BIG BUDGET FILMS
Country Strong (PG-13 for sexuality, mature themes and alcohol abuse) Road flick about a fading country music star (Gwyneth Paltrow) whose marriage ends up in crisis after she and her husband (Tim McGraw) go out on tour with an up-and-coming singer/songwriter Garrett Hedlund) and a beauty queen (Leighton Meester) just breaking into the business.
Season of the Witch (PG-13 for violence, mature themes and disturbing content) Supernatural medieval fantasy set in the 14th Century and revolving around the exploits of a couple of knights (Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman) commanded by the Church to escort to a monastery the witch (Claire Foy) suspected of casting a spell causing the outbreak of the Black Plague.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Americatown (Unrated) Spoof about an idyllic suburban oasis whose peace is ruined by a spilled cup of coffee that sets in motion an unfortunate chain of events. Cast includes Jonathan Guggenheim, Cory Howard, Jon Stafford and Barbara Weetman.
Go Go Tales (Unrated) Screwball comedy, set at a cash-strapped strip club in Manhattan, where its beleaguered owner (Willem Dafoe), with the help of his accountant (Roy Dotrice) is doing his best to fend off his creditors, including dancers (Bianca Balti and Shanyn Leigh), his landlady (Sylvia Miles) and his own brother (Matthew Modine). With Bob Hoskins, Pras, Asia Argento and Burt Young.
If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about a juvenile delinquent (George Pistereanu) just a couple weeks from being paroled after serving four years in a youth correctional facility who, against his better judgment, impulsively decides to hold hostage the cute social worker (Ada Condeescu) he has a crush on. (In Romanian with subtitles)
Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune (Unrated) Reverential profile of Phil Ochs (1940-1976), a prolific folksinger and political firebrand whose incendiary anthems helped fuel the passion of antiwar and civil rights activists during the turbulent Sixties. Featuring appearances by Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Pete Seeger, Sean Penn, Peter Yarrow and Christopher Hitchens.
The Time That Remains (Unrated) Black comedy chronicling the creation of Israel from a Palestinian perspective, written by, directed by and starring Elia Suleiman who was inspired by the 1948 diaries of his father, a resistance fighter. With Saleh Bakri, Avi Kleinberger and Menashe Noy. (In Hebrew, Arabic and English with subtitles)
And don't miss the opening weekend of Portland's Northwest Film Center's Reel Music Festival with:
Coming Back for More (Unrated) Playing at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 at Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave. in Portland. Sly Stone, innovative founder of the seminal funk band Sly and the Family Stone, is a living legend—one of the '60s greats who created a brand new style of music, mixing soul, rock and roll, and psychedelia. Despite success and influence, a drugged-out Stone disappeared from the limelight in the '80s and became virtually untraceable. In 2002, director, musician, and fan Alkema began the hunt. Part exploration of the band's history and part search for its legendary frontman, COMING BACK FOR MORE is an intriguing look at the return of one of the most influential musicians of the last 50 years. For a full line-up of Reel Music Fest films, visit the NW Film Center. Click back to The Skanner next week for a full rundown of African American films featured at the festival, now in its 28th year.