- Portland Tribune - Features
High jinks on ice, a photographer's muse and love on the rocks
Edited by Anne Marie DiStefano
'Blades of Glory' (PG-13)
If the mere idea of Jon 'Napoleon Dynamite' Heder dressed in peacock-inspired, glittery spandex (complete with butt feathers) makes you giggle, then look no further than 'Blades of Glory.'
Heder plays ice-skating idol Jimmy MacElroy, whose rivalry with bad-boy skater Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) gets them both banned from men's skating for life.
Flash-forward three years. MacElroy's old coach (Craig T. Nelson) gets the two rivals back together to skate in the pairs competition, and the standard sports movie gets the 'Anchorman/Talladega Nights' treatment with lots of obvious ad libs, hilarious visual gags and some of the silliest CGI work ever devised to make Ferrell and Heder look like they're really skating.
Will Arnett ('Arrested Development') and Amy Poehler ('Saturday Night Live') almost steal the movie as a scheming brother-sister team (the actors are actually husband and wife), and Heder has what may be the most painfully awkward kissing scene in cinematic history, with Jenna Fischer of 'The Office.'
It's all very stupid, but it's also all very, very funny.
- Dawn Taylor
Cinetopia, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport, St. Johns Theater
'Flannel Pajamas' (R)
Yet another relationship movie with the Sundance seal of, uh, whatever.
Former film distributor Jeff Lipsky evokes memories of Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Louis Malle and others without capturing much of what makes those other directors special.
Two Manhattanites (Justin Kirk and Julianne Nicholson) meet on a blind date and are soon married, while Lipsky charts the affair's two-year course from blossoming warmth to withering chill.
Lipsky is certainly ambitious, introducing a full range of complications - and family members - from both sides.
But there's something oddly distant and airless about it all, and the time spent with the two principals only serves to confirm that they really are as annoying as we've suspected from the start.
It doesn't help that Lipsky has no gift for visuals or mood. Still, if you work at it you may convince yourself that this long, dreary collection of scenes amounts to a study in intimate realism - especially if you're at the withered end of a twosome yourself.
- Pat Holmes
'Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson' (NR)
Photographer Edward Weston had a unique gift for showing the sensual, undulating lines of a landscape and for bringing that same feel for rhythm, texture and light to his photographs of nudes.
His most fruitful period of work began in 1934, when the 48-year-old artist met 19-year-old Charis Wilson, who became his collaborator and model.
A former student at Portland's Catlin Gabel School, Wilson was a troubled child of privilege in need of a purpose.
After posing nude for Weston for the first time, she found that purpose - and Weston found a true partner who'd help him win the first-ever Guggenheim Fellowship for photography and eventually become his wife.
Now 92, Wilson tells her story honestly, with great humor and, toward the end, some regret.
Director Ian McCluskey brilliantly fleshes out his documentary - made in partnership with the Portland nonprofit NW Documentary - with photos, archival footage and reenactments to bring the story to beautiful, fascinating life.
'The Lookout' (R)
Screenwriter Scott Frank obviously learned a few things while adapting a couple of Elmore Leonard novels ('Get Shorty,' 'Out of Sight') into scripts. Frank's directorial debut, based on his original screenplay, is a lean, smart thriller with a solid sense of character and place.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (of last year's nifty high-school noir 'Brick') stars as a former high school hero left partially disabled by a head injury, and conned into helping rob the suburban Kansas City bank where he works as a janitor.
With the talented Gordon-Levitt suggesting the remnants of a person rattling around inside the shell of his former self, director Frank keeps in touch with the traditional haunted heroes of film noir.
Meanwhile, the wintry Midwestern setting gives that hero's search for identity the proper sense of the familiar turned threatening.
Building genuine tension rather than just accumulating nonsensical twists, Frank's work is swift and assured as he follows the familiar mean streets of noir into an overcast heartland.
Fox Tower, Lloyd Mall, Division Street, Bridgeport
Faux Film Festival
Just in time for April Fools' Day comes this explosion of sarcasm, satire and trumpery. See mockumentaries, 'in-faux-mercials' and trailers for movies that don't exist.
Each night features one program of short films followed by one feature-length parody.
'Stanley Cuba' is geared toward Stanley Kubrick fans. 'Blood Car' goes one step beyond 'Mad Max' in a future world where one man's car actually runs on blood. And during 'Stomp! Shout! Scream!' the actors of the Brody Theater join in for some irreverent audience participation.
7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday, March 30-April 1, Hollywood Theatre, schedule at www.fauxfilm.com, $7 per night