Eugene Weekly : Movies : 1.29.09



Films open the Friday following date of EW publication unless otherwise noted. See archived movie reviews.

Opening or returning:

Cadillac Records: Adrien Brody and Beyonce Knowles (playing Etta James) star in this story of Chicago’s Chess Records in the ’50s and ’60s. With Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def and Gabrielle Union. “Rollicking and insightful,” said The New York Times. R. 109 min. Movies 12.

Directed by Steven Spielberg: Film series begins with E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (Jan. 29) and continues with Raiders of the Lost Ark (Feb. 5), both of which will be preceded by a brief talk from a UO grad student. All screenings at 6 pm, 180 PLC, UO. Free.

Fuel: Once director Josh Tickell gets (mostly) out of the way — his film’s first quarter is frustratingly self-centered and self-congratulatory — Fuel is an interesting introduction to the possibilities offered by biofuels. The pretty animations that begin each segment and the various talking heads almost balance out Tickell’s clunky attempts to relate the issue of biofuels to politics, and while the film often comes off like an overlong promo spot for biodiesel, the information offered is worth paying attention to. Not rated. 100 min. VRC Stadium 15.

Heckler’s Night: Mock along with the rest of the audience as the Goat screens Top Gun. Oooh, this’ll be a good one. 7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 4, Wandering Goat. Free.

I’ve Loved You So Long: Kristin Scott Thomas is outstanding as a woman who’s been away from her family for years for reasons best not spelled out here. This contemplative, gorgeous film from first-time director Philippe Claudel shouldn’t be missed. PG13. 117 min. Bijou. See review this issue.

New in Town: Renee Zellweger learns to love Minnesota ­ and Harry Connick Jr. — in a terrible-looking fish-out-of-water romantic comedy. PG13. 96 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

RocknRolla: The latest from Guy Ritchie is a complicated gangster yarn in which two crooks (Idris Elba and Gerard Butler) steal some money from a Russian property dealer and a London crime boss. I think. It’s a little convoluted, but it sounds like fun. With Thandie Newton and Mark Strong. R. 114 min. David Minor Theater.

Swedish Film Series: The series continues with Heartbreak Hotel, a 2006 film about an unexpected friendship that forms between two divorcees. 106 min. 7 pm Friday, Jan. 30, 177 Lawrence, UO.

Taken: If you don’t give back Liam Neeson’s daughter (Maggie Grace), he will hunt you down, and he will kill you. You got that? You sure? I hope this Luc Besson-produced action flick is as much fun as it looks, though it seems to take itself awfully seriously. PG13. 93 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Uninvited, The: Elizabeth Banks is the creepy new stepmom-to-be of the angel-faced Emily Browning (A Series of Unfortunate Events), who’s convinced Banks has something to do with her mother’s recent death. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Woody Allen’s latest involves a man (Javier Bardem), his crazy ex-wife (Penelope Cruz) and two young American women (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) with whom the couple becomes “amorously entangled.” Sweet and pretty, but a touch on the shallow side. PG13. 96 min. Oscar nomination: Penelope Cruz, Best Supporting Actress. David Minor Theater.



Australia: The latest from Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge!) concerns an uppercrust Englishwoman (Nicole Kidman) who inherits a farm in northern Australia before WWII. With the help of a cattle driver (Hugh Jackman), she protects it from a takeover, but bigger problems are on the way. PG13. 165 min. Oscar nomination: Costume Design. Movies 12. (12/4/08)

Beverly Hills Chihuahua: A Taco Bell commercial stretched out to feature length with a paper-thin plot about a rich girl (er, dog, voiced by Drew Barrymore) who needs to get home from scary Mexico? Ugh. PG. Movies 12.

Bride Wars: Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson play friends who really can’t be that great of friends, seeing as they get into a raging catfight over their mutual favorite wedding location. This preview is almost as embarrassing as the one for Confessions of a Shopaholic. What gives? PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The: David Fincher (Fight Club) takes a different direction with this story of a man (Brad Pitt) who is born at the age of 80 and ages backwards throughout his life. Based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and costarring Cate Blanchett. PG13. 159 min. Thirteen Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31/08)

Day the Earth Stood Still, The: Keanu Reeves stars as an alien whose arrival on earth seems like pretty bad news for humanity. Cool effects! Jennifer Connelly! High hopes! Lukewarm reception. PG13. 92 min. Movies 12.

Defiance: In this WWII flick from Edward Zwick (Glory), Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell play brothers who fight back against the Nazis, hiding out in the forest and protecting refugees. R. 137 min. Oscar nomination: Best Original Score. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (1/22)

Four Christmases: Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are a couple whose sneaky evasions of family holiday duties backfire when … oh, it’s complicated. But then they have to visit ALL their parents! What fate could be worse? PG13. A paltry 82 min. Movies 12.

Frost/Nixon: Ron Howard directs this look at the 1977 interview in which David Frost (Michael Sheen, still resembling Tony Blair after his role in The Queen) took on Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) in a televised battle of wits. “Involving, engrossing cinema,” said the L.A. Times. R. 122 min. Oscar nominations include Frank Langella, Best Actor; Ron Howard, Best Director; Best Picture. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.

Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood directs and stars as a bigoted veteran who finds himself in a reluctant friendship with a Hmong kid and his family. “A rueful comedy of enlightenment,” said The New Yorker. R. 116 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (1/15)

Hotel for Dogs: Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew) is one of two siblings who have to give up their dog when they’re taken into a foster home — but the resilient kids turn an empty building into a dog hotel for their dog and others. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Inkheart: Brendan Fraser continues his odd trend of appearing in kid-friendly fare with this story of a girl and her father and a family ability to read things out of books. A nasty fellow (played by Andy Serkis) gets out, of course. With Helen Mirren and Paul Bettany. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Last Chance Harvey: Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson star in the grown-up love story of a grumpy fella and a lonely woman, each with their own troubles, who come together in a London airport bar. PG13. 92 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (1/22)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: The critters that escaped from New York in 2005’s Madagascar return for the inevitable sequel — though it’s getting better reviews than sequels usually do. With the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen and David Schwimmer. PG. 89 min. Movies 12.

Marley and Me: Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are the owners of one very badly behaved dog in this adaptation of John Grogan’s bestselling book. Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada). PG. Movies 12. VRC Stadium 15. (12/31/08)

Milk: Gus Van Sant’s biopic about Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), the country’s first openly gay elected official, is earning glowing reviews; “Milk is a marvel,” says The New York Times, while The Village Voice says, “Milk is so immediate that it’s impossible to separate the movie’s moment from this one.” With Josh Brolin, James Franco and Diego Luna. R. 128 min. Eight Oscar nominations, including Best Actor, Sean Penn; Best Director, Gus van Sant; Best Picture. Bijou. Cinemark. (12/11/08)

My Bloody Valentine 3D: The lone survivor of a coal-mine accident keeps waking up from his coma to kill people; the guy who caused the accident returns, in an obvious moment of brilliance, to the small town where it all went wrong — on the same day the terrible things all happened! No way! R. 101 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Notorious: P. Diddy produced this biopic about the Notorious B.I.G., played by Jamal Woolard. “A rock-solid biopic,” said Variety. With Derek Luke and Angela Bassett. R. 100 min. Cinemark.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: It’s all there in the title. And probably in the preview. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Quantum of Solace: Daniel Craig returns in the first real Bond sequel; this picks up shortly after the end of Casino Royale, and Bond is still stinging from that movie’s close. Actually, if you’ve seen Casino recently, it’ll be a blessing (because you’ll remember what it has to do with this muddled tale) and a curse (because you’ll remember how much better it was). PG13. 106 min. Movies 12. (11/20/08)

Revolutionary Road: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (who won a Golden Globe for this role) reunite, years after Titanic, in this adaptation of Richard Yates’ novel about the demise of a marriage in 1950s suburbia. Sam Mendes directs, returning to the American ‘burbs years after American Beauty. “It is honorably and brutally unnerving,” said The New Yorker. R. 119 min. Oscar nomination: Michael Shannon, Best Supporting Actor. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Role Models: The latest from David Wain (Stella, The Ten) concerns two men (Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott) forced to do some unexpected growing up when they find they’ve got to take part in a mentoring program — or go to jail. Costarring McLovin (er, Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and the always fantastic Jane Lynch. R. 99 min. Movies 12. 

Slumdog Millionaire: The latest from Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) is a Mumbai-set fairy tale about life and the pursuit of love and happiness via Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (it’s not quite as simple as that maybe sounds). Slumdog is long on setting and its tangled plot is creative, but it’s short on emotional resonance, though its young actors are solid. R. 120 min. Ten Oscar nominations, including Best Director, Danny Boyle; Best Picture. Bijou. Cinemark. (12/18/08)

Tale of Despereaux, The: A tiny, heroic mouse with big ears undertakes a complicated journey in a medieval world. Based on the Newbery Medal-winning book by Kate DiCamillo, and starring the voices of Matthew Broderick, Robbie Coltrane and Dustin Hoffman. G. Movies 12.

Transporter 3: Jason Statham continues filling his pockets by playing Frank Martin, who, um, transports stuff. Excuse me: He transports a hot woman. Again. Also, it may be dangerous. And he may fall for her. Seriously, should I keep going? PG13. 100 min. Movies 12.

Twilight: That sound you hear is the screams of Twilight fans whose beloved novel (by Stephenie Meyer) is arriving in cinematic form. It’s the story of vampire Edward (Robert Pattison), his human beloved, Bella (Kristen Stewart), and their extremely-chaste-yet-beset-by-inhuman-trials romance. PG13. 122 min. Cinemark. (11/26/08)

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans: Whoa, weird. Michael Sheen’s second film to open in Eugene this weekend (the other being the slightly more hotly anticipated Frost/Nixon) is the third in the series about vampires and werewolves; Sheen is Lucian, a werewolf, who faces off with vampire Viktor (Bill Nighy) while romancing Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra, picking up the hotness where Kate Beckinsale left off). R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Wrestler, The: Darren Aronofsky continues making films that seem exactly the opposite of anything he’s done before (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) with this rough-and-tumble story of a pro wrestler (Mickey Rourke, in a Golden Globe-winning role) and his relationships with a stripper (Marisa Tomei) and his daughter. R. 105 min. Oscar nominations: Mickey Rourke, Best Actor; Marisa Tomei, Best Supporting Actress. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.


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