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New Movies & Events: Week of Oct. 22

film_ameliaAMELIA Hilary Swank stars in the role she was probably born to play, tousle-haired, tomboyish aviatrix Amelia Earhart, whose daring solo flights, unconventional lifestyle, and myserious disappearance have fascinated the world for nearly a century. Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor co-star as the men in her life. Mira Nair (The Namesake; Monsoon Wedding) directs.  (PG) 111 minutes. Starts Friday.

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film_astro_boyASTRO BOY A futuristic Pinocchio for a generation that grew up with the old Japanese cartoon series, this is a big screen adaptation of the story of a boy robot built by a lonely inventor who finds acceptance when he defends his city against a band of monster robots. Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, and  Kristen Bell provide voices. David Bowers (Flushed Away) directs. (PG) Starts Friday.

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film_vampires_assistantCIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT John C. Reilly stars as the vampire leader of a traveling freak show featuring a wolfman and other supernatural creatures in this first screen adaptation from the series of fantasy novels by Darren Shan. Chris Massoglia plays the small-town youth drawn into their world to serve as the manager's apprentice. Salma Hayek, Ken Watanabe, and Orlando Jones co-star for director Paul Weitz. (PG-13) 108 minutes. Starts Friday.

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COCO BEFORE CHANEL Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 105 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday.

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film_this_is_itMICHAEL JACKSON: THIS IS IT Culled from over a hundred hours of rehearsal footage, this feature film documents the performance the late star was preparing for his comeback world tour. Shot at the Staples Center in LA,  between March and June, 2009, the film is directed by Kenny Ortega, who was also directing Jackson's stage show. Here's your chnce to see it on a big screen, for a limited two-week engagement. (PG) Starts Wednesday (Oct. 28)

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film_saw_vi_ver2SAW VI Series regulars Tobin Bell and Costas Mandylor return in yet another installment of the slice-and-dice horror franchise built around the sadistic Jigsaw. Kevin Gruetert directs. (R) 90 minutes. Starts Friday.

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film_serious_manA SERIOUS MAN Joel and Ethan Coen have all the awards they need. With nothing more to prove, they can make movies to please themselves—which must have been the impetus for this strikingly deadpan, comic tragedy set in a suburban Jewish community in the northern Midwest ca. 1967. The setting couldn't be more personal to the Coens (rumor has it they named the kids on a schoolbus in the movie after kids they went to school with), but the questions they raise about faith, tradition, family values, and the meaning of life are universal—however wickedly perverse the Coens' perspective may be. Everyman Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a university math professor whose life is starting to unravel. His dour wife wants a divorce to marry the smarmy widower down the block. His kids don't respect him, and his hulking, sweet-natured brother, Arthur (Richard Kind), who won't move out of the house, may be psychotic. A Korean student on scholarship attempts to bribe him out of a failing grade, and he may be denied tenure due to anonymous letters accusing him of "moral turpitude." Increasingly frazzled, yet ever accommodating, Larry's crises seem to pile up in direct proportion to the ineffectuality of his responses. Turning to a series of rabbis to help him understand God's plan in sending him so much grief, all he gets are half-baked analogies and pointless fables. Dripping acerbic wit, the film is a weirdly engrossing portrait of meltdown in the face of a chaotic universe over which there may not be any plan. The one piece of useful advice anyone gets in the movie (from a very unexpected source) slyly suggests the continuity with which humans try to provide comforting answers to imponderable questions from one generation to the next. (R) 105 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. Watch movie trailer >>>

 


Film Events

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: ARMY OF DARKNESS This third installment of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series (from 1993) doesn't make enough of its time-travel premise; as the American Yahoo battling zombies in medieval Britain, Bruce Campbell's macho boorishness is the movie's only joke. Campbell squeezes some laughs out of the big lummox anyway and some of the skeleton fx are well done (and some not). More jokey than witty, at least the movie doesn't take itself at all seriously. (**) 81 minutes—Lisa Jensen. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.


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.

 

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.