Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars. Dessert enthusiasts, be warned—Apple Pie is not sweet, it's not particularly comforting or familiar, and it certainly isn't like anything your mom used to make. Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Sam Hamilton, this fascinating and vexing piece of experimental cinema is made up of a series of bizarre and beautiful images that are sometimes accompanied by narration that fills the film with scientific musings. Much of this is magnificent to behold—Hamilton's visual imagination is impressive, not least of all in a striking black-and-white scene in which two men face each other in a shadowy void. Unfortunately, the majority of the film is confusing and dull. In a film ostensibly about the relationship between humans and "celestial bodies," it's difficult to tell what Hamilton is getting at. It doesn't help that his "narrative" is devoid of character development, and relies on some tiringly redundant imagery. That's not to say there isn't an audience for Apple Pie—its strangeness will probably be catnip to adventurous viewers. If, however, your idea of adventurous is a Terrence Malick movie starring a guy who played Batman, you're in for a shock. NR. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 2 pm Saturday, April 1.
The Boss Baby
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars. What do you do if you're new brother is a baby who carries a briefcase and speaks in the deliciously smug and honeyed voice of Alec Baldwin? If you're 7-year-old Tim (Miles Christopher Bakshi), you team up with said baby to stop a sinister corporation from selling a new breed of eternally youthful puppies. That's the plot of this animated children's farce, which is based on a book by Marla Frazee and exists in a world where hyper-intelligent babies like Tim's brother undertake missions for a secret society dubbed "Baby Corp." Sadly, this breathtakingly ludicrous premise is undermined by the film's insultingly obvious lessons about the virtues of teamwork—like many makers of movies for kids, director Tom McGrath (Madagascar) talks down to his audience. Yet he also unleashes plenty of delightful slapstick madness, including an uproarious chase in which the baby takes the wheel of a toy car with a ferocity that could make Jason Bourne quiver, as well as a battle with an evil baby sitter who has Arnold Schwarzenegger's muscles and Mary Poppins' umbrella. It's all good, wacky fun, which is why The Boss Baby is likely to charm kids on spring break without causing a parental stampede to the exits. PG. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Lloyd, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Vancouver.
The Freedom to Marry
A presentation of Eddie Rosenstein's 2016 documentary about the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. NR. Kiggins Theatre. April 1-2.
Ghost in the Shell
A lot of people are pissed that they cast a white actor (Scarlett Johansson) to play the cyborg cop Major instead of an Asian one, but the trailer looks cool, so I don't know how to feel. Review to come next week. PG-13. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Fox Tower, Lloyd, Oak Grove, Tigard, Vancouver.
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars.It's safe to say, without giving away anything the trailer doesn't give away already, that a much more appropriate title for this movie would be Death. The story of seven astronauts on the International Space Station studying a newly found sample of life on Mars, Life begins much like The Martian, with a balance of scientific jargon and out-of-place, unsuccessful humor. But then, it flips jarringly to a full-on monster movie once the itty-bitty jelly life form grows enough to (ding! ding! ding!) deliver every character to his or her violent, long, gruesome, painful death. Like most Ryan Reynolds movies, this tries and fails to be campy and fun, its one try at poignancy shattered by Jake Gyllenhaal's totally emotionless, obtuse observation that "watching people die is hard." Bearing, as it grows, a more and more suspicious resemblance to Stranger Things' Demogorgon, the lazy choice of villain and the throwaway story it occupies serve as reminders that big-budget movies, even given every opportunity to be great, often aren't very good at all. R. ISABEL ZACHARIAS. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Lloyd, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Vancouver.
A woman, neglected by her husband, goes on a road trip with her best friend. Years later, after a falling out, they try to rebuild their relationship. Not screened for critics. NR. Clinton Street Theater.
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars.At once awful and awfully amusing, this ramshackle franchise reboot fuses bad acting, worse writing and enough spunk to make the whole thing seem charming in its monumental stupidity. Set in the sleepy burg known as Angel Grove, the film follows five teenagers (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Linn, Becky G., and RJ Cyler, in one of the film's only compelling performances) who use their vaguely defined superpowers to battle the tyrannical Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Rita seeks a magical crystal hidden beneath the local Krispy Kreme, and if that kind of brashly dumb product placement gives you no pleasure, you should skip Power Rangers. Connoisseurs of cinematic ludicrousness, however, may want to show up for the movie's irritatingly shaky cinematography, incoherent editing and unintentionally hilarious attempt to seem relevant by including a patronizingly dumbed-down subplot about cyberbullying. Plus, the film is directed so clumsily by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac) it almost plays like a sophisticated caricature of Batman v Superman. What's not to love? PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Lloyd, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Vancouver.
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars."Traitors, they refused initiation," says Alexia (Ella Rumpf), explaining to her younger sister Justine (Garance Marillier) why the faces of some upperclassmen are cut out of a photo at the veterinary school they attend. Soon, Alexia will coerce her vegetarian, wunderkind sister to eat a raw rabbit kidney in a hazing ritual. One of many the sheltered teenager will undergo in French director Julia Ducournau's debut, Raw, which made waves when attendees at the Toronto Film Festival passed out during the film's screening. Ostensibly about a young woman who develops an insatiable taste for human flesh, Raw is more a coming-of-age than a vicious European horror film. Ducournau uses gore to drive home a story about the hellish world of millennial collegiate competition, blooming sexuality and sororal bonding, captured in swirling, beautifully lit shots of paint-covered, booze-soaked parties and nightmarish imagery of restrained animals. As Justine, Marillier seamlessly transitions from cloistered nerd to hypersexed party wastrel, playing her discovery that she's a beautiful young woman who's too smart for her own good with the squirmy, frantic energy of a real-life teenager. A lot of horror films are about fear of death. Raw is about fear of life. R. WALKER MACMURDO. Cinema 21.
Salt and Fire
Auteur/weirdo Werner Herzog is back after his ambitious 2016 internet documentary, Lo and Behold, with a new international eco-thriller starring Gael García Bernal, Veronica Ferres and rival weirdo Michael Shannon. The 'Couv's Kiggins Theatre is getting a one-of-a-kind early screening. NR. Kiggins Theatre. 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 29.
To cap WW's Erotica Awareness Month (see our final feature on page 39), we teamed up with the Clinton Street Theater and Portland film collector Ian Sundahl to screen an hourlong collection of rare, vintage shorts from the Golden Age of Porn on 35 mm: a once in a lifetime chance to see surprisingly artsy, weird glimpses from a forgotten time in cinema. Clinton Street Theater. 10 pm Friday, March 31. $6 advance, $8 day of show. 21+.
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars.Wilson, the story of a smug, friendless middle-aged man's quest for a place in the lives of his drug-addled ex-wife (Laura Dern) and the daughter he just found he had (Isabella Amara) is one of those movies that can't quite decide who it was made for. Daniel Clowes fans, having read the original graphic novel, will no doubt find Woody Harrelson's disheveled buffoonery an oddly charming complement to his role as this story's protagonist, who constantly finds himself saying the rudest thing possible with the best of intentions. But the rest of us, without the same contextual tools, will have trouble seeing the point of it all. In part because the graphic novel's initial intention was to parody the Sunday funnies, which it executed with an impeccable wit and subtlety that cannot, no matter the cartoonishly exaggerated characters and original block font titles, be translated perfectly to film. What Wilson does have going for it are bang-up performances from all its leads, and a script by Clowes that affords a few moments of perfectly lifelike disappointment, frustration, vulgarity and uncontrollable laughter at the absurd hopelessness of it all. R. ISABEL ZACHARIAS. Bridgeport, Cinema 21, City Center, Clackamas.
A new documentary following the GPS-collared wolf called "OR-7" and the expedition team that tracks him through Oregon and California. NR. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Thursday, March 30.
The Zookeeper's Wife
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars.Set in the Warsaw Zoo during Nazi rule, The Zookeeper's Wife is perfectly capable of evoking the emotions most Holocaust retellings do: dread, despair, helplessness, the moment of first resistance. From 1939 to 1945, the zoo's proprietors—Antonina and Jan Zabinski (Jessica Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh)—ferry Jews out of the Polish capital's infamous ghetto, using empty cages and feeding tunnels to avoid detection. While that's an intriguing based-on-a-true-story starting point, the filmmaking paints by the tragic numbers. Chastain delivers an effortful, tight-jawed homage to Meryl Streep's Polish accent in Sophie's Choice, but the Antonina character isn't developed, which is mind-boggling in a movie both based on her diary and suggesting a lionizing character study with its title. She cradles baby animals and suffers the indignity of sexual advances from Nazi zoologist Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl), but there's no nuance to any of the ample torment. Meanwhile, the script's keenest insight is into the particular misfortune of Warsaw, an occupied city trapped between two bloodthirsty European powers. Frankly, it's the kind of movie that if it were any good would have been released in November as quintessential awards bait. To be a middling Holocaust film in 2017 is to be almost unbearable. PG-13. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Bridgeport, Clackamas, Fox Tower.