THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS - Terry Gilliam's latest fantastical epic features Heath Ledger in his final role, with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell filling in for him in fantasy sequences - oh, and did we mention Tom Waits as the Devil!? Christopher Plummer of 'Back to the Future' fame is Dr. Parnassus, a traveling mountebank offering people entrance to a magical world where they must choose between good and evil. Ledger/Depp/Law/Farrell attempts to make the Doctor's ridiculed routine more modern.
IT'S COMPLICATED - Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep are a divorced couple who find themselves having an affair - with each other - ten years after their marriage has ended in this good-natured rom-com.
FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN - In 1975 Ireland, pro-England Ulster Freedom Fighter Alistair Little, age 16, kills a young Catholic man named James Griffin in front of Griffin's 10-year-old brother Joe. Thirty years later, Joe and Alistair (Liam Neeson) are set to meet on camera as part of a documentary about reconciliation in Northern Ireland. However, Joe does not intend to reconcile in this intense British drama.
35 SHOTS OF RUM - The latest from French director Claire Denis (BEAU TRAVAIL, CHOCOLAT) is about an African immigrant train conductor who lives with his college student daughter in a housing project near Paris. This father-daughter character study made quite a few top 10 lists for the decade.
DISGRACE - Based on the novel by South African author J.M. Coetzee. John Malkovich plays a poetry professor in post-apartheid Cape Town who pursues a mixed-race student against her will and loses his position. When his daughter is raped by three young black men in revenge, she refuses to press charges, instigating a morally complex drama.
DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM - Written by Luc Besson (THE FIFTH ELEMENT, LA FEMME NIKITA) this fun French action flick features the inventor of the martial art Parkour, which involves bouncing off of walls, building ledges, and pretty much anything else he can get his feet on, including other people. The plot concerns a team of vigilantes attempting to bring peace to a ghetto that is so chaotic that the government wants to nuke it off the map.
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE - Joan Allen plays the fiercely private artist and Jeremy Irons plays the man who convinced her to show her art to the world, photographer Alfred Steiglitz. When O'Keeffe's star threatens to eclipse his own, Steiglitz lashes out at her and drives her west, where she finds inspiration for her most well-known works.
TRANSYLMANIA - While studying abroad in Romania, some brainless American undergrads have to battle a vampire while attending to their more basic needs: trying to get high and hook up with European chicks.
DESCENT: PART 2 - Picks up where the acclaimed subterranean shocker left off.
UNKNOWN PASSAGE: THE DEAD MOON STORY - This documentary tells the oddly enchanting story of reclusive Portland psych-rock trio Dead Moon, formed in 1986 and so fiercely independent that they record in mono on vintage equipment and eschew CDs in favor of pressing their own vinyl. Husband and wife Fred and Toody Cole have been playing together since the 1960s, so this is a love story as well.
POSSIBLE FILMS VOL. 2: NEW SHORT FILMS BY HAL HARTLEY - The auteur behind 1990s independent classics like THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, SIMPLE MEN, and HENRY FOOL presents new short works on the theme of strangers in strange lands. Hartley is one of our Featured Directors.
And available for the first time, in our JUST ADDED section:
THE BARBARA STANWYCK COLLECTION BOX SET - Six rare films from one of Hollywood's most captivating leading ladies, equally at home in comedies (THE LADY EVE) and film noir (DOUBLE INDEMNITY). This box set includes 1937 crime drama INTERNES CAN'T TAKE MONEY, 1942 drama THE GREAT MAN'S LADY, 1942 comedy-of-errors THE BRIDE WORE BOOTS, 1949 drama THE LADY GAMBLES, 1953 scandal-ridden drama ALL I DESIRE, and 1956 romance THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW.
WHOLPHIN No. 10 – This new collection of 'rare and unseen' shorts and documentaries includes Natalie Portman's directorial debut, starring Lauren Bacall; Jonathan Demme's heartrending portrait of New Orleans, a surreal homage to a 1960s Christian television show for kids starring Todd Haynes; an unbelievable documentary about a Pentecostal minister who gets word from God that he will become the “Rolls Royce” of filmmaking; award-winning animation; films from Australia, Canada, and Singapore; and much more.
OPIUM AND THE KUNG FU MASTER - Martial arts legend Ti Lung (THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER) stars in this 1984 Shaw Brothers classic about a kung fu master wrecked by opium addiction. Director Tang Chia was schooled in martial arts by the Peking Opera, and this was his final film.
BEST OF THE NORTHWEST FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL VOLS. 29 & 31 – Collections of outstanding new short dramas, comedies, documentaries and animation from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia.