Eugene Weekly : Movies : 5.14.09



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

Angels and Demons: It’s a big Ron Howard-directed, Tom Hanks-starring movie based on a book by the Da Vinci Code guy. Am I wrong in thinking you’re already going, or you probably don’t care? PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Archaeology Channel International Film & Video Festival: The annual festival features a broad lineup of films from around the world that exhibit “the wonderful diversity of human cultures past and present.” Films include Secrets of the Parthenon and The Mummy Who Came In From the Cold, among many others. May 19-23, Hult Center. See full schedule at See review this issue.

Directed by Steven Spielberg: The UO film series closes with Munich, preceded by a short talk from a UO grad student. 6 pm Thursday, May 14, 110 Willamette, UO. Free.

Heckler’s Night: Mock loudly and cheerfully as the Goat screens Red Sonya. 7 pm Wednesday, April 29, Wandering Goat. Free.

Is Anybody There?: Michael Caine turns in yet another fantastic performance as a retired magician still smarting from a mistake he made years ago. At an odd old folks’ home, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with ghost-obsessed Edward (Bill Milner). A slight film, but not without its minor charms. PG13. 95 min. Bijou. See review this issue.

Madea Goes to Jail: Tyler Perry directs and stars as Madea, who winds up in jail after a highway chase. There, she warms to a young lawyer’s fiancée. With Derek Luke and, whoa! Keisha Knight Pulliam? Cosby Show alert! PG13. 103 min. Movies 12.

Sin Nombre: The lives of several teens — a girl from Honduras; two boys from Mexico who belong to a gang brotherhood — cross atop a train heading to the U.S. Roger Ebert called this drama, directed by Student Academy Award winner Cary Fukunaga, “Riveting from start to finish.” R. 96 min. Bijou.

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. EIGHT ACADEMY AWARDS, INCLUDING DANNY BOYLE, BEST DIRECTOR, AND BEST PICTURE. David Minor Theater. (12/18/08)

Sprout Film Festival: Annual event presents “positive portrayals of people with developmental disabilities.” Films include Beautiful Son, about the experience of a family with a son with autism. 12:30 pm ($5) and 7 pm ($10) Thursday, May 14, Room 104 of Building 19, LCC. (A reception is at 5:30; tickets to reception and evening films $30.) 

Steven Feld: Visiting professor and filmmaker Steven Feld screens and discusses three films in the series “Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra (Ghana)”: Hallelujah! (7 pm Monday, May 18), Accra Train Station (7 pm Tuesday, May 19) and Por Por (7 pm Wednesday, May 20), and discusses “Schizophonia and Its Discontents: Revisiting Brian Eno and David Byrne’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” at 3:15 pm Friday, May 22. Screenings at McKenzie Hall; lecture at Proctor 41, Knight Library, UO. Free.

Video Slam: Monthly event invites video artists to submit short videos of up to 10 minutes for a competition that follows the format of the poetry slam. 7 pm Sunday, May 17, DIVA. Free.


Adventureland: Greg Mottola (Superbad) directs a slightly oddball ensemble (including Ryan Reynolds, Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig) in this story about a college grad whose job search lands him at the titular amusement park. R. 107 min. Movies 12. (4/9)

Coraline: Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) adapts Neil Gaiman’s creepy, fantastic story into a creepy, fantastic movie about a girl who finds, behind a door in the wall, a fantatic parallel world — complete with her Other Mother, who has buttons for eyes. PG. Movies 12.

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. ACADEMY AWARDS: BEST ART DIRECTION, MAKEUP, VISUAL EFFECTS. David Minor Theater. (12/31/08)

Earth: James Earl Jones narrates this Disney nature documentary, which focuses on three animal mothers (elephant, polar bear and humpback whale) and their offspring. So pretty, the trailer makes me well up (though that has a lot to do with the heartstring-tugging use of Sigur Rós, of course). G. 96 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Fast and Furious: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return to the hot-cars-and-hot-chicks franchise that spawned their careers. If the title looks familiar, well, there is a difference: The original film was The Fast and the Furious. Perhaps the lack of “the”s this time indicates it’s trimmed down and goes even faster? PG13. Cinemark.

Fighting: Channing Tatum plays a dude who becomes a superstar fighting on NYC’s “corrupt bare-knuckle circuit.” Those words are in quotes because they come directly from the description. (I’m just trying to be as straightforward and literal as the movie’s title.) PG13. Movies 12.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: Bit odd to use the Christmas Carol gimmick in the middle of spring, but anyway: At his brother’s wedding, perpetual bachelor Connor (Matthew McConaughey) finds himself visited by the ghost of his uncle (Michael Douglas), who sends the ghosts of the title to keep Connor from screwing up with his childhood love (Jennifer Garner). PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

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. Movies 12. (1/15)

He’s Just Not That Into You: Great cast, embarrassing premise; it’s based, loosely I assume, on the unfortunate book of the same title. However will these lovely young folks ever find troo lurv? PG13. Movies 12.

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. Movies 12.

Knowing: Nicolas Cage’s son finds, in a time capsule, a strange and cryptic list of numbers written by a girl 50 years ago — and it turns out to list the date of every major catastrophe to happen to the world since. Some dates haven’t happened yet. Alex Proyas (The Crow) directs; Rose Byrne costars. PG13. 122 min. Movies 12.

Monsters Vs. Aliens: When aliens attack, an unlikely gaggle of monsters — a blob (Seth Rogen), a giant woman (Reese Witherspoon), a genius cockroach (Hugh Laurie) and “The Missing Link” (Will Arnett) — have to save the world. In 3D. PG. 94 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (4/2)

Next Day Air: When a shipment of high-grade cocaine ends up in the hands of two small-time crooks, everything goes to hell. It’s not the plot I want to see this for, though; it’s Mos Def, who brightens up the trailers. With Donald Faison, Mike Epps and Debbie Allen. R. Cinemark.

Obsessed: Where to start with this women-against-women stalker-lady flick, in which Ali Larter gets a little too attached to Idris Elba, and Beyonce fights back? Actually, I think that’s enough said. PG13. VRC Stadium 15.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: It’s all there in the title. And probably in the preview. PG. Movies 12.

Seventeen Again: Would Zac Efron really grow up into Chandler Bing? Er, I mean Matthew Perry? That’s just one thing to consider in this comedy, in which washed-up former high-school hot stuff Mike O’Donnell (Perry) finds himself in his 17-year-old body again. With Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon and Michelle Trachtenberg. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.

Soloist, The: Joe Wright (Atonement) directs this based-on-a-true-story film about a homeless man (Jamie Foxx) and the writer (Robert Downey Jr.) who recognizes the musician’s gift. The plot is gift-wrapped Oscar bait, but things started to look less shiny when the film was delayed from last fall. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (5/7)

Star Trek: J.J. Abrams’ rebooting of the beloved franchise is currently enjoying a nearly perfect Rotten Tomatoes grade — 98 percent! That’s unheard of for a blockbuster! But even crotchety critics are loving the story of the maiden voyage of the Enterprise — and the rivalry-turned-friendship of young James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). With Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Eric Bana. PG13. 126 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.

State of Play: Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland) remakes the 2003 British TV series, moving it to the U.S., where a congressman’s research assistant is murdered, and an old friend (Russell Crowe) is on the story. With Helen Mirren as Crowe’s editor, Rachel McAdams as his partner and Ben Affleck as the maybe not-so-perfect congressman. PG13. 132 min. Movies 12. VRC Stadium 15. (4/23)

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. David Minor Theater. Movies 12. 

Watchmen: Zack Snyder (300)’s adaptation of what the commercials trumpet as the most acclaimed graphic novel, like, EVER, is pretty good ­ and pretty faithful to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ book, in which costumed heroes try to solve the murder of one of their own. Among other problems. But Snyder is too busy recreating select moments from the book to bring a vision of his own — beyond highlighting his fascination with violence. R. Movies 12. (3/12)

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. David Minor Theater.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: My efforts to will this movie into not sucking proved mostly fruitless. Sure, Jackman is fine, Schreiber makes a good Sabretooth (if one utterly unlike the one in earlier films), and for about 10 minutes, Ryan Reynolds is a fantastic Deadpool, but the poor effects, silly plot and shallow writing don’t give me much else to care about. PG13. 107 min. 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