• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |

Movies

January 9, 2014 01:00 AM

Nebraska’s black-and-white cinematography, all wide skies and one-story main streets, is a signpost, an indicator that Alexander Payne wants you to think old. Think old movies; think old men; think old-school values. But start with old men. We meet Woody Grant (Bruce Dern, with a frizz of white hair and a loping stagger of a walk) making his way onto the highway. After the Billings cops pick him up, Woody explains to his son David (Will Forte) that he was en route to Nebraska to claim a million-dollar prize.

Nebraska’s black-and-white cinematography, all wide skies and one-story main streets, is a signpost, an indicator that Alexander Payne wants you to think old. Think old movies; think old men; think old-school values. But start with old men. We meet Woody Grant (Bruce Dern, with a frizz of white hair and a loping stagger of a walk) making his way onto the highway. After the Billings cops pick him up, Woody explains to his son David (Will Forte) that he was en route to Nebraska to claim a million-dollar prize.

January 2, 2014 01:00 AM

David O. Russell’s new film, American Hustle, is a shaggy, shambolic love story masquerading as a period crime drama. Loosely based on the ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s, the movie follows the exploits of a pair of charming con artists, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who end up getting popped by an ambitious FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), and thereby enlisted in a sting that seeks to bring down, among others, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), the mayor of Camden, N.J.

David O. Russell’s new film, American Hustle, is a shaggy, shambolic love story masquerading as a period crime drama. Loosely based on the ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s, the movie follows the exploits of a pair of charming con artists, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who end up getting popped by an ambitious FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), and thereby enlisted in a sting that seeks to bring down, among others, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), the mayor of Camden, N.J.

December 26, 2013 01:00 AM

Can we talk about Jared Leto for a while? There’s a reason the internet likes to joke about Generation Catalano, referring to those neither-Gen X-nor-Millenial folks who identify with My So-Called Life, the excellent, short-lived TV show whose stars are now stars again. Claire Danes, now all angles and coolness, is on Homeland, while Leto, who played her crush, Jordan Catalano, is mostly a rock star.

Can we talk about Jared Leto for a while? There’s a reason the internet likes to joke about Generation Catalano, referring to those neither-Gen X-nor-Millenial folks who identify with My So-Called Life, the excellent, short-lived TV show whose stars are now stars again. Claire Danes, now all angles and coolness, is on Homeland, while Leto, who played her crush, Jordan Catalano, is mostly a rock star. Every so often he turns up in a movie.

December 19, 2013 01:00 AM

Stephen Frears’ Philomena hardly marks the first time Steve Coogan has played an ordinary fellow, but it feels like a definitive forward step in a peculiar and interesting career. To some, he’ll never stop being the British TV character Alan Partridge; to me, he’s always the guy from the under-seen Tristram Shandy, who pops up in brilliant cameos in all sorts of places (including Hot Fuzz). 

Stephen Frears’ Philomena hardly marks the first time Steve Coogan has played an ordinary fellow, but it feels like a definitive forward step in a peculiar and interesting career. To some, he’ll never stop being the British TV character Alan Partridge; to me, he’s always the guy from the under-seen Tristram Shandy, who pops up in brilliant cameos in all sorts of places (including Hot Fuzz). 

December 19, 2013 01:00 AM

There are plenty of holiday movies, but none of them are Rare Exports. At just 84 minutes long, the 2010 Finnish movie is almost like a very long episode of television, and it moves just as quickly. A little boy and his friend find some Americans atop a nearby mountain; one of them is speechifying about something buried there, something old and legendary.

December 12, 2013 01:00 AM

Tom Blank is on a mission. A Navy veteran and retired director who served his career in television, Blank and his wife moved in 2005 from Hollywood to Eugene, where he immediately took up the cause of advocating for movies as cultural and spiritual artifacts.  

Tom Blank is on a mission.  

A Navy veteran and retired director who served his career in television, Blank and his wife moved in 2005 from Hollywood to Eugene, where he immediately took up the cause of advocating for movies as cultural and spiritual artifacts.  

December 12, 2013 01:00 AM

For a film based on a graphic novel, it’s fitting that Blue Is the Warmest Color opens with the discussion of another novel, La Vie de Marianne by Pierre de Marivaux. The 18th-century author cleared a path for romanticists like Jane Austen to delve into an examined life that balances reason with emotion, a theme director Abdellatif Kechiche also examines in his fervid, coming-of-age love story.

For a film based on a graphic novel, it’s fitting that Blue Is the Warmest Color opens with the discussion of another novel, La Vie de Marianne by Pierre de Marivaux. The 18th-century author cleared a path for romanticists like Jane Austen to delve into an examined life that balances reason with emotion, a theme director Abdellatif Kechiche also examines in his fervid, coming-of-age love story.

December 5, 2013 01:00 AM

Director Steve McQueen’s new film is leaps and bounds above his last. The artfully tiresome, cramped and cold Shame gave little clue that McQueen would follow it with a film as grand and intimate as 12 Years a Slave, which tells the ugly, astonishing true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man who was kidnapped and sold as a slave in 1841. 

Director Steve McQueen’s new film is leaps and bounds above his last. The artfully tiresome, cramped and cold Shame gave little clue that McQueen would follow it with a film as grand and intimate as 12 Years a Slave, which tells the ugly, astonishing true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man who was kidnapped and sold as a slave in 1841. 

November 27, 2013 01:00 AM

If Gary Ross’s Hunger Games was a solid piece of entertainment with a sort of finger-wagging moral streak (Look how bad this is! This society is sooooo corrupt!), Francis Lawrence’s Catching Fire is its older sibling, an honest-to-goodness movie (as opposed to just an adaptation) with a nasty dark side and a sullen but fierce heart.

If Gary Ross’s Hunger Games was a solid piece of entertainment with a sort of finger-wagging moral streak (Look how bad this is! This society is sooooo corrupt!), Francis Lawrence’s Catching Fire is its older sibling, an honest-to-goodness movie (as opposed to just an adaptation) with a nasty dark side and a sullen but fierce heart.

November 27, 2013 01:00 AM

First-time writer, director and actor Alex Richanbach has gone a long way to revive the true spirit of romantic comedies. His debut film, We Are Young, is a wry, smart and, yes, romantic updating of this much-maligned and greatly desecrated form. What this means, in short, is that Richanbach’s movie is dialogue driven, sharply acted and full of moments that are by turns uncomfortably real and deeply touching, and always authentic.

Genre breeds familiarity, and then formula, and then contempt. This is especially true when it comes to romantic comedies, which seemed to suffocate on their own fey cuteness with the disappearance of such seminal directors as Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges and Howard Hawks.

November 21, 2013 01:00 AM

In Kill Your Darlings, Daniel Radcliffe, with a mop of tousled hair half swallowing his face, plays the young Allen Ginsberg, when the now-renowned poet was but an innocent Columbia freshman. You can stop thinking of Radcliffe as Harry Potter now; since that series ended, he’s made a career of heading off in the opposite direction, and his role in John Krokidas’ directorial debut might be the final step on the road to being taken seriously.

In Kill Your Darlings, Daniel Radcliffe, with a mop of tousled hair half swallowing his face, plays the young Allen Ginsberg, when the now-renowned poet was but an innocent Columbia freshman. You can stop thinking of Radcliffe as Harry Potter now; since that series ended, he’s made a career of heading off in the opposite direction, and his role in John Krokidas’ directorial debut might be the final step on the road to being taken seriously.

November 14, 2013 01:00 AM

Three forces drive How I Live Now: Meg Rosoff, on whose award-winning young adult novel the film is based; Saoirse Ronan, who has managed to make watchable everything she’s been in, even Hanna; and Kevin Macdonald, whose track record as a director is spotty at best. Macdonald is arguably best known for The Last King of Scotland, a mediocre film wrapped around a Forest Whitaker performance that made me want to use the kind of descriptive words (“blistering”) that make no sense but yet come closest to capture the force that came off the screen. 

Three forces drive How I Live Now: Meg Rosoff, on whose award-winning young adult novel the film is based; Saoirse Ronan, who has managed to make watchable everything she’s been in, even Hanna; and Kevin Macdonald, whose track record as a director is spotty at best.

November 7, 2013 01:00 AM

The blow to the head that occurs during the opening scenes of Concussion has so little to do with what this smart, subtle movie is really about that the title almost seems like, at best, a MacGuffin. It just so happens, however, that Passon herself, just before writing the screenplay, suffered a mild concussion. Art is funny that way: From pain is born investigation and inspiration, and in this case, a knock on the noggin has resulted in a very fine film about sexual politics and personal freedom, or lack thereof.

October 31, 2013 01:00 AM

When Bijou Cinemas announced its 72-hour Horror Film Fest, I said to myself: Why not? It was an open competition with no entry fee; contestants had three days to write, film and edit a 2-3 minute scary movie, the only mandate being that each entrant must utilize a prop and single line of dialogue provided by the Bijou. The prop, in this instance, was a tennis ball, and the bit of dialogue, delivered at the start of the 72-hour countdown, was a line spoken by the ghost Delbert Grady in The Shining: “I should know, sir, I’ve always been here.”

When Bijou Cinemas announced its 72-hour Horror Film Fest, I said to myself: Why not? It was an open competition with no entry fee; contestants had three days to write, film and edit a 2-3 minute scary movie, the only mandate being that each entrant must utilize a prop and single line of dialogue provided by the Bijou. The prop, in this instance, was a tennis ball, and the bit of dialogue, delivered at the start of the 72-hour countdown, was a line spoken by the ghost Delbert Grady in The Shining: “I should know, sir, I’ve always been here.”

October 31, 2013 01:00 AM

Only a few years ago, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was still mostly known as “that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun.” Since 2005, he’s taken on a host of interesting roles; built the really nifty hitRECord.org, an “open collaborative production company”; and now made his debut as a feature film director with the funny, lewd and thoughtful Don Jon, which does double duty as a broad comedy and a mildly subversive take on gender and expectations.

October 31, 2013 01:00 AM

If it all ended with a zombie apocalypse, I’d spend the last days shacked up in Costco. Until that fateful day when the dead walk the Earth, the closest we have for preparation is a genre of movies that has inspired both cult and mainstream followings.

If it all ended with a zombie apocalypse, I’d spend the last days shacked up in Costco. There are enough supplies to last me a while, a gazebo to camp in and every Friday I’d have first-in-line access to the free samples. Until that fateful day when the dead walk the Earth, the closest we have for preparation is a genre of movies that has inspired both cult and mainstream followings. The Majestic Theatre taps into this zeitgeist with its short, and anything-but-sweet, Hallow’s Eve Zombie Film Festival, featuring three classics from the genre.

October 24, 2013 01:00 AM

Is it possible to scare the living daylights out of someone in the space of two minutes? The Bijou’s Joshua Purvis says he’s hoping local filmmakers will give it a go when the inaugural 72-Hour Horror Film Fest comes to life Oct. 24 with a kick-off party downtown at First National Taphouse.

Is it possible to scare the living daylights out of someone in the space of two minutes? The Bijou’s Joshua Purvis says he’s hoping local filmmakers will give it a go when the inaugural 72-Hour Horror Film Fest comes to life Oct. 24 with a kick-off party downtown at First National Taphouse.

October 24, 2013 01:00 AM

If every story about the new Saudi Arabian film Wadjda begins with the same pieces of information, the reason is simple: It would be downright unfair to leave the backstory out. This film was the first feature shot in a country that, as every interview with the director, Haifaa al-Mansour, will tell you, doesn’t have cinema.

If every story about the new Saudi Arabian film Wadjda begins with the same pieces of information, the reason is simple: It would be downright unfair to leave the backstory out. This film was the first feature shot in a country that, as every interview with the director, Haifaa al-Mansour, will tell you, doesn’t have cinema. Strict rules for female behavior required the movie’s director to, at times, sit in a van and speak to her actors via walkie-talkie.

October 17, 2013 01:00 AM

If you are wary of what we might term the “mature romantic comedy” — having been burned by things like the atrocious Something’s Gotta Give — please understand that I am right there with you. The previews for Enough Said didn’t do the movie any favors, and to want to see the film simply because it features James Gandolfini in one of his last roles feels slightly dark and morbid.

If you are wary of what we might term the “mature romantic comedy” — having been burned by things like the atrocious Something’s Gotta Give — please understand that I am right there with you. The previews for Enough Said didn’t do the movie any favors, and to want to see the film simply because it features James Gandolfini in one of his last roles feels slightly dark and morbid. But maybe you loved Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld, or you can’t get enough of Catherine Keener in roles that don’t insult her intelligence.

October 10, 2013 01:00 AM

Every once in a while, we are allowed the laughter of the gods. It is a pure laughter, sprung from joy rather than bitterness or irony. It is not schadenfreude. It has no victim. Rather, such laughter revels in creation the way a child revels in play — with pure mind and a freedom beyond the shackles of doubt. It is a thankful laughter, a barometer registering sheer gratitude.

Every once in a while, we are allowed the laughter of the gods. It is a pure laughter, sprung from joy rather than bitterness or irony. It is not schadenfreude. It has no victim. Rather, such laughter revels in creation the way a child revels in play — with pure mind and a freedom beyond the shackles of doubt. It is a thankful laughter, a barometer registering sheer gratitude.

October 3, 2013 01:00 AM

Make no mistake: The new movie by Joe Swanberg is not a romantic comedy. If you waltz into Drinking Buddies expecting the formulaic satisfaction of a rom-com by Nora Ephron, you will be violently disappointed. You will throw your popcorn at the screen and demand your money back.

Make no mistake: The new movie by Joe Swanberg is not a romantic comedy. If you waltz into Drinking Buddies expecting the formulaic satisfaction of a rom-com by Nora Ephron, you will be violently disappointed. You will throw your popcorn at the screen and demand your money back.

September 26, 2013 01:00 AM

It’s likely you already know too much about Prisoners, the excellent new film by young Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve. Yes, Prisoners is about a kidnapping and its brutal aftermath. Yes, the movie’s scenes of unreconstructed violence are deeply disturbing. Yes, it has a crackerjack cast, which includes Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Jake Gyllenhaal as the talented and tormented detective assigned to the case.

It’s likely you already know too much about Prisoners, the excellent new film by young Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve. Yes, Prisoners is about a kidnapping and its brutal aftermath. Yes, the movie’s scenes of unreconstructed violence are deeply disturbing. Yes, it has a crackerjack cast, which includes Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Jake Gyllenhaal as the talented and tormented detective assigned to the case.

September 19, 2013 01:00 AM

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist and/or work at a marine park. As you can see, I did nothing of the sort. But one thing lingers from those younger days: a whopper of a sense of awe at the sight of whales, seals, even sea lions, those goofy things — and orcas. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist and/or work at a marine park. As you can see, I did nothing of the sort. But one thing lingers from those younger days: a whopper of a sense of awe at the sight of whales, seals, even sea lions, those goofy things — and orcas. 

September 12, 2013 01:00 AM

Maybe the most bittersweetly delightful thing about James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now is the way it captures the feeling of a drawn-out ending. For Aimee (Shailene Woodley), Sutter (Miles Teller) and their classmates, it’s the end of high school, a time when everything is bitingly vital and yet nothing matters much, since it’s all going to change in a few weeks anyway. 

Maybe the most bittersweetly delightful thing about James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now is the way it captures the feeling of a drawn-out ending. For Aimee (Shailene Woodley), Sutter (Miles Teller) and their classmates, it’s the end of high school, a time when everything is bitingly vital and yet nothing matters much, since it’s all going to change in a few weeks anyway. What happens next is of the utmost importance, but no one really knows what that next thing will be, least of all Sutter, who has yet to get around to applying to college.