Armored: Matt Dillon, Jean Reno and Laurence Fisburne are three armored-car company employees who decide to steal from their company. And then someone tries to help, and messes everything up. PG13. Movies 12.
Behind the Lens: Ongoing DIVA/LCC seminar begins its February series of the films of Frank Capra with the 1934 comedy It Happened One Night, starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. The film was the first to win all five major Academy Awards. 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 2, DIVA. $3.
Coco Before Chanel: Director Anne Fontaine’s latest is an interesting biopic that focuses on the time before Coco Chanel (Audrey Tautou) became the icon she’s known as today. Tautou’s performance is steely and nuanced, and the film lingers even as it’s not entirely satisfying. PG13. 110 min. Movies 12. (11/5)
Edge of Darkness: The annual film about a tuff dad saving/avenging his daughter (no, it’s not Taken II) comes courtesy of Casino Royale dirctor Martin Campbell, who directs star Mel Gibson in this adaptation of Campbell’s BBC miniseries of the same name. Look, if you really need a cinematic version of a British show for your weekend viewing, might I suggest In the Loop? R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Heckler’s Night: Aw, c’mon, now! Heckling The Neverending Story? Really? Some of us still get teary when Artax … meets his untimely end. Some of us are softies who grew up on fantasy books and movies and were scared of the damn wolf, too. Sniffle. The rest of you can go get your giggle on at 7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 3, Wandering Goat. Free.
Horror and the Horrific: UO film series explores “the multiplicity of ways in which cinematic horror has been achieved through experimentation with narrative, style, technology, and genre.” The winter term’s run continues with Pink Floyd’s The Wall, 6 pm Thursday, Jan. 28, and Videodrome, 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 4, 110 Willamette, UO. Free.
OpenLens Festival: DIVA’s regional film festival features Beth Harrington as its guest filmmaker and host. Harrington will screen her documentary Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly, teach seminars and host the festival’s competitive events, the OpenLens Short Film Competition and Youth Visions Teen Video Challenge. Events run Jan. 29-31; see divacenter.org for full schedule.
Red Cliff: John Woo returns with this Chinese history epic about the Han dynasty and the far smaller army that stood against it. “A pleasantly traditional picture that marks a new direction for one of the world’s premiere action maestros,” says the L.A. Times. R. 140 min. Bijou. See review this issue.
V for Vendetta: From the pages of David Lloyd & Alan Moore’s graphic novel (not that Moore would have anything to do with the film) springs “V” (Hugo Weaving), a masked freedom fighter who’s taken up arms against the totalitarian government in a futuristic Britain. If you heard this one wasn’t worth watching, you heard wrong. 7 pm Sunday, Jan. 31, Wandering Goat. Free. Online archives.
Whip It: Ellen Page is a Texas beauty pageantgoer who does pageants for her mom (Marcia Gay Harden). A flyer for roller derby — and Kristen Wiig as a friendly derby girl — change her life entirely. Page is a charmer, as is Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) as her best friend, but it’s slightly amazing how a film about this alternative sport manages to get so dressed up in Hollywood predictability. Directed by Drew Barrymore. PG13. David Minor Theater.
Yes Men Fix the World, The: Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno co-direct and star in this prankish documentary, which follows their, er, adventures? posing as top brass from companies they hate. Their efforts uncover a nasty truth: the market doesn’t support doing the right thing. “An entertaining swipe at corporate irresponsibility,” says The Hollywood Reporter. Not rated. Bijou.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: Annoying voices! Jason Lee! Girl chipmunks singing “Single Ladies!” Every time I have to watch this preview, God kills a kitten. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Avatar: James Cameron’s latest multi-hundred-million gamble — a sci-fi tale about an ex-Marine whose consciousness is put into an alien body, leading to all kinds of conflict and realizations about the worlds — is so ideologically slippery, everyone who’s seen it has a convincing argument for why their take is the right one. It’s pretty, and it’s tired. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. Also in 3D. (12/24)
Blind Side, The: Sandra Bullock stars as a rich Southern lady who takes in a homeless African-American kid who becomes a star footbal player. Tell me you see the problems with this. “What The Blind Side offers is a kind of liberal Hollywood version of conservative values: all rock-solid valor, all the time,” said Entertainment Weekly. PG-13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (1/7)
Book of Eli, The: Bring on the apocalypse, man. Between this, Legion and … some other movies about the end of the world, we’re clearly in the middle of a trendlike thing. Anyway. Denzel Washington kicks ass and carries a bible as the one man who carries a hope for the future. With Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Broken Embraces: The latest from writer-director Pedro Almodóvar is a tale of love and movies, stories and lies, and the plot is way too complicated to sum up quickly. “A vibrant, mature love letter to the making of movies, the meaning of movies, and the dark-eyed muse Penélope Cruz,” said Entertainment Weekly. R. Bijou. (1/14)
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Portland critics were abuzz about this animated kids’ movie, which is apparently far more charming than the previews led us all to believe. Based on the book of the same name, it’s about a town where food, rather than the more ordinary forms of precipitation, falls from the sky. Movies 12.
Couples Retreat: Four Midwestern couples — among them Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell and Malin Ackerman — head off on a group retreat to a couples resort where couples therapy turns out to be necessary. Directed by Peter Billingsley, aka that kid from A Christmas Story. PG13. Movies 12.
Daybreakers: “Millions of people, all walking around … like Happy Meals on legs,” said Spike (James Marsters), in a long ago episode of Buffy. But what happens when everyone’s a vampire (those dratted viruses again!) and the snacks are running out? Starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. R. Cinemark.
Extraordinary Measures: Harrison Ford glowers! Brendan Fraser looks intense! Medical mysteries need solving! Trailers get cobbled together out of clichés! Also, this drama was filmed in Portland and is directed by Tom Vaughan, who made the sweet, underseen Starter for 10. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Wes Anderson (Rushmore) steps into the animated world with this adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a thieving Fox (George Clooney) who gets himself in a battle with three nasty farmers (the leader of whom is voiced by Michael Gambon). Anderson’s stop-motion world is delightful, but the film feels a little distant. PG. 88 min. Movies 12. (12/3)
(500) Days of Summer: Oh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If only this movie were as good as you are in it. A quirky sorta-romance with a carefully created indie aesthetic, Marc Webb’s feature debut has a lot of charming offerings, but suffers from an ill-defined female character, played as if from a distance by Zooey Deschanel. PG-13. 95 min. David Minor Theater. (8/6)
Hangover, The: This summer’s dirty-fun buzz movie stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis and Ed Helms as three guys who have no idea what happened at the bachelor party last night. Where’d that guy’s tooth go? Where’d the baby come from? Why does this movie start strong and then fall into unfunny cliché halfway through? David Minor Theater. (6/11)
Hurt Locker, The: Director Kathryn Bigelow returns with an incredible, intense film about soldiers trained to defuse homemade bombs in Iraq. The L.A. Times’ Kenneth Turan said it’s “Overwhelmingly tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude.” R. David Minor Theater. (9/3)
Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The: The latest film from Terry Gilliam arrives under a dark banner; it includes Heath Ledger’s last role. The fantastical film tells the story of a traveling theater owner who made a deal with the devil a very long time ago, and another deal less long ago — one that’s about to cause some problems. The preview is more than enticing. PG-13. 122 min. Bijou. (1/14)
It’s Complicated: Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give) — recently the subject of a fawning and grating NYT Magazine profile — tells yet another story of the romantic problems of the rich and middle aged. Here, Meryl Streep is caught between her amorous ex (Alec Baldwin) and her architect (Steve Martin). R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Law Abiding Citizen: Ten years ago, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler)’s family was murdered, but a plea bargain set one of the killers free. When the killer is released, he quickly turns up dead — and assistant DA Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx)’s family might be next! R. Movies 12.
Leap Year: Amy Adam’s character wants to get married to the perfect guy, who, one suspects from the poster, is not the dude she’s is dating at the start of this film (Adam Scott), but Matthew Goode, last seen stiff and blonde in Watchmen. This romance-goes-to-Ireland romance is directed by Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie). PG. VRC Stadium 15.
Legion: The trailer for this apocalyptic disaster flick — c’mon, hordes of angels attacking men counts as a disaster, right? — includes Doug Jones (Abe Sabien in Hellboy, among other roles) as a messed up ice cream man, and an angel-on-angel fight between Paul Bettany and the guy who played Keamy on Lost. Also, there’s an evil granny, a diner in the middle of nowhere, a magical baby and more. Bring on the apocalypse! Again. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Lovely Bones, The: The reviews of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel — about a girl who watches life continue on Earth after her murder — suggest that perhaps the director ought to head back to Middle-Earth. But with the fantastic Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) as poor Susie Salmon, there must be some redeeming qualities here, right? PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (1/21)
Men Who Stare at Goats, The: The funny is all in the preview for this wishy-washy semi-satire that looks, in flashbacks, at the peculiar military attempt to train soliders to use psychic powers as weapons. George Clooney and Ewan McGregor are game, but the story gets lost somewhere in the Iraq desert. R. 93 min. Movies 12. (11/12)
Moon: Duncan Jones’ feature film debut stars Sam Rockwell as the lone worker on a lunar mining outpost. As his three-year contract draws to a close, things start to get very strange. Intimate in scope but with larger themes under the surface, Moon is a science fiction film that’s not been crossbred with the horror or action genres; it’s a modest delight, but absolutely worth seeing and with surprising staying power. David Minor Theater. (7/9)
Ninja Assassin: Doesn’t the title kind of say it all? He’s a ninja! And an assassin! And there’s a secret society, and a government conspiracy, and a gorgeous woman who needs saving … “Even diehard fans of the genre would be advised to skip this one,” said the not-pulling-punches A.O. Scott on At the Movies. R. Movies 12.
Planet 51: In this animated tale, Dwayne Johnson voices an astronaut who finds, after landing on a strange planet, that not only is he not alone — he’s not normal. He’s the alien to the alien creatures who live there, and who really fear alien invasion. PG. Movies 12.
Sherlock Holmes: Guy Ritchie (Snatch) turns out what’s said to be a steampunky Sherlock (Robert Downey Jr.), in which Holmes is kind of a badass and has a hot Watson (Jude Law), an entertaining nemesis (Mark Strong) and a mystery to solve — that threatens all of England, of course. With Rachel McAdams. PG-13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31)
Spy Next Door, The: Jackie Chan defends neighborhood kids from some bad spies. With George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus and Amber Valletta. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Tooth Fairy, The: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets dolled up as the magical creature who trades kids money for their teeth. And he’s all skeptical and stuff. And he plays hockey. With Julie Andrews, for some reason. Does anyone else suspect that this entire script was built around the phrase “You can’t handle the tooth?” PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
2012: Roland Emmerich continues his series of films in which the world is destroyed (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) with this disastertastic absurdity starring John Cusack as a dad trying to keep his family together while the word dissolves around them. (This summary entirely based on conjecture from the preview.) Look, it’s just there for the special effects and we all know it, right? Why are you going? PG13. Movies 12. (11/25)
Up in the Air: Juno’s Jason Reitman (I prefer to remember him as the director of Thank You For Smoking) follows up his megahit with this story of a man (George Clooney) whose job is to fly all over the country and fire people. His lifestyle is complicated by a young, threatening colleague (Anna Kendrick, from Twilight) and an interesting fellow frequent flyer (Vera Farmiga). “A classic in the making,” said A.O. Scott on At the Movies. R. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31)
Where the Wild Things Are: Spike Jonze adapts Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book into something more complicated and more elaborate than expected — yet it’s also decidedly handmade, unexpedtedly difficult and sweetly unsentimental, for the most part. With Max Records, Catherine Keener and the voices of James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara and Lauren Ambrose. PG. Movies 12. (10/15)
Zombieland: Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) goes back to the amusement park (OK, so the films aren’t related, but it is kinda funny) in this zombie flick that costars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone (Superbad) and … Abigail Breslin? Little Miss Sunshine fights zombies? I’m in. R. Movies 12. (1/7)
Bijou Art Cinemas
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
David Minor Theater
David Minor Theater and Pub 762-1700 | 180 E. 5th
VRC Stadium 15 342-6536 | Valley River Center
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall