Blood, Sand and Gold
When the top salvage company in the world loses a billion dollars' worth of 15th-century artifacts, chief archaeologist Mave Adams (Monica West) hires ex-criminal Jack Riordan (Aaron Costa Ganis) to track them down. This tiny, indie action flick was made for less than $250,000. Not screened for critics. NR. Clinton Street Theater.
3/4 stars: French director/co-writer Lucile Hadzihalilovic's horror film relies on creeping dread rather than shock value and over-the-top gore. Nicolas (Max Brebant) lives on remote island inhabited only by women and young boys. The boys eat green gruel, take mysterious black medicine, and live under the watchful command of their cold, dead-eyed mothers. After finding a corpse in the ocean, Nicolas begins to rebel against the women and question why all the boys are forcibly hospitalized at puberty. With the guidance of a sympathetic nurse named Stella (Roxane Duran), Nicolas unveils a nightmarish coming-of-age story and discovers the island's horrifying secrets. Rather than jumping from one high-stakes scene to another, Evolution is deliberate and meticulous in its pacing. The film offers very little dialogue between characters, conveying terror through an eerie aesthetic, with every scene carefully crafted to be unsettling. The sinister symbolism embedded in the imagery helps to clearly express the film's themes of puberty as well as the physical and emotional fears and traumas society requires boys to endure as they transition into manhood. NR. CURTIS COOK. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 8 pm Friday, March 10.
Kong: Skull Island
Though I've never personally understood cinema's enduring infatuation with the God-ape Kong, Skull Island's second modern reboot—after Peter Jackson's interminable 2005 effort—looks to be a pretty fun monster movie. Review to come next week. PG-13. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Lloyd, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, St. Johns Pub and Theater, Tigard, Vancouver.
My Life as a Zucchini
Critic's Rating: 3/4 stars: Don't buy a ticket to this stop-motion fable expecting a cheery romp about an anthropomorphic Italian squash. My Life as a Zucchini is an unsparing glimpse of the life of a brutalized boy nicknamed "Zucchini" (Gaspard Schlatter), who is put in foster care after a horrifying accident kills his drunken mother. At times, the film is tough to take—Zucchini's comrades are victims of abuses ranging from abandonment to rape. Yet, as Zucchini bonds with friends, My Life as a Zucchini blossoms into an intensely moving tale of recovery about kids who realize the secret to their survival lies in holding onto the frayed but beautiful friendships they share. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Fox Tower, Kiggins Theatre.
My Rock n Roll Fantasy
A celebration of the downtown Portland punk scene in the 1990s from local filmmakers. The event kicks off with a selection of animation from upcoming doc My Rock n Roll Fantasy, set at former punk venues the X-Ray Cafe, the Howling Frog and La Luna, followed by the premiere of zine-animation short Jen Likes Heroin, and rounded out by X-Ray Visions, a doc about legendary all-ages venue the X-Ray Cafe. Hollywood Theatre. 7 pm Thursday, March 9.
The Ottoman Lieutenant
A good old-fashioned epic historical love story set in Turkey during World War I. Who is the intended audience for these movies? Not screened for critics. R. Fox Tower, Bridgeport, Cinetopia, Clackamas.
PDX Animation All-Stars: Rose, Priestly, Margolis
Matt McCormick's new indie microcinema features new animated shorts by locals Joanna Priestly, Zak Margolis and Rose Bond, whose work has been screened as far and wide as the Museum of Modern Art, Sundance and the New York Film Festival. All three artists will attend a Q&A following the screening. Boathouse Microcinema, 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 8.
Portland Music Video Festival
While we can all agree the music video form peaked when Riki Rachtman dove through Axl's wedding cake in "November Rain," people still keep making them, and some are pretty good. Tonight's showcase gathers recent highlights from around the world—including a few from our own backyard—and puts them on the big screen. Hollywood Theatre, 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 8.
Critic's Rating, 1/4 Stars: Do you have a hankering to see a movie that thinks a boy bragging about the size of his penis is the funniest thing since Charlie Chaplin's mustache? If so, Table 19 will be your City Lights. Co-written by the Duplass brothers (Jeff, Who Lives at Home), the film focuses on Eloise (Anna Kendrick), a reluctant attendee of a wedding reception forced to sit with a bickering, diner-owning couple (Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow), a horny teen (Tony Revolori), a dope-smoking retired nanny (June Squibb) and Walter (Stephen Merchant), a well-dressed felon whose false insistence that he's "a successful businessman" is one of the film's many lame jokes. For a time, it's amusing to watch these mismatched bumblers attempt to endure each other, especially when Kendrick amps up her cranky charm. Yet the majority of the movie's gags—including the inevitable smashing of the wedding cake and a cute dog showing up in a bathtub—are staged so blandly that you're more likely to wince than laugh. That's why when Robinson's character declares that he and his wife are "ridiculous," it's less of a statement of fact than a scrap of wishful thinking from director Jeffrey Blitz, who seems convinced that his film is far funnier than it is. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Eastport, Fox Tower, Vancouver.
Rhythm Assemblies: Films by Reed O'Beirne
Seattle filmmaker Reed O'Beirne travels down to Portland to screen a selection of his films, including his look into the 1999 Battle of Seattle protests No Time for Shopping (2000), interpretation of the Persephone myth Last of Our Kind (2012), and cameraless, MRI scan-created Phantom Limbs (2015). NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 8 pm Thursday, March 9.
This weekend, the 5th Avenue Cinema presents a collection of early 16 mm skateboard film shorts from the collection of Pacific Northwest College of Art professor Stephen Slappe. 5th Avenue Cinema. March 10-12. Visit 5thavecinema.com/skate for a full schedule.