Hotel Transylvania 2
Adam Sandler's hotel is a flourishing tourist destination for humankind in this follow-up to the 2012 non-sucky kid flick. But when his half-human grandson is waxing a little too normcore, Drac decides the kid needs monster training. Kevin James and Andy Samberg join in providing voices for Sandler's brood, but director Genndy Tartakovsky thankfully threw Selena Gomez into the mix so this isn't just I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry with animated vampires. PG. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy.
From the movie poster, you'd think this was the Monica Lewinsky scandal starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. But fiercer director Nancy Meyers (Father of the Bride, The Parent Trap) flips the premise: De Niro plays a retired, widowed businessman who interns for a fashion website run by Hathaway's version of the Devil wearing Prada. Screened after deadline. See wweek.com for Lauren Terry's review. PG-13. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Living Room Theaters, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy.
Jane B. par Agnès V.
B Agnes Varda's surreallist arthouse flick masquerading as a documentary is an intimate, fantastical portrait of French actress Jane Birkin, complete with a few quick cuts and moments that play with the audience's sense of what's real. The film is filled with still-life tableaus right out of Western art that are a stark contrast with the subject matter: a woman in her 30s reminiscing about her birthday—"shit, so this is 30. This is not a pretty sight"—her abusive ex-husband Gaston, and the ephemera she's collected, like a taxidermied sewer rat. Varda oscillates between Birkin's phantasmagoria and stark cinema verite shots. A particularly captivating scene, shot in black-and-white, verges on voyeurism as it watches Birkin lounge in a bakery with a Charlie Chaplin look-alike. The "point" of the film isn't to derive some sort of grand, larger meaning but to enjoy the romantic ideation of it all. NR. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Friday-Saturday, Sept. 25-26, and Monday, Sept. 28.
A- One-of-a-kind L.A. weirdo Korla Pandit found minor fame in the '40s and '50s as the mute star of a daily television show with a strange but simple premise. Pandit, donning a bejeweled turban, would conjure exotic sounds with his Hammond organ while training his hypnotic gaze on the folks at home. That's just the way television worked before Friends was invented. In the decades that followed, Pandit drifted to the show-business fringes with a small following in tow, and he did so while guarding a secret: Pandit was not—as he'd claimed throughout his career—a Hindu from New Delhi. He was a Missouri-born black man named John Redd. Director John Turner's low-budget documentary about Pandit's life and work is a bit rough around the edges, but the film skillfully dissects the man's double life in a way that validates Pandit's struggle and the odd beauty of his whole show. It is the film Korla Pandit deserves. NR. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Kung Fu Master
B- The second Varda film in the Northwest Film Center's (Re)Discoveries series is Kung Fu Master, remastered from the original 1987, 35 mm negative. The film opens with what can only be described as a live-action video game sequence, complete with the kind of music that played in classic 8-bit arcade games. But that's the only fun part of this film. Kung Fu Mastertakes audiences through a taboo relationship between a mother-of-two housewife (Jane Birkin) and a 15-year-old kid who goes to school with her eldest daughter. Well-framed shots and understated acting make the uncomfortable subject matter easier to handle. The AIDS panic of the 1980s shows up in pamphlets and schoolyard jokes, but that fear factor doesn't gain much traction as a plot point—and that's intentional. This is a personal film, not a political exposé. The meat of the story comes from watching the mother's relationship affect her family. Spoiler alert: It affects them poorly. NR. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Friday-Saturday, Sept. 25-26, and Monday, Sept. 28.
Meet the Patels
B- Ravi Patel has American dreams of finding his soulmate in a moment of serendipity, but he also has Indian parents who want to find him an appropriate Indian bride. In this romantic-comedy-documentary, Ravi shows his foray into the world of arranged dating, and we get a look into the Indian-American experience. Through home videos and animated depictions, this real-life dating show brings us around the world on Ravi's arranged dates with prospective matches, bringing up the challenge all first generations face when resolving the pressure the preserve their family's culture. He adds shots of Dirty Dancing and Jerry Maguire to highlight how being raised stateside clashes with the logic of his parents' arranged marriage. His sister, co-director and camerawoman, Geeta, has a shaky hand, but her unsuppressed giggles during pre- and post-date debriefs keeps the story grounded and sincere. Yet after learning how names, castes and hometowns align in a perfect pair, Ravi's journey for an American happy ending is eclipsed by the fascinating intricacies of Indian matchmaking. PG. Fox Tower.
Station to Station
B- In 2013, visual artist Doug Aitkin led a cross-country train tour in which artists of all stripes (Beck, Jackson Browne, Cat Power) gathered in 10 cities for artistic events and concerts called "happenings." Aitkin filmed the entire intracontinental ballistic art missile and released it as a montage of 62 one-minute videos in Station to Station. Like Jerry Garcia's 1970 tour-de-Canada (The Festival Express) before it, Aitkin's film makes being on the train and at the events seem infinitely better than just watching a documentary about it. The artistic acts are incredibly diverse—punk guitar screeching, rhythmic whip cracking, Gregorian Rasta chanting—but the self-serious tone of the film ruins the fun. It's only accidentally comedic, like when artist and writer Gary Indiana sits in a sparse and hauntingly lit room raging against the evils of normies while enjoying a massive iced coffee. Depending on your tolerance for good things, Station to Station may be a bit much. NR. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Thursday, Sept. 24.
In 1969, bricks and anti-gay slurs flew outside a Greenwich Village gay bar, igniting what might still be the most influential riots in LGBT history. Already igniting debate on online forums, Roland Emmerich's Hollywood version of the Stonewall riots is taking flak for being "whitewashed" and stars Jeremy Irvine as the lead rebel Danny Winters and Jonny Beauchamp as the street queen who might've started it all. Screened after deadline. See wweek.com for Alex Falcone's review. R. Bridgeport, Living Room Theaters.
Time Out of Mind
A- I was ready to dismiss this portrait of homelessness as Oscar-baiting trash, but Oren Moverman's understated film about a father's struggle with mental illness avoids your typical narrative trickery. No revelatory ups or downs, just a fragmented Richard Gere searching for the words. Gere's George waits in one of many offices, unable to obtain welfare benefits due to personal weakness and systemic bureaucracy alike. His lone pal, played by the captivating Ben Vereen, rattles on about love and family, but rather than offering his own insight, George can only stare into the distance. The hidden camera never cuts away from George, always leering, allowing him not a moment's privacy, and you're forced to fill the void in his eyes with some level of empathy. This demands a lot from the viewer, and while the appeal may not prove universal, I'll be damned if you don't feel a thing or two. NR. Living Room Theaters.