The big deal in Portland film this week is the long-awaited local premiere of “Green Room.” Director Jeremy Saulnier and a cast that included none other than Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Patrick Stewart, himself, shot the film in the Portland area during the fall on 2014. Nearly a year after its world premiere at last May’s Cannes Film Festival, the intense thriller gets to thrill the folks who might have glimpsed Sir Patrick gamboling about town wearing a Timbers scarf 18 months ago.
The movie’s about a punk rock band who end up trapped in a seedy, remote club that caters to racist skinheads. It’s not for the weak of heart, but it’s a nasty, fun ride that should be extra enjoyable in the midst of an enthusiastic crowd. ArtsWatch’s Marc Mohan, who moderated a Q&A session with the director and cast following a private screening with crew, interviewed Saulnier. (Cinema 21)
Other April 22nd openings of note include the tantalizing notion of Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey as, respectively, “Elvis & Nixon,” in a film inspired by the famous real-life meeting between these oh-so-American idols. Eric D. Snider reviewed for ArtsWatch. (Living Room Theaters and other locations)
The Hollywood Theatre continues its 70mm programming this weekend with two films, the fifth and sixth to screen in the eye- and ear-popping format in the last year-plus. The 1992 visual essay “Baraka” and the 1985 sci-fi flick “Lifeforce” both deserve to be seen on the big screen for their own reasons, and it sounds like ArtsWatch’s Erik McClanahan won’t be your friend if you don’t buy a ticket to the former. (Hollywood Theatre)
“A Hologram for the King” is Tom Hanks’ lowest-profile starring role in several years, but it’s a fairly effective take on his flawed American Everyman character. Based on the Dave Eggers novel, it’s about a sales rep (Hanks) who travels to Saudi Arabia to make a presentation for the country’s monarch, which turns into an almost Kafkaesque series of delays and distractions. Marc Mohan reviews. (Regal Fox Tower and other locations)
In “Miles Ahead,” the immensely likeable Don Cheadle plays one of music’s prickliest personalities, Miles Davis. Cheadle also directs–his first feature–this non-traditional biopic that enlists a fictional Rolling Stone reporter (Ewan McGregor) as Miles’ drug buddy and partner in mischief over a late-1970s weekend. Marc Mohan reviews. (Cinema 21 and Hollywood Theatre)
“First Monday in May” takes us, as so many documentaries have recently, behind the scenes of the fashion world. The director of the engrossing “Page One: Inside the New York Times” manages to keep his overexposed subjects (Anna Wintour, most notably) interesting and even sympathetic as he captures the preparations for the 2015 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “China Through the Looking Glass.” (Living Room Theaters)
Danish director Joachim Trier’s first two films, “Reprise” and “Oslo, August 31” were well worthwhile, so it’s no surprise he’s enlisted some solid talent for his debut English-language feature. In “Louder Than Bombs,” Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg play a father and son struggling in various ways to get over the death of their wife and mother (Isabelle Huppert) a few years back. (Regal Fox Tower)
If you’re looking for movie stars this weekend, look no further than “Huntsman: Winter’s War,” a sequel or spinoff or something to “Snow White and the Huntsman” (Remember that one? Me neither). It’s got Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, and Jessica Chastain. It’s also got a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. (multiple locations)
“Green Room” isn’t the only locally-sourced cinema on tap this week. The Academy Theater will be screening the movie that put Hillsboro’s Laika on the animation map, the 2009 Neil Gaiman adaptation “Coraline.” On the revival front, the Laurelhurst Theater counters that family-friendly (but creepy) offering with the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger-meets-Philip K. Dick flick “Total Recall.”
Here’s the rest of the filmic calendar for the week of April 22-28:
“Lamb”: This heartwarming drama about a boy and his lamb was the first Ethiopian film to be accepted into the Cannes Film Festival. 4 pm, Clinton Street Theater. Plays on Saturday (7:30 pm) and Monday (4 pm) as well.
“Love Thy Nature”: Liam Neeson narrates this cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. Perfect Earth Day viewing. 7:30 pm, Clinton Street Theater.
“Tattooed Life”: In Seijun Suzuki’s 1965 film, two brothers on the run in 1930s Japan hide out as mine workers. Part of the series “Action, Anarchy, and Audacity: A Seijun Suzuki Retrospective.” 8 pm, Northwest Film Center. 35mm.
“Animation by Design”: This program of abstract animated shorts by local and regional filmmakers screens as part of Portland Design Week. Attendees will also have the opportunity to collaborate on an original work before and after the screening. 5 pm, Northwest Film Center.
“Punisher: War Zone”: Ray Stevenson stars as the Marvel Comics vigilante, and Dominic West as his nemesis Jigsaw, in this poorly received 2008 film that’s notable for being one of the few “superhero” films directed by a woman, Lexi Alexander. 4 pm & 10 pm, 5th Avenue Cinema. Plays on Saturday (4 pm & 10 pm) and Sunday (2 pm) as well. 35mm
“King Lear”: Ian Holm plays Shakespeare’s mad monarch in this acclaimed 1998 production presented as part of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. 2 pm, Clinton Street Theater.
“Call of Blood”: Another Suzuki film about a gangster and his brother, this colorful 1964 effort is about siblings pursuing those responsible for their father’s death years earlier. Part of the series “Action, Anarchy, and Audacity: A Seijun Suzuki Retrospective.” 7 pm, Northwest Film Center. 35mm
“Gate of Flesh”: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Seijun Suzuki movies have the BEST titles. This one, from 1964, is about a gang of prostitutes trying to survive in postwar Tokyo. A boldly stylized, harrowing look at life in defeated Japan. Part of the series “Action, Anarchy, and Audacity: A Seijun Suzuki Retrospective.” 9 pm, Northwest Film Center. 35mm
“Strange Victory”: Only two years after the end of World War II, this controversial 1947 documentary asks why America wasn’t more jubilant, and finds the answer in the same inequalities and injustices that continue to plague the nation today. Parts of the series “(Re)Discoveries: New Restorations, New Prints.” 5 pm, Northwest Film Center.
“Racing Extinction”: Another good choice for Earth Day week, this documentary from the director of “The Cove” follows environmental activists working to delay the dreaded but anticipated Sixth Extinction. Guest speakers before and after the screening from the organization Defenders of Wildlife. 7 pm, Clinton Street Theater.
“On the Waterfront”: Marlon Brando’s first Oscar-winning performance, as potential contender but eventual bum Terry Molloy, returns to the big screen. If you’ve never seen it, duh, buy a ticket. 2 pm & 7 pm, Century 16 and Clackamas Town Center. Plays on Wednesday (2 pm & 7 pm) as well.
Kiggins Theatre 80th Birthday Celebration: A street fair, live music, and a triple bill of 1936 films will commemorate the octogenarian status of Vancouver’s art house gem, with all proceeds going to the theater’s upcoming renovation. The Astaire-Rogers musical “Swing Time” screens at 2 pm, the Charlie Chaplin classic “Modern Times” at 4 pm, and the Claudette Colbert comedy “She Married Her Boss,” which opened the Kiggins, at 6 pm.
“A Super 8 Odyssey: Films of David Domingo”: The Spanish avant-garde filmmaker will be on hand to introduce a selection of his work, including one with the delightful title “A Movie that Portrays the Wonders of the World as Seen Through the Eyes of a Cat (Disney Attraction Highlights Nº 1).” 7:30 pm, Cinema Project at NXT Industries, 222 NW Davis St., Loft 301.
“North by Northwest”: Cary Grant versus a crop duster. Shootout on Mount Rushmore. You know the drill. But this screening also features a preview of the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming American Innovations concert, which includes portions of Bernard Herrmann’s score. So if you needed another reason to revisit one of Alfred Hitchcock’s top five films, that would be it. 7 pm, Hollywood Theatre. 35mm
The Movie Quiz: You think you know movies? Well, you probably do. But so will several other people in attendance at this cinematic trivia competition. Who will know the most? THAT is the question! 9:30 pm, Hollywood Theatre.
“Los Sures”: In 1984, filmmaker Diego Echeverria made this documentary about a Latino neighborhood in Williamsburg, New York. Nearly lost, the film has been rediscovered, restored, and used to inspire a range of responses on the ways the neighborhood has changed, including some short films being screened along with it here. 7 pm, Northwest Film Center.
“Dying to Know: Timothy Leary and Ram Dass”: These two psychedelic pioneers and academic colleagues had a remarkable decades-long friendship, and that bond is captured in this affectionate documentary that includes conversations they had shortly before Leary’s death. 7 pm, Clinton Street Theater.
“Stunt Rock”: Well, this 1978 Ozsploitation classic looks certifiably nuts. Just go read the plot summary on the Wikipedia page, and then watch the trailer. Insane, right? Director Brian Trenchard-Smith will be in attendance. 7:30 pm, Hollywood Theatre.
“Son of the White Mare”: This stunningly psychedelic animated 1981 Hungarian film is a fitting culmination to the Church of Film’s two-month Folk Supernatural series. It may be the trippiest movies ever made about horses. 8 pm, Clinton Street Theater.
“Sunset Blvd.”: Billy Wilder’s scabrous, impeccable 1950 satire of Hollywood decadence and decline screens as a benefit for ReFIT, a nonprofit organization that helps to remodel the living spaces of people with mobility issues. 7 pm, Hollywood Theatre.
“The Benefits of Gusbandry”: Local filmmaker Alicia J. Rose has set the Internet on fire (figuratively speaking) with her outrageous new web series. Tonight’s screening includes all five previously released episodes, plus the world premiere of the season finale. Cast and director in attendance for a pre-film pizza reception at 7 pm. Screening starts at 8 pm, Northwest Film Center.
“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists”: Have you ever wondered who all these folks who call themselves Anonymous really are? Many have. This documentary may prove some of the answers (but probably, for Anonymous’ sake, not all). 7 pm, Clinton Street Theater.
And don’t forget about: The acclaimed “10 Cloverfield Lane” moves over to the Hollywood, “East Side Sushi” and “Hello My Name Is Doris” are both still at the Living Room, the second weekend of “Sing-a-long Sound of Music” is at Cinema 21, and the wonderful French animation “April and the Extraordinary World” is still at the Regal Fox Tower.