"Give me the child until he is 7, and I will show you the man," says the Jesuit credo at the heart of Michael Apted's unmatched Up documentary series. Six decades after he first interviewed a crop of English 7-year-olds about love, work and the class system, Apted returns for his ninth check in on the accuracy of the old adage. With 63 Up, the quiet wonder of simply executing such a project reigns—the potentially mundane resonates profoundly when watching a human life arc or veer before your eyes. Twilight ruminations on Brexit, roads not taken and impending death dominate the conversations at age 63. "Your life is as it is, not as it could be," observes Symon with a reflectiveness that bests the rest of the Up field. While Apted's approach is a bit pro forma, dutifully circling the same five themes and affording equal time to less interesting subjects, the value at this point is cumulative. 63 Up might simultaneously inspire a viewer to study geopolitics as a journal on their own passing existence. In quite possibly the series' final installment—Apted would be 85 in another seven years—time is both the ever-elusive star and the shroud to pull back. NR. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Cinema 21.
Gretel & Hansel
Atmosphere is to horror what ingredients are to stew. Without it, audiences would have nothing to chew on, so it's a good thing Gretel & Hansel, the latest adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, is a feast for the eyes. As in the original story, Hansel (Samuel Leakey) and Gretel (Sophia Lillis) are kicked out of the house because Mom can't feed them. The two wander through the woods until they come across a cabin. Never mind the red smoke coming out of the chimney or that the inhabitant looks like a witch (Alice Krige); the kids are hungry, so they go in to eat. It's here that director Oz Perkins deviates from the classic tale. In his feminist vision, Gretel is a teenager struggling to become a woman. She's the heroine of the story, and her journey recalls Florence Pugh's in Midsommar (2019) and Jessica Harper's in Suspiria (2018). Perkins' setting seems to pay tribute to giallo director Dario Argento. With his zooming camera, psychedelic colors and synth-heavy soundtrack, he has created an atmosphere that is a marvel, even when the movie lags. PG-13. ASHER LUBERTO. 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 Parkway, Fox Tower, Lloyd, Sherwood, Tigard, Vancouver Plaza, Scappoose.