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Weekend!Movies: Fired!, Fracture, Hot Fuzz, PDX Film Fest
by: COURTESY OF INTERNATIONAL FILM CIRCUIT, 'Fired.'

Edited by Anne Marie DiStefano

'Fired!' (NR)

Actress Annabelle Gurwitch was fired by Woody Allen after being cast in his off-Broadway play (he told her, 'I'm depressed and nauseous, it's all bad … someone should throw a blanket over you.')

She turned the humiliation to her advantage, writing a humorous book about the indignities of being canned, producing a monologue-driven stage show, and making this delightful documentary.

Gurwitch talks to a number of actors, comedians and regular folks about their experiences being fired including Illeana Douglas, Anne Meara, David Cross, Sarah Silverman and Fred Willard, who was fired from a TV pilot after the producers realized they'd hired the wrong actor.

The film is charming in its DIY-meets-Michael Moore execution, and there's something comforting about recognizing that, as traumatizing as being fired can be, it's an almost universal experience.

Comedian Judy Gold tells Gurwitch, 'Later, it can be funny - comedy tragedy plus time.' Indeed.

- Dawn Taylor

Hollywood Theatre

'Fracture' (R)

Let us mourn the sad fate of Hannibal Lecter, so poorly treated by his creator Thomas Harris in the miserable sequels to 'The Silence of the Lambs,' and forced not only to reappear in the awful Ridley Scott travesty 'Hannibal' but also, eventually, to change his name and give up cannibalism so he can get work in movies like this one.

Not that 'Fracture' is a bad movie, mind you. It's actually a sharp, clever little thriller about a man who kills his wife, waits for the wife's detective-lover to come arrest him, and then sits back as everyone discovers that despite their best efforts they don't have the evidence to convict him.

Ryan Gosling ('Half Nelson,' 'The Notebook') plays the Clarice Starling role as an ambitious young lawyer who initially thinks the case will be a cakewalk, and Mr. Lecter, as embodied by Anthony Hopkins, does his delicious, smirky head-game shtick.

It's nice to see the old sociopath back, even if he's using an assumed name.

- DT

Cinetopia, Pioneer Place, Lloyd Mall, Hilltop, Division Street, Stark Street

'Hot Fuzz' (R)

The makers of the comic zombie jamboree 'Shaun of the Dead' turn their distinctively British wit loose on Hollywood buddy-cop epics.

Simon Pegg stars as a London police officer who is busted down to the burbs for being so efficiently gung-ho that he shames the rest of the force. But he soon discovers that the cheery locals are rather grimly determined to preserve the quaint perfection of their picturebook village.

As Pegg and his portly, cop-movie-loving new partner Nick Frost make with the required bonding, director Edgar Wright (who co-wrote with Pegg) boosts the in-joke quotient with a great supporting cast that includes former 007 Timothy Dalton and the original 'Wicker Man' cop, Edward Woodward.

Best of all, this is a real movie comedy - not a wheezy, spoofy 'Scary Movie' collection of skits - that imposes nonsensical Jerry Bruckheimer-style bombast on classic Brit eccentricity. And it's often as funny as its violence is outlandishly gory.

It may be spread too thin over two hours, but what they're spreading is pretty rich.

- Pat Holmes

Cinetopia, Fox Tower

PDX Film Fest

Subversive, strange and sporadically scintillating, the Portland Documentary and eXperiental Film Festival (PDX Film Fest for short) returns this year with a new crop of works from around the world, with a focus on Portland.

An outgrowth of local artist and curator Matt McCormick's Peripheral Produce screening events, the festival brags a fine roster of filmmakers in attendance. Details are at www.peripheralproduce.com.

Wednesday-Sunday, April 25-29, Hollywood Theatre