Where can you find independent, documentary and foreign films on the big screen?  The Bijou of course and all those genres are represented this week.  An examination of the changing landscape of a southern state, a French crime thriller and a documentary about a famous poet and photographer highlight a typically creative week of unconventional cinema at the art house theater.

General Orders No. 9:  Showing at 6:00 PM Mon-Thurs.  Documentary – 2009 – 72 Min – Not Rated

Director Robert Persons’ directorial debut, General Orders No. 9 tells the story of the evolution of the state of Georgia for better or worse.  Using unorthodox storytelling to track the history of Georgia including historical maps, architectural artifacts, narration and cinematography of the landscape, Persons discusses the issue of the clash between nature and man’s industrial progression and whether the natural identity of Georgia can remain intact.  The focus of this film may only be about Georgia, but the issue of maintaining a territorial identity in a fast-changing world could involve any state and Persons attempts to make that point.

Point Blank

Point Blank
: Showing at (5:00) PM, 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM Monday-Thursday.  Crime/Thriller – 2010 – 84 Minutes – Not Rated

What would you do if you witnessed your pregnant wife being kidnapped in front of you?  Samuel Pierret is a nurse working the night shift when a murder attempt directed against one of his patients fails.  But this patient isn’t exactly innocent.  Despite doing his job, Pieret gets a phone call with specific instructions:  Remove the patient from the hospital, or his wife will die.  The situation escalates with foot and car chases through the streets of Paris, the involvement of a police commandant (Shocking!) and the fragile condition of Pierret’s very pregnant wife.


The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg:  Showing at 8:00 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Documentary – 1994 – 82 Min – Not Rated

A special two-night event beginning on Tuesday showcases the 1994 documentary about Allen Ginsberg who helped define postwar American counterculture through his poetry and photographs.  Following both screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday, director Jerry Aronson will be in person for a Q & A session to discuss the film.

Originally released in 1994, Aronson’s documentary was re-released in 2007 with additional hours of interviews with a number of contemporary artists and cultural figures including Andy Warhol, Patti Smith and Norman Mailer.  Along with his appearance at the Bijou, copies of the 8-hour deluxe two-disc DVD of the film including the additions made in 2007 will be available to purchase.  Aronson spent 25 years accumulating more than 120 hours of film on Ginsberg and the result is this two-disc set.

How the Fire Fell: Showing at 8:00 on Thursday for one night:  Historical Drama – 2010 – Not Rated

Another director appears in person on Thursday as Edward P. Davee will present and then discuss his film How the Fire Fell.  Shot in Oregon and set in 1903 Corvallis, the film follows Edmund Creffield, a self-proclaimed prophet who formed the Brides of Christ cult.  The group, which was mostly comprised of women, followed Davee and his teachings of following the bible in it’s entirety, destroying material possessions and shunning all non-believers no matter how close.  The radical nature of Davee resulted in anger from families torn apart by his influence and ultimately led to the tragic demise of the Brides of Christ cult in 1906.

And for something completely different, the infamously bad movie The Room will be showing at 11:00 PM on Thursday and Friday.  I don’t know anything about this movie other than the fact that it’s supposed to be really bad.  Judging by the trailer, if you’re into bad acting, unintentionally funny dialogue and perhaps the creepiest looking lead actor ever in a movie, check out The Room.

Also opening on Friday is Restless, the latest from Portland native Gus Van Sant and Higher Ground from first-time director and star of the film Vera Farmiga.  The showtimes for both of those films is unavailable at this time.

David Minor is debuting two new movies this week.  A raunchy comedy and a big-budget art house movie.  

Tree of Life

The Tree of Life:  Debuting on Thursday at 7:20 PM and showing again on Saturday and Sunday at 7:20 PM.  Drama – 2011 – 139 Min – PG-13

I have a hard time recommending Terrence Malick films to people.  I don’t think there’s another director working today who divides audiences more.  His unconventional and nonlinear storytelling style frustrate audiences who are used to a straight-forward movie with a beginning, middle and end.  To describe a Malick film is difficult, but you know it when you see it.  Often choosing images of nature and sunlight over the actors in his films, Malick evokes a unique sense of wonder and beauty.  Who better to shoot a movie about the beginning of life on Earth than Malick then.

The Tree of Life stars Brad Pitt as the father of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s.  The film follows the life journey of the eldest son to Pitt, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to repair a complicated relationship with his father.  Jack is a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to not only the meaning of his own life, but life in general.  Jack as an adult is played by Sean Penn and the film cuts between the 1950’s, the present and the birth of life on earth.  Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

Horrible Bosses:  Debuting on Thursday at 5:30 PM and again at 9:40 PM Thursday-Saturday.  Comedy – 2011 – 98 Min – Rated R

If Bridesmaids was the summer comedy for women, Horrible Bosses was the one for guys.  Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day play three friends who are fed up with their bosses played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston.  Inspired by the Hitchcock classic, Strangers on a Train, the three friends scheme to kill each other’s boss so that each of the deaths can’t be linked to any of them.

This is the buddy comedy The Hangover Part II should have been.  Featuring plenty of raunchy moments, accidental drug inhalants and a running gag involving a cat, Horrible Bosses is funny from beginning to end.  The three friends are mostly likable despite their evil intentions and the bosses are just as memorable.  Collin Farrell is almost unrecognizable as a balding slob and some of the things Jennifer Aniston says might make you blush.

Still Playing at David Minor:

Bridesmaids:  Showing at 5:30 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday.  At 7:20 PM on Thursday-Sunday.

Everything Must Go:  Final showings at 7:45 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hanna:  Showing at 5:30 PM Tuesday and Wednesday.  At 9:40 PM Thursday-Sunday.

Fast Five:  Final showings at 9:30 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Submarine:  Showing at 7:45 PM Tuesday and Wednesday.  At 5:30 PM Thursday-Sunday.

— Ryan Beltram, EDN