January 6th, 2012 | by AARON MESH Movies & Television |

Three Movies You Should See Before Portlandia

fullmetalSir, a jelly doughnut, sir! - PHOTO Warner Bros. Entertainmen
No, Portlandia is not actually a movie, and yes, we actually liked it fine, thanks. (We especially like how Carrie Brownstein got every single East Coast media outlet to run practically the same profile, even though they must have known they would be repeating a narrative she meticulously established and controlled, down to repeating exact quotes about her platonic life partnership with Fred Armisen. No one has deviated. Grrrl power!) If you want to see what success looks like on a big screen tonight, check out the Mission Theater at 7 and 10 pm, or the Hollywood Theatre at 10 pm.

But there are things we like more, things that have not been shoved down your throat by Terri Gross and The New Yorker, things you might not know are showing on the big screen this weekend. So we present three of those things.

1. Treasures From the UCLA Film & Television Archive

The NW Film Center's annual raid of UCLA's celluloid drawers becomes even more crucial as the loss of film accelerates. Here is one of the few occasions to see 35 mm films you haven't seen before. The most celebrated reel here is Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (7 pm Friday and 2 pm Sunday, Jan. 6 & 8), and the most promising is the Dick Powell noir Cry Danger (7 pm Saturday, Jan. 7). The one I actually watched is The Goose Woman (4:30 pm Sunday, Jan. 8), a 1925 melodrama starring a beautifully pathetic Louise Dresser as a boozing goose farmer who moves inexorably toward betraying her snobby son (Jack Pickford) to the gallows. The picture is mostly a curiosity: It was based on the celebrated Hall-Mills murder case, which hinged on the testimony of a witness called (really) "the pig woman," and the film was released before the New Jersey trial even started. But Dresser's performance is a triumph of authentic artifice, like a Platonic form of Motherhood at its most shamelessly sentimental. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.

2. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in 35 mm

Even if you don’t notice any difference in what image you see, the death of celluloid is going to impact the kind of movies you see. The open question is whether digital projection will offer more options, or give venue operators an endless supply of familiar titles with a handful of venerated reels. The first weekend of 2012 is a strong indication: Cort and Fatboy are showing E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial in 35 mm for the first time since...August, while the Laurelhurst Theater uses its new digital system to display Raising Arizona for the first time since...Cort and Fatboy screened it in 2009. The warning sirens of a feedback loop are ringing, and I’d be even more tempted to complain if not for the consolation that E.T. is a discount alternative to Steven Spielberg’s bloated remake of E.T., which he has called War Horse. At least the original has analog puppets. Bagdad Theater, 11 pm Friday, Jan. 6.

3. Full Metal Jacket in 35 mm

Asked in 1987’s Full Metal Jacket why he’s in Vietnam, Matthew Modine explains, “I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture...and kill them.” Which is something akin to what Stanley Kubrick was doing in the 1980s: voyaging into different genres and subduing them to match his increasingly formal aesthetic. He already made his transcendent antiwar picture 30 years prior with Paths of Glory; by Full Metal Jacket, he’s mostly pro-himself. So he depends on hard angles, forward tracking shots (he follows a screaming drill sergeant at the same constant pace he used in The Shining for a boy on a tricycle) and—most famously—the maniacal grin of a madman, forehead tilted down to increase the chilling effect. When Lee Ermey sees that smile on Vincent D’Onofrio, he wants to know what his major malfunction is. We already know. He’s got a case of the Kubricks. R. 5th Avenue Cinema. 7 and 9 pm Friday-Saturday, Jan. 6-7. 3 pm, Sunday, Jan. 8.
 
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