An Education: Relative newcomer Carey Mulligan has rightly been called “luminous” in her role as Jenny, an eager-to-grow-up 16-year-old in 1960s England who meets a much older man. David (Peter Sarsgaard) introduces her to the world she dreams of inhabiting. He changes her life, but not in the expected way, and not for the expected reasons. Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Best Adapted Screenplay; Carey Mulligan, Best Actress PG-13. 95 min. Bijou. Cinemark. (11/19)
Behind the Lens: Ongoing DIVA/LCC seminar continues its February series of the films of Frank Capra with the 1936 comedy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, in which a small-town poet tuba player (Gary Cooper) inherits a fortune — and meets a whole lot of greedy bastards who want it. With Jean Arthur. 7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 9, DIVA. $3.
Black Maria Film and Video Festival: The J-Schnitz and DIVA will each show part of this juried competition featuring cutting-edge pieces from around the world, from drama to animation to documentary. Program 1, featuring documentary and experimental award-winners, shows at 5:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 10, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. $6. See the full lineup at www.divacenter.org
Dear John: I’ve no idea why Lasse Hallström (My Life as a Dog) is directing this schmaltzy-seeming adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. None. The becoming-ubiquitous Amanda Seyfried plays an idealistic college girl who falls in love with a soldier (Channing Tatum) when he’s home on leave. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
From Paris With Love: Poor, pretty Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays James, who has a great life as an ambassadorial aide in France — until he gets promoted and paired with Charlie Wax (John Travolta), a “trigger-happy, wisecracking loose cannon” who might be the only way for James to survive being the target of a crime ring. Directed by the dude who made Taken. That explains a lot. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
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 Videodrome, 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 4, and Shivers, 6 pm Thursday, Feb. 11, 110 Willamette, UO. Free.
Inglourious 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. Eight Oscar nominations, including Christoph Waltz, Best Supporting Actor; Best Picture. R. David Minor Theater. (8/27)
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. Six Oscar nominations, including Gabourey Sidibe, Best Actress; Mo’Nique, Best Supporting Actress; Best Picture. R. VRC Stadium 15. (12/24)
Single Man, A: Colin Firth has rightly been showered with praise for his superb, subtle performance as George Falconer, a fiftyish English professor wrestling with his existence after the death of his longtime lover. Julianne Moore is his boozy, dramatic best friend; Nicholas Hoult plays the student who starts to snap George out of it. The drama and the beauty are in the details in fashion designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut. Bijou. See review this issue.
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.
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.
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. Nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. 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. Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Sandra Bullock, Best Actress. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Oscar nominations: Best Animated Feature Film; Best Original Score. 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)
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.” Nine Oscar nominations, including Jeremy Renner, Best Actor; Best Picture. R. David Minor Theater. Movies 12. (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. Oscar nominations: Art Direction, Costume Design. 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. Movies 12.
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? Oscar nomination: Stanley Tucci, Best Supporting Actor. 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. Oscar nominations: Art Direction, Original Score. PG-13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31)
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. Six Oscar nominations, including George Clooney, Best Actor; Vera Farmiga, Best Supporting Actress; Anna Kendrick, Best Supporting Actress; Best Picture. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31)
When in Rome: There are just too many dudes in love with Veronica Mars! Er, I mean Kristen Bell. I don’t really understand this plot. Something about coins in a love foutain in Rome, and a journalist (Josh Duhamel) who really likes Veronica. Kristin. Whatever her character’s name is. Oh, wait: Lee Pace is in this? OK, I’ll watch it. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
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)
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.
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. David Minor Theater. 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