms (Serendipity) or knock-off action flicks (Van Helsing), and so we forget that she was great as Hero in Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing and as Charlotte in Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco.

June 16, 2016 01:00 AM

War is hell, no doubt. But for all those nameless, faceless refugees escaping the war at home, the realities of relocation can plunge them into a new kind of nightmare, one almost as bloody and chaotic.

In Jacques Audiard’s latest film, Dheepan, a trio of refugees fleeing war-torn Sri Lanka wind up in a French slum, where they are forced, literally, to fight for their lives.

War is hell, no doubt. But for all those nameless, faceless refugees escaping the war at home, the realities of relocation can plunge them into a new kind of nightmare, one almost as bloody and chaotic.

June 9, 2016 01:00 AM

The Lobster is the English-language debut of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. As far as I can tell, it’s a near-perfect film, a movie of surpassing oddness and eerie beauty, though hardly an easy one to digest. Nor is it very pleasant, in the conventional sense.

The Lobster is the English-language debut of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. As far as I can tell, it’s a near-perfect film, a movie of surpassing oddness and eerie beauty, though hardly an easy one to digest. Nor is it very pleasant, in the conventional sense.

June 2, 2016 01:00 AM

The most terrifying villains are never monsters, only men — a fact that Green Room writer-director Jeremy Saulnier reiterates, most effectively, with his third feature film.

The most terrifying villains are never monsters, only men — a fact that Green Room writer-director Jeremy Saulnier reiterates, most effectively, with his third feature film.

June 2, 2016 01:00 AM

It’s not the fault of X-Men: Apocalypse that its villain, with his plan to destroy the world and all the puny people in it, feels extra tired just now. The filmmakers surely didn’t know that a very similar plot would play out in DC’s televised universe this season: On Arrow, a TV show based on comic-book character Green Arrow, the terrorist kingpin Damien Darhk wanted to do away with most of humanity.

It’s not the fault of X-Men: Apocalypse that its villain, with his plan to destroy the world and all the puny people in it, feels extra tired just now. The filmmakers surely didn’t know that a very similar plot would play out in DC’s televised universe this season: On Arrow, a TV show based on comic-book character Green Arrow, the terrorist kingpin Damien Darhk wanted to do away with most of humanity.

May 26, 2016 03:00 AM

From the exact moment I spied Susan Sarandon rubbing lemons on her naked torso through the apartment window in Atlantic City, I was in love.

From the exact moment I spied Susan Sarandon rubbing lemons on her naked torso through the apartment window in Atlantic City, I was in love.

Yep, me and Burt Lancaster, forever united in our voyeurism, but it isn’t quite what you think: Sure, the scene was rawly, almost excruciatingly erotic as Sarandon, utterly unaware of being observed (they don’t call them apartments for nothing), went about slowly disrobing and squeezing citrus on her flesh to slice out the proletariat stink of the oyster bar where she works.

May 19, 2016 03:00 AM

In order to understand my response to Sing Street, director John Carney’s love letter to Irish teens starting a garage band in mid-’80s Dublin, I’m going to have to tell you a bit about myself.

In order to understand my response to Sing Street, director John Carney’s love letter to Irish teens starting a garage band in mid-’80s Dublin, I’m going to have to tell you a bit about myself.

I came of age in a small Northwest town at the ass end of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear annihilation was about to be replaced by the plague of AIDS as the greatest goad to adolescent nihilism. Things weren’t good at home, and as it went at home, so it seemed to go with the world.

May 12, 2016 03:00 AM

Those of us who have been complaining that the stakes in superhero movies have gotten ridiculously high, that it’s always the end of the world, will be relieved that Captain America: Civil War brings things back down to Earth. There are no aliens, no artificial intelligences, no angry gods or malignant outside forces.

Those of us who have been complaining that the stakes in superhero movies have gotten ridiculously high, that it’s always the end of the world, will be relieved that Captain America: Civil War brings things back down to Earth. There are no aliens, no artificial intelligences, no angry gods or malignant outside forces.

The villains here are just men.

May 5, 2016 03:00 AM

Jason Bateman was that kid in high school everybody pretty much liked  — the vice president of the student body who ran track and dated not the prettiest but easily the coolest cheerleader, and who was on friendly terms with jocks and stoners alike (although secretly preferring stoners). 

Jason Bateman was that kid in high school everybody pretty much liked  — the vice president of the student body who ran track and dated not the prettiest but easily the coolest cheerleader, and who was on friendly terms with jocks and stoners alike (although secretly preferring stoners). 

And yet, something about the guy strains against his better angels, as though being nice just isn’t cutting it. His mean streak is only a centimeter wide, but when he finds it, it’s like coming home.

April 28, 2016 03:00 AM

Still very much with us, the 105-year-old Chinese-born painter Tyrus Wong is quite possibly the most influential American artist you’ve never heard of — until now, that is.

As the sole inspiration for the expressionistic animated style of Disney’s Bambi (more on that in a moment), Wong’s elegant and economical style, a melding of traditional Asiatic ink-and-brush painting and Western modernist influences, has literally suffused American culture, from dishware and Hollywood to Hallmark cards and museums everywhere.

Still very much with us, the 105-year-old Chinese-born painter Tyrus Wong is quite possibly the most influential American artist you’ve never heard of — until now, that is.

As the sole inspiration for the expressionistic animated style of Disney’s Bambi (more on that in a moment), Wong’s elegant and economical style, a melding of traditional Asiatic ink-and-brush painting and Western modernist influences, has literally suffused American culture, from dishware and Hollywood to Hallmark cards and museums everywhere.

April 21, 2016 03:00 AM

Although critically lauded as a talented and versatile actor, Don Cheadle has been flitting on the periphery of mainstream movies for the past two decades. Most casual moviegoers don’t recognize his name, though they may recognize Cheadle’s face from Iron Man 2, Showtime’s House of Lies or Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, one of several films (including the 1998 political satire Bulworth) for which he deserved but never received an Oscar nod (he was nominated for his role in Hotel Rwanda).

Although critically lauded as a talented and versatile actor, Don Cheadle has been flitting on the periphery of mainstream movies for the past two decades. Most casual moviegoers don’t recognize his name, though they may recognize Cheadle’s face from Iron Man 2, Showtime’s House of Lies or Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, one of several films (including the 1998 political satire Bulworth) for which he deserved but never received an Oscar nod (he was nominated for his role in Hotel Rwanda).

April 14, 2016 03:00 AM

It is a peculiarity of art that its failures are often more moving, more profoundly beautiful, than its successes, especially when the artist failing is a great one. Perfection has a monolithic aspect, airtight and intimidating; it can leave us cold. Better, sometimes, the flaw, the frayed end, which reveals the Icarus burn of lofty ambitions. Humanity, you might say, is never more humane than when it strives and crashes.

It is a peculiarity of art that its failures are often more moving, more profoundly beautiful, than its successes, especially when the artist failing is a great one. Perfection has a monolithic aspect, airtight and intimidating; it can leave us cold. Better, sometimes, the flaw, the frayed end, which reveals the Icarus burn of lofty ambitions. Humanity, you might say, is never more humane than when it strives and crashes.

April 7, 2016 03:00 AM

Jonathan Gold is the first and only food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. Let that marinate for a moment. 

Then disabuse yourself of any notions of what a food critic of that caliber might be like — perhaps an uptight gourmand enamored with his own palette or some self-important foodie. 

Jonathan Gold is the first and only food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. Let that marinate for a moment. 

Then disabuse yourself of any notions of what a food critic of that caliber might be like — perhaps an uptight gourmand enamored with his own palette or some self-important foodie. 

Gold is none of that, so it’s no wonder filmmaker Laura Gabbert chose to wrap a film around the writer and the myriad flavors of his beloved hometown Los Angeles.

He has a penchant for suspenders, wrinkled shirts and his green pickup.

March 31, 2016 01:00 AM

It is a truth universally acknowledged that superhero movies must feature massive amounts of property damage. Rather hilariously, we are all spending a lot of time talking about this, not about cool fight scenes (harder and harder to come by) or daring ways our heroes have saved the day.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that superhero movies must feature massive amounts of property damage. Rather hilariously, we are all spending a lot of time talking about this, not about cool fight scenes (harder and harder to come by) or daring ways our heroes have saved the day.

March 24, 2016 01:00 AM

Shot in lavish black-and-white, Embrace of the Serpent drops you immediately into the humid nightmare of colonial devastation. A lone shaman, Karamakate (Nilbio Torres), squats silently on the banks of the Amazon River in the Colombian jungle. A canoe approaches, carrying a Colombian guide, Manduca (Yauenkü Miguee), and Theo (Jan Bijvoet), a German anthropologist dying of an unspecified disease.

Shot in lavish black-and-white, Embrace of the Serpent drops you immediately into the humid nightmare of colonial devastation. A lone shaman, Karamakate (Nilbio Torres), squats silently on the banks of the Amazon River in the Colombian jungle. A canoe approaches, carrying a Colombian guide, Manduca (Yauenkü Miguee), and Theo (Jan Bijvoet), a German anthropologist dying of an unspecified disease.

March 17, 2016 01:00 AM

Mustang opens on the last day of school. A young student cries, hugging her teacher, who gives the girl her address. The girl, Lale (Günes Sensoy), is swept up by four other girls who can only be her sisters; they have endless manes of brown hair, and they show intense comfort with each other as they tumble out of the schoolyard and onto the beach, where they splash into the water, fully clothed. It’s like the beginning of so many school-aged summers: open, beautiful, full of possibility.

Mustang opens on the last day of school. A young student cries, hugging her teacher, who gives the girl her address. The girl, Lale (Günes Sensoy), is swept up by four other girls who can only be her sisters; they have endless manes of brown hair, and they show intense comfort with each other as they tumble out of the schoolyard and onto the beach, where they splash into the water, fully clothed. It’s like the beginning of so many school-aged summers: open, beautiful, full of possibility.

March 3, 2016 01:00 AM

If this were a movie, it might be a complicated and acrimonious courtroom drama called A Tale of Two Theaters, in which a pair of once-united independent movie houses splits over irreconcilable differences, becoming two separate cinemas run by different ownership.

A recent case in Lane County Circuit Court reveals a rift in the business relationship between the majority and minority owners of the Bijou Art Cinemas, and though the lawsuit was dismissed, the theaters now will become two distinct entities: the original Bijou Art Cinemas near the University District on 13th Avenue, and the recently renamed Broadway Metro, previously the Bijou Metro, which opened downtown three years ago.

If this were a movie, it might be a complicated and acrimonious courtroom drama called A Tale of Two Theaters, in which a pair of once-united independent movie houses splits over irreconcilable differences, becoming two separate cinemas run by different ownership.