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Weekend!Movies: 'Disturbia,' 'Pathfinder,' 'Perfect Stranger,' 'Killer Ladies' film series
by: cOurtesy of NORTHWEST FILM CENTER, "Out of the Past," part of the "Killer Ladies" film series

Edited by Anne Marie DiStefano

* Recommended

'Disturbia' (PG-13)

For the younger generation of moviegoers who've never seen Hitchcock's 'Rear Window,' the fine folks at DreamWorks have thoughtfully provided this shiny new teen version, replacing James Stewart with up-and-comer Shia LeBeouf (whose name, I believe, translates as 'bashful meat.')

Director D.J. Caruso actually does a great job of turning this utterly formulaic adolescent thriller into something genuinely watchable, about a young man (LeBeouf), under house arrest for hitting a teacher, who is suspicious of his creepy neighbor (David Morse).

 LeBeouf is a fine young actor, and he turns in a performance that's almost too good for a film this inconsequential. Carrie-Anne Moss is given almost nothing to do as LeBeouf's mostly off-screen mom, but terrific supporting characters played by Sarah Roehmer and Aaron Yoo - along with crackling direction by Caruso ('The Salton Sea') help to elevate 'Disturbia' well above the usual teen-thriller fare.

- Dawn Taylor

Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'Pathfinder' (R)

The neatest thing about this Native Americans vs. Vikings adventure is the name of its female lead, Moon Bloodgood. She's one of the locals who helps fight off raiding Norsemen while falling in love with Karl Urban (of 'The Lord of the Rings'), a Viking lad who was adopted by her tribe after he was abandoned by his people during a previous raid.

After a long wait on the shelf, this unlikely remake of a 1987 Scandinavian film (an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film) apparently is being released now in hopes of cashing in on the success of '300.'

Actually, though, it seems more like something that would have trailed in the wake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Conan the Barbarian' epics.

Shot in coarsely textured, inky-black-saturated images with plenty of digital enhancement, it's full of brawny, crunchy, clanky, bloody, head-busting action with early scenes that look inspired by Frank Frazetta fantasy art.

Unfortunately, it's rendered in a fashion that's almost as stiff as the acting, and it's silly without ever becoming entertainingly funny. 

- Pat Holmes

Cinetopia, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Division Street, Bridgeport

'Perfect Stranger' (R)

It's tempting to believe that Halle Berry and Bruce Willis lost an enormous bet that landed them in this horrible, terrible, no-good picture. There really can't be any other excuse for it, unless they were both shown a completely different script before they signed on, then director James Foley ('Glengarry Glen Ross') pulled some sort of a vicious switcheroo.

Berry does her usual, awful, 'why did she win an Oscar again?' best as a hotshot reporter who indulges in a ridiculously elaborate game of pretend to get the goods on a possibly murderous advertising exec (Willis) with the help of her brilliant (of course) computer-hacker (naturally) best pal, played by Giovanni Ribisi.

It's yet another lousy thriller with no thrills, an illogical plot, laughable product placements and a preposterous third act. Willis is to be commended for not looking embarrassed to be here, while Berry is, once again, simply an atrocious actress. 'Perfect,' yes - perfectly dreadful.

- DT

Cinetopia, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street, Bridgeport

'Killer Ladies'

Three nicely varied entries highlight the Northwest Film Center's film noir series this weekend. Friday and Saturday bring a double feature of John Huston's 'The Maltese Falcon' and William Wyler's 'The Letter.'

The former, of course, is hard-boiled heaven as a peerless ensemble cast makes with the snappiest of patter under Huston's breezy but bracing control.

The latter is a noirish melodrama set in the tropics featuring Bette Davis at her best - as she always was for director Wyler.

Sunday's single attraction is Jacques Tourneur's noir masterpiece 'Out of the Past,' with Jane Greer (a mere 22 years old at the time) as a femme who proves very fatale for Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas and assorted other suckers.

Mitchum was the noir actor who seemed on the most intimate, even romantic terms with doom, and welcomes it here with the classic line 'Baby, I don't care.'

The romance of damnation is captured in Tourneur's elegant visual shadow-play, while the dialogue flashes and cuts like a switchblade. The sinister allure of noir was never more seductively or definitively rendered, and a big-screen viewing seals the devil's deal like one of Greer's kisses.

- PH

'The Letter,' 7 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday; 'The Maltese Falcon,' 9 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13-14; 'Out of the Past,' 7 p.m. Sunday, April 15, Whitsell Auditorium

Also new this week:

Filmmaker, archivist and historian Bill Brand presents short films, including his own original compositions and a time capsule from the paranoid, obsessively documented Nixon White House: Super 8 movies of the Nixon family, both in public and private moments (7:30 p.m. Sunday-Monday, April 15-16, New American Art Union, 922 S.E. Ankeny St., 503-232-8269, www.cinemaproject.org, $6).

The Clinton Street Theater plays host to the Filmed By Bike festival (7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, $5-$10, and 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, $6) and offers a critical look at the oil business in 'Crude Impact.'

And if 'Grindhouse' is too high-concept, too expensive, and just not grind-housey enough for you, cleanse your palate with the emperor of low-budget action, Bruce Lee in 'Enter the Dragon' (Laurelhurst).