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February 2nd, 2011 WW Film Staff | Screen
 

Rage vs. Lance Bangs

Portland filmmaking may induce vomiting.

screen_Rage_3713SPLATTER MATTERS: M.L. Maltz in Rage. - IMAGE: ragethemovie.net
     
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Rage

45 [ONE NIGHT ONLY] With eye-popping cinematography and a searing score, Rage ranks among the most richly produced local films in recent memory, but also among the most disappointing. Early on, director Christopher R. Witherspoon revs up the Hitchcockian paranoia as a down-on-his luck author (do they make them any other way?), played by Rick Crawford, is pursued by a faceless biker presumed to be the vengeful boyfriend of the French minx he’s diddling behind his sweet wife’s back. During road chases and nightmare interludes in catacomb-like garages, Witherspoon shows a flair for tension. Then, shifting on a dime, the film transforms into a slasher flick teetering on the brink of torture porn, and Rage loses its footing to the director’s urges to make things almost unbearably icky. Subtlety is tossed out the window in favor of chainsaw murders, a sadistically prolonged sexual assault and arterial blood sprays that compromise an otherwise slick exercise in dread. By the time the final twist comes completely out of the blue, it’s easier to mourn the death of the film’s minimalist tension than the fates of its characters. AP KRYZA. NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 3.

Laughter in the Breeze 1990-2010: A Selection of Films by Lance Bangs

BESTIES: Fred Armisen (left) and Lance Bangs.
Credits: lancebangs.com

70 [ONE NIGHT ONLY] Lance Bangs is most recognizable to a certain audience (here I am thinking of me, and possibly you) as the first cinematographer to vomit into a three-dimensional movie camera—repeatedly, throughout the filming of Jackass 3-D. This aspect of his career will probably be represented by some clip during the evening’s retrospective, though you should expect more of Bangs’ contributions as a music-video DP for now-iconic work from Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. The Portlander’s own directorial output tends toward the tangible and DIY (Look! It’s the Shins, screenprinting!), with an unmistakable weakness for small, cute things. (A short doc about the children peopling the set of Where the Wild Things Are is redeemed by the revelation, so hopeful for future generations, that Catherine Keener has a daughter who looks like a tiny Catherine Keener, with braces.) At its best, Bangs’ work is a catalog of every motor scooter and trampoline that has constituted a certain type of skateboard masculinity for the past two decades. AARON MESH. Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Friday, Feb. 4.

 
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