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Movies

December 13, 2012 01:00 AM

Taylor Guterson’s quietly likable debut feature, Old Goats, is a very Northwestern film — damp, relaxed, full of the mellow charms of its Bainbridge Island setting and featuring more cups of coffee than you can count.

Taylor Guterson’s quietly likable debut feature, Old Goats, is a very Northwestern film — damp, relaxed, full of the mellow charms of its Bainbridge Island setting and featuring more cups of coffee than you can count. The film showcases three old goats, each wrestling with age in a specific way: Bob (Bob Burkholder), who’s just written a memoir detailing his colorful life and plentiful sexual conquests, can hardly hold still; he’s constantly asking friends for a ride or offering unsolicited advice on their futures.

December 6, 2012 01:00 AM

The first half hour of Atonement director Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina is such a joy to watch, I began to doubt my expectations of the story.

The first half hour of Atonement director Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina is such a joy to watch, I began to doubt my expectations of the story. This has a tragic ending, doesn’t it? Terrible things are going to happen? For that matter, unfortunate things are happening in the first act, but the clever way they’ve been pieced together is a magical distraction, and appropriately so.

November 28, 2012 11:00 PM

Lincoln, contrary to what its name implies, is not a defining portrait of a man, though Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as Abraham Lincoln is one of his defining roles.

Lincoln, contrary to what its name implies, is not a defining portrait of a man, though Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as Abraham Lincoln is one of his defining roles. Stooped, quiet, introverted, exhausted, brilliant and prone to making his point via stories, Day-Lewis’ Lincoln is the calm center to a complex and flawed film about the 16th president — and about the role of politics in America’s terrible relationship with race.

November 21, 2012 11:00 PM

The Sessions, a candid, gentle film about a paralyzed man’s quest to have sex, walks a tricky, balanced, grave and funny path that’s all its own.

The Sessions, a candid, gentle film about a paralyzed man’s quest to have sex, walks a tricky, balanced, grave and funny path that’s all its own. Struck by polio at a young age, Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes) lives mostly in an iron lung; he can get out for a few hours at a time, his assistant pushing him on a gurney. Three assistants are key in the film: Amanda (Annika Marks), a pretty young woman with whom Mark falls in love; Rod (Hawkes’ fellow Deadwood alum W.

November 7, 2012 11:00 PM

If you look at Richard Gere’s body of work, it appears he should be on movie screens constantly.

If you look at Richard Gere’s body of work, it appears he should be on movie screens constantly. A film or two every year, an I’m Not There slipped in between every couple of Unfaithfuls. But Gere still gives the impression, somehow, of popping up every so often, not remaining constantly visible, not sustaining a movie star presence. And when was the last time Gere actually impressed you?

October 31, 2012 11:00 PM

Occupied Cascadia, they say, is “the first feature-length film to explore the Cascadian bioregional autonomist movement.” If you are not familiar with that movement, or always wanted to know what that blue and green flag with the Doug fir on it was about, then pick up a copy of the 1975 utopian novel Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach, and you’ll start to get an idea.

The Cascadia Bioregion, according to Bend-based independent filmmakers Mel Sweet and Devin Hess, “is defined by geomorphology, including all watersheds that flow west from the continental divide through the rainforests of the West Coast.” It extends from the southeast Alaska Panhandle south into northern California and as far east as Missoula, Mont.

October 31, 2012 11:00 PM

Four years ago, this country was gearing up to elect Team Obama-Biden or Team McCain-Palin. Four years ago there were flag pins, Bill Ayers and lipsticked pigs instead of Big Bird, Bain and bayonets.

Four years ago, this country was gearing up to elect Team Obama-Biden or Team McCain-Palin. Four years ago there were flag pins, Bill Ayers and lipsticked pigs instead of Big Bird, Bain and bayonets. Four years ago, Mitt Romney was a blip on the election trail and the U.S. was toppling into one of the largest economic downturns in history. And four years ago, the David Minor Theater (DMT) opened at 5th and Pearl St., bringing film and libations to Eugene. Friday, Nov. 2, the theater will host a “Re-election Party” to mark the conclusion of that crucial first term.

October 24, 2012 11:00 PM

Like socialism, the words labor and union, have become dirty in today’s political climate. But this wasn’t always so.

Like socialism, the words labor and union, have become dirty in today’s political climate. But this wasn’t always so. These words have undergone a slow, steady and deliberate connotation reassignment, now signifying fascism, communism, redistribution of wealth and anti-democratic and anti-competitive practices, and perhaps that’s why anyone born after 1980 is probably not familiar with the Reuther family like they are with the Kennedys.

October 17, 2012 11:00 PM

If you’re somewhere in your 30s and grew up with a television, Wayne White’s work probably slipped into your young mind somewhere.

If you’re somewhere in your 30s and grew up with a television, Wayne White’s work probably slipped into your young mind somewhere. As a young artist, White landed a job on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, where he designed (and voiced) some of the show’s iconic characters. His work turned up in the music videos for Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” and Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time,” and he worked on a host of other children’s shows.

October 10, 2012 11:00 PM

If you’ve been thinking that maybe Tim Burton has slipped a little, you’re hardly alone. Frankenweenie, then, is a kind of comeback, and one that goes straight to Burton’s roots.

If you’ve been thinking that maybe Tim Burton has slipped a little, you’re hardly alone. This spring’s Dark Shadows came and went, hardly a blip on the radar screen of pop culture, and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland was such a murky muddle that even Johnny Depp and a plethora of talented actresses couldn’t turn it into something watchable.

October 10, 2012 11:00 PM

2012 is flying by, people. The end is nigh.

2012 is flying by, people. The end is nigh, supposedly, on Dec. 21, and so this month, the University of Oregon Folklore program began a series of film screenings entitled “Apocalypse Now ... and Then” that will run weekly through Wednesday, Nov. 21. Take a wild crack at what the films are about — yep, you guessed it: the end of the freaking world. The series includes such films as Children of Men (10-24), The Omega Man (11-7), Night of the Comet (11-21) and other such apocalyptic works.

October 3, 2012 11:00 PM

Time-travel stories are always tricky. As a viewer, you have to accept paradoxes and twisting strands of plot.

Time-travel stories are always tricky. As a viewer, you have to accept paradoxes and twisting strands of plot, and writer-director Rian Johnson’s Looper — the fall film I looked forward to the way some people anticipated The Master — will not hold your hand on this matter. The explanation is quick and to the point: In the future, time travel will be invented, then outlawed, then used by outlaws. The future mob hires loopers, men (and only men, apparently) who assassinate victims who have been sent back in time to be killed.

September 26, 2012 11:00 PM

Samsara, according to the film’s website, is a Sanskrit word meaning “the ever turning wheel of life.” The film, which has taken this word for its title, has no dialogue, no narrative; it consists of a series of images the filmmakers describe as a “nonverbal, guided meditation.” Does that excite you or make you want to roll your eyes?

Samsara, according to the film’s website, is a Sanskrit word meaning “the ever turning wheel of life.” The film, which has taken this word for its title, has no dialogue, no narrative; it consists of a series of images the filmmakers describe as a “nonverbal, guided meditation.” 

September 19, 2012 11:00 PM

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s film keeps shifting, languidly and elegantly, as it runs its course. It’s a thriller of sorts, but quietly so; what makes it nerve-wracking is in large part what you bring to it as a viewer.

Elena begins with such a long, slowly shifting shot that the image — a bare tree branch, a black bird, an apartment balcony — becomes ominous. The branch blurs into the apartment, which comes into focus as a large, sterile, tasteful place, spacious and passionless, and clearly expensive.

September 12, 2012 11:00 PM

Mike Birbiglia’s life story is determined to come to you in all forms. In 2010, the comedian’s book Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories — a series of stories, half painful and half funny, about the comedian’s life, career and bouts with sleepwalking — was released.

Mike Birbiglia’s life story is determined to come to you in all forms. In 2010, the comedian’s book Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories — a series of stories, half painful and half funny, about the comedian’s life, career and bouts with sleepwalking — was released.

September 5, 2012 11:00 PM

Lawless, which follows Hillcoat’s 2009 adaptation of The Road, is cut from similar cloth. Once again, screenwriter Nick Cave’s story follows three outlaw brothers; once again, violence has a central place in their lives, and morality is a shifty thing that has little to do with governance and laws.

In 2006, director John Hillcoat blew my mind. I went into The Proposition knowing only that it was set in Australia and starred a lot of actors I admire; I came out half shellshocked and entirely awed. Bloody, ugly, intense, beautifully and intelligently made, The Proposition was a movie that wrestled with morality; put tough, deeply flawed characters front and center; and didn’t shy away from truly awful violence.

August 29, 2012 11:00 PM

“Likable” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you imagine a semi-romantic comedy about a pair of divorcing thirtysomethings, but it might be just the word for Celeste and Jesse Forever.

“Likable” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you imagine a semi-romantic comedy about a pair of divorcing thirtysomethings, but it might be just the word for Celeste and Jesse Forever. Writer and star Rashida Jones, who’s arguably most familiar from Parks and Recreation, turned what could have been a one-note role in I Love You Man into an actual character, and has a slippery, almost prickly warmth; she radiates a sense that she’s a lot of fun to be around until you piss her off.

August 22, 2012 11:00 PM

Moonrise Kingdom is so charming, so quaintly and perfectly designed, like a pretty diorama in which Wes Anderson carefully places his actor-dolls, that it feels curmudgeonly to dislike it. And I don’t dislike it, exactly; I’m just not sure I feel much of anything about it.

Moonrise Kingdom is so charming, so quaintly and perfectly designed, like a pretty diorama in which Wes Anderson carefully places his actor-dolls, that it feels curmudgeonly to dislike it. And I don’t dislike it, exactly; I’m just not sure I feel much of anything about it. Everything is in its right place; the shots are beautiful, the sets just so. Two kids set out separately across a New England island, toting impossibly stylish bags, outfitted in dashing Khaki Scout uniforms and white socks.

August 15, 2012 11:00 PM

Tony Gilroy directed Michael Clayton. Think about that, while you watch The Bourne Legacy, and ponder how it is that the writer-director of such a taut, effective film created something as skittish and incomplete as Bourne, which is about 45 percent prologue, and almost entirely unsatisfying.

Tony Gilroy directed Michael Clayton. Think about that, while you watch The Bourne Legacy, and ponder how it is that the writer-director of such a taut, effective film created something as skittish and incomplete as Bourne, which is about 45 percent prologue, and almost entirely unsatisfying. 

August 8, 2012 11:00 PM

The easy joke about Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is that it gives you so little to remember. You might recall the Blade Runner-esque neon-and-concrete vision of its future, or the look on Kate Beckinsale’s face as she tries to squeeze the life out of Colin Farrell’s Douglas Quaid. 

The easy joke about Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is that it gives you so little to remember. You might recall the Blade Runner-esque neon-and-concrete vision of its future, or the look on Kate Beckinsale’s face as she tries to squeeze the life out of Colin Farrell’s Douglas Quaid. But Wiseman, who cut his teeth as a director on two Underworld flicks, has plenty of experience directing Beckinsale at ass-kicking. Two hours of her and Jessica Biel fighting in an inexplicably complex bank of elevators would be considerably more memorable.

August 1, 2012 11:00 PM

Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Willis) lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in the Bathtub, a damp, wild, insular place at what feels like the edge of the world (but is more likely the edge of New Orleans).

Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Willis) lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in the Bathtub, a damp, wild, insular place at what feels like the edge of the world (but is more likely the edge of New Orleans). She tends to their chickens and pigs, goes fishing with her father, and draws creatures on cardboard boxes in her house — her own scrappy house, standing on crooked stilts like something out of a dark fairytale.

July 25, 2012 11:00 PM

High expectations sometimes lay you low, and the very word “superhero” spurs one’s anticipation of a movie adaptation to leap tall multiplexes in a single bound.

High expectations sometimes lay you low, and the very word “superhero” spurs one’s anticipation of a movie adaptation to leap tall multiplexes in a single bound and travel faster than a speeding bullet to the box office. It can’t be helped. Walking into the July 20 midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, my hopes were high. I assumed that this grand finale would be not only a step above all predecessors, but also well worth the particular discomfort of cramming into a packed theater at midnight. Neither of these assumptions panned out.

July 19, 2012 12:00 AM

I would like to see Bill Nighy be a nice guy in more movies. He’s so effective as a ragged, aging musician or as, say, a creepy ancient vampire that I forget what a wonderful actor he is in ordinary roles.

I would like to see Bill Nighy be a nice guy in more movies. He’s so effective as a ragged, aging musician (Love Actually) or as, say, a creepy ancient vampire (the Underworld series) that I forget what a wonderful actor he is in ordinary roles.

July 12, 2012 12:00 AM

Woody Allen is a great American filmmaker, though I’m not sure if I should place that somewhat queasy statement in quotation marks or simply note that, as an assertion, it drags the luggage of several qualifiers.

Woody Allen is a great American filmmaker, though I’m not sure if I should place that somewhat queasy statement in quotation marks or simply note that, as an assertion, it drags the luggage of several qualifiers.