Critic's Rating: A We first glimpse Star (Sasha Lane), the charismatic protagonist of Andrea Arnold's (Fish Tank) coming-of-age drama, knee-deep in a dumpster, salvaging a shrink-wrapped chicken in the Texas heat. We follow her to Kmart, where she runs into a gnarly group of teens goofing off to Rihanna's "We Found Love." The rest of the shoppers are annoyed, but Star is transfixed, mostly by Jake (Shia LeBeouf) shimmying atop a checkout counter. After a disturbing confrontation with her stepfather, Star takes Jake up on his "business opportunity," joining the Mag Crew: a group of aimless, hard-partying youths who crisscross the Plains States selling magazine subscriptions. What follows is a nearly three-hour road epic, a tapestry of booze, cornfields and dysfunctional romance that depicts American young adulthood in 2016 with such perfect and uncanny verisimilitude it sometimes feels like a documentary. This may be due to Arnold's habit of casting non-actors; she assembled her Mag Crew out of characters she met on the road, and they interact with a kind of easy chemistry that lends poignancy to the long stretches in the van, when Star and her friends are drinking, smoking and singing along to Rae Sremmurd and Lady Antebellum. What emerges is an empathetic, often harrowing depiction of life in the poorest crevices of the American heartland, a sometimes sweet, sometimes sickening exploration of places Hollywood usually reserves for mockery and derision. GRACE CULHANE. American Honey is rated R and opens Oct. 7 at Fox Tower.
The Girl on the Train
Tate Taylor's adaption of Paula Hawkins' best-selling novel stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a divorced alcoholic who fantasizes about her neighbors' relationship on her daily commute. Things take a turn for the thriller when Watson witnesses an incident in her neighbors' house and the wife ends up missing. Not screened for critics. The Girl on the Train is rated R and opens Oct. 7 at Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Fox Tower, Living Room Theaters, Lloyd, St. Johns Pub and Theater, Tigard, Vancouver.
B Acclaimed Italian director Margherita (Margherita Buy) is in the midst of shooting an uninspired film while struggling through a midlife crisis, the pains of which are amplified when her mother (Giulia Lazzarini) falls ill and needs to be hospitalized. Margherita slowly succumbs to the mounting pressures of being a loving wife, caring mother, supportive daughter to an ailing parent, and firm director to a needy crew. As her personal and professional lives bleed into each other, she begins to question herself as an artist while suffering from ghastly nightmares and visions of her mother's death. John Turturro does his best to provide comic relief for the film through his portrayal of Barry Huggins, a bumbling Italian-American character actor. Turturro is a welcome presence on screen, and his scenes play well as individual moments. But as part of the bigger picture, the humor often feels forced amid the overpowering dramatic themes, and it's hard to find the strength to laugh at a character's slapstick dance routine after watching Margherita emotionally decay in her mother's hospital room. Writer-director Nanni Moretti packs as much humanity as he can into every scene, but at 108 minutes, piling so many crises into such a long and slow-paced film is a lot to ask of an audience. CURTIS COOK. Mia Madre is rated R and opens October 7 at Cinema 21.
Phantasm V: Ravager
C Will future generations of horror acolytes one day admire the flattened visuals and cut-rate CGI of our current crop of microbudgeted slash-'em-ups as somehow more authentic? Faithful fans ("phans") of Phantasm insist the visible wires and rubber masks utilized by the damnably influential 1979 drive-in staple lend an air of verisimilitude to the original production's macabre dream logic, but low-rent effects rendered digitally haven't quite the same romanticized connotations. This fifth and purportedly final installment of the franchise began life as a series of disconnected webisodes before franchise creator Don Coscarelli, director of Bubba Ho-Tep and other cult classics, devised an effective (if not especially innovative) framework to incorporate the disparate footage. Following a typically blood-soaked adventure across desert wasteland, former ice-cream salesman Reggie (Reggie Bannister) awakens in a rest home where doctors and former comrade-in-arms Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) claim he's been suffering from dementia, only imagining lost decades in battle against interdimensional undertaker the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm, who died shortly after filming) and his Sentinels—metallic spheres of whirling blades and cranial exsanguination. For all the OTT schlock spectacle and community-theater-quality performances, there's a tangible bond between the characters that gathers emotive momentum toward a surprisingly touching coda. Though technically directed by TV animation vet David Hartman, producer and co-writer Coscarelli remains the guiding presence, and the central elements of his enduring vision predominate—faintly sinister wonderment, a blithe distaste for narrative coherency, and balls of goddamn steel. R. JAY HORTON. Hollywood.
Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence)
The King of Monsters is back in the hands of Japan's Toho Co. Ltd., the studio that first brought Godzilla to life more than 50 years ago. The 31st film starring everyone's favorite kaiju reboots the series for the Pacific Rim generation. Not screened for critics. NR. Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Eastport, Fox Tower, Hollywood.
Andy Warhol: Part I (2006)
Part one of Ric Burns' epic, four-hour documentary about Pop artist Andy Warhol covers his meteoric rise to international fame, while kicking off the Portland Art Museum's new exhibit showcasing about 250 prints from the Schnitzer family's extensive collection of his work. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 2 pm Saturday and 4:30 pm Sunday, Oct. 8-9.
Terry Gilliam's goofy dystopian satire follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a daydreaming, low-level bureaucrat who gets caught up in a heroic plot against paperwork and a totalitarian government with a renegade air conditioner repairman (Robert De Niro). NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium.
7 pm Friday, Oct. 6.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
As sad as it is, Radio Raheem's fate in Spike Lee's magnum opus is as politically relevant today as it was almost 30 years ago. And don't step on people's new Jordans. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Of all of the goofy-assed zombie flicks shambling around this Halloween, very few secretly double as punk-rock canon like Return does. Academy Theater. Oct. 7-13.
The Craft (1996) and Scream (1996)
Wes Craven's post-ironic slasher flick Scream was both a send-up of and homage to horror, credited with bringing the genre out of the direct-to-video doldrums. Celebrate its 20th anniversary with Catholic teen witch thriller The Craft. Mission Theater. 5:30 pm Monday, Oct. 10.
H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulucon
There's something about Howard Phillips Lovecraft's hallucinatory concoction of science fiction, fantasy and horror that has made him an enduring influence across the entire spectrum of nerd culture even as we approach the 100th anniversary of his death. This year, Portland's annual celebration of his work turns 21, and the Hollywood Theatre is going to be jammed with more short films, readings, live radio plays, cosplay and other celebrations of the man's work than you can shake a writhing mass of tentacles at. If you can only attend one day, choose Saturday for a 30th anniversary screening of Stuart Gordon's weird cult horror film From Beyond (1986) for which Gordon will attend a Q&A. Hollywood Theatre. Oct. 7-9.
In her short film I Touched Her Legs (2010), Danish filmmaker and photographer Eva Marie Rødbro weaves together fleeting shots of children, teenagers and young adults in Brownwood, Texas, with shots of animals, insects and supermarket parking lots. Rødbro summons waves of nostalgia, capturing the tiny, forgotten moments that define youth—kids screwing around in a field, attempting backflips, driving around in trucks or just smoking cigarettes with friends. Rødbro will attend Cinema Project's screening of a collection of her short films. NR. NXT Industries. 7:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5.
5th Avenue Cinema: Trouble Every Day (2001) and Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary (2002), Oct. 7-9. Academy Theater: The Thing (1982), Oct. 5-6. Hollywood Theatre: Polyester (1981), 7:30 pm Monday, Oct. 10; Seven Brothers Meet Dracula (1974), 7:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 11. Mission Theater: Mean Girls (2004), 6 and 8:15 pm Wednesday, Oct. 5; The Craft (1996), 5:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 11. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium: Histoires D'Amérique (Food, Family, and Philosophy) (1989), 7 pm Friday, Oct. 7; Makibefo (2001), 4:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 8; Romeo + Juliet (1996), 7 pm Saturday, Oct. 8; Kiss Me, Kate (1953), 7 pm Sunday, Oct. 9; News From Home (1973), 7 pm Monday, Oct. 10.