Alice in Wonderland: It should’ve been perfect: Burton, Depp, Alice! But the elements don’t quite mesh (and the 3D is mostly color-muting and distracting) in Burton’s semi-sequel, in which an older Alice (Mia Wasikowska) tumbles back into Wonderland, where she’s needed to slay the Jabberwock. (The Frumious Bandersnatch is much cooler; what’s original about making the Jabberwock into a dragon?) Nice turns from all, but a slight disappointment. PG. 108 min. Movies 12.
Archaeology Channel Film & Video Festival: Annual event shows juried cultural films about archaeological and indigenous topics, from the mud architecture of Mali to the reconstruction of a ship like those the Egyptians sailed to the standing stones of the United Kingdom. Festival runs through May 21 at the Hult Center; go to www.archaeologychannel.org for the full schedule. $12 daily admission covers several films. (See story 5/13)
Art and Expression Across Boundaries: DIVA presents work by three women filmmakers: Emily West Afanador’s Rocking the Boat, about gender dynamics in co-ed bands; Tiffany Christian’s Five Minutes of Fame, about the sense of community created by a group of local karaoke fans; and Ashley Gossman’s Kumekucha Amka Wamama: Rise Up Women, It Is Dawn, which looks at women’s lives in Tanzania and their struggles to carry on batik tradition. 7 pm Thursday, May 20, DIVA. Donation.
City Island: Aspiring actor Vince (Andy Garcia) reveals his biggest secret in drama class — and secrets from the rest of his family and community follow. With Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer and Alan Arkin (doubtless playing the cantankerous gramps). PG13. 100 min. Cinemark.
Horror and the Horrific: UO spring film series ends with Alice in Wonderland at 6 pm Thursday, May 20, at110 Willamette, UO. Free. For more details see horrorandhorrific.blogspot.com
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. David Minor Theater. (12/17)
Joneses, The: Derrick Borte’s film sends up consumer culture through the story of the Joneses, who move into a big house in a rich suburb, work their way into the community and then have to deal with a neighboring catastrophe. Starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny. Bijou. Movies 12. See review this issue.
Letters to God: A sweet kid with cancer writes daily letters to God; the letters wind up changing the life of a cranky postman. PG. Movies 12.
MacGruber: You’ve seen the SNL skits; now watch the movie! Will Forte stars as the um, action hero; Ryan Phillipe and Kristen Wiig are his backup. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Police, Adjective: In this well-received Romanian film, a cop struggles with what his job is and what it mean when he refuses to resist a kid who offers drugs to his classmates. Roger Ebert says it’s “a low-key, observant record of a universal dilemma among people in authority: How do you do your duty when your inner voice tells you it’s wrong?” Not rated. 115 min. Bijou. See review this issue.
Shrek Forever After: Supposedly, this is really seriously truly going to be the last Shrek movie. So that’s something. Shrek’s adventures this time involve getting himself sent to an opposite-world in which his friends aren’t his friends, and — more importantly for the plot — Fiona (Cameron Diaz) wants nothing to do with him. Also in 3D. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Ugetsu: Kenzi Mizoguchi’s 16th-century-set film, about two peasant couples whose lives are affected by war, was inspired by short stories by Ueda Akinari and Guy de Maupasaint. Screens as part of the DIVA/LCC Behind the Lens seminar. 7 pm Tuesday, May 25, DIVA. $3.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted.
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. Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects. PG13. Movies 12. David Minor Theater. (12/24)
Babies: It’s just what the title tells you! Though someone on Twitter described this film as a two-hour Anne Geddes photo. Filmmaker Thomas Batmes followed four families (in Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and California) for the first year of their new babies’ lives. Bizarrely, this film is rated PG. VRC Stadium 15.
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. Movies 12.
Clash of the Titans: Kraken or no kraken, Sam Worthington in a skirt or Liam Neeson with funny facial hair, the fact is, this movie is directed by the guy who made the moderately abysmal The Incredible Hulk. Just keep that in mind. PG13. Cinemark.
Crazy Heart: Jeff Bridges stars as a worn-out, alcoholic country singer-songwriter. His former protégé (Colin Farrell) is a superstar, but he’s playing in bowling alleys. A sweet-faced, much younger journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) sparks changes in the ol’ feller; Robert Duvall has a nice turn as his best friend. Academy Awards: Jeff Bridges, Best Actor; Best Original Song. R. David Minor Theater. Movies 12. (2/11)
Date Night: Tina Fey and Steve Carrell are a totally ordinary couple whose date night runs out of control when they steal a table at a fancy restaurant. With James Franco and Mila Kunis as the couple whose table it was, and Mark Wahlberg as a dude who doesn’t wear a lot of shirts. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (4/15)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: This adaptation of the bestselling book follows a poor kid having a crap time in middle school. So, like most of us, then. “A jaunty and forthright production,” said Entertainment Weekly. PG. Movies 12.
Furry Vengeance: I look at the name of this family film, and I think of something completely other than what I assume the filmmakers intended. Anyway. Brendan Fraser stars as a developer supervising an eco-friendly development. When the local critters get wind of his involvement in destroying their habitat, they take matters into their own cute, furry hands. PG. 92 min. VRC Stadium 15.
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The: This Swedish adaptation of the bestselling (and also Swedish) novel is relatively effective as a thriller, if you can forgive it a pile of cinematic clichés. Noomi Rapace is superb as Lisbeth, the titular girl, who teams up with a disgraced journalist to solve a lingering family mystery that works in abuse, Nazism and other nastiness to disappointingly shallow ends. Looks good, though. R. 152 min. Bijou. (4/22)
How to Train Your Dragon: I hear from trustworthy sources that this movie is 100 percent great. It’s about a young Viking (voiced by Jay Baruchel) who thinks he’d rather befriend dragons, his people’s longtime enemies, than kill them. Good call, kid. That’s a cute dragon you got there. PG. 98 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
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. PG-13. 122 min. David Minor Theater. (1/14)
Iron Man 2: Let’s just get it over with: Dudes, summmer is officially here! (That’s an all-encompassing “dudes,” by the way, not limited to menfolk.) Despite the annoying replacement of Terrence Howard with (the fantastic, don’t get me wrong) Don Cheadle as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)’s buddy Rhodey — and my own low tolerance for Mickey Rourke in anything — this sequel looks thoroughly, quippily, delightfully enjoyable. Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts; Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson join the fray. PG13. 122 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Just Wright: Queen Latifah stars in this romantic comedy as a physical therapist whose relationship with an injured NBA player (Common) gets complicated and personal. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Letters to Juliet: Does Amanda Seyfried sleep? She’s in everything lately, including this sweetly cheesetastic (I’m going by the preview here, OK?) film about a young American who volunteers to reply to letters left for Juliet at a wall in Verona. One recipient of such a letter (Vanessa Redgrave) is inspired to search out her long-lost love. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian: Terry Jones directs himself, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam in this hilarious comedy from 1979 about a “savior” born in a stable just down the street from Jesus. Irreverent isn’t the right word for this classic nonsense. R. David Minor Theater.
Nightmare on Elm Street, A: Jackie Earle Haley is the new Freddy Krueger in the rebooted (and ever so creativey named) Nightmare, in which a new generation of kids faces a terror their parents never told them about. With Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars), Kellan Lutz (Twilight) and Thomas Dekker (The Sarah Connor Chronicles). R. 95 min. Cinemark.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: High schooler Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) has his life changed right up when he finds out Poseidon is his pops. At Camp Half Blood, he meets other demigods and winds up on quite an adventure. I mean, it’s no small potatoes when your nemesis comes from the Underworld. PG. Movies 12.
Remember Me: Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson probably didn’t make many new fans with this poor-little-rich-kid romance, in which his troubled character falls for Emilie de Ravin despite her father (Chris Cooper)’s reservations. Let me just mention that this film takes place in the summer of 2001. In New York City. And it doesn’t end on a happy note. PG13. Movies 12.
Robin Hood: He is an OUTLAW! Did you know that? I bet you did. Previews look patently ridiculous for Ridley Scott’s serious-business version of the old tale — so, it’s an origin story, right? Isn’t Russell Crowe a bit old for an origin story? Whatever. At least Cate Blanchett is in it. PG-13. 148 frickin’ minutes. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
She’s Out of My League: Jay Baruchel is a TSA screener who’s, like, way not hot enough for the woman (Alice Eve) who starts to like him after he returns her phone. Wacky yet uncomfortable situations are sure to abound! R. 104 min. Movies 12.
Shutter Island: It’s a bit worrisome that Scorsese’s latest was bumped from last fall to now, but reviews are still good for his thriller (based on a Dennis Lehane novel) about two U.S. marshals sent to investigate an escape from an isolated prison for the criminally insane. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo. R. Movies 12. (3/5)
Spy Next Door, The: Jackie Chan defends neighborhood kids from some bad spies. With George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus and Amber Valletta. PG. Movies 12.
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