Eugene Weekly : Movies : 12.31.09




Me and Orson Welles: Richard Linklater directs Zac Efron. Surely that information alone should be enough to get you into the theater? No? Oh, fine: Efron plays an aspiring actor who lands a role for Orson Welles’ (Christian McKay) production of Julius Caesar. Claire Danes is his older-woman love interest. PG-13. Bijou.

Rome, Open City: The LCC/DIVA Open Lens seminar shows Roberto Rossellini’s 1945 film, a war drama set in Nazi-occupied Rome. The total effect of the picture is a sense of real experience, said The New York Times. 7 pm Tuesday, Jan. 5, at DIVA. $3.

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.

Astro Boy: The beloved manga character comes to life on the big screen. With the voices of Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell and Nicolas Cage. PG. Movies 12.

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.

Box, The: Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly continues to perplex fans with his third film, a thriller about a couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) whose lives seem normal enough  until Frank Langella shows up on their doorstep with a troubling proposition. If you make a preposterous movie that isn’t boring, I count that as some kind of a triumph, said Roger Ebert. PG13. Movies 12.

Christmas Carol, A: Robert Zemeckis turns his 3-D obsessed attention to the classic holiday story. I’m assuming this will have less dick jokes than did Beowulf. PG. Cinemark. 

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.

Damned United, The: Peter Morgan (The Queen) scripted this British soccer story, which focused on manager Brian Clough (Michael Sheen, whom The Oregonian says is absolutely remarkable), an abrasive, outspoken fellow who gets a chance to coach the country’s best team. With Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent and Colm Meaney. R. Bijou. (12/10)

Did You Hear About the Morgans?: Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker costar as a Manhattan couple whose troubled marriage is improved when the FBI sends them to a small town to hide from baddies after they witness a murder. Did this come out of a plot-generating website? PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

District 9: Producer Peter Jackson gets top billing, but this sci-fi film about aliens taking refuge in South Africa is actually the feature-film debut of director Neill Blomkamp. The buzz is good; Blomkamp is already being dubbed one to watch. R. 112 min. David Minor Theater. (8/20)

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)

Fourth Kind, The: People are disappearing from a small town in Alaska; are aliens really to blame? Milla Jovovich keeps appearing in poorly-received thrillers and horror flicks; how do we stop this? PG13. Movies 12.

G-Force: Talking guinea pigs save the world! Or whatever. Is this just an entire film capitalizing on the animation used to create that creepy-eyed creature in the godawful Bedtime Stories? PG. Movies 12.

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? It’s a really good time finding out. David Minor Theater. (6/11)

Inglorious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino’s long-anticipated WWII movie stars Brad Pitt as the leader of a group of Jewish soldiers who engage in targeted acts of retribution against the Third Reich. Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, said The Village Voice. R. David Minor Theater. (8/27)

Invictus: Morgan Freeman tackles a South African accent to play Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood’s latest based-on-a-true-story film, about Mandela’s effort to unite his nation through the universal language of sport  in this case, rugby. Matt Damon plays the rugby team captain. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/17)

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.

Julie & Julia: Julie Powell’s book about cooking her way through Julia Child’s masterpiece comes to screens as a two-part story: One part follows Powell in her Queens apartment, the other Child in France. David Minor Theater. (8/13)

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.

New Moon: The Twilight saga continues with this adaptation of the series’ soggiest book, in which Bella, devastated with Edward’s departure, takes up with an old friend with a secret, and resorts to being an adrenaline junkie cause it makes her hear Edward’s voice. Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen join the cast as the creepy vampire Volturi; Chris Weitz takes the reins from Catherine Hardwicke. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Paranormal Activity: The latest low-budget horror movie sensation is about a pair of twentysomethings whose new house is maybe not so empty, and maybe its residents aren’t so into the new tenants. R. Movies 12. (11/5)

Pirate Radio: Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) directs the story of eight British DJs who unlawfully broadcast rock n’ roll from a boat in the North Atlantic in the 1960s. With Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Night, Rhys Ifans and Nick Frost. R. Movies 12. (11/19)

Precious: Lee Daniels’ widely praised film (based on the novel Push by Sapphire, as its awkward subtitle tells you) is the story of a 16-year-old African-American girl with a truly horrible life. A place at a new school sets her on a new road. Starring Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz. R. Bijou. Cinemark. (12/24)

Princess and the Frog, The: The latest princess film from Disney sets the classic Frog Prince in New Orleans, where hardworking waitress Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) meets a frog (Bruno Campos) who, on his less green days, is a penniless, lazy, music-loving prince. G. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/17)

Road, The: John Hillcoat (The Proposition) directs this adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy novel. Viggo Mortensen stars as a father trying to keep his young son (Kodi McPhee) alive after the planet is ravaged by disaster. R. VRC Stadium 15. (12/24)

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. See review this issue.

Stepfather, The: A young man (Penn Badgley) comes home from military school to find that his mother’s new boyfriend (Dylan Walsh) has moved in  and maybe isn’t so cool as mom (Sela Ward) thinks he is. PG13. Movies 12.

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. Cinemark. (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. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.

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) 

Young Victoria: Emiy Blunt’s earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of the queen as she’s crowed, a young woman caught in court machinations and pressed to marry. Blunt makes [her] journey at once authentic and relevant, said Entertainment Weekly. Bijou. See review this issue.

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.



Use the links provided below for specific show times.

Bijou Art Cinemas
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th

David Minor Theater
David Minor Theater and Pub 762-1700 | 180 E. 5th

Regal Cinemas
VRC Stadium 15 342-6536 | Valley River Center

Cinemark Theaters
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall

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