Weekend Watch List: Drive-In Classics, The Father, and More

The Best Movies Streaming and Playing in Portland Theaters: March 11-17, 2021
March 11, 2021
The Cinema Unbound Drive-In at Zidell Yards wraps up this weekend (along with its virtual Portland International Film Festival counterpart), capping off with David Lynch's cult-classic adaptation of the epic sci-fi Dune on Sunday. (Cinema Unbound)

If you're itching to take your bag o' bones to the movies in a masked-up and socially distanced manner, the in-person options in Portland are steadily growing‚ÄĒthis week brings screenings to Living Room Theaters Add to a List , CineMagic, the Moreland, and elsewhere, including the award-show darling The Father Add to a List . If you'd prefer to stay buoyed to your own personal screen, we've rounded up other picks hitting local and national streams this week, from Ephraim Asili's The Inheritance Add to a List to The Last Blockbuster Add to a List on Netflix, along with details on the final days of the¬†Portland International Film Festival Add to a List and its affiliated¬† Cinema Unbound Drive-In Add to a List , which is showing classics like The Iron Giant at Zidell Yards this weekend.

Jump to:  Locally Streaming: New & Noteworthy | In-Person | Other Golden Globe Nominees | Virtual Film Festivals | Nationally Streaming | Locally Streaming: Ongoing


The Inheritance Add to a List
Set almost entirely in a West Philadelphia house where a community of young Black artists and activists form a collective, Ephraim Asili's debut feature comes after his decade-long study of the many facets of the African diaspora and his own place within it. While most of the film is a scripted drama, it also weaves in documentary footage of the Philly liberation group MOVE, which was subject to a notorious police bombing in 1985.
Hollywood Theatre & Clinton Street Theater
Starting Friday

Sister Tempest Add to a List
While her new roommate's mysterious illness causes her to go on a cannibalistic killing spree, a woman's troubled relationship with her sister goes under an alien tribunal in this campy new sci-fi from director and illustrator Joe Badon.
Clinton Street Theater


Blithe Spirit
In hopes of curing his writer's block and, in turn, finishing his first screenplay and leaving London for Hollywood with his new wife in the roaring '20s, a best-selling crime novelist invites an eccentric mystic (Judy Dench) to perform a seŐĀance in his home. Unfortunately, the woman accidentally summons the spirit of the writer's fiery (and dead) ex-wife.¬†
Living Room Theaters

Cinema Unbound Drive-In Add to a List
The Portland International Film Festival Add to a List 's drive-in screenings will wrap up this weekend with back-to-back definitive classics: The Matrix (Thurs), The Neverending Story (Fri), The Iron Giant (Sat), and Dune (Sun).
Zidell Yards

Double-Feature: Stand By Me & Christine Add to a List
Rob Reiner's beloved coming-of-age film Stand By Me, adapted from the novella of the same name about a group of boys who discover a dead body during a summer outing in Oregon, will screen alongside John Carpenter's Christine in this Stephen King twofer.
99W Drive-In

The Father Add to a List
Praised by the New York Times as "stupendously effective and profoundly upsetting," Florian Zeller's drama stars Anthony Hopkins as a man who moves in with his daughter (Olivia Coleman) when his dementia renders him incapable of caring for himself.
Living Room Theaters
Starting Friday

Judas and the Black Messiah Add to a List
Shaka King's Judas and the Black Messiah, a favorite of this year's online Sundance Film Festival, stars Lakeith Stanfield as FBI informant William O' Neal and Daniel Kaluuya as Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton.
Living Room Theaters, Century Theaters, and HBO Max

Land Add to a List
A film doomed by convention, Land is a competent but boring look at one woman's venture into Wyoming's wilderness that fails to go in any exciting narrative directions. The "find yourself in nature" story has become a subgenre of its own, and Land plays into nearly all of its cliches. In this case, the character finding themselves is Edee and is played by Robin Wright in what is also her directorial debut. The last time audiences would have seen Wright was briefly in last year's misfire that was Wonder Woman 1984. Thankfully, there is something more interesting going on here, with Edee running from her past, though only barely. If this film were a meal, it would be the cans of beans Edee eats over and over. The story's most compelling part is how it frankly and frequently portrays Edee as a selfish and self-centered character, though it only scratches the surface of this characterization. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Living Room Theaters

There is so much to love about the sublime¬†Minari, the reasons why could fill a film of its own. So, forgive me if I'm a little effusive.¬†Taking place in 1980s Arkansas, it follows a Korean American family as they attempt to start a farm. It's alluded that they've previously worked somewhere in California and in Seattle, where they were making just enough of a living to get by. Now, the family has purchased land that no one else wants in a long shot at making their own Garden of Eden.¬†Jacob (Steven Yeun), the family's somewhat naive but caring patriarch, initially gives the farm the biblical name. It soon becomes clear that he is driving the family to take the leap of faith with him. There is Monica (Yeri Han), the justifiably worried matriarch, who must balance out her husband's dreams with keeping the family whole.¬†The film clearly comes from a personal place for writer and director Lee Isaac Chung, who delicately breathes life into every corner of the film. His down-to-earth story combines with visuals that are boldly full of wonder‚ÄĒfrom the rich reds, seen in the hat on actor Steven Yeun's head, to the tranquil greens of the natural world around them. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Living Room Theaters and Cinemagic (and streaming via Cinema 21, Hollywood Theatre, Northwest Film Center, and VOD)

Nomadland Add to a List
After the economic collapse of her company in rural Nevada during the recession, Fern (Frances McDormand) sets out across the West in her camper, guided by real-life nomads Linda May, Swankie, and Bob Wells.
Living Room Theaters and Hulu

Raya and the Last Dragon Add to a List
A teenage heroine embarks on an odyssey across Asia to restore a magical stone that, as magical stones are wont to do, has the power to reunite a fractured kingdom and save the world in the process.
Moreland Theatre


31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films Add to a List
This local film festival, which shows African films made by African filmmakers and encourages Western viewers to engage authentically with African cultures, will move online this year. The program, which lasts for over a month, includes buzzy new features like You Will Die at Twenty Add to a List  (Sudan’s first Oscar submission) and Sam Soko's Softie Add to a List , about a human-rights activist and provocative photojournalist who decides to run for office in a regional election in his native Kenya.

Portland International Film Festival Add to a List
In addition to the Cinema Unbound Add to a List drive-in screenings listed above, the Northwest Film Center's Portland International Film Festival Add to a List continues this week with a host of virtual screenings. Raya Martin's Death of Nintendo Add to a List , Skye Fitzgerald's documentary Hunger Ward Add to a List , and Mylissa Fitzsimmons's Everything in the End Add to a List  are just a few that The Mercury staff recommends Add to a List .


Bombay Rose Add to a List
A Muslim refugee falls in love with a Hindi girl escaping an arranged marriage and the pair plan to run away together, Bollywood-style, in this hand-painted animation from Gitanjali Rao (not to be confused with the child-prodigy inventor of the same name).

Genera+ion Add to a List
Euphoria is no longer HBO's only show about Zoomer teens. Produced by Lena Dunham and starring newcomers Chase Sui Wonders, Justice Smith, Uly Schlesinger, and Haley Sanchez, Genera+ion follows a group of high-schoolers as they explore love and sexuality in their conservative town.

The Last Blockbuster Add to a List
Bend, Oregon saw the last outpost of a once-booming business: video-rental stores. Ones where you could find the latest releases and pop them into your DVD player (or your Blu-ray player, if you're fancy) over bags of popcorn you could pick up at the check-out counter. Taylor Morden and Zeke Kamm's whimsical documentary The Last Blockbuster tells the story of the end of a franchise.
Starting Monday

Three Busy Debras: Season 1 Add to a List
Sandy Honig, Mitra Jouhari, and Anna Dokoza’s surreal Adult Swim comedy hitting HBO Max is the best news of the week. Watch Debra, Debra, and Debra go about their busy lives of brunching, murder, and interior decorating in Lemoncurd, Connecticut. 
Starting Saturday

Waffles + Mochi Add to a List
The Muppets meet Mister Rogers' Neighborhood meet everything else that is good in the world in this new kids' show about food and culture hosted by Michelle Obama. Waffles and Mochi are puppets!

Women Make Film Add to a List
The 14-hour documentary series¬†Women Make Film, from director Mark Cousins, explores the art of moviemaking and storytelling‚ÄĒthrough history and across the globe‚ÄĒentirely through the work of women filmmakers.
Criterion Channel


17 Blocks Add to a List
You can't take your eyes off 17 Blocks for even a second. The raw, home video footage documentary offers an intimate view into the lives of the Sanford-Durants, a Black family struggling to find joy and stability in Southeast Washington D.C. So many of the documentaries we watch now are slick mash-ups of stylized reenactments and moody voiceovers, assuring us that history can be mapped neatly into an orderly sequence. 17 Blocks makes no such tidy promises. Instead, gritty, endearing moments rush in: A pair of brothers, 14-year-old Smurf and nine-year-old Emmanuel, play basketball in a neighborhood park. A friend helps Emmanuel put a caucasian skin tone bandage over a scrape. Their mother, Cheryl, points at an old photo of herself and says "Isn't that a pretty girl right there?" "That's you!" Emmanuel shouts. "That's not me!" Cheryl says. Emmy-award-winning director Davy Rothbart stitched these moments together, alternating between powerful portraits of poverty and warm moments of the family persevering, and cheering one another on. But, like I said, if you look away for a moment you're bound to miss some important detail to the puzzle that is this family's history. What happened to them? Well, a lot of things happened to them. SUZETTE SMITH
Hollywood Theatre

I Blame Society
"Nobody wants you to make a movie as much as you want to make one yourself," says Gillian Wallace Horvat in her satirical low-budget faux documentary about a filmmaker who takes her nontraditional, female-driven murder plot into her own hands when male producers ignore it. She walks people through how she would commit the perfect murder, and in doing so walks the line between fiction and reality.
Clinton Street Theater & Cinema 21

The Changin' Times of Ike White Add to a List
Released in 1974, Changin' Times was the first commercial album recorded inside an American prison by an inmate, Ike White, who at 19 was sentenced to life for murder and eventually released under the endorsement of Stevie Wonder. This documentary delves into the R&B artist's life and unconventional career.
Hollywood Theatre

Collective Add to a List
An unflinching look at the investigative journalists of the Romanian newspaper¬†Gazeta Sporturilor,¬†Collective is a necessary examination of the corruption that can spread unchecked without a robust press to hold it accountable. It¬†takes place following the horrifying fatal 2015 fire at the Collectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania. The fire killed 27 people. Widespread government health care fraud, corruption, and greed on all levels would kill 37 more. The film shows footage of the initial fire itself, caused by a pyrotechnic effect that set alight soundproofing foam, and the chaos that ensued. It is a starkly terrible event, which only makes it more horrific that the aftermath saw more preventable death. When the fire was put out, the horror continued for the victims and their families. The focus of the documentary is journalists CńÉtńÉlin Tolontan, Mirela Neag, and RńÉzvan LuŇ£ac, who head up the team that blows the lid off the entire scandal. It is their reporting that shakes the country to its core. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Hollywood Theatre

Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
You know Shane MacGowan as the wild-toothed lead singer of the Irish punk-rock band the Pogues, but Julien Temple's documentary delves into the musician's story before achieving fame, highlighting his extensive knowledge of music. Variety classifies it "in the upper echelon of recent rock docs."
Hollywood Theatre

Days of The Bagnold Summer Add to a List
Based on Joff Winterhart's graphic novel of the same name, this coming-of-age story is about a single mom's plight to reconnect with her Metallica-loving son. Belle & Sebastian provide an original soundtrack.
Cinema 21

A Dog Called Money
On his reporting trips to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C., photojournalist Seamus Murphy was accompanied by none other than British punk-rock icon PJ Harvey, who used what she saw to record a live album whose recording sessions were open to the public. This music-filled documentary goes behind the scenes into the studio and the lives of the people the pair met on their journey. 
Clinton Street Theater & Cinema 21

Free Time Add to a List
For his latest work, the 88-year-old director¬†Manny Kirchheimer (Stations of the Elevated,¬†Dream of a City) restored 16mm footage that he and his friend Walter Hess (heard of him?) shot in New York between 1958 and 1960, which shows a different version of the city we're used to seeing‚ÄĒone filled with quiet "in-between moments" and architecture around the boroughs.
Cinema 21

Heartworn Highways Add to a List
In this 1976 gem of the music documentary canon, filmmaker James Szalapski travels to Texas and Tennessee in search of folk and bluegrass musicians who were rejecting the mainstream Nashville sound of the day. Think Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Steve Young, whose faces and songs all appear in the film.
Cinema 21 & Hollywood Theatre

Insert Coin
Praised as the "Sex Pistols of the video game industry," this documentary provides an oral history of a group of highly dedicated Chicagoan geeks who created some of the most iconic video games of our time, from Mortal Combat to NBA Jam. 
Hollywood Theatre

Love in Dangerous Times
Filmed and set in Portland during COVID, writer-director Jon Garcia's romantic comedy follows a playwright who, in the midst of struggling to finish a play (could this be its own genre? seems like it) gets in meaningful cahoots with a woman he matches with on a dating app. Dating during the pandemic is something many of us can relate to, and everyone goes about it differently, so this should be an interesting anthropological study.
Various platforms

MC Escher: Journey to Infinity Add to a List
The instantly recognizable and kaleidoscopic work of the Dutch graphic designer M.C. Escher floats throughout this documentary (voiced by British actor Stephen Fry), which also includes insights into the artist's life and ideas through his own diary entries, lectures, and correspondence.
Cinema 21

Mirror Add to a List
Andrei Tarkovsky's classic film traverses three generations of a poet’s family in 20th-century Russia, reflecting on both human memory and Russian history in what Cinema 21 calls a "hypnagogic hallucination." Don't miss a chance to see this brand-new restoration for a limited time.
Cinema 21

Monsoon Add to a List
Hong Khaou's latest film stars Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) as a Vietnamese-born Englishman who returns to Ho Chi Minh City for the first time since childhood to reconnect with his roots after the death of his mother. There, an online date with an American clothing designer (Southside With You's Parker Sawyers) turns into something more.
Cinema 21

Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte narrate William Greaves's long-lost, newly-restored film about the National Black Political Convention of 1972, where 10,000 black politicians, activists, and artists went to Gary, Indiana, to forge a national unity platform.
Hollywood Theater & Cinema 21

Night of the Kings Add to a List
A young man is sent to a prison in the middle of the Ivorian forest ruled by its inmates and, as tradition goes with the rising of the red moon, must tell a story to the other prisoners. Learning the tragic fate that awaits him if he fails to engage his audience until dawn, he settles on the mystical life of the legendary outlaw Zama King. Philip Lac√īte's Night of the Kings is this year's official Oscar submission from the Ivory Coast.¬†
Northwest Film Center

Psycho Goreman
Siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth millions of years ago after a failed attempt to destroy the universe. They nickname the evil creature Psycho Goreman (or "PG" for short) and use the magical amulet they discovered to force him to obey their childish whims.
Hollywood Theatre

Reunion Add to a List
In this psychological thriller, a pregnant woman returns home to her recently deceased grandparents' family home to spend time with her estranged mother (the terrific Julia Ormand). Creepy ghost children abound, it looks like!
Clinton Street Theater

Ruth Add to a List
While other RBG docs tend to cover the broad scope of the late Supreme Court Justice's life and career, this one focuses on how exactly she rose to her position out of law school‚ÄĒa brilliant feat considering the overrepresentation of conservative men on the Court and her passion for gender equality and women‚Äôs rights.
Cinema 21

Seventeen Add to a List
Made for PBS but cut before it aired, this doc took home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1985 for its frank look at a group of high school students and their forays into drugs, partying, and interracial dating in a largely white, largely racist Muncie, Indiana.
Hollywood Theatre

Silent Voices
Donna Hayes's new film Silent Voices centers nine people of color who have been killed by Portland Police over the years, with each character coming to life to tell their stories. As they speak, a chorus of words taken from comments posted online and news articles about their killings echo in the background.   
Open Signal

Sing Me a Song
Returning to one of the subjects of his 2013 drama Happiness, Thomas Balmès's new film follows a teenage boy studying in a monastery in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, where smartphones and other modern technology are beginning to compete with ancient practices. Zoomer that he is, the music-loving student strikes up a friendship with a singer on WeChat from the capital city of Thimphu, and he ends up selling medicinal mushrooms to raise enough money to meet her IRL. 
Cinema 21

Some Kind of Heaven Add to a List
Four residents of America's largest retirement facility (Florida's gated, palm tree-lined Villages) strive for happiness and meaning in this Lance Oppenheim doc co-produced by Darren Aronofsky.
Cinema 21 & Hollywood Theatre

Song Without a Name
The newborn baby of Georgina, an Indigenous Andean woman, is stolen from the clinic at which it was born and is never returned. When she's met with indifference by the Peruvian legal system, Georgina goes to a journalist, who uncovers an epidemic of fake clinics and abductions in 1980s Peru. Melina Leon's thriller is based on true events.
Clinton Street Theater

Twilight's Kiss (Suk Suk) Add to a List
Two closeted, married Chinese men meet in their twilight years and confide in their shared histories while contemplating a possible future together. "A story told with furtive glances and understated expressions, Suk Suk defies its potentially maudlin premise by bringing a pair of subtle and genuine performances out of its star," wrote Edmund Lee for the South China Morning Post. 
Cinema 21

Two of Us Add to a List
Longtime lesbian lovers Nina and Madeleine have been together for decades in secret, but their relationship is put to the test when something happens that limits their ability to move freely between each other's apartments. Filippo Meneghetti's debut feature is France's official 2021 Oscar submission.
Cinema 21 & Hollywood Theatre

World of Wong Kar-wai Add to a List
Let Chinese director Wong Kar-wai take you over with the sonically perfect, poetic, excruciatingly cool, often blood-soaked romantic time-jumpers and thrillers featured in this Janus Films series. It includes all his greatest hits from the late '80s to the early 2000s, including As Tears Go By, Days of Being Wild, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, The Hand, and his best-known works Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. With many of the same actors gracing the screen in each film, we have no doubt that taking in his entire oeuvre will feel like one long, wild ride in a singular universe.
Hollywood Theatre & Cinema 21

Zappa Add to a List
If 2016's Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words didn't quell your obsession with the zany, occasionally cringy, ultimately very talented late rocker Frank Zappa, bust open a jar of peanut butter (Zappa's favorite tour snack) and catch this new documentary from Alex Winter, aka the guy who stars alongside Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Hollywood Theatre and various platforms

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