green room

ArtsWatch Weekly: popcorn time

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts. A glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

What does ArtsWatch watch? Pretty much, the culture in and around Portland: plays, dance, art, music, ideas that interest us and interest you. In other words, we’re local: What’s going on here and now that’s worth seeing and thinking about?

Still, local means a very different thing in 2016 than it did in 1816 or 1416, when travel was difficult and the idea of place was much more isolated. Today, ideas and influences arrive from everywhere. We’re hooked into a global culture whether we like it or not. Portland is an open city. It might have a bubble, but it doesn’t have a wall. Culturally, that means that much of what we think of as local – what we read and see and hear and even eat – is arriving from somewhere else, influencing the ways we live and think and sometimes, in turn, being influenced by what it encounters here. “Local” is an extremely fluid, and often arbitrary, concept.

A Japanese snow monkey in the widescreen visual poem "Baraka."

A Japanese snow monkey in the widescreen visual poem “Baraka.”

So this week, let’s go to the movies.

Actually, we go to quite a few of these vivid interlopers from the “outside” world, and we’ve been writing about them, insightfully and entertainingly, as a vital part of our local culture. Our expanded film coverage, under the expert eye of critic and editor Marc Mohan, includes reviews, interviews, and now, a weekly film newsletter, FilmWatch Weekly, in which Mohan spotlights a few fresh films (in his first letter, it was the made-in-Portland Green Room, starring the legendary Patrick Stewart) and keeps you up-to-date on all the movies we think you’ll find of interest: not the mainstream blockbusters, usually, but the genuinely interesting, challenging, and sometimes risky stuff.


FilmWatch Weekly: “Green Room,” “Hologram” and more

A typically busy cinematic calendar has Tom Hanks, Patrick Stewart, a Japanese snow monkey, and Don Cheadle.

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)

Patrick Stewart in "Green Room." © A24 Photo by Scott Patrick Green, courtesy of A24.

Patrick Stewart in “Green Room.” © A24 Photo by Scott Patrick Green, courtesy of A24.

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)


Director Jeremy Saulnier talks Portland-shot “Green Room”

The punks-versus-skinheads thriller stars Patrick Stewart and opens locally on Friday

It’s finally here. The movie that Portland has been anticipating for months and then more months, opens this Friday, April 22, at Cinema 21.

It’s been a long road for director Jeremy Saulnier’s “Green Room.” This white-knuckle, high-octane thriller about a punk rock band menaced by a band of Northwest neo-Nazi skinheads was filmed in the fall of 2014. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May, and has spent nearly a year making the rounds on the festival circuit.

Patrick Stewart in "Green Room." © A24 Photo by Scott Patrick Green, courtesy of A24.

Patrick Stewart in “Green Room.” © A24 Photo by Scott Patrick Green, courtesy of A24.

Even without the local pride angle, “Green Room” is a must-see for genre fans. In something of a casting coup, Patrick Stewart plays the leader of the bad guys. Another Starship Enterprise veteran, Anton Yelchin (who plays Chekhov in the recent “Star Trek” reboots), plays the lead singer of The Ain’t Rights, a ragtag quartet who take a gig they’ll soon regret at a remote rural club populated by a thoroughly Aryan clientele.