C O U R T E S Y O F WA R N E R B R O S . MOVIES BLADE RUNNER 2049 Editor: SHANNON GORMLEY. TO BE CONSIDERED FOR LISTINGS, send screening information at least two weeks in advance to Screen, WW, 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210. Email: email@example.com. Fax: 243-1115. : This movie sucks, don’t watch it. : This movie is entertaining but flawed. : This movie is good. We recommend you watch it. : This movie is excellent, one of the best of the year. NOW PLAYING Blade Runner 2049 Thirty years from where the original Blade Runner left off, Los Angeles is still an opulently grimey sprawl cloaked in endless rain. In director Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir master- piece, the Tyrell Corporation has been replaced by the Wallace Corporation, which has figured out how to manu- facture subservient replicants that don’t stage bloody mutanies. The older models of synthetic humans are illegal, and it’s still the job of blade runners like K (Ryan Gosling) to hunt them down. But the flimsy social order of humans over replicants becomes threatened by something K discovers at a protein farm. What he finds there leads him on an odyssey through gorgeous wide shots of deserted metropolises coated in sun- baked dust, a shootout strobe lit by a malfunctioning Elvis hologram and eventually to Harrison Ford’s gruff Rick Deckard. With an overwhelm- ing dissonant, bassy score by Hans Zimmer, 2049 looks and sounds spec- tacular. But 2049 wants to be more than just visually stunning. It’s full of dramatic one-liners and existential musings, and dotted with literary ref- erences. As a testament to the influ- ence of the original, there isn’t much 2049 has to add about how technol- ogy blurs our sense of self and soul. Still, it has its own moments of beau- tifully rendered longing. Gosling’s lone-wolf stoicism is more kicked puppy than hardened self-reliance, and we meet Ana (Carla Juri), who manufactures memories for replicants in the small, sterile room she’s been confined to since the age of eight. But 2049 seems less concerned with tiny moments of emotion than big reveals from a twisty plot that seems to define 2049’s imaginative boundar- ies rather than expand them. Still, it’s one hell of a spectacle. R. SHANNON GORMLEY. Bagdad, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Living Room, Lloyd Center, Moreland, Milwaukie, Tigard, 42 My Little Pony: The Movie Much has changed in Equestria since a string of pastel centauresses first cantered into theaters. The 1986 original incarnation of My Little Pony: The Movie was a hastily assembled, C-lister-voiced historic flop that’s unrecognizable from the glossy new release. Zoe Saldana voices a pirate parrot, there’s con cat Taye Diggs, seapony Kristin Chenoworth. Sia not only wrote an original song for the movie, but also voices the character Songbird Serenade. The ponies’ sig- nature visual style has evolved into something like Lisa Frank anime—a swirling pinkish, purply miasma of flattened expressiveness. The under- lying mythology has expanded, too. A benevolent monarchy supports the twinkly adventures of Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and other Mane Six principals. There’s an obvious tot appeal for the inane, song-drenched quest of Twilight and pals to defend their homeland against the Storm King (Liev Schreiber) and his broken- horned hench-unicorn (Emily Blunt). But MLPTM creators are all too aware they now serve two masters. However kid-friendly the daft plot, its dialogue has been sharpened for a much older, far bitchier clientele. The taint of bro- nyism hangs heavy over each knowing aside and attempted clever refer- ence. The constant stream of Reddit- baiting badinage can’t help but curdle the surrounding ethos of friendship, sparkles and everything nice. PG. JAY HORTON. Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Divison, Eastport, Pioneer Place. STILL SHOWING American Made American Made is like a black- market Forrest Gump—just slick and loose enough to outweigh its his- torical foolishness. It tells the hyper- bolized story of pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), who flew covert smuggling missions for the CIA and Medellín drug cartel in the early ’80s. R. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center, Eastport. Willamette Week OCTOBER 11, 2017 wweek.com Atomic Blonde Dunkirk Stronger An adaptation of the Oni Press graphic novel Coldest City, Atomic Blonde depicts Berlin at the Cold War’s last gasp. Charlize Theron plays a British secret agent set to meet up with James McAvoy’s rogue operative and rescue a vital infor- mant from East Germany. Even with the playfully stylized flourishes teasing coherency from a point- lessly complicated narrative, the film has a giddy devotion to its own daft momentum. R. JAY HORTON. Academy, Vancouver. In Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. we get to follow a few soldiers and pilots and civilians at sea, but they’re more like stand-ins for the other 400,000 like them marooned on the beach or assisting in the rescue effort. That’s fine, though. This movie doesn’t really need characters, and wasting time on distracting details like what’s waiting at home for these boys would only slow down the headlong pacing of the operation. I don’t think this film will win Best Picture at next year’s Oscars, but it’s a shoo-in a handful of technical nom- inations. PG-13. R. MITCHELL MILLER. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Fox Tower, Hollywood, Lloyd, Tigard. Most movies described as “inspirational” practically beg to be dimissed as manipulative feel- goodery. Yet this biopic of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) resists the allure of the triumph-over-adversity cliches that would have doomed it. R. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Clackamas, Fox Tower. Baby Driver It takes a scant five minutes for Baby Driver to feel like one of the best car-chase films of all time. At the wheel is Baby (Ansel Elgort, whose face really sells the “Baby” business), who combats his tinni- tus by constantly pumping tunes through his earbuds. Every sequence plays out perfectly to the music in Baby’s ears, whether it’s the rat-a-tat of gunfire punctuating the snare on an old funk track or clashing metal with the cymbal smashes on classic- rock oddities. It’s hysterically funny, but not a straight comedy. It’s often touching, but seldom cloying. It’s the hyper-stylish car chase opera the world deserves. R. AP KRYZA. Academy, Laurelhurst, Fox Tower. Battle of the Sexes Battle of the Sexes had every excuse to be a straightforward biopic. It retells the epic 1973 tennis match between rising women’s tennis star Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and aging legend Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), who pub- licly proclaimed he could beat King because she is a woman and he is a man. It’s already an epic premise that could have just piggybacked on the current marketability of #femi- nism and Emma Stone’s post-La La Land high. But it goes further, cre- ating multidimensional characters and taking a nuanced look at gender dynamics in the ’70s. It’s a moment in history worth retelling, and Battle of the Sexes offers a lot more than the satisfaction of poking fun at old, rich, white men of the sports elite. PG-13. LAUREN TERRY. Bridgeport, Casacade, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Eastport, Living Room, Lloyd Center. Logan Lucky In his comeback heist film, Steven Soderbergh seems actively disinterested in challenging his legacy. This story of a supposedly cursed West Virginia family, The Logans, ripping off the Charlotte Motor Speedway, nickname them- selves “Ocean’s 7-11” on an in-movie newscast. As the Logan brothers, Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, are laconic and weatherbeaten, gentle roughnecks who need a win in this life. And as explosives expert Joe Bang, Daniel Craig’s brilliance is in appearing like a maniac but never detonating. Soderbergh is perhaps Hollywood’s finest technician, and it’s a pleasure to watch him tour his Vegas act through Appalachia. PG-13. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Bridgeport, Cascade, Fox Tower. Mother! In his new psychological thriller, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky continues to be extra. Mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple living in a secluded house. Bardem (listed as “Him” in the credits) is a writer strug- gling to complete a follow-up to a revered work. Aronofsky surrounds Mother with unnerving, blood- themed imagery. Soon mobs of people, for whom “personal space” is a foreign concept, are swarming the house. For a while, it works simply as exercise in anxiety. But the last third of the movie drops into heavy- handed metaphor. Rendering the Struggles of the Artist into an exhibi- tionist nightmare is an exercise only the Artist could love. But man, what a nightmare. R. Clackamas, Living Room, Lloyd, Tigard. Victoria & Abdul Even the power of Judi Dench’s fearsome gaze isn’t enough to redeem Victoria & Abdul, a white- savior fantasy from director Stephen Frears (Philomena, The Queen). At the center of the plot is Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), an Indian prison clerk who travels to England to present Queen Victoria (Dench, who also played Queen Victoria in 1997’s Mrs Brown) with a ceremonial coin. Abdul beguiles Victoria, who promotes him from servant to teacher—much to the consternation of racists like her son Bertie (Eddie Izzard). We’re meant to be deeply moved whenever Victoria defends Abdul by shaming Bertie and his xenophobia, yet we learn little of Abdul’s life, family or person- ality. Instead, the film uses him as a means for Victoria to prove her nobil- ity. It’s meant to be a tender story of an unlikely friendship, but it’s hardly about friendship at all. PG-13. BENNETT CAMPBELL FERGUSON. Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, Clackamas, City Center, Fox Tower. Woodshock Woodshock is a dark and dreamy ode to the Redwoods and the weird shit that happens in rural California. Kirsten Dunst stars as Theresa, a spacey medical dispensary employee who laces a few grams of shwaggy cannabis before rolling up a deadly joint for her terminally ill mother. Theresa is no stranger to this spiked concoction—the film is interspersed with flashbacks of her stumbling through the woods in a silk night- gown. The pain of grieving her mother draws her toward a halluci- natory escape, and sober moments become fewer and further between. Aesthetics aside, time spent during lengthy shots of Dunst trailing her fingers around redwood trunks could’ve better served to flesh out the rest of the characters. It’s more fever dream than thriller, but per- mafry has never looked prettier. R. LAUREN TERRY. Fox Tower.