Cinema 21 Program Notes September - December 2008

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Program Notes September - December 2008


One Day Only: Sunday September 28

Searchers 2.0

Directed by Alex Cox (Repo Man)

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One Day Only: Sunday September 28

Spirit of the Marathon

Directed by Jon Dunham

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Three Days Only: September 28 - 30

Solving Immigration

Directed by Mike Shiley

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Held Over, Ends October 16

Flow: For The Love of Water

Directed by Irena Salina

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Held Over! October 10 - 16 + weekend daytime shows starting Oct 17

On The Wing

Directed by Dan Viens

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One Week: October 17 - 23

Trouble the Water

(2008, 93 Minutes)

They didn't expect it, really, nobody did, but when Katrina hit, Tia Lessin, an aspiring rap artist, and her husband, Carl Deal, grabbed a video camera to show what it took to survive in New Orleans against deadly floodwaters and government incompetence. With the additional help of cinematographers Kimberly Rivers Roberts and Neil Davidge, the result is amazing and moving. TROUBLE THE WATER is an "engrossing documentary," according to Ruth Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle, while David Denby of The New Yorker finds it to be "one of the most eloquent records we have of a tragedy that brought out some of the most impressively alive men and women in New Orleans." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times asserts of co-photographer Roberts's filmmaking that, "We feel her footage at the base of our spines." The film is "indelible, according to David Hiltbrand of the Philadelphia Inquirer, while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly discerns that TROUBLE THE WATER is "essential, unique viewing ... a stunning experience."

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One Week: Oct 24 - 30

Momma's Man

Premiere (2008, 94 min.)
Starring Matt Boren, Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs.   Directed by Azazel Jacobs
 Drama

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One Week: Oct 24 - 30

A Man Named Pearl

Premiere (2006, 78 min.)
Directed by Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson
 Documentary

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Held over through November 13

The Pool

Premiere (2007, 98 min.)
Directed by Chris Smith (American Movie)
  Language: In English and Hindi

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Ends November 6

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Premiere (2008, 109 min.)
Directed by Steven Sebring
 Documentary

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One Night Only: Thursday November 6

Smashing Pumpkins - If All Goes Wrong

Starring Smashing Pumpkins    Documentary

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One Week: November 7 - 13

Ashes of Time Redux

Premiere (2008, 93 min.)
Directed by Wong Kar Wai
  Language: Mandarin and Cantonese with subtitles in English

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Fri and Sat Nov 7 -8

Midnight Movie

Premiere (2008, 80 min.)
Directed by Jack Messitt
 Horror

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Two Weeks: November 14 - 27

Let the Right One In

Premiere (2008, 114 min.)
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
 Drama/Horror   Language: Swedish with subtitles in English

A bullied youth and a peculiar new girl in the neighborhood forge a strange alliance in Swedish director Tomas Alfredson's brainy horror film, set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant ) is 12 and can't fight back against the increasing brutality he faces at school, while Eli (Lina Leandersson) can't stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back, but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other peoples blood to live he's faced with a choice. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN "warms your heart as it chills your blood," writes Peter Howell of the Toronto Star, while Chris Cabin of filmcritic.com theorizes that with "HBO's eccentric True Blood series and Twilight galvanizing vampiric bloodlust, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN ... belongs in the hall of fame." Manohla Dargis of the New York Times notes that Alfredson takes "a darkly amused attitude toward the little world he has fashioned with such care, he also takes the morbid unhappiness of his young characters seriously." Internet reviewer Brian Orndorf finds LET THE RIGHT ONE IN to be "a marvel: an ingenious genre film that manages to terrify and endear in the same instant, deftly erecting one of the most persuasive, haunting film experiences of the year."

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One Night Only: November 17

The Who Live at Kilburn 1977

(2008, 80 min.)
Starring Pete Townshend, Roger Daltery, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon    Documentary/Music

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One Week: November 28 - December 4

A Christmas Tale

Premiere (2008, 143 min.)
Starring Catherine Deneuve, Hippolyte Girardot   Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
 Comedy/Drama   Language: In French with subtitles in English

It's just another seasonal holiday for the The Vuillard family, which includes Catherine Deneuve as Junon, and Hippolyte Girardot as Claude. Their shared history of physical and mental illness, estrangement, self harm, and loss doesn't lead itself to the idea of a cheerful holiday season. But this Christmastime reunion, a scheme concocted by three of the youngest family members, may finally bring peace their clan. Arnaud Desplechin's A CHRISTMAS TALE (Un conte de Noel) may be the new A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life, a permanent fixture of our holiday celebrations. For internet reviewer Cole Smithey, A CHRISTMAS TALE is an "anti-sentimental, ironic movie that nevertheless percolates with emotion and accepts its quirky characters for all of their flaws." It's a "marvelously rich visual, intellectual and emotional experience, one that I expect will grow deeper with repeat viewings," according to Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.com. And internet reviewer Emanuel Levy asserts that it is "a bravura piece, based on witty writing, inventive storytelling, and superlative acting."

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One Week: December 5 - 12

The Exiles

Revival (1961, 72 min.)
Directed by Kent MacKenzie
 Drama

There is a long history behind THE EXILES. Director Kent Mackenzie began production on it in late 1950s as a short film about a long-gone area of downtown Los Angeles called Bunker Hill. Three years later, Mackenzie, who studied film at the University of Southern California on the G.I. Bill and who died at the age of 50 in 1980, had turned the short into a feature film, about the now-razed home to a diversity of retirees, immigrants, and the transplanted American Indians who are at the center of the film. Now revived and restored, THE EXILES, Mackenzie's film finally enjoys commercial released, so that others can enjoy Mackenzie's examination of what Manohla Dargis in the New York Times calls "a largely forgotten corner of that deceptively bright city." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times calls it a "brooding picture of a darkly beautiful, long-gone Los Angeles." For Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, it "is like cracking open a time capsule," and Noel Murray of The Onion finds it "bracing and raw." Jim Ridley of the Village Voice calls the 47-year-old picture " the freshest movie in theaters."

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One Week: December 5 - 12

The Auteur

Premiere (2008, 80 min.)
Starring Melik Malkasian, John Breen, Katherine Flynn, Cara Seymour   Directed by James Westby
 Comedy

Portland Filmmaker James Westby's hilarious new film THE AUTEUR tells the simple story of Arturo Domingo (Melik Malkasian ), a grand filmmaker in the adult video market, returning to Portland for an award ceremony. The creator of Five Easy Nieces and Requiem for a Wet Dream, Domingo's mind is aswirl during his visitation with memories of his old movies and thoughts of his still-beloved ex-wife, Fiona (Katherine Flynn). Filled with recognizable local faces, such as Jacob Pander, Ritah Parrish, Viva Las Vegas, and film reviewer D. K. Holm, THE AUTEUR is a sweet-hearted and amusing mix of love story and funny adult film parodies. Porn star Ron Jeremy also makes an appearance. "Should keep Westby fans laughing," writes Richard Horgan in Filmstew.com, and "It's really, really funny," praises Scott Weinberg of Cinematical. Variety's Robert Koehler notes that, "due to Malkasian's droll performance, THE AUTEUR's non-satirical parts are able to deliver relatively human-scaled comedy, tweaked just enough toward exaggeration." THE AUTEUR was an official entry in this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

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Two Days: December 12 - 13

The Bicycle Film Festival

Premiere (2008, Five Programs, various min.)

The Eight Annual Bicycle Film Festival once again offers many films in celebration of the world's most solitary yet most fuel efficient form of transportation. Among the filmmakers are Jorgen Leth, Mike Mills, Jonas Mekas, Blonde Redhead, Swoon and Michel Gondry. Subdivided into six individual programs, the first includes Road to Roubaix, about the one day Paris to Roubaix first held in 1896. Program 2 includes 10 fun bike shorts, while Program 3 focuses on six day bike races. Program 4 includes The Way Bobby Sees It, about the blind mountain bike racer. Finally, Program 5 offers a selection of short films about urban bicycling. And be sure to catch the festival afterparty at Holocene at 1001 SE Morrison. Information can also be found at the Bicycle Film Fest web site.

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Eight Days: December 14 - 21

Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains

Premiere (2007, 113 min.)
Directed by Gonzalo Arijon
 Documentary   Language: In Spanish with subtitles in English

It's a familiar story, the subject of a previous book and a movie. A team of Uruguayan rugby players, called The Old Christians, and their families, flying to a meet, crash land in the Andes in 1972. For the next 72 days, they struggled to stay warm and feed themselves. Only 16 of the 45 passengers survived. But when it comes to making another work about the ordeal, director Gonzalo Arijon has a unique perspective. He was a longtime friend of many of the survivors. Now, some 25 years later, he has gathered them together to tell, once again, the harrowing story of their survival. STRANDED is "ultimately exhilarating," according to Ty Burr of the Boston Globe, and "impossible to forget," to Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times. Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews marks it for "a fascinating, exciting and well-told true story, " while Stephen Holden of the New York Times finds it "an incontrovertible argument for the necessity of team spirit in the face of catastrophe." Andrew O'Hehir writing for Salon.com, determines that it is "intimate, terrifying and positively riveting," while Kam Williams of NewsBlaze finds it an "uplifting tale of triumph over nature and a moving tribute to the indomitability of the human spirit."

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Two Days: December 16 - 17

Drift (Oregon Trout)

Premiere Benefit for Oregon Trout (2008, 60 min.)

A benefit for Oregon Trout, DRIFT takes the viewer on a cinematic adventure across the flats of Belize and the Bahamas, down to the tailwaters of the Green, Frying Pan and the Big Horn, spey casting on the Deschutes, and throughout the foothills of the Himalayas and exotic rivers of Kashmir, India. Watch the screen light up with the most stunning flyfishing cinematography you’ve ever seen. Help Oregon Trout support its work to return health to every stream in the state. Guest speaker will also discuss Oregon's rivers and the ecology of fishing.

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One Night Only: December 18

Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan

Premiere (2008, 78 min.)

Take a trip back in time to 1978 Japan for this rare concert by the glam rock band from Rockford, Illinois, that made history with its song "I Want You to Want Me." Budokan was a mecca for musicians, and this concert helped make the band's worldwide success. Long unseeable, the visual record of the concert is now available, and being screened at the Cinema 21 for one night only. Join us as Cheap Trick performs such songs, among 11, as "Hello There," "Speak Now (Or Forever Hold Your Peace)," "Need Your Love," "Southern Girls," "I Want You To Want Me," and "California Man."

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One Week: December 19 - 25

Timecrimes

Premiere (2007, 88 min.)
Directed by Nacho Vigalondo
 Sci-Fi/Thriller   Language: In Spanish with subtitles in English

What if you could travel back in time for only one hour? That's the strange situation that one Hector (Karra Elejalde) finds himself in, and of course the situation leads to a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences. In Nacho Vigalondo's thriller from Spain, Hector finds himself in a time loup, attempting to prevent a crime. Cathleen Roundtree of Boxoffice Magazine notes that, "Bridging many genres, TIMECRIMES will score high among sci-fi, horror and thriller fans, as well as the arthouse set." Nick Schager of Lessons of Darkness finds that the film has "corkscrew verve, taut plotting and correspondingly fleet, no-nonsense direction." The film is "a twisted, at times darkly comic tale of flawless construction," for Anton Bitel of Little White Lies, while Luke Y. Thompson of the OC Weekly notes that it has "one of the best movie opening sequences in recent memory." Lucius Gore of ESplatter says simply that TIMECRIMES is "easily the best science fiction movie in a decade." See TIMECRIMES now, before it is remade by David Cronenberg.

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One Week: December 26 - January 1

Singin' in the Rain

Archival Print (1952, 103 min.)
Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds   Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
 Musical

Donald O'Connor makin' 'em laugh. Debbi Reynolds wishing everyone good morning. And Gene Kelly gloriously singing in the rain. It's not just a musical, it is the musical. Bosley Crowther wrote in the New York Times at the time of its release that SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is "compounded generously of music, dance, color, spectacle and a riotous abundance of Gene Kelly, Jean Hagen and Donald O'Connor on the screen, all elements in this rainbow program are carefuly contrived and guaranteed to...put you in a buttercup mood. Mark Bourne of Film.com lists SINGIN' IN THE RAIN as "the Taj Mahal, Armstrong's footprint on the moon, the 2001 Arizona-New York World Series, the Clash's London Calling, and the perfect foamy head on an expertly poured Guinness" of movie musicals. For Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader, it is "one of the shining glories of the American musical." Emanuel Levy of EmanuelLevy.Com notes that "At the time, this film was treated as just another MGM musical but over the years it has gained in stature and is now considered as one of the best American films ever made." Bob Bloom of the Lafayette Journal and Courier thinks it is the "greatest musical ever!! A movie everyone should see over and over again," while for Jon Niccum of the Lawrence Journal-World, it is "Hollywood's best musical."

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One Week: December 26 - January 1

City Lights

Archival Print (1931, 87 min.)
Directed by Charlie Chaplin
  Language: Silent/B&W

Charlie Chaplin doing everything he can to raise the money for an operation to save a blind girl. The story is as simple as that, yet Chaplin wrings from it great wit and deep pathos. "Perfect," announces Cole Smithey of ColeSmithey.com, while for Sid Silverman of Variety, reviewing the film at the time, "The British comic is still the consummate pantomimist, unquestionably one of the greatest the stage or screen has ever known." It's a "beautiful example of Chaplin's ability to turn narrative fragments into emotional wholes. The two halves of the film are sentiment and slapstick. They are not blended but woven into a pattern as eccentric as it is sublime, for Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader, while for Jay Antani of Perihelion Journal CITY LIGHTS "is a great gift to all of us by a filmmaker at a latter-day peak of his genius." "Incredibly powerful," writes Jeffrey M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid. "Absolutely delightful, hilarious, heart breaking," opines Steve Crum of the Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers, while it is the "quintessential Chaplin film," for Steven D. Greydanus of Decent Films Guide. The Cinema 21 is proud to present this classic in a new 35mm print.

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One Week: December 26 - January 1

Synecdoche, New York

Premiere (2008, 123 Min.)
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Emily Watson, Dianne Wiest, Jennifer Jason Leigh   Directed by Charlie Kaufman
 Drama

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Held over, running now thru January 15

Wendy and Lucy

Premiere (2008, 80 min.)
Starring Michelle Williams   Directed by Kelly Reichardt

In Kelly Reichardt's follow up to her earlier Old Joy, a woman's life is derailed en route to a potentially lucrative summer job. When her car breaks down, and her dog is taken to the pound, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she is led through a series of increasingly dire economic decisions. WENDY AND LUCY is a "soulful tale of anomie in America," according to Harvey S. Karten of Compuserve, and "compassionate," to Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat of Spirituality and Practice. Donald J. Levit of ReelTalk Movie Reviews thinks it is a "moment snatched from time, from a life coming from nowhere in particular, passing through interchangeable cities on a road map - and not bound for glory." It's a "somber politicized lament for hardscrabble lives struggling to exist on the economic precipice," in the view of Nick Schager of Slant Magazine, while for Jeremy Heilman of MovieMartyr.com, Michelle Williams offers "quite likely the year’s best screen acting." Also among the cast are Will Patton and Larry Fessenden, and several local celebrities, including painter Michael Brophy.

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One Week: January 9 - 15

The Secrets

Premiere (2008, 120 min.)
Starring Fanny Ardant, Ania Bukstein, Michal Shtamler   Directed by Avi Nesher
 Drama   Language: In Hebrew with subtitles in English

In THE SECRETS, the controversial new film directed by Avi Nesher (Turn Left at the End of the World), two brilliant young women discover their own voices in a repressive orthodox culture where females are forbidden to sing, let alone speak out. Naomi (Ania Bukstein), the studious, devoutly religious daughter of a prominent rabbi, convinces her father to postpone her marriage for a year so that she might study at a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient Kabalistic seat of Safed. Naomi's quest for individuality takes a defiant turn when she befriends Michelle (Michal Shtamler), a free-spirited and equally headstrong fellow student. When the pair encounters a mysterious, ailing foreigner with a disturbing past named Anouk (the iconic French actress Fanny Ardant) they begin a risky journey into forbidden realms. Stephen Holden of the New York Times praises the "passionate performances," while for Kristi Mitsuda of the Village Voice the film "handles its subject matter with grace and charm." THE SECRETS is simply one of "the most remarkable movies of the year," for Andrew Sarris of the New York Observer.

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Starts January 16

The Wrestler

Premiere (2009, 109 min.)
Starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood   Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream) returns to the screen with this compelling tale of a professional wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) at the end of his ring rope as he makes his way through the independent circuit. THE WRESTLER is "a must-see" for Harvey S. Karten of Compuserve and "compelling and poignant" for Frederic and Mary Ann Brussatof Spirituality and Practice. The film is "the dark horse contender for best film of the year," according to Marlow Stern of Manhattan Movie Magazine and "invokes a fierce blue-collar integrity," for Cole Smithey of ColeSmithey.com. "The movie is simply, stellar, an American parable and moving drama found in an unlikely place," writes Katey Rich of CinemaBlend.com, while for Bill Chambers of Film Freak Central it is the "most haunting sports film, or at least the most haunting film about the margins of a sport, since Fat City." The critics have paid special attention to Mickey Rourke. Todd McCarthy of Variety says that "Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances," while Emanuel Levy of EmanuelLevy.Com writes that "Mickey Rourke gives the year's most dramatically impressive, not to mention iconic and self-reflexive performance." Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood also star, along with pro wrestlers Havoc, Joker, and many others.

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