1000101011101010101. That’s the opening pixel of Conan the Barbarian as it will appear to future audiences. Good ol’-fashioned film is dying, fast, as cheaper, digital projectors now control almost every screen in town. If you want to see a roidy Arnold Schwarzenegger tussle with a pathetically low-tech animatronic vulture screened on celluloid in Portland, the 2012 Beer and Movie fest is probably your last chance.
Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on how much you enjoy seeing the future Governator grunt simple English phrases while wearing a fur codpiece. Aaron Mesh, WW’s esteemed movie editor, enjoys it very much, which is presumably why Conan is in BAM. As Mr. Mesh planned the event with film curator Jacques Boyreau and has a fiduciary interest in its success, he agreed to stand aside as other WW writers take their best shots at this year’s lineup.
Thankfully, the task proved fairly easy.
2001: A Space OdysseyA summary: Some monkeys figure out how to kill each other with the leftover parts of other monkeys, and then a computer kills some people, and then an astronaut kills a computer and becomes a space baby. Also there’s a rectangle. It hovers. And it’s made of LSD. So much for plot, people. In essence, 2001 is Kubrick’s sci-fi vision of the badly curdled romance between an autistic man and a gay computer—Lars and the Real Boy meets Battlestar Galactica—told in the reverent tones and incomprehensible language of a Catholic high Mass, complete with a glowing infant Jesus conceived from the corpse of a de-sexed old man. You can watch it if you want, and feel less than you ever did, and somehow be proud of yourself for that. Have fun. MATTHEW KORFHAGE. 6:30 pm Friday-Thursday, Feb. 3-9.
Conan the BarbarianIt’s tempting to argue that this turgid 1982 Schwarzenegger vehicle—penned, believe it or not, by the guy who wrote Apocalypse Now—deserves a post-9/11 reassessment. There’s a lot to read into the tale of an unbelievably muscular white guy who speaks mostly in grunts and travels through central Asia in pursuit of a murderous religious fanatic. But not even a forced Taliban metaphor can save the film from its own awful dullness. The art direction’s nifty, James Earl Jones is James Early Jonesy, and there’s a big-ass snake, and those are the only moments of interest amid two hours of flexing and glaring. Those aren’t lamentations of women you hear, Conan—they’re snoring. BEN WATERHOUSE. 9:40 pm Friday-Thursday, Feb. 3-9.
The UntouchablesThat The Untouchables is frequently mentioned in the same breath as Coppola and Scorsese is a travesty. Sure, the scene where De Niro’s Al Capone plays T-ball with a dude’s head is giddily unhinged, but this is otherwise a film devoid of originality. Celebrated hack director Brian De Palma—whose career-spanning confusion of “homage” with “rip-off” is represented here by an exceedingly goofy Battleship Potemkin shootout in a train station—is completely tone-deaf, drifting between the comic-booky do-goodery of Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness, Sean Connery sleepwalking through speakeasies, and mismatched action sequences. Never mind The Godfather. The 1991 Christian Slater-Richard Grieco opus Mobsters is The Untouchables’ closest relative. AP KRYZA. 4:45 pm Friday-Thursday, Feb. 3-9.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanWait, when did Kirk and McCoy start fucking? The man-love has always been between Kirk and Spock. But the doctor? Eww. Bones is (metaphorically, of course) up in Kirk’s ass throughout this movie, throwing a little bitch fit about everything Jim does. I guess there needed to be some drama, seeing as there ain’t much in the plot. Khan is all pissy—er, “wrathful”—hunting down Kirk with some weak excuse about Kirk killing his wife. Grow up, ladies, and stop fighting over a big, shiny phallus. It’s unbecoming, like Kirk’s O-face when he screams, “Khaaaaan!” Is that the face Kirk makes when he gets ear-fucked with that brain-control worm thing? Stick that in Kirstie Alley’s head instead and control her off the ship and back to Cheers. PATRICIA SAUTHOFF. 7:15 pm Friday-Thursday, Feb. 3-9.
Boogie NightsThere’s nothing wrong with Boogie Nights in and of itself. Except it’s the movie that tricked Hollywood into thinking Mark Wahlberg is a legitimate actor. If Paul Thomas Anderson hadn’t cast him to play Dirk Diggler, Marky Mark’s single memorable cinematic moment would’ve been fingering Reese Witherspoon on a roller coaster, and that would’ve spared us an entire decade-plus of his permanently furrowed brow ruining everything from The Fighter to the Planet of the Apes franchise. That makes PTA the Baby Hitler of film: Set a time machine to 1970 and I’ll smother him in his sleep. C’mon, you’d sacrifice There Will Be Blood to stop Entourage from existing, right? MATTHEW SINGER. 9:25 pm Friday-Thursday, Feb. 3-9.
Raiders of the Lost ArkKingdom of the Crystal Skull was supposed to have tarnished the legacy of a great franchise, but Indiana Jones was awful from the start. A startlingly dull bit of nostalgia for the bygone dreck that Steven Spielberg rubbed himself up against as a lad, Raiders of the Lost Ark has ossified into a totem worshipped by man-babies who can’t say goodbye to childhood; revered by dunderheads who mistake Harrison Ford’s smug mug’s war against charisma for something resembling magnetism; and overrated by pretty much the entire world. Watch it with adult eyeballs—you’ll see what I mean. CHRIS STAMM. 1:30 and 4 pm Friday-Sunday, Feb. 3-5. 4 pm Monday-Thursday, Feb. 6-9.
GO: Beer and Movie screens at the Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark St., bambeerandmovie.com.