After the Storm
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars. Initially, After the Storm has an interesting case of arrested development on its hands. Shinoda Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a once-bestselling novelist slumming it as a private detective, trying not to gamble away the alimony he owes. Too soon, though, the film gives up on his seedy universe and coops him up in an apartment with his ex-wife, mother and son. Hirokazu Koreeda's script does offer some pearls of wisdom about families teasing and spurning each other. Ultimately, it hangs too much solely on the deadbeat Ryota. Like so many sad-bastard movies, it assumes he has a level of depth we never see. NR. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Living Room Theaters.
Alive and Kicking
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars. Thanks to the internet and viral YouTube sensations, the world has been inundated with absurd dance crazes that come and go in the blink of an eye. While most fade away, others remain timeless. Alive and Kicking explores the rise, fall, '90s revival and current world of swing dancing. Living dance legends like Frankie Manning share the screen with enthusiastic newcomers. This feel-good documentary tips its hat to swing dancing's heyday and showcases modern dancers around the world who are still deeply passionate about everything from the Lindy hop to the Carolina shag. NR. CURTIS COOK. Kiggins Theatre.
BearCity 1 and 2 Double Feature
Part of the Hollywood's Queer Commons series, Doug Langway's pair of comedy-dramas follows a young actor (Joe Conti) who moves to New York City and finds himself attracted to big, hairy gay men. NR. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Thursday, April 6.
Critic's Rating: 3/4 stars. When Anna discovers a French soldier visiting the grave of her fiance, a German soldier killed in the Great War, she politely inquires why the enemy is standing in her territory. She learns the Frenchman was a friend of her fiance's in Paris years earlier, and they soon form a bond. Celebrated director François Ozon (Swimming Pool) spent extra time working on Frantz, perhaps inspired by legendary director Ernst Lubitsch, who worked primarily in black-and-white. Either way, the film is almost velvety in its textured monochrome, and the plot turns like a weathervane in the wind; it's Ozon in top form. NR. ZACH MIDDLETON. Living Room Theaters.
Ghost in the Shell
Critic's Rating: 2/4 stars. Ghost in the Shell is a whodunit in a world without "who." In the future, the Major wakes up on a lab table, terrified. Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) informs her that her "ghost"—the future's term for the soul or spirit—was the only survivor of a major terrorist attack, and has been implanted in Scarlett Johansson's robotic body. A year later, the Major is part of anti-terrorist force Section 9, tasked with hunting down mysterious cybercriminal Kuze (Michael Pitt), inexplicably hellbent on killing everyone involved with Hanka Robotics, the massive corporation that brought the Major back to life. Along for the ride is an excellent supporting cast, harassed operator Batou (Pilou Asbæk) and Yoda-esque Chief Aramaki (Takeshi Kitano), who would steal their scenes but for ScarJo's subdued misery, a mix of survivor's guilt and intense confusion. Though this film suffers from a pronounced case of Zack Snyder's disease—the action is a blurry mess of jump cuts and extraordinarily annoying slo-mo flips—director Rupert Sanders has created one of the most overwhelming visual worlds in recent memory. Seemingly without repetition, the unnamed megalopolis of Ghost in the Shell overflows with building-sized hologram billboards, cybernetically augmented yakuza, dogs, and endless miles of tangled wires uploading consciousness directly into the internet. The shell of the film may be stock, PG-13 sci-fi action, but the ghost asks a question that becomes increasingly nagging with every new tech development: I have so much cool shit, but why can't I feel anything? PG-13. WALKER MACMURDO. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Fox Tower, Living Room Theaters, Lloyd, Oak Grove, St. Johns Pub and Theater, Tigard, Vancouver.
Going in Style
Zach Braff directs Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin in a movie about three old guys who rob a bank. Review to come next week. PG-13. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Division, Lloyd, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Vancouver.
Two screenings of cult documentarian Adam Curtis' massive 2016 indictment of pop culture. Curtis argues that, from the mid-1970s, a concerted effort has been made in elite American society to construct a media narrative that prioritizes fiction over truth. NR. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. April 8-9.
Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present
An exploration of the history of Portland dance, with director Eric Nordstrom in attendance. NR. NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Thursday, April 6.
Italian Film Festival of Portland
Without looking at the program, we assume the third installment of this showcase of 10 new films from contemporary Italian filmmakers includes such notable films as Its'a Me, Mario!, Too Many Mistresses, *Gesticulating Wildly* and You Call This a Fuckin' Canoli? 5th Aveune Cinema. Screenings begin 6 pm Friday, April 7. See italianfilmfests.org/portland for a full schedule.
Screening as part of the Portland Latin American Film Festival, this new feature from Rafa Lara (who will attend) follows an "average" Mexican woman who attempts to seduce her playboy boss. NR. Hollywood Theatre. 7 pm Wednesday, April 5.
Smurfs: The Lost Village
Critic's Rating: 1/4 stars. Dear moviegoers: Sony thinks you're dumb. How dumb? Dumb enough to buy a ticket to this animated debacle. Dumb enough not to care that the film's story—which involves the blueberry-colored critters of the title squaring off against a self-conscious, balding wizard (Rainn Wilson)—dishes up the same hollow lessons about acceptance and teamwork irritatingly parroted by seemingly every children's film in recent memory. Dumb enough not to care the movie is so unfunny it seems destined for Adam Sandler's Netflix queue. Dumb enough not to be depressed by the fact that Ellie Kemper, Michelle Rodriguez, Julia Roberts and Mandy Patinkin all wanted some extra money so badly they lent their voices to this catastrophe. Dumb enough to take your kids to see the film, even though there's a visually and emotionally sumptuous kid-friendly movie in theaters right now called Beauty and the Beast. But remember this, moviegoers: You deserve better than the Smurfs. So save your money and prove Sony wrong. PG. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Division, Lloyd, Pioneer Place, Tigard, Vancouver.