The Peanut Butter Falcon
Charles Dickens would famously say, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." It's a poignant phrase, and it's one that applies to the two heroes in this Mark Twain-like journey. A crook with a good heart, Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) is a fisherman who's been cast out of his family. While on the run from tobacco-chewing rednecks in the swamps of North Carolina, he comes across a kid named Zak (Zack Gottsagen) with Down syndrome, who also happens to be fleeing his caregiver, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson). Like all buddy movies, they find the best in each other. It's clear directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz have made themselves right at home in the adventure genre. Working with cinematographer Nigel Bluck, they've crafted a voyage that ebbs and flows like the winds pushing Tyler and Zak on their raft—a shot of the duo floating on the water could've been inspired by Life of Pi. But what separates this movie from the rest in its category are the buoyant performances. LaBeouf and Gottsagen have a natural chemistry, which helps us care about their travels toward freedom. Dickens would be proud. PG-13. ASHER LUBERTO. Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Bridgeport, Fox Tower, Studio One.
David Crosby: Remember My Name
One would be hard-pressed to find a '60s cultural icon better suited for an autobiographical documentary than David Crosby. The outspoken folk-rock icon pulls no punches, and David Crosby: Remember My Name does a fantastic job presenting the often cantankerous and self-destructive Crosby's story. First-time filmmaker A.J. Eaton possesses a deft touch, ably mixing the exceptional highs and terrible lows of a life filled with them, and the film heavily benefits from Cameron Crowe leading interviews behind the scenes. Crosby's forceful personality and prodigious appetite for narcotics have resulted in an alarming number of former bandmates harboring a vehement dislike for the singer, who seems at the end of the film to be wishing for reconciliation of some sort when he says, "I think you should be able to say goodbye and tell them what they meant to you." The film offers a glimpse into the private hell Crosby spiraled downward into—and remained in for the better part of two decades—after the tragic death of his girlfriend Christine Hinton in 1969 in a car accident. It's clear that 50 years of pain from that loss still wears deeply on Crosby, who nearly tears up at the mention of the tragedy. Even without this film, Crosby's the kind of figure who would have always been remembered, but director Eaton has delivered a fascinating document worthy of such a remarkable life. R. DONOVAN FARLEY. Cinema 21.
Angel Has Fallen
Screenwriters Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt's Fallen series always happily lives up to expectations with no concern for surpassing them. In other words, they manufacture Gerard Butler flicks out of unimaginative one-liners and halfhearted gunfights that come stock from the action genre factory. The latest product, Angel Has Fallen, attempts to refresh the president-in-danger subgenre with an equally tired framed-for-assassination premise, and it works about as well as Butler eking out resentment for his estranged father or feigning a pill addiction. These movies are emotionally hollow, which would be less harrowing if it weren't for their constant, weak grasps at the heartstrings. It's the first Fallen to take place during our current state of political unrest; enter weak allusions to Russian election tampering and an uncanny, poorly CGI'd shot of President Morgan Freeman exchanging smiles with Vladimir Putin at an international summit. The movie flails around in the dark hoping to land a punch on anything half-sincere—it never does. But that weighty impact isn't what people are watching it for. Exploding buildings, graphic death scenes and even a pretty successful drone strike sequence make the movie visually intriguing. Angel Has Fallen is essentially the fireworks show you see at the local park on the 4th of July: it's good for a few "oohs" and "ahhs," maybe in the form of a chuckle, but when it's over, you never think about it again. R. JORDAN MONTERO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza, Scappoose.
Ready or Not
On the eve of her wedding, bride-to-be Grace (Samara Weaving) is welcomed into her new husband's wealthy family with a surprise tradition: Every time one of their own gets married, the betrothed must play a game. It seems innocent enough, until she draws the "Hide and Seek" card. Suddenly, the crossbows and guns come out, and Grace is sprinting through the extravagant mansion, hiding for her life. If that premise seems impeccably stupid, don't worry, it's supposed to be. Weaving's performance anchors the so-so script, careening from eyes wide in horror to deadpan frustration as she, her fiancé, Alex (Mark O'Brien), and his delightfully roguish brother Daniel (Adam Brody) spend time lamenting just how ridiculous the situation is. The film seems to be a product of this political era, when the younger generation is finding it difficult to connect with their older, Fox News-watching, MAGA hat-wearing relatives. While a meeker flick might suggest overcoming these barriers with compromise and communication, Ready or Not argues there is no respite for evil, and sometimes you just gotta cut 'em off. It's a radical, increasingly necessary message that's unfortunately embedded in a completely average (albeit, entertaining) horror-comedy. But, hey, at least Andie MacDowell wields a mean bow and arrow. R. MIA VICINO. Dine-In Progress Ridge 13, Mill Plain 8, Vancouver Mall 23, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Cornelius, Eastport, Hollywood, Laurelhurst, Mission, Oak Grove, Bridgeport, Cascade, Cinema 99, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Fox Tower, Lloyd, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza, Scappoose, St. Johns Pub and Theater, St. Johns Twin Cinema & Pub, Studio One.