Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
NEW THIS WEEK
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES The original cast is back in place for this second installment of the series based on the illustrated novels of Jeff Kinney. Zachary Gordon returns as the adolescent hero, back in middle school and coping with all the usual suspects—including an older brother (Devon Bostwick) who’s blackmailing him to do his bidding. Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, and Steve Zahn co-star for incoming director David Bowers. (PG) Starts Friday.
OF GODS AND MEN Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 122 minutes. In French with English subtitles. (★★★) Starts Friday.
SUCKER PUNCH Expect anything and everything (giants, dragons, samurai swordsmen, girls in chains) in this pastiche of fantasy/noir/graphic novel-ist themes from monochromatic pulp director Zack Snyder (300; The Watchmen). Emily Browning stars as a nubile young woman locked in a mental institution by her evil stepfather who rallies a posse of like-minded, kick-ass gals to mentally alter their reality, perform epic quests, and free themselves. Or something. Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Carla Guigino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, and Scott Glenn all get caught up in the whirlwind. (PG-13) 120 minutes. Starts Friday.
THE TEMPEST A dream cast, a marvelously rugged locale in the Hawaiian Islands, one of the most durable and enticing works in all of Shakespeare’s canon (with a sly, feminist twist), and the inimitable touch of visionary director Julie Taymor: what could possibly go wrong with The Tempest? The answer is, not much, in Taymor’s long-awaited screen version of Shakespeare’s most wistful, magical, and elegiac final play. If some parts bump along, if the film as a whole offers less of the sheer visual rapture-per-frame than her masterful debut feature, Titus, still, this is vintage Taymor, necessary viewing for anyone following her remarkable career. The mighty Helen Mirren offers a finely-tuned performance of wrath, hubris, and reclaimed humanity as a gender-bent “Prospera.” (PG-13) 110 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. (Read a longer review at ljo-express.blogspot.com/) Starts Friday.
Movie Times 3/25–4/1
DEL MAR THEATRE 469-3220
Even the Rain (Spanish with English subtitles) 2:50, 5, 7:10, 9:20
The Tempest 2:10, 4:30, 6:50, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 11:50am
Mars Needs Moms 2D 1 + Sat, Sun 11am
The King’s Speech 1:40, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Independence Day Friday & Saturday night Midnight Showings – Midnight
Nora’s Will 4:20, 9 + Sat, Sun 11am
Black Swan 1:20, 9:20
Cedar Rapids 1, 3, 5, 7, 8:50 + Sat, Sun 11am
Barney’s Version 1:20, 6:20
Biutiful 3:40, 6:30
Of Gods and Men 1:40, 4:10, 6:40, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Lincoln Lawyer 1, 3:30, 6, 8:30
The King’s Speech 1:30, 4, 6:30, 8:50
Blazing Saddles Saturday & Sunday Weekend Matinee Classic 11am
GREEN VALLEY CINEMA 8 761-8200
Limitless 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Paul 1:10, 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Lincoln Lawyer 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
Mars Needs Moms in Dolby Digital 3D 1, 3, 5:05 + Sat, Sun 11am
Battle: Los Angeles 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11:05
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules 1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
I am Number Four 7:05, 9:20
Sucker Punch 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Rango 1:15, 4, 7, 9:15 +Sat, Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sun no 9:20, Mon- Thurs no 11:30am, 2
Rango 11:40am, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Mon - Thurs no 11:40am
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rango 11:20am, 2, 4:20, 7, 9:30
Sucker Punch 11:45, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10:10
The Adjustment Bureau 11:30, 2:10, 4:40, 7:15, 9:45
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
The Professional Flashback Feature Thur 3/24 8
Carmen 3D Sat 3/26 1
My Run Premier Event 7
Source Code 3/31 12:01am
Insidious 3/31 12:01 AM
Sucker Punch On 2 Screens 12:30, 1:30, 3:50, 4:20, 6:40, 7:15, 9:35, 10:05 + Mon - Thur no 12:30
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 11:15am, 1:45, 4:10, 7, 9:20 + Mon-Thur no 11:15am
Paul Noon, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45, 10:25 + Mon-Thur no noon
Lincoln Lawyer 11:30am, 2:05, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10 + Mon-Wed no 11:30am
Battle: Los Angeles 1, 3:45, 7:40, 10:20
Red Riding Hood 11:45am, 2:15, 4:50, 7:25, 9:45 + Sat no 11:45am, 2:15 Mon-Thur no 11:45am
Rango 11am, 1:35, 4:05, 6:50, 9:25 + Mon-Thur no 11am
Beastly 7:55, 9:55
Gnomeo and Juliet 3D 12:15, 2:20, 4:35, + Mon-Thur no 12:15
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Limitless 1:15, 4:15, 7, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 1:15
The Adjustment Bureau 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:25 + Mon – Thurs no 12:45
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED The non-fiction book, “The Last Hippie” by Dr. Oliver Sacks, M. D. (“Awakenings”) is the basis for this family drama about a father and son trying to reach each other through music. Estranged from his family for 20 years, Lou Taylor Pucci plays the brain-damaged, nearly catatonic son who thinks it’s still 1968. J.K. Simmons plays the father who teaches himself to embrace the music of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Stones, and the Grateful Dead as a way to reconnect with his son. Julia Ormond co-stars as the music therapist who guides them on their journey. Jim Kohlberg directs. (PG) 105 minutes. Sneak preview tonight only (March 24), 7 p.m., at the Nickelodeon.
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: INDEPENDENCE DAY Strap yourself in for this biggest, noisiest, most ambitious, most expensive, most paranoid B-movie ever made about alien invasion. Wise-guy fighter pilot Will Smith, embattled Prez Bill Pullman, nutball crop duster Randy Quaid, dotty UFO researcher Brent Spiner, and the wonderfully weird Jeff Goldblum, as the world’s sexiest computer geek, highlight Roland Emmerich’s 1996 sci-fi blast-em-up. (PG-13) 145 minutes. (HHH)—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: BLAZING SADDLES In Mel Brooks’ looney-tunes 1974 spoof of Hollywood westerns, Cleavon Little plays the new black sheriff in town, Gene Wilder is his soused gunslinger sidekick, Madeline Kahn channels Marlene Dietrich as the sexy saloon singer (“A wed wose—how womantic!”), and Harvey Korman is the rich rancher villain. Weird, wacky fun. (R) 93 minutes. (HHH) 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: AMERICAN GRAFFITI Ain’t he neat? George Lucas launches his mainstream movie career with a bullet in this nostalgic 1973 ode to the end of ‘50s teen culture—specifically, the last night of cruising for a handful of kids on the last summer night of 1962 before many of them depart for college. Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Charles Martin Smith, and a soundtrack bursting with vintage oldies (spun by none other than Wolfman Jack) are the stars. An embryonic Harrison Ford pops up in a small, pivotal role. (PG) 110 minutes. (HHHH)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight (Thursday) only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.
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 Something needs adjustment in this promising film starring Matt Damon, who plays a politico who discovers learns the “truth” of fate in an action thriller that doesn’t always hit the mark. Damon’s up-and-rising politician falls in love with the “wrong” woman and finds himself on the run from the “bureau”—angels in suits, more or less. That they’re all men is a bit dated, but hey, for a reboot of a Philip K.Dick short story, there’s enough to savor here—then ponder afterward. (PG-13) (★★1/2) Greg Archer
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
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.
BEASTLY This modern update of Beauty and the Beast (directed by Danial Barnz, from Alex Flinn’s YA novel) earns points for suggesting its rich, handsome, popular high school hero (Alex Pettyfer) is justly cursed with physical beastliness as punishment for his cruelty and arrogance. But the transformation isn’t stark enough (bald, some rad tattoos and painted-on scars; his body is exactly the same). His campaign to win the love of nice-girl Vanessa Hudgens never seems like more than self-interest to lift his curse, and, besides, he gets pointers all along the way from his tutor (a very funny Neil Patrick Harris) and housekeeper, explaining insights he ought to be learning for himself, so neither the romantic nor coming-of-age elements ever really work. (PG-13) 86 minutes. (★★) 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
EVEN THE RAIN History repeats itself in alarming, ironic, and yet inevitable ways in this adroit Spanish drama. Directed with wit and intensity by actress-turned-filmmaker Icíar Bollaín, from a savvy script by Paul Laverty, this story of a modern Spanish movie crew descending on a remote Bolivian town to shoot a historical film exposing Christopher Columbus’ mistreatment of the indigenous people in the New World becomes a textured, multi-layered study of the many guises of exploitation. Gael Garcia Bernal stars. (Not rated) 103 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
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.
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)
LIMITLESS Bradley Cooper stars in this thriller about a lowly copywriter and wannabee novelist who’s slipped a radical, secret “smart drug” that enables him to use 100% of his brain power—but also brings him to the attention of a powerful mogul (Robert De Niro), and sinister forces out to obtain his supply of the drug. Adapted from the Alan Glynn novel. Abbie Cornish and Anna Friel co-star for director Neil Burger. (PG-13) 97 minutes.
THE LINCOLN LAWYER Slick, envigorating and, most of all, interesting, The Lincoln Lawyer packs a punch. Matthew McConaughey plays a criminal defense lawyer-for-hire in L. A.(he does a great deal of business from the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car) who must defend a rich boy accused of assault. This is McConaughey’s best role in years and the supporting cast—Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, and William Macy—shines. From the bestselling Michael Connelly legal thriller, here’s hoping that should a series of films be launched, the filmmakers create just the right amount of edge and intrigue as they do here.. (R) 119 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
MARS NEEDS MOMS 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 techno-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 Harnois, and Joan Cusack (as Mom) provide voices. (PG) 88 minutes. Starts Friday.
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.
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
PAUL Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star as a couple of nerdy Brit comic fanboys on the road in the States who find a stowaway in their RV outside of Area 51—a wisecracking alien who’s tired of Earth and wants to go home. Seth Rogen provides the voice of the runaway alien. Greg Mottola (Superbad; Adventureland) directs. (R) 104 minutes.
PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Sean Penn and the late Ochs himself (in archive footage) appear in Kenneth Bowser’s musical documentary about the topical troubadour best known for such ‘60s and ‘70s anthems as “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” “Outside of a Small Circle of Friends,” and “There But For Fortune.” Ochs was like Bob Dylan, minus the obscure poetry and with a much better singing voice; his prolific songwriting (his songs play non-stop on the soundtrack throughout) and self-deprecating humor made him a counterculture hero in that embattled era when we were all sure we were going to change the world. (Not Rated) 96 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
RANGO Johnny Depp unleashes his inner clown, providing voice, rollicking movement, and heart to the lizard protagonist of this abundantly silly and entertaining animated family comedy. Directed by Gore Verbinski, from a very funny script by John Logan, it both spoofs and celebrates the traditional Western set-up about a lone stranger in a hard-luck pioneer town, but it's also a freewheeling pastiche of movie references (all genres, all eras) that will keep trivia fans on their toes, while amusing the young'uns with its slapstick verve. (PG) 107 minutes. (★★★1/2)
RED RIDING HOOD Director Catherine Hardwicke (the first Twilight movie) goes back to the realm of romantic teen fantasy with this remix of the classic fairy tale. The film has a rich, faux-medieval, handcrafted fairy tale look (despite all the clunky American accents), the giant wolf effects are impressive, and Julie Christie is fun as a sly, hipper-than-usual Granny. But the story is warmed-over teen melodrama, with pretty Amanda Seyfried waffling between good-boy Max Irons and bad-boy Shiloh Fernandez, and the resolution of the werewolf mystery plot is more than a little Freudian—and not in a good way. Gary Oldman hams up a storm as a visiting werewolf hunter/Inquisitor, traveling with his beefy, exotic warrior-slaves and a giant torture device shaped like an elephant, but he seems to have wandered in from the Van Helsing movie. (PG-13) 98 minutes. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
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