Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
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NEW THIS WEEK
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES When alien forces attack earth, and the worlds great cities begin to fall, the last bastion of human civilization (erm, L. A.?) becomes the site of the final showdown between Marine Sergeant Aaron Eckhart, his new platoon, and the alien invaders. Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, and Bridget Moynahan co-star for director Jonathan Liebesman. (PG-13) 117 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
A nine-year-old Earth boy (voice of Seth Green) develops a new appreciation for his mom when she's abducted by Martians and whisked off to the red planet, where her virtuoso mothering skills are more prized. Stowing away on a spacecraft, it's up to the boy, his tecno-geek friend, and a rebel Martian girl to get his mom back. Simon Wells directs this 3D Disney animated comedy. Dan Fogler, Mindy Sterling, Elisabeth Harnoism and Joan Cusack (as Mom) provide voices. (PG) 88 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
MY DOG TULIP Based on British author J. R. Ackerley's 1956 memoir about his longtime relationship with a rescued female German Shepherd, this is the first entirely hand-drawn and animated feature using paperless computer technology. Co-directors and animators Paul and Sandra Fierlinger use muted, painterly colors and expressionistic linework that are often exquisite (although they sometimes cheat with antic, but simpler black-and-white sketchpad sequences). The liveliness of Tulip and other dogs is beautifully rendered. If the book were fiction, it would be an asperity-laced satire about the inability of a curmudgeony Englishman to form a satisfying relationship with another human. But as memoir, it can be an off-putting portrait of a misanthrope unpleasantly fixated on his dog's anal and sexual habits. (His misguided determination to mate Tulip, with no thought for the consequences, is particularly irresponsible.) Christopher Plummer and the late Lynn Redgrave provide the human voices. (Not rated) 83 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Director Catherine Hardwicke (the first Twilight movie) goes back to the realm of romantic teen fantasy with this update of the fairy tale, involving a beautiful girl on the brink of womanhood, and a brooding werewolf. Amanda Seyfried, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, and Gary Oldman star. (PG-13) 98 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Movie Times 3/11–3/17
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
Mars Needs Moms in Digital 3D 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, + Sat, Sun 11am
Mars Needs Moms 2D 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, + Sat, Sun Noon
The King’s Speech 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:30
Alien Friday and Saturday at Midnight
Nora’s Will 2:40, 4:40, 6:45, 9
Black Swan 4:10, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 11am
Cedar Rapids 1, 3, 5, 7, 8:50, +Sat, Sun 11:10am
The Illusionist 12:50 + Sat, Sun 11am
My Dog Tulip 1:40, 3:30, 5:20, 7:15, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:50am
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The King’s Speech 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:30
Red Riding Hood 2:40, 4:45, 6:50, 9, + Sat, Sun 12:40
Some Like it Hot Saturday & Sunday Weekend Matinee Classic 10:30am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Mars Needs Moms in Dolby Digital 3D 1, 3, 7, + Sat, Sun 11am
Mars Needs Moms in 2D 5:05, 9:05
Battle: Los Angeles 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11:05
Red Riding Hood 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:30 +Sat, Sun 11am
Hall Pass 3:15, 7:30, 9:30
Unknown 3:10, 7:20, 9:30
The Adjustment Bureau 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
Take Me Home Tonight 1:05, 5:15 + Sat, Sun 11am
Beastly 1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
Gnomeo and Juliet in 35mm 1:15, 5:15 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Rango 1:15, 4, 7, 9:15 +Sat, Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Battle: Los Angeles 11:20am, 2, 4:40, 7:20, 10 + Mon- Thur no 11:20am
Rango 11:10am, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Mon- Thur no 11:10am
Mars Needs Moms 11am, 1, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30, 9:40 + Mon- Thur no 11am
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rango 11:10am, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:30
Battle: Los Angeles 11:20am, 2, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10
The Adjustment Bureau 11:45am, 2:15, 4:40, 7:15, 9:45
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Carmen 3D Sat 3/12 3 Tues 3/15 7
L.A. Philharmonic Live: Dudamel Conducts Tchaikovsky Sun 3/13 2
Iphigenie En Tauride Met Opera Encore Wed 3/16 6:30
Battle: Los Angeles 12:45, 1:25, 3:30, 4:10, 6:30, 7:10, 9:20, 9:55
Red Riding Hood 11:45am, 2:15, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10 + Mon- Thur no 11:45am
Rango 11:15am, 1:50, 4:25, 7, 9:35 + Mon- Thur no 11:15am \
Take Me Home Tonight 12:15, 2:35, 4:55, 7:20, 10 + Mon-Thur no 12:15
Beastly 1:10, 3:20, 5:25, 7:40, 9:45
Hall Pass 12:05, 2:30, 5:10, 7:45, 10:15 + Mon- Thur no 12:05
Gnomeo and Juliet 3D Noon, 2:20, 4:35, 6:45, 9 + Sat no 2:20 Mon-Thur no Noon
I Am Number Four 1:35, 4:05, 6:50, 9:30 + Sun no 1:35, 4:05
Easy Rider Flashback Feature Thur 3/17 8
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
The Adjustment Bureau 1:15, 4:15, 7, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 1:15
Unknown 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:25 + Mon – Thurs no 12:45
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: ALIEN The breathtaking visual textures of director Ridley Scott and the deadpan storytelling of sci-fi junkie Dan O'Bannon make this lost-in-space thriller one of the classiest, scariest B-movies ever made. Illustrator H.R. Giger's alien monster itself is the most perverse, paranoid nightmare ever put onscreen. (R) 117 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
CONTINUING SERIES: WEEKEND MATINEE CLASSICS AT APTOS CINEMA If you've only ever seen them on TV, don't miss this series of classic movie matinees unspooling each weekend at Aptos Cinema. This week: SOME LIKE IT HOT The original Bosom Buddies, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, suit up in drag in this classic 1959 Billy Wilder comedy. As accidental witnesses to a mob slaying on the lam in the Roaring '20s, they join an all-girl jazz combo—and spend the rest of the movie trying to keep their paws off bandmate Marilyn Monroe so as not to blow their cover. George Raft and Joe E. Brown co-star. (Not rated) 120 minutes. Sat-Sun matinee only, 11 a.m. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.
CONTINUING SERIES: FLASHBACK FEATURES Oldies and goodies on Thursday nights at the Cinema 9, presented by your genial host, Joe Ferrara. $5 gets you in. This week: THE GODFATHER Marlon Brando creates an indelible movie icon as mafioso crime boss Don Vito Corleone, the dark heart at the center of Francis Ford Coppola's vivid and bloody 1972 saga of power, vengeance, business, and Italian-American social history. (R) 177 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight (Thursday) only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.
CONTINUING SERIES: THE MET: LIVE IN HD AT THE CINEMA 9 ENCORE: IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE Susan Graham, Placido Domingo and Paul Groves star in this Gluck opera based on the Greek myth of Iphegenia, staged by Stephn Wadsworth. Maestro Patrick Summers conducts. ENCORE: Wednesday, March 16th, 6:30 p.m.
CONTINUING EVENT: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES This informal movie discussion group meets at the Del Mar mezzanine in downtown Santa Cruz. Movie junkies are invited to join in on Wednesday nights to discuss current flicks with a rotating series of guest moderators. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU Matt Damon learns the ugly truth about fate in this action thriller about a rising young politician who falls in love with the wrong woman and finds himself on the run from the mysterious shadow organization in charge of maintaining the illusion of our perceived reality. Emily Blunt and Terence Stamp co-star for director George Nolfi. Based on a Philip K.Dick short story. (PG-13)
ANOTHER YEAR Mike Leigh's absolutely wonderful new film unfolds during the changing seasons of a single year, as time inevitably marches on. Sly, scruffy, robust Jim Broadbent and compassionate earth-mother Ruth Sheen play a long and happily married couple. Delicate tension is wrought from the desperation with which their aging, less fortunate friends are lured to the nurturing flame of their happiness and stability. Lesley Manville gives a fearless and devastating performance as a lonely divorcee with a demeanor of brittle perkiness who keeps pushing the boundaries, desperately trying to upgrade from work mate to surrogate family status. Leigh famously workshops his story ideas with his casts to arrive at a script, and there's not a false syllable in the entire movie; every frame has the ache and vitality of real life. Despite the wistful melancholy of its theme, this is a delicious, savvy, and resonant film, peppered with irreverent wit and real feeling. Do not miss it. (PG-13) 129 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. (Read a longer review at ljo-express.blogspot.com)
BARNEY'S VERSION Paul Giamatti so wonderfully inhabits his character here and deserves the Golden Globe he nabbed for it. Based on Mordecail Richler's winning novel, Giamatti morphs into a self-involved TV producer here whose penchant for drinking (too much) and womanizing doesn’t quite make him an ideal catch. But fate is kind to this anti-hero and delivers to him the woman of his dreams—Rosamund Pike in a stunning, graceful performance that so beautifully illuminates what “loving” somebody actually looks like. Barney doesn’t realize it, but he’s been given a gift from the Gods with his new love in that it presents him with the possibility to leap—let’s make that crawl—out of his narcissistic way of being and actually care about something, and somebody, other than himself? Can he do it? One of the smartest, well written films to come along in quite a while. Minnie Driver, and Rachel Lefevre star as ex-wives here; Dustin Hoffman co-stars as Barney’s father. Richard J. Lewis directs. (R) 132 minutes. Stats Friday. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
BEASTLY In this modern riff on Beauty and the Beast, Alex Pettyfer stars as the most handsome, popular, and arrogant boy in high school who's turned into a scarred, bald-headed freak by a wicca-practicing classmate after he humiliates her. Vanessa Hudgens is the nice girl who might be able to break the curse if he can earn her love. Director Daniel Barnz adapted the script from the Alex Flinn YA novel. (PG-13)
BIUTIFUL The wonderful Javier Bardem gives a performance of furious grace as a man clawing a living out of the urban underbelly of Barcelona who discovers he has only a short time left to straighten out his messy life for the sake of his beloved children. Brooding and heartfelt, this is a dark, often despairing vision of life on the fringe from the always provocative Alejandro González Iñárritu, yet infused throughout with tenderness, compassion, and a sense of spiritual redemption. The determination of Bardem's character to cling to his better nature aginst all odds becomes profound in this haunting, deeply layered film. (R) 148 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
BLACK SWAN Haunting, hypnotic, sexy. Natalie Portman, who nabbed a Golden Globe for her career-defining role here plays an eager ballerina—tough on the outside, fragile on the inside. After landing the prime role of the Swan Queen in a re-imagined production of “Swan Lake,” Nina soon grows suspcious of what’s unfolding around her. Is her fellow ballerina (Mila Kunis) after her role? Watch for how well directer Darren Aronofsky uses these brilliant talents (Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel and Winona Ryder) among them) to craft one of the year’s best—a gripping psycho-sexual thriller that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. (R) 110 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
CEDAR RAPIDS A fantastic surprise. Newcomer Ed Helms shines in an indie comedy you can’t help but enjoy—it turned heads at Sundance. Helms plays a naive small-town insurance agent sent by his company to a big convention in Iowa. Like a fish out of water, he’s bedazzled–and bemused—by all the “glitter” of such a “big city” lilke ... Cedar Rapids. The convention is full of jaded old pros, played by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. Sigourney Weaver also stars. Miguel Arteta directs. (R) 86 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
DRIVE ANGRY 3D There's this tough guy, see (Nicolas Cage, who else?), who breaks out of Hell to avenge his daughter's murder and save her baby from becoming a cult sacrifice, but a demon from Hell is after him, and Amber Heard is a sexy cocktail waitress, with a cherry-red muscle car, and...oh, I'm sorry, I can't even type this with a straight face. Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine) directs. (R) 104 minutes. Starts Friday.
GNOMEO AND JULIET The most enduring love story of all time, enacted by...garden gnomes? That's the plan in this animated Disney family comedy. (G)
HALL PASS Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis star in this comedy about a couple of restless guys whose wives give them one week "off" from fidelity.. (R) Starts Friday.
I AM NUMBER FOUR Alex Pettyfer stars in this sci-fi thriller as a teenager with disturbing special powers on the run.. (PG-13) 110 minutes.
THE ILLUSIONIST Sylvain Chomet's lovingly hand-drawn animated feature is an artifact of another era. With the look of old-school cel animation in which every frame is a mini work of art, its subject is the bygone era of postwar vaudeville in a story adapted from an unproduced script written decades ago by Jacques Tati. That it's told almost without dialogue (sound and music, yes, but few discernible words) adds much to its wistful whimsy and charm. (PG) 80 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
THE FIGHTER Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg turn in surprisingly good performances in this fact-based boxing saga, based on a true story. The duo play half brothers Dicky Ecklund and Micky Ward in a working-class town. Walberg is the fighter everybody roots for but can’t seem to make it on his own without his family meddling. Bale delivers another career defining performance as the druggie brother everybody hoped would have succeeded more after a stellar boxing win. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (terrific as the brothers' controlling mom) co-star. Directed by David O. Russell. (R) 114 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
THE HOUSEMAID In this South Korean thriller, a woman in her late 30s is forced to accept work as a housemaid for an upper-class family, where the attentions of her new master launch a dire chain of events. Sang-soo Im directs. (Not rated)
106 minutes, In Korean with English subtitles.
THE KING'S SPEECH And the Oscar goes to this juicy and rewarding true story about an accidental monarch struggling to conquer a private affliction that makes public life a nightmare. Director Tom Hooper also won gold, along with the formidable Colin Firth as the prince who will be George VI, cursed with a crippling stammer just when the nation needs a strong, confident leader. Geoffrey Rush is great as his eccentric speech therapist; the marvelous Helena Bonham Carter leads a Who's Who of splendid British thesps in supporting roles. (R) 118 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER You've seen the videos. Now see the teenage You Tube phenomenon on the big screen (in 3D, yet). (G).
NORA'S WILL (5 DIAS SIN NORA) This engrossing, thoroughly engaging little tone poem from Mexican writer-director Mariana Chenillo begins with a suicide, and explores the unexpected process of absolution that follows when her disgruntled ex and loved ones gather for the wake. Intricate, yet simple in design, and laced with deliciously dry humor, the plot of this low-key meditation on love, loss, and family ties teeters on the edge of black comedy, but never veers into satire. Chenillo brings off this tender mood piece with skill and delicacy. (Not rated) 92 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
RANGO Reviewed this issue. (PG) 107 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT '80s nostalgia fuels this comedy about a young MIT grad postponing adulthood with a job in a video store who's invited to what may be the last epic party of his youth in the summer of 1988. Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, and a killer '80s soundtrack co-star for director Michael Dowse. (R) 97 minutes.
TRUE GRIT The Coen Brothers reimagine the old John Wayne western as a vehicle for Jeff Bridges. He plays broken-down, one-eyed U. S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, hired by a determined 14-year-old girl to track down the villain (Josh Brolin) who killed her father. Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger on the trail of the same scoundrel. Hailee Steinfeld plays the justice-minded young girl. (PG-13) 110 minutes. (★★★1/2)
UNKNOWN Liam Neeson stands out in this surprisingly good thriller. The lowdown: Neeson is a doc on vacation in Berlin who's injured in a car crash. He wakes up to find that his wife doesn't recognize him. Worse—another guy has taken his place. Watch how well the drama unfolds afterward, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, and January Jones co-star... (PG-13) 113 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
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