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New and Notable

Weekend!Movies
by: COURTESY OF LIONSGATE FILMS,

* Recommended

Theater listings below

'Atonement' (R)

This adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan is all spiffed up for Oscar night.

Although director Joe Wright (2005's 'Pride and Prejudice') dresses it up nicely, he never really lets it breathe. It's attractive, polite, respectable and almost too poised to live, like 'Masterpiece Theatre' with more theater than masterpiece.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Fox Tower, Lloyd Mall, Bridgeport, Moreland

'Bella' (PG-13)

Commercials tout 'Winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival,' but the competition must not have been too tough.

Director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde's tale of a fallen Mexican soccer star veers down varied paths - family drama, love story, foodie movie - without really becoming much more than an overtexturized slice of life.

This would be fine if not for the film's incredibly slow pace, heavy tone and pointlessly confusing flashbacks. No goal here.

Living Room

'The Bucket List' (PG-13)

Jack Nicholson fritters away all the charm from the crusty-geezer-with-a-good-heart role he perfected in 2003's 'Something's Gotta Give,' and Morgan Freeman cashes a post-Christmas bonus check playing his buddy in this tired comedy.

Two pals nearing the end of their lives decide to try out everything they've ever been afraid to do. It will have people wondering 'What's on my bucket list?' But it's doubtful that seeing this film is on anyone's.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Broadway, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'Cassandra's Dream' (PG-13)

Woody Allen's latest also is one of his most peculiar, a somewhat tense but generally glum side street off the new avenue he opened with 'Match Point.'

It's a study of violent acts and moral compromises à la 'Crimes and Misdemeanors,' but more confined in both its scope and its unrelieved, grayish bleakness.

But though Allen regulars will want to see it, the film as a whole never quite expands to the dramatic/mythic dimension suggested by the title.

Fox Tower

* 'Charlie Wilson's War' (R)

Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman, with the help of Julia Roberts, form an alliance to get the U.S. to back Afghanistan against the Russians in the 1980s.

The sharply written - and occasionally glib - account of true events captures the color of the characters while encapsulating the complexity of international politics and the fickle and self-serving nature of the U.S.'s concern with suffering abroad.

Pioneer Place, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'Cloverfield' (PG-13)

'Cloverfield's' main conceit is a more sophisticated take on the gag that drove 'The Blair Witch Project:' One of the film's characters, Hud (T.J. Miller), shoots all of the goings-on with a camcorder after cataclysmic events disrupt a going-away party for his pal Rob (Michael Stahl-David).

The computer-generated creatures, explosions and other effects are seamless.

And from a cinematic and a marketing standpoint, 'Cloverfield' is a successful exercise - but, really, it's little more than that. It's a lot of fun, but Godzilla's crown as King of the Monsters is still safe.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'Daughters of Wisdom' (NR)

A documentary offers a rare glimpse inside a Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

Hollywood

'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' (PG-13)

Painter-director Julian Schnabel pulls off something pretty remarkable with this film based on the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of French Elle magazine, who awoke from a stroke-induced coma mentally fit but physically paralyzed.

While you might fear a paralyzing dose of inspiration, Schnabel offers instead an experience as fresh and cleansing as an ocean breeze.

Fox Tower

'How She Move' (PG-13)

Do not confuse the dance-fueled 'How She Move' with the recent stampede of silly dance-centric flicks ('Stomp the Yard,' 'Step Up' and the forthcoming 'Step Up 2 the Streets'). 'How She Move' was a hit at last year's Sundance Film Festival, and brings to loud, pounding, joyous light the moves of Canadian-Caribbean steppers.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Lloyd Mall, Division Street, Bridgeport

'I Am Legend' (PG-13)

Director Francis Lawrence's 'I Am Legend' is the third official adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 sci-fi/horror novel, previously filmed in 1964 as 'The Last Man on Earth' and in '71 as 'The Omega Man.'

Lawrence, of the wacky 2005 comic-book adaptation 'Constantine,' simply animates the remains of other digitally plagued blockbusters to suck the dark mythic life out of Matheson's enduring tale.

Go out during the day, and get the book to read at night.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

* 'I'm Not There' (R)

Portland-based director Todd Haynes' film is a magical, fictional kinda-sorta biography in which a number of different characters represent the various facets of Bob Dylan.

It isn't an easy film to digest, but it's an extraordinary experiment that may confound as much as it entertains. If you love movies, or you love Bob Dylan - or, hopefully, both - it's not to be missed.

Hollywood

* 'Juno' (PG-13)

A killer cast and an endearing screenplay help this oddball comedy from Jason Reitman ('Thank You for Smoking') rise above its self-consciously hip approach.

It's cynical, yet sweet, sympathetic and charmingly askew.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Fox Tower, Lloyd Center, Division Street, Hilltop, Stark Street, Bridgeport, Cinemagic

'The Kite Runner' (PG-13)

Like another current Oscar-runner, this is the story of an adult's attempts to atone for a haunting childhood betrayal.

Bland and milky right down to the visuals (which include typically cartoony digital effects, this time of soaring kites), 'The Kite Runner,' however, feels at once hurried and drawn out.

There's a very good supporting performance - from Homayoun Ershadi as the protagonist's father - that stands out amid the wishy-washiness, but a story like this needs to inspire more than a vague warm and cozy feeling.

Fox Tower

'Mad Money' (PG-13)

Diane Keaton plays a formerly wealthy, never employed wife whose failed fortunes drive her to a janitorial position at a Federal Reserve bank, where she devises a plan to rip off bunches of currency.

Keaton probably should just get her own sitcom so she can stop doing movies that play like pilots for one.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Broadway, Lloyd Mall, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street

'Meet the Spartans' (PG-13)

The sharp-penned pack of satirical scribes behind the 'Scary Movie,' and 'Date Movie'-franchises take aim at sword-and-sandal epics like 'Gladiator,' 'Troy' and '300.'

But in case you miss 'Meet the Spartans,' don't worry - the similarly themed 'National Lampoon's 301: The Legend of Awesomest Maximus Wallace Leonidas' charges into theaters later this year.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Broadway, Lloyd Mall, Hilltop, Division Street, Bridgeport

* 'Michael Clayton' (R)

This intelligent, visually stunning picture (one of the best of the year) gets a re-release for post-Oscar nomination viewing.

Broadway, Lloyd Center, Bridgeport

* 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' (PG)

In this old fashioned swashbuckling romp, a sequel to 2004's 'National Treasure,' Nicolas Cage again makes nerdy history buffs and geeky computer geniuses cool.

This time he's caught up in a mystery surrounding Abraham Lincoln's assassination, but it's all just a backdrop to loads of globetrotting and James Bond-ian tricks and rumbles (without the scantily clad bimbos - the love interest here is actually smart!).

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Broadway, Lloyd Mall, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

* 'No Country for Old Men' (R)

The Coen brothers, adapting Cormac McCarthy's novel, bring a biblical severity to bear on a tale that already combines Western and noir elements with a mesmerizingly controlled ferocity.

This is no movie for those who prefer to zone out and watch the robots. Its precision isn't measured in pixels, but in scenes drawn so tight your breath just has to wait.

Fox Tower, Lloyd Center, Division Street, Bridgeport

'The Orphanage' (R)

More a thriller than a horror flick, 'The Orphanage' falls squarely into the ghosts-in-the-old-house school that includes 'The Others' and Guillermo del Toro's lesser-seen 'The Devil's Backbone.'

There's little here that's new, but it still manages to jangle the nerves. The cinematography by Oscar Faura is breathtaking, and Juan Antonio Bayona brings an elegance of tale telling that's far more accomplished than one usually sees in a scare flick.

Fox Tower

'Pete Seeger: The Power of Song' (PG)

Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are among the cast of well-informed rocking, talking heads speaking about folk artist Pete Seeger. The documentary screens at the Hollywood Theatre after a showing last week at the Northwest Film Center's 25th Reel Music Festival.

Hollywood

'P.S. I Love You' (PG-13)

Did you love 'Message in a Bottle,' 'A Walk to Remember' and 'The Notebook'? Then you'll probably cringe - not weep - during each frame of this sappy rip-off of romance master Nicholas Sparks' novels-to-movies.

Hilary Swank sheds her previous, muscular personas, playing a grieving widow who discovers letters her husband (Gerard Butler) wrote to her before he died. Sequel idea: long-lost Post-its reminding her to clean the cat box.

Clackamas Town Center

'Rambo' (R)

Actually, this is the fourth installment in the John Rambo series, originated 26 years ago by Sylvester Stallone. Stallone wrote, directed and stars in the newest (do we dare say, last?) chapter, wherein JR stomps, tromps and shoots his way through Thailand to find a group of missing missionaries.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Bridgeport

'The Rape of Europa' (NR)

While the recent film 'Who the (Bleep) Is Jackson Pollock?' took the art world to task for its highbrow sensitivities and highly subjective art analysis, this documentary celebrates the deeds of a number of heroic curators and art historians who rescued and tracked down great works stolen during and after World War II by the Nazis. Joan Allen ('The Bourne Ultimatum') narrates.

Living Room

'The Savages' (R)

A tense and tightly written family drama featuring a pair of powerhouse acting talents: Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. They play brother and sister sparring over care for their ailing father.

Fox Tower

'Seduced and Abandoned' (NR)

Before the world saw this year's pregnancy-plotted 'Juno,' Italian director Pietro Germi took on the subject, and the culture of Italian masculinity, in this 1963 satire.

7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25-27, Whitsell Auditorium

* 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' (R)

Director Tim Burton's version of the deliriously dark tale of murder and meat pies is a near-perfect piece of cinema, truncating the original three-act musical while still celebrating its essence.

It's one of the very best films of the year - and one of the very best films in Burton and Johnny Depp's respective filmographies.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Mall, Bridgeport

* 'There Will Be Blood' (R)

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a superlatives-exhausting performance as a wildcat oil driller in director Paul Thomas Anderson's startlingly strange American epic.

As the craftily named Daniel Plainview, Day-Lewis' transformation from miner to oil magnate to monster comes as the century turns and the frontier ends.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Lloyd Center, Bridgeport, Cinema 21

'27 Dresses' (PG-13)

Katherine Heigl ('Knocked Up') plays a wedding-obsessed woman whose sister (Malin Akerman) snags the man she loves (Edward Burns) while a newspaper writer (James Marsden) contrives to write a story about Heigl's wedding obsession. Idiocy ensues.

Every stupid rom-com convention is dumbed down even further here, compounded by sluggish direction, terrible acting, and a script that forces the likable Heigl to behave like a buffoon.

Eastport, Clackamas Town Center, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep' (PG)

Think of every kids' movie - from 'E.T.' to 'Free Willy' - that's been about a child who finds some sort of animal and keeps it a secret from his or her parents. 'The Water Horse' is that movie all over again, only this time the animal is the Loch Ness monster.

The scenery is lovely, the computer animation is passably good, and children who haven't already seen the 8,597 previous films with this exact same plot will probably be enchanted by it.

Eastport

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MOVIE THEATER GUIDE

Academy Theater

7818 S.E. Stark St.

503-252-0500

www.academytheaterpdx.com

Bagdad Theater

3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.

503-249-7474, ext. 1

www.mcmenamins.com

Bridgeport Village

7329 S.W. Bridgeport Road

Tigard

1-800-326-3264, ext. 1728

www.bridgeport-village.com/movies.html

Broadway Metroplex

1000 S.W. Broadway

1-800-326-3264, ext. 321

www.uatc.com

Century Clackamas Town Center

12000 S.E. 82nd Ave., Suite 3000

1-800-326-3264

www.cinemark.com

Cinema 21

616 N.W. 21st Ave.

503-223-4515

www.cinema21.com

Cinemagic

2021 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.

503-231-7919

Cinetopia

11700 S.E. Seventh St.

Vancouver, Wash.

1-877-608-2800

www.cinetopiatheaters.com

Clinton Street Theater

2522 S.E. Clinton St.

503-238-8899

www.clintonsttheater.com

Division Street

16603 S.E. Division St.

1-800-326-3264, ext. 323

www.uatc.com

Fox Tower

846 S.W. Park Ave.

1-800-326-3264, ext. 327

www.uatc.com

Hilltop

325 Beavercreek Road

Oregon City

1-800-326-3264, ext. 319

www.uatc.com

Hollywood Theatre

4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd.

503-281-4215

www.filmaction.org

Laurelhurst

2735 E. Burnside St.

503-232-5511

www.laurelhursttheater.com

Living Room Theaters

341 S.W. 10th Ave.

971-222-2010

www.livingroomtheaters.com

Lloyd Center

1510 N.E. Multnomah St.

1-800-326-3264, ext. 325

www.uatc.com

Lloyd Mall

320 Lloyd Center Mall

1-800-326-3264, ext. 326

www.uatc.com

McMenamins Kennedy School

5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.

503-249-7474, ext. 4

www.mcmenamins.com

Mission Theater

1624 N.W. Glisan St.

503-249-7474, ext. 5

www.mcmenamins.com

Moreland Theater

6712 S.E. Milwaukie Ave.

503-236-5257

OMSI Omnimax Dome Theater

1945 S.E. Water Ave.

503-797-4640

www.omsi.edu

Pioneer Place

340 S.W. Morrison St.

1-800-326-3264, ext. 683

www.uatc.com

Roseway Theatre

7229 N.E. Sandy Blvd.

503-287-8119

St. Johns Cinema and Pub

8704 N. Lombard St.

503-286-1768

www.stjohnscinema.com

St. Johns Dome

8203 N. Ivanhoe St.

503-249-7474, ext. 6

www.mcmenamins.com

Stark Street

2929 N.E. Kane Drive

Gresham

1-800-326-3264, ext. 314

www.uatc.com

Valley Cinema-Pub

9360 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway

Beaverton

503-296-6843

www.valleytheater.net

Whitsell Auditorium

Portland Art Museum

1219 S.W. Park Ave.

503-221-1156

www.nwfilm.org