Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS Werner Herzog explores two of his favorite themes—human obsessions, and the forbidding grandeur of Nature—in this documentary tour of Chauvet Cave. This recently discovered, 32,000-year-old cave buried under a massive rockslide in rural France contains the earliest known wall paintings made by human hands. The filmmaking stumbles a bit, and we have to slog through some of the director's more bewildering ruminations, but the cave interiors are stunning. Shooting in 3D allows Herzog to capture the depth and mystery of images glimpsed in shadowy recesses or sprawling across uneven surfaces. Sequences outside can be disorienting, but 3D captures the cave interiors with breathtaking fidelity. (Not rated) 90 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. (Special return engagement at the Del Mar, one week only.) Watch film trailer >>>
COWBOYS AND ALIENS In the Arizona territory, ca 1873, it's a marauding band of outer space aliens vs. a lone gunslinger who becomes the only hope to save the town from the extraterrestrial menace. This sounds like such a shameless "high concept" goulash, it just might be great. Or it just might be crap—which doesn't mean it won't be fun. But with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in the saddle (not to mention a nutball supporting posse that includes Paul Dano, Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, and Keith Carradine), we might be tempted to give it a shot. Jon Favreau directs. (PG-13) 118 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
CRAZY STUPID LOVE Steve Carell stars in this contemporary comedy as a newly single, unhappily divorced guy who gets dating and manliness tips from a slick younger buddy (Ryan Gosling) while still pining in secret for ex-wife Julianne Moore. Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, and Josh Groban co-star for directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. (PG-13) 118 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
THE SMURFS IN 3D Live action and animation combine to bring the little blue folk out of their happy village and into modern New York City in this family adventure comedy from director Raja Gosnell. Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria head the human cast; Anton Yelchin, Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, and George Lopez provide Smurf voices. (PG) 103 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
TABLOID A blonde beauty queen, alleged sex slavery, and the Mormon Church—what better grist for the cinematic mill of fabled doc filmmaker Erroll Morris? In a lighter vein than his last doc (The Fog Of War), Morris presents the story of one Joyce McKinney, as told by herself, a former Miss Wyoming who was involved in the kind of sex scandal the British tabloids dote on when the man she loved was sent to England on a Mormon mission in the mid 1970s. She went after him (armed with handcuffs and an acute sexual appetite), determined to separate him from the "cult" that had "abducted" him. (Not rated) 87 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
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: DR. NO James Bond, Agent 007, makes his first screen appearance in the formidable person of Sean Connery in this 1962 spy adventure. The emphasis is on roughouse, tongue-in-cheek action, along with exotic locales and gorgeous women (in this case, Jamaica and Ursula Andress). Joseph Wiseman plays the mad scientist of the title. Terence Young drects. (Not rated) 110 minutes. Sat-Sun matinee only. 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 ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN Terry Gilliam's 1988 fantasy spectacle is a triumph of the imagination over dull reality. Grubby, low-tech fx are utterly magical, and droll, deadpan comedy is provided by Eric Idle, Oliver Reed, Robin Williams, and many more. John Neville is the imperious baron for whom a hyperactive fantasy life is the antidote to old age, reason, even death. (HHH1/2) (PG) 126 minutes. Tonight only (Thursday, July 28), 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.
MOVIE TIMES 7/29–8/4
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
Midnight In Paris 2:50, 5, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun, Wed 12:45
Buck 2:40, 4:50, 7, 9 + Sat, Sun, Wed 12:30
Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D 3:10, 5:10, 7:10, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 1:10
Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D “Baby Friendly Show” 8/03 11am $6.50
Beginners 5:10, 7:20 Sat, Sun 12:45
Midnight in Paris 1:50, 4:10, 6:20, 8:30 Sat, Sun 11:50am
The Trip 2:20, 4:40, 7:10, 9:20 Sat, Sun noon
Tabloid 1:30, 3:15, 5, 7, 9 + Sat, Sun 11:40am
Snow Flower and The Secret Fan 3, 9:30
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Cars 2 12:30, 2:45 Horrible Bosses 5, 7:10, 9:20
Crazy Stupid Love 11:40am, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20
Dr. No Classic on the Big Screen Saturday, Sunday 10:30am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Cowboys and Aliens 1:20, 4, 7, 9:30 + Fri-Sun 11am
Crazy, Stupid, Love 1:40, 4:20, 7:15, 9:40 +Fri-Sun 11am
Captain America 3D 1:40, 7 Captain America 2D 4:20, 9:40, + Fri-Sun 11am
Friends with Benefits 1:20, 4, 6:45, 9:30 Fri-Sun 11am
Harry Potter 7-Part 2 35mm 1, 4, 7, 10
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 35mm 6:30, 9:30
Smurfs 3D 1:20, 7 Smurfs 2D 4, 9:30 +Fri-Sun 11am
Zookeeper 1:20, 4 + Fri-Sun 11am Horrible Bosses 5:05, 7:15, 9:35
Winnie the Pooh 1:20, 3:20 Fri-Sun 11:20am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Winnie The Pooh 11:30am, 1:20, 3:20 Midnight In Paris 5:20
Horrible Bosses 7:30, 9:45
Cowboys & Aliens 7/28 11:59 + Fri-Thurs 11am, 11:40, 1:40, 2:15, 4:20, 4:55, 7, 7:40, 9:40, 10:20
Crazy, Stupid, Love 7/28 11:59 + Fri-Thurs 11:20am, 2, 4:30, 7:20, 10
Friends With Benefits 11:30am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
Captain America: The First Avenger 11:10am, 11:45am, 2, 2:30, 4:40, 5:30, 7:30, 8:30, 10:10
Harry Potter 7-Part 2 10:45am, 1:30, 4:20, 7:10, 10
The Smurfs 7/28 11:59 + Fri-Thurs 11:20am, 1:45, 4:10, 6:45, 9:15
How To Train Your Dragon 7/28 $1 Family Film 10am
Nanny McPhee Returns 8/03-8/04 $1 Family Film 10am
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Harry Potter 7-Part 2 1, 4, 7, 10
Cowboys & Aliens 11:15am, 1:55, 4:30, 7:10, 9:45,
Captain America: The First Avenger 3D 11am, 1:45, 4:40, 7:30, 10:20
Legend Of The Guardians 07/28 $1 Family Film 10am
How To Train Your Dragon 08/03-08/04 $1 Family Film 10am
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Almost Famous Flashback Feature Thu 8/4 8
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Thu 8/4 12:01 AM
Cowboys & Aliens digital 11am, 1:15, 1:55, 4:10, 4:50, 7:05, 7:45, 10, 10:40
Captain America 3D 1:25, 4:25, 7:25, 10:25
Captain America 35mm 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:45
Harry Potter 7-Part 2 3D 12:55, 7:05
Harry Potter 7-Part 2 12:15, 3:20, 4, 6:25, 9:30, 10:10
The Smurfs 3D 1:50, 7:15 The Smurfs digital 11:10am, 4:35, 9:55
Crazy Stupid Love 1:45, 4:40, 7:35, 10:30
Winnie the Pooh 12:05, 2:25, 4:30, 6:35 + Mon-Wed no 6:35
Bridesmaids 9:20 no showing on Mon
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Horrible Bosses noon, 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:50
Friends with Benefits 11:45, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
BAD TEACHER Cameron Diaz stars in this salty comedy as the high school teacher from hell, a foul-mouthed slacker who sets her romantic sights on a fellow teacher after her boyfriend (and meal ticket) dumps her. Lucy Punch, Jason Segel, and Justin Timberlake co-star for director Jake Kasdan. (R) 92 minutes.
BEGINNERS Coming of age is not just for kids any more in Mike Mills' winsome, yet sneakily affecting comedy-drama. Ewan McGregor is wonderful as a 38-year-old graphic designer in Los Angeles trying to jumpstart his own romantic life. But Christopher Plummer is the centerpiece as his widowed father who comes out as a gay man at age 75, embracing his new identity with gusto as their offbeat, yet tender father-son dynamic plays out. Mary Page Keller is absolutely terrific in flashback as McGregor's wistful, yet deliciously subversive mom. (R) 105 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
BRIDESMAIDS One the best comedies of the year. Clever. Well written. Wonderfully executed. Kristen Wiig, who also cowrotes this comedy, plays a romantically-challenged woman suddenly caught in her best friend’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding arrangements.. Determined to be the best maid of honor, she, naturally, screws up. All that ensues is hilarious. But the film actually sports some real heart and, quite smoothly, delivers a sobering look at what women go through in relationships—of all kinds. This has to be one of the best supporting casts to hit the screen in a long tims. Beyond Rudolph, the typically tepid Rose Byrne outdoes herself. There’s Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper and an amazing Melissa McCarthy—watch out for this one! The late Jill Clayburgh also co-stars. Wiig co-Paul Feig directs. (R) (★★★) —Greg Archer
BUCK How is training horses like life? In just about every way, according Buck Brannaman, the self-effacing hero and subject of this engaging and evocative documentary from filmmaker Cindy Meehl. A modern-day cowboy on the road nine months out of every year conducting four-day horse-training clinics all across the American west, Buck doesn't dispense folksy wisdom, nor indulge in any New Agey, touchy-feely palaver, so much as he talks plain common sense to troublesome horses and their owners. "I don't help people with horse problems," Buck reflects. "I help horses with people problems." His all-pervasive empathy—for horses and people alike—is a pretty effective mantra for life, as well. (PG) 88 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 125 minutes. (★★★) —Lisa Jensen.
CARS 2 Owen Wilson returns as the voice of racing car Lightning McQueen, in this sequel to the Disney Pixar animated hit from 2006. this time, Lightning and his pit crew of pals are off to an international race that takes them to Paris and Tokyo. Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Caine, Cheech Marin, and Emily Mortimer provide additional voices. Original director John Lassiter teams up with co-helmer Brad Lewis for the sequel. (G)
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS Hollywood continues to chase its own tail with the second romatic comedy this year (after No Strings Attached) about best buddies who think they can add committment-free, recreational sex to ther friendship with no emotional fallout. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake star; Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, and Woody Harrelson co-star for director Will Gluck (Easy A). (R) 104 minutes.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 Series veterans David Yates (directing his fourth Potter film) and Steve Kloves (screenwriter on all but one) do their damnedest to honor all the complex subtexts of J. K. Rowling's books, in one of the most thrilling, yet elegiac films in the series. It's not a complete success, but a conscientious mix of action, humor, and emotional backstory will leave Potter fans fulfilled. Some beloved characters at the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort barely have speaking parts, and the battle scenes are as tedious as most fantasy film battles, with little time to mourn the characters lost. But the redemption of Snape, is resonant and moving. And Daniel Radcliffe morphs into an assured young actor of considerable presence, holding the center of a movie so crowded with activity (and so many scene-stealing veterans) with his quiet intensity. Yates and Kloves streamline this final act, while sticking to the essentials of Rowling's theme: love, friendship, and loyalty are greater than any other power, magical or otherwise. HPDH2 delivers this message with affecting grace and heart. (PG-13) 130 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
HORRIBLE BOSSES Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day star in this homicidal comedy as disgruntled workers who plot against their dysfunctional employers because they can't afford to quit their jobs. Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell are on board as the Bosses from Hell. Seth Gordon directs. (R) 93 minutes.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS There's nothing not to love in Woody Allen's irresistible romantic comedy. The poster image of star Owen Wilson sauntering alongside the river Seine at night under Van Gogh's sprawling "Starry Night" says everything about the art, history, enduring fantasy, and cultural allure of Paris, issues Allen addresses with savvy brio in this marvelously inventive film. Wilson is great fun as a Hollywood screenwriter longing to writer serious fiction who's transported back to the era he idolizes, Paris in the 1920s, in this endlessly sharp and funny riff on our collective desire to embrace a past "Golden Age" we think we've missed when the present gets too complicated. Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard co-star, along with Corey Stoll (Ernest Hemingway), Kathy Bates (Gertrude Stein), and a great cameo by Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali. (PG-13) 100 minutes. (★★★★) —Lisa Jensen.
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN In adapting the Lisa See novel, Wayne Wang gives us an absorbing glimpse into Chinese culture of 200 years ago, especially the oppression of women in society, and the intensity of female friendships. But the movie never resonates in the one place that counts—in the heart. While often slow-moving onscreen, the breathlessness with which Wang orchestrates his busy narrative never give the characters or the viewer time to stop and feel anything about them. Worse, Wang and his three scriptwriters tack on a parallel story involving two women in modern Shanghai. This provides a nice showcase for lead actresses Bingbing Li and Gianna Jun, who play the protagonists in both eras, but the device only further dilutes See's original (and far more interesting) story. (PG-13) 100 minutes. (★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.
TERRI Newcomer Jacob Wysocki stars in this indie comedy-drama as an obese, pajama-clad 15-year-old boy going nowhere in the L. A. school system. John C. Reilly co-stas as the well-meaning principal with demons of his own who tries to reach out to the misfit kid and provide some guidance. Azazel Jacobs directs. (R) 105 minutes.
THE TREE OF LIFE Terence Malick plunges us into seemingly familiar terrain—growing up in suburban Middle America in the1950s—and turns it into something strange and mysterious, a metaphor for the eternal search for grace and meaning in life. Brad Pitt is a formidable presence as a conflicted father striving to teach his three sons the ways of the world in lessons that are often harsh. Jessica Chastain is their loving mother; Sean Penn is one troubled son as an adult. Young actors Hunter McCracken and Laramie Eppler are extraordinary. Malick's mesmerising, impressionistic storytelling hits a few snags, like an overly stage-managed finale. But mostly this is a questing, non-denominational, truly visionary tone poem on the pure wonder of being. (PG-13) 138 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
WINNIE THE POOH Disney Animation Studios returns to the world of loveable Pooh-bear and his friends in this all-new, child-friendly family cartoon feature. Inspired by three A. A. Milne stories, the film is also a return to the hand-drawn animation style for which the studio is renowned. Craig Ferguson and Jim Cummings head the voice cast for co-directors Stephen Anderson and Don Hall. John Cleese supplies the narration. (G)
THE TRIP There are about 20 minutes of laughs in this semi-foodie road movie, condensed from a 6-part BBC mini-series. Steve Coogan and his frequent comedy sidekick, Rob Brydon, play extreme versions of themselves on a tour of the finest restaurants north of London and in the Lake District, supposedly to write a Sunday magazine piece for the Observer. Ditched by his girlfriend at the start, Coogan is forced to bring Brydon along, and the dramatic subplot contrasting Steve's empty womanizing and angsty career dilemmas with Rob's cheerful domesticity doesn't really pay off in this truncated form. There's not much talk about the food either, although we see some intriguing kitchen prep going on. But when these two guys are killing time, yakking about nothing, this largely improvved movie can be hilarious—from dueling impersonations of Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Hugh Grant, even Woody Allen, to an extended riff on a stirring Henry V-style battlefield pep talk during which I actually thought I might die laughing. (Not rated) 107 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
ZOOKEEPER Kevin James trades his mall cop outfit for another kind of uniform in this family comedy about a lovelorn zookeeper so beloved by the animals he cares for that they reveal to him their secret—they can talk—and start advising him on his love life. Rosario Dawson co-stars for director Frank Coraci. Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Cher, and Sylvester Stallone provide animal voices. (PG) 102 minutes.
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