<i>Furious</i> Debate

Furious Debate

Two critics go head-to-head over their differing perspectives on the Fast & Furious series
Scott Renshaw: As we approach what may or may not be the finale of this particular incarnation of the Fast & Furious series (review of the new Furious 7 was not available at press time), I wanted to try to wrap my head around why it's such a big deal to so many people. Because while vroom-vroom and boom-boom is always going to have a certain hard-core fan base, I struggle to understand how people think that this series has done those things particularly well.

Frenetic History

The Troubles of Northern Ireland come to life in the white-knuckle '71
Yann Demange's debut feature is a ferociously kinetic chase movie as well as a white-knuckle piece of profoundly moving (in every sense of the word) filmmaking, but a bit of background may be in order for American audiences. In 1971, Belfast wasn't on anyone's dream vacation-destination list, although it's not hard to imagine World's Most Dangerous Places author/adventurer/maniac Robert Young Pelton eying the Provisional Irish Republican Army stronghold and booking a flight.

Between the Bread

Deli Man gives us a colorful look at the Jewish delicatessen, but some fat could have been trimmed
The pastrami looks and tastes great in this loving documentary about Jewish delicatessens, but the meal would go down even better if some of the excess fat were trimmed. The anchor for this love song to the Jewish deli is Ziggy Gruber, a third-generation deli man who currently operates Kenny & Ziggy's in Houston, Texas.

Lock it Up

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart's buddy comedy Get Hard is too soft
You've got to wonder how Will Ferrell makes career choices. There have been great roles, ones that he's absolutely owned: in Zoolander, Elf, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, The LEGO Movie.

Suds and Cinema: The Big Lebowski


Dance Lessons

Ballet 422 takes you inside a world of dedication and beauty
In the gorgeous, glorious 2010 performance film NY Export: Opus Jazz, co-directed and shot by Jody Lee Lipes, Jerome Robbins' dance choreography was almost overshadowed by Lipes' camera movements ­— be they elegantly gliding, laying low to focus close-up on footwork, or spiriting high for a bird's-eye big picture. With the documentary Ballet 422, Lipes' first return to dance after notable narrative cinematography work (on HBO's Girls and the upcoming Trainwreck, among other projects), he's somewhat boxed himself into a corner with the cinema verité directive to capture the moment and keep out of the way.

Sequel Success

Insurgent is more creative than a lot of sci-fi — and that doesn't say a lot about today's movies
Is it convoluted, perhaps as a result of adhering too closely to the novel it's based on? Maybe.

Not So Golden

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a shadow of its predecessor
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is proof, if any were necessary, that sequelitis is rampant even among those rare films aimed at an elder demographic.


Cinderella finds a version of the Disney classic stripped of its charm
It's time for those of us who write about film to admit it: The war for Hollywood's soul is lost. It was lost a long time ago.

The Bad Kids

Envision a world where timeout is permanent in Mommy
Mommy bursts with so much frenzied, turbulent energy that it really only makes sense when looked at as the fifth feature film by a 25-year-old moviemaker. Québécois Xavier Dolan is one of those enfants terribles of the cinema, making and sometimes acting in films that court attention.

Robot Rock

Tired of aliens, Neill Blomkamp tries his hand with robots in Chappie
There's havoc in the streets near the start of Neill Blomkamp's third science fiction film, the follow-up to District 9 and Elysium. But it's soon brought under control by robotic cops.

Seashell Secrets

Song of the Sea is a beautiful story of siblings struggling to cope and understand each other
Five years ago Irish director Tomm Moore's debut film, The Secret of Kells, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In a déjà vu-like turn of events, the director's sophomore work, 2014's Song of the Sea, was also up for the same award, though this time arguably amidst a much deeper field that included Big Hero 6 (2015's Oscar winner), The Boxtrolls and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

Con Err

Focus mistakenly emphasizes romance over sleight of hand
If a real-world con game has to be meticulously constructed in order to work, a movie about con games — like Focus — has to be even more meticulously constructed. As Focus's professional con-man "hero" Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) informs his new would-be protégé, Jess (Margot Robbie), a successful con is all about diverting the attention of the "mark," and this is true of a movie con and its audience as well.

The Contenders

A look at this year's Oscar field
Even if the Academy decided not to utilize its maximum number of Best Picture nominees, this year's Oscars features one of the strongest fields in recent memory. There could easily be some upsets come Sunday, but here's how we think things will shape up.

Extreme and Compelling

Timbuktu vividly tackles the complexities of modern Islam
Given many people's tendency to think of all Muslims as the kinds of extremists willing to support religion-fueled attacks on innocents, the brilliant Timbuktu comes along at a perfect moment to elucidate the diversity of Islam, and the cultural battles happening within the religion. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars, Timbuktu combines stunning images of sub-Saharan Mali with simple but satisfying storytelling.

Hardly Gentlemanly

Kingsman is a spy movie that manages to defy its own mission
This is not a gentlemanly movie. Now, most movies are not very gentlemanly, and this isn't necessarily a problem — except, perhaps, to those of us who lament the passing of true gentlemanliness as a thing a man might aspire to.


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Weedeater, King Parrot, the Drip, Rasputin, Black Tracks

Weedeater, King Parrot, the Drip, Rasputin, Black Tracks @ Pinnacle Northwest

Thu., April 2, 7:30 p.m.

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