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Movies

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.

February 25, 2016 01:00 AM

After more than a decade of writing about movies, the Oscars, somehow, still raise a fire in me. I know I will be disappointed. I know there will be one or two wins that seem perfect, one or two speeches that surprise, just like I know that most of the lauded films will be about white men enduring something.

I know the Oscars matter, on a business and cultural level, no matter what the Coen brothers — who’ve conveniently already earned a few — say. Winning is power and power is money, and money lets people decide which stories get told.

After more than a decade of writing about movies, the Oscars, somehow, still raise a fire in me. I know I will be disappointed. I know there will be one or two wins that seem perfect, one or two speeches that surprise, just like I know that most of the lauded films will be about white men enduring something.

I know the Oscars matter, on a business and cultural level, no matter what the Coen brothers — who’ve conveniently already earned a few — say. Winning is power and power is money, and money lets people decide which stories get told.

February 25, 2016 01:00 AM

Lush, brooding and contagiously creepy, The Witch is just the sort of spooky gem that fans of horror clamor for but rarely get. The film neither shocks nor bludgeons you. It does not beg indulgence, nor does it paint its grotesqueries in broad strokes.

Lush, brooding and contagiously creepy, The Witch is just the sort of spooky gem that fans of horror clamor for but rarely get. The film neither shocks nor bludgeons you. It does not beg indulgence, nor does it paint its grotesqueries in broad strokes.

February 18, 2016 01:00 AM

The old adage that “laughter is the best medicine” has been put to the test by a pair of Eugene filmmakers. Produced and directed by James Blame and Ryan Shoop of Magbas Entertainment, Coping with Comedy is a 30-minute documentary that takes a look at the way local comedians use stand-up as a way of dealing with the trauma of various mental health issues.

The old adage that “laughter is the best medicine” has been put to the test by a pair of Eugene filmmakers. Produced and directed by James Blame and Ryan Shoop of Magbas Entertainment, Coping with Comedy is a 30-minute documentary that takes a look at the way local comedians use stand-up as a way of dealing with the trauma of various mental health issues.

February 18, 2016 01:00 AM

The long-awaited Deadpool movie is a lot of excellent things: Lively! Violent! Cleverish! Ribald! (If you don’t enjoy the occasional — OK, frequent — dick joke, this is probably not the movie for you.) As the title character, Ryan Reynolds is in his element, and he embraces the challenge of being a likable, violent smartass whose face we often can’t even see (it’s a physical role on more than one level).

The long-awaited Deadpool movie is a lot of excellent things: Lively! Violent! Cleverish! Ribald! (If you don’t enjoy the occasional — OK, frequent — dick joke, this is probably not the movie for you.) As the title character, Ryan Reynolds is in his element, and he embraces the challenge of being a likable, violent smartass whose face we often can’t even see (it’s a physical role on more than one level).

February 11, 2016 01:00 AM

First impressions can be deceptive. Take, for instance, Joel and Ethan Coen, whose movies seem distinctly built to not be watched but re-watched. Usually, for me, the initial pass through a Coen brothers film proves a strangely tepid affair — The Big Lebowski and Brother, Where Art Thou? felt flat and disjointed the first time around — and it’s not until I return for a second and third look that things start to resonate and deepen. It is only upon multiple viewings, for instance, that movies like No Country for Old Men, Fargo and especially Miller’s Crossing have revealed themselves as modern masterpieces — rich, durable and endlessly rewarding.

First impressions can be deceptive. Take, for instance, Joel and Ethan Coen, whose movies seem distinctly built to not be watched but re-watched. Usually, for me, the initial pass through a Coen brothers film proves a strangely tepid affair — The Big Lebowski and Brother, Where Art Thou? felt flat and disjointed the first time around — and it’s not until I return for a second and third look that things start to resonate and deepen.

February 4, 2016 01:00 AM

From a documentary on the emerging queer hip-hop movement to the avant-garde Blue, the 1993 experimental film from Derek Jarman released just months before his death from AIDS complications, the 24th annual Eugene Queer Film Festival offers an array of films expressing the dynamic and diverse queer experience. 

The fest, which runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 4-6, will screen international submissions, art films and queer classics.

From a documentary on the emerging queer hip-hop movement to the avant-garde Blue, the 1993 experimental film from Derek Jarman released just months before his death from AIDS complications, the 24th annual Eugene Queer Film Festival offers an array of films expressing the dynamic and diverse queer experience. 

The fest, which runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 4-6, will screen international submissions, art films and queer classics.

February 4, 2016 01:00 AM

My press email about this year’s crop of Oscar shorts notes that all the animated shorts are rated approximately PG, except “Prologue,” which is described as “not suitable for children.” I would go a step further and say it’s not suitable to be a nominee; it’s more of a five-minute demo reel for someone who clearly has talent but little to say. Thankfully, the rest of the animated shorts are much better. 

My press email about this year’s crop of Oscar shorts notes that all the animated shorts are rated approximately PG, except “Prologue,” which is described as “not suitable for children.” I would go a step further and say it’s not suitable to be a nominee; it’s more of a five-minute demo reel for someone who clearly has talent but little to say.

January 28, 2016 01:00 AM

The screenwriter and occasional director Charlie Kaufman has been delightfully gas-lighting moviegoers since 1999’s Being John Malkovich, a film that takes place, quite literally, inside the head of John Malkovich. Like Rod Serling before him, Kaufman loves to knock everything just slightly off kilter, creating an existential free fall that is at once exhilarating and upsetting. Using wry humor to offset his philosophical heebie-jeebies, Kaufman’s what-if movies pry open absurd cracks in accepted reality until a plausible explanation of our human condition emerges.

The screenwriter and occasional director Charlie Kaufman has been delightfully gas-lighting moviegoers since 1999’s Being John Malkovich, a film that takes place, quite literally, inside the head of John Malkovich. Like Rod Serling before him, Kaufman loves to knock everything just slightly off kilter, creating an existential free fall that is at once exhilarating and upsetting. Using wry humor to offset his philosophical heebie-jeebies, Kaufman’s what-if movies pry open absurd cracks in accepted reality until a plausible explanation of our human condition emerges.

January 21, 2016 01:00 AM

Windows. Lenses. Curtains. More windows. There are layers between the actors and the audience in Todd Haynes’ Carol, some of them narrative, some literal. Haynes loves to show the gently blurred image of Rooney Mara, elfin and pensive, shot through glass. Mara, though the various award nominations (and the title) might suggest otherwise, is the star of Carol. As Therese, an early-1950s young woman with a department store job, a well-intentioned beau and a lovely little apartment, she floats through the film with wide eyes and the occasional sharp glance.

Windows. Lenses. Curtains. More windows. There are layers between the actors and the audience in Todd Haynes’ Carol, some of them narrative, some literal. Haynes loves to show the gently blurred image of Rooney Mara, elfin and pensive, shot through glass. Mara, though the various award nominations (and the title) might suggest otherwise, is the star of Carol. As Therese, an early-1950s young woman with a department store job, a well-intentioned beau and a lovely little apartment, she floats through the film with wide eyes and the occasional sharp glance.

January 14, 2016 12:48 AM

Mexico-born director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is custom-built for Hollywood. Like Hollywood, Iñárritu is neither as deep nor as heavy as he believes himself to be, and he regularly mistakes size and scale for epic seriousness. Since he burst onto the scene in 2000 with Amores Perros, and up to his Oscar turn last year with Birdman, Iñárritu has been making a practice of philosophizing with a hammer, turning supposedly heavy spiritual and existential themes (21 Grams, Babel) into sophomore courses in reductive obviousness and false epiphanies.

Mexico-born director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is custom-built for Hollywood. Like Hollywood, Iñárritu is neither as deep nor as heavy as he believes himself to be, and he regularly mistakes size and scale for epic seriousness.

January 7, 2016 01:00 AM

Although the party line these days is that one must have a stridently absolute, carefully outlined position about being pro or con Quentin Tarantino, it is in fact possible to have thought Inglourious Basterds was brilliant and also to find The Hateful Eight a tiresome, incoherent, overlong slog.

Although the party line these days is that one must have a stridently absolute, carefully outlined position about being pro or con Quentin Tarantino, it is in fact possible to have thought Inglourious Basterds was brilliant and also to find The Hateful Eight a tiresome, incoherent, overlong slog.

December 31, 2015 01:00 AM

Cinema is losing its love for the elemental force of the human face. Amid the empurpled pomp and droidy digitization of endlessly retooled blockbusters, that which is purely and quietly us — our complexity, our contradictions, our neocortical slumps and secret struggles — is being phased out, replaced on screen by the endless crowding of martial abstractions that speed headlong for the fiscal orgasm of consumer approval.

Cinema is losing its love for the elemental force of the human face. Amid the empurpled pomp and droidy digitization of endlessly retooled blockbusters, that which is purely and quietly us — our complexity, our contradictions, our neocortical slumps and secret struggles — is being phased out, replaced on screen by the endless crowding of martial abstractions that speed headlong for the fiscal orgasm of consumer approval.

December 24, 2015 01:00 AM

It’s hard to imagine a world without Star Wars. For almost 40 years, this inspired archetypal story has been a touchstone for generations of fans — many of whom weren’t even born when the first movie came out. Star Wars wasn’t based on an existing property or a retelling of an old story, though it used familiar elements; it built its own mythology, a space fairy tale in which the right path is the one where compassion and love win out. And it certainly didn’t hurt that the spaceships were awesome. 

December 17, 2015 01:00 AM

Macbeth might not be Shakespeare’s most sophisticated play — it is nasty, brutish and short — and yet, among the tragedies, it remains my personal favorite, if only because it contains the most blunt and chilling expression of nihilism yet registered in the English language.

Macbeth might not be Shakespeare’s most sophisticated play — it is nasty, brutish and short — and yet, among the tragedies, it remains my personal favorite, if only because it contains the most blunt and chilling expression of nihilism yet registered in the English language.

December 10, 2015 01:00 AM

Spotlight is a brilliant piece of meta-storytelling: a film that tells a story about how another story was found. In early 2002, the The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team published a story uncovering years of hidden abuse by Catholic priests. That piece is out there, online, for anyone to read. But what director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) and his co-writer Josh Singer tease out, in a movie that plays like a quiet, tense thriller, is how that story came to be — and how it took decades to come to light. 

Spotlight is a brilliant piece of meta-storytelling: a film that tells a story about how another story was found. In early 2002, the The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team published a story uncovering years of hidden abuse by Catholic priests. That piece is out there, online, for anyone to read. But what director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) and his co-writer Josh Singer tease out, in a movie that plays like a quiet, tense thriller, is how that story came to be — and how it took decades to come to light. 

December 3, 2015 01:00 AM

Recipe for an emotional pummeling: A mother and her 5-year-old son are locked up in a dank shed, held hostage by an evil piece of white shit who makes routine visits for creaky sex acts while the kid counts time, faking sleep in a tiny closet.

Recipe for an emotional pummeling: A mother and her 5-year-old son are locked up in a dank shed, held hostage by an evil piece of white shit who makes routine visits for creaky sex acts while the kid counts time, faking sleep in a tiny closet. Mom was abducted seven years ago, which means that the tight walls of “room” are all the child knows, all he comprehends of the world: his universe is a sink, bed, tub, table, television and the shed’s single skylight revealing endless blue nothingness.

November 25, 2015 01:00 AM

Mockingjay Part 2 has no illusions about being anything but the final movie in a series. There are no reminders, no “previously, on The Hunger Games” montages to put you back in the story; it just starts, opening on a Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who is, as we so often see her, bruised but not broken. Which, in a nutshell, is the problem with this movie: It doesn’t know how to grapple with the way that book-Katniss really is broken, traumatized and angry after all she’s been through.

Mockingjay Part 2 has no illusions about being anything but the final movie in a series. There are no reminders, no “previously, on The Hunger Games” montages to put you back in the story; it just starts, opening on a Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who is, as we so often see her, bruised but not broken. Which, in a nutshell, is the problem with this movie: It doesn’t know how to grapple with the way that book-Katniss really is broken, traumatized and angry after all she’s been through.

November 19, 2015 01:00 AM

Someday, a movie will be worthy of Carey Mulligan again. An Education deserved her; little else has, though her sharp performance in Inside Llewyn Davis was a highlight. Mulligan is so delicate looking, so fresh-faced, that filmmakers either underestimate her or don’t know what to do with her. 

Someday, a movie will be worthy of Carey Mulligan again. An Education deserved her; little else has, though her sharp performance in Inside Llewyn Davis was a highlight. Mulligan is so delicate looking, so fresh-faced, that filmmakers either underestimate her or don’t know what to do with her. Like Brie Larson, so prickly and good in Room, she hides a steeliness behind wide eyes. I want to see her play a superhero, but she’d probably get cast as the sidekick.

November 12, 2015 01:00 AM

James Bond is a real son-of-a-bitch. Emotionally withdrawn and given to bouts of depression, the agent known as 007 is a classic anti-hero — sadistic, taciturn and misanthropic, he is an assassin driven by the icy requisites of duty but given to the thrill of stepping outside the lines when he smells a rat within his own intelligence organization.

James Bond is a real son-of-a-bitch. Emotionally withdrawn and given to bouts of depression, the agent known as 007 is a classic anti-hero — sadistic, taciturn and misanthropic, he is an assassin driven by the icy requisites of duty but given to the thrill of stepping outside the lines when he smells a rat within his own intelligence organization.

October 22, 2015 01:00 AM

Dear Guillermo del Toro:

Qué pasó? Did someone hijack your latest movie, Crimson Peak, and simply keep your name on the writing and directing credits? I smell a rat. Maybe Tony Scott? No, sorry, he’s dead. Please tell me it wasn’t Michael Bay. Anybody but Michael Bay.

Dear Guillermo del Toro:

Qué pasó? Did someone hijack your latest movie, Crimson Peak, and simply keep your name on the writing and directing credits? I smell a rat. Maybe Tony Scott? No, sorry, he’s dead. Please tell me it wasn’t Michael Bay. Anybody but Michael Bay.

October 8, 2015 01:00 AM

For the most part, the genre of horror has been a much-maligned cinematic ghetto populated almost exclusively by male directors, and God bless ’em all: They’ve titillated and tantalized and torn us apart to the best of their abilities over the years, some with more sophistication and some with less, mining every sexualized psychosis and reptilian yelp under the blood moon.

For the most part, the genre of horror has been a much-maligned cinematic ghetto populated almost exclusively by male directors, and God bless ’em all: They’ve titillated and tantalized and torn us apart to the best of their abilities over the years, some with more sophistication and some with less, mining every sexualized psychosis and reptilian yelp under the blood moon.

October 1, 2015 01:00 AM

The idea of dance on film is as old as film itself. More than a century ago, artists experimented with capturing lush, elusive movement using a wonderful new technology: film. 

The idea of dance on film is as old as film itself. More than a century ago, artists experimented with capturing lush, elusive movement using a wonderful new technology: film. 

Born of the artistic collaboration between choreographer and filmmaker, “screendance” pushes dance from the confines of a theater’s stage to video.