An Angel at My Table: Acclaimed New Zealand novelist Janet Frame spent eight years in a mental hospital after being misdiagnosed as a schizophrenic. This film, directed by Jane Campion (The Piano) is based on her autobiography. Kerry Fox plays Frame, and Alexia Keogh and Karen Ferguson have supporting roles. R. 1 pm Wednesday, May 12, Willamalane Adult Center. Free.
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.
Cinema Pacific: UO film festival is “devoted to discovering and fostering the creativity of international films and new media from Pacific-bordering countries.” This year’s events focus on West Coast filmmakers, including Seattle’s Lynn Shelton (Humpday), and Korean filmmakers, including The Host director Bong Joon-ho, whose newest film, Mother, screens. A 72-hour filmmaking project and many more screenings and events are also part of the festival, which continues Thursday, May 6, with screenings of Barking Dogs Never Bite (6:30 pm) and House (9:30 pm) at the Bijou. Events run through May 9. UO, Bijou and other locations. See www.cinemapacific.uoregon.edu for details and full schedule.
Horror and the Horrific: UO film series screens Hard Candy, Ellen Page’s best movie, at 6 pm Thursday, May 6, and The Neverending Story at 6 pm Thursday, May 13, at110 Willamette, UO. Free. For more details see horrorandhorrific.blogspot.com
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.
Mother: The latest from director Bong Joon-ho (The Host) is about a young man and his overprotective mother, who takes matters into her own hands when her son is accused of murder. A “must-see marvel of horror, comedy, and impeccable filmmaking” from Bong, said Entertainment Weekly. R. 128 min. Plays at part of the Cinema Pacific festival at 9:30 pm Saturday, May 8, at the Bijou, and begins regular showings at same theater on Sunday, April 9. See review this issue.
Pickpocket: Robert Bresson’s 1959 film — the first for which the director wrote an original screenplay — about a pickpocket who loves his chossen profession screens as part of the DIVA/LCC Behind the Lens seminar. 7 pm Tuesday, May 11, DIVA. $3.
Sprout Film Festival: Full Access presents this evening of short films by and about people with developmental disabilities. The touring films are selected from those at the annual Sprout Film Festival in New York, and come from within the U.S. and around the world. 5:30 pm reception ($27 ticket includes the films); 7 pm films, Thursday, May 13, The Studio at the Hult Center. See www.fullaccess.org for more.
Vincere: Giovanna Mezzogiorno gives a remarkable performance as Ida Dalser, who was involved with Benito Mussolini early in his career, and who bore him a son. Dalser was cast aside by Mussolini, sent to a mental insitute and not allowed to see her son, but she spent her life insisting on the truth. Marco Bellocchio’s film is absorbing, but so dramatically heightened that it’s less affecting than it might be. Not rated. Bijou. See review this issue.
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)
Back-Up Plan, The: Jennifer Lopez stars as a woman who opts for artificial insemination after years of not meeting the right man. Naturally, as soon as she’s pregnant, she meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin, aka that dude from the short-lived, cheesily enjoyable vampire show Moonlight), who’s surprisingly game for going the distance. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Big Lebowski, The: Dude! Revisit now-Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges’ superb turn in the Coen brothers classic. David Minor Theater.
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.
Brooklyn’s Finest: Generally, it’s safe to assume that a title like this is somewhat ironic, no? Antoine Fuqua’s latest follows three Brooklyn cops whose lives are affected by a big ol’ drug operation. With Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke. R. 108 min. 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. VRC Stadium 15.
Crazies, The: Timothy Olyphant (forever Seth Bullock from the peerless Deadwood, in my mind) and Radha Mitchell star in this remake of the George Romero film about a small Midwestern town that goes nuts after something gets into the water. R. Movies 12.
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)
Death at a Funeral: Yes, that title looks familiar. This is a wide-release remake of the smaller 2007 British flick about the family secrets (and misplaced bodies, according to IMDb.com); it’s now directed by Neil LaBute (oh dear) and stars Chris Rock, Zoe Saldana, Tracy Morgan, James Marsden, Martin Lawrence and Regina Hall. Peter Dinklage sticks around from the first version. R. 90 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 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. Cinemark.
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. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Green Zone: It stars Matt Damon and is directed by Paul Greengrass, but this isn’t a Bourne movie; it’s a story about the early days of the war in Iraq. Damon plays a man sent to find WMDs. How well do you expect that’s going to go? R. 115 min. Movies 12.
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)
Kick-Ass: Almost as nasty, pandering and heartless as the last movie based on a Mark Millar comic (Wanted), Kick-Ass is a disappointment on many levels, from its thoughtless gay subplot to the way it sneers at comics-loving kids who dream of having more power than the world allows them. Its redeeming factors are the controversial Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and her father, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage channeling Adam West), whose warped relationship balances everything the movie otherwise mangles: the relationship between vengeance and cruelty; the way love makes the strangest things seem normal; the way girls can be brutal killers too — and how fucked up all that brutal killing really is. R. 117 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Losers, The: A team of mercenaries double-crossed by a rogue CIA agent looks to get revenge, preferably via as many absurd scenarios as possible. Starring the appealing combo of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans and Idris Elba, among others. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. A more-positive-than-it-sounds (stupid! fun! stupid fun!). (4/29)
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. VRC Stadium 15.
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.
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. David Minor Theater. (11/19/09)
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.
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.
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. Movies 12. (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. Movies 12.
Town Called Panic, A: The first stop-motion animated feature selected to show at Cannes, this fantastically odd French film follows three toy figurines, Horse, Cowboy and Indian, as stranger and stranger things happen around their country house. Bizarre, outlandishly funny and endlessly, oddly inventive, Panic is the oddest thing I’ve seen in years. Not rated. 75 min. Bijou. (4/15)
Valentine’s Day: People in L.A. live crazily overlapping lives. I learned that from Short Cuts and Crash. Here comes Valentine’s Day, in which couples experience the ups and downs of love, to reiterate this fact! The cast of Garry Marshall’s film includes Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Patrick Dempsey and his Gray’s Anatomy costar Eric Dane, Queen Latifiah, Taylor Swift and more. PG-13. 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