B+ We first meet Clara (Barbara Colen) as a young woman in the 1980s, blasting Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" before attending a birthday party at her elderly aunt's oceanfront apartment in Recife, Brazil. We then see Clara (Sônia Braga) as a 65-year-old retired music critic, mother, widow and breast cancer survivor. She lives in the same apartment as her late aunt, and is the last tenant in the building who hasn't been bought out by a young, overzealous real estate developer. But against all odds and regardless of her age, Clara remains a passionate woman who's dedicated to maintaining her apartment and its intergenerational legacy. Aquarius is the second feature by Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighboring Sounds), and the Portuguese-language film's pacing matches that of its senior protagonist: slow, deliberate and confident. The film briefly touches on class and racial divides while offering casual insight into the social issues of modern Brazil, but the central focus is on the ordinary struggles of growing old while preserving a sense of family, community and history. Brief scenes of sex and nudity display Clara's youthful vigor and self-possession, but the scars from her cancer serve as a blatant—though normalized—reminder of the tolls that time and age take on the body. Ultimately, we're watching a woman who's literally lost parts of her physical self, but refuses to forsake her mind, her soul, or the possessions and places that evoke her memories. NR. CURTIS COOK. Cinema 21.
Presented by Portland's Cinema Project as the first part of its two-part Interaction of Formats series exploring the perception of color, Color Correction is a feature-length silent film from SoCal artist Margaret Honda made from the color-timing tapes (that shadow theatrical release prints) of an unknown Hollywood feature. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The David Dance
On the radio, "Danger Dave" is the witty host of a late-night gay talk show in Buffalo, N.Y. In real life, he is an introvert who has to confront his insecurities when his divorced sister wants him to be a father figure to her adopted Brazilian child. Not screened for critics. NR. Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Friday-Saturday, Dec. 9-10.
The world premiere of the new indie thriller from Seattle filmmaker Jeff Ferrell, Dead West follows a serial killer who hits the road in search of true love. Ferrell and cast members will attend a Q&A following the screening. NR. Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Jessica Chastain stars as badass D.C. lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane, who defends a new gun control bill against political opponents who threaten her career and the people she cares about. Not screened for critics. R. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Clackamas.
No Pay, Nudity
C+ Remember a few years ago when a fuss was made about the death of the midbudget drama, about how American audiences no longer wished to see quiet movies about quiet people doing quiet things? As soon as the Helvetica-style opening credits and plinky-plonk piano and strings score roll, you'll know exactly where No Pay, Nudity is headed. A sad man, Lester (Gabriel Byrne), and his quirky friends (Nathan Lane, Frances Conroy, Boyd Gaines), all aging, struggling actors, spend their spare time in a New York actors' lounge while scrounging for small-time parts. Over the course of several small victories and the corresponding defeats that slightly outweigh them, Lester learns to find joy in his miserable existence. No Pay, Nudity mostly functions as a pastiche of "prestige-y" things—respected character actors, stories about life's small successes and failures—intended to trigger the "this is a good movie" parts of the brain. But they don't. The movie doesn't say anything about living with your shortcomings that hasn't been said more interestingly before—think The Wrestler or Sideways. No Pay, Nudity is a good example of why studio executives don't want to throw money at pictures in which not much happens: If they aren't very good, they tend to be very dull. R. WALKER MACMURDO. Kiggins, Living Room Theaters.
Office Christmas Party
When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to shut down the branch of the company run by her goofball brother (T.J. Miller), he hatches a plan to land a major client with a gigantic office party that gets out of hand. Look for next week's review. R. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Lloyd, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Vancouver.
One More Time With Feeling
In 2015, cult Australian gothic folk musician Nick Cave lost his teenage son in a tragic hiking accident. This rockumentary follows Cave and his band the Bad Seeds through his grieving process and the recording of this year's Skeleton Tree album, which received rave reviews. Not screened for critics. NR. Hollywood.
B- A blonde and her pigtailed teenage daughter—both paper cutouts brought to life through stop-motion animation—are driving down an oceanside freeway while arguing about aliens in the White House. The teenager slams the door, jumps out of the car and begins to walk through California's Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. What follows is a biographical transgender coming-of-age story from Seattle filmmaker Clyde Petersen (Your Heart Breaks) based on the road trip he took in 1993 after being kidnapped by his schizophrenic mother. These themes sound daunting, but it's impossible to take anything too seriously in a film full of characters made from construction paper. There's almost no discernible dialogue in the film, and characters communicate primarily through garbled gibberish, with animated sequences emphasizing major points. In lieu of words, the story is told through the visualized daydreams and hallucinations of a young person coming to terms with his sexuality and his mother's mental health issues. These artistic choices make for an interesting feature, but the film is so focused on being stylistic that elements of character development and plot are left out. The film's disjointed nature fits the themes of puberty and schizophrenia, but cause more emotional moments and the film's big reveal to fall flat. Torrey Pines feels less like a cohesive story and more like reading journal entries from a teenager's sketchbook. NR. CURTIS COOK. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Monday, Dec. 12.
Trail Running Film Festival
A selection of films from Seattle's Trail Running Film Festival showcases the best of the best of films about running through the forest wearing fancy shoes. Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 13-14.
Red Umbrella Film Series
The Clinton Street Theater screens a collection of films about sex workers and sex industries from all over the world. Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Sunday, Dec. 11.
Strangle the life out of your holiday cheer with Alfred Hitchcock's first Technicolor film. Edited to appear to take place in real time as one continuous shot, this grim tale follows two upper-crust young men, Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger), who commit the "perfect murder" on a whim. Based on the real-life Leopold and Loeb case of 1924. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 5:30 pm Friday, Dec. 9.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
If you haven't seen one of the old Disney movies in a while, its easy to forget they are terrifying, hallucinatory morality plays that are in no way suitable for the soft minds of millennial children, especially when they are shown on a massive scale in terrifying 70 mm. Hollywood. 1:30 and 4 pm Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 10-11.
With an ensemble as legendary as its eponymous hero (Kirk Douglas), a young Stanley Kubrick's historical epic about the leader of the Roman slave uprising that started the Third Servile War is screening in 70 mm this weekend in all its monumental, obscenely lavish glory. Hollywood. 7 pm Friday-Saturday, Dec. 9-10.
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Widely considered by critics and fans of the series as one of the worst things ever committed to film, this deservedly forgotten TV movie cash-in has since been reborn into the top tier of ironic shitbag moviedom, alongside Troll 2 and The Room. Fun fact: This film introduced the Star Wars universe to Boba Fett. Kiggins. 6:30 pm Friday, Dec. 9.
Academy Theater: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1980), Dec. 9-15. Church of Film (North Star Ballroom): Dead Mountaineer's Hotel (1979), 8 pm Wednesday, Dec. 7. Empirical Theater: The Polar Express (2004), Dec. 9-11. Hollywood Theatre: The Wanderers (digital restoration; 1979) 7:30 pm Wednesday, Dec. 7; Martial Arts of Shaolin (1986), 7:30 pm Tuesday, Dec. 13. Kiggins Theatre: Home Alone (1990), 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 8. Laurelhurst: A Christmas Story (1983), Dec. 7-8. Mission Theater: Home Alone (1990), Dec. 9-10; Love Actually (2003), Dec. 9-13.