Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
THE CHANGE-UP The ubiquitous Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds team up for this ID-switching comedy about a harried, workaholic lawyer and family man and his best bud, a footloose bachelor, who go out drinking one night & wake up living each other's lives. Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde co-star for director David Dobkin. (R) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Disney gloms onto Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel about female solidarity and racial stereotype-busting in the American south of the 1960s. Emma Stone is the post-collegiate deb who scandalizes her Mississippi town by befriending the community's black maids and recording their stories. An eye-popping cast—Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Mary Steenburgen, Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, and Cicely Tyson—cements this movies femme-centric credentials. Actor-turned-director Tate Taylor is at the helm. (PG-13) 137 minutes. Starts Wednesday (August 10). Watch film trailer >>>
MAGIC TRIP In 1964, novelist Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Sometimes A Great Notion) and an entourage of pre-hippie, self-styled Merry Pranksters converted an old schoolbus into a psychedelically painted pleasure craft and drove from La Honda to New Yok City on the proverbial search for America. The trip was documented in Tom Wolfe's non-fiction bestseller, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, but actual 16mm video footage shot during the cross-country trip has never been available to the public—until now. Doc filmmakers Alex Gibney (Gonzo) and Allison Ellwood spent six years wrestling 40 hours of vintage video into this commemoration of the music, idealism, and drug culture of the early '60s. (As a student at Stanford, Kesey volunteered for government LSD experiments. One animated sequence here makes use of audio tape of one of his earliest acid trips.) Kesey, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Timothy Leary, and Allen Ginsburg are among those on the bus. Neal Cassady is the designated driver (high on speed pretty much the entire time, and not in possession of a driver's license.) Those were the days. (R) 90 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 93 minutes. (★★★) Starts Friday.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES The time is now in this prequel to the long-running franchise, and the place is San Francisco, where human experiments in genetic engineering lead to a power struggle between apes and humans. James Franco, Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), John Lithgow, and Tom Felton star; Andy Serkis (whose motion-capture screen roles include Gollum and King Kong) plays the ape, Caesar. Rupert Wyatt directs. (PG-13). 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: THE BIRDS Peaceful Bodega Bay is besieged by millions of marauding budgies in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic suspense thriller about the sheer perversity of Nature running amok. It's no joke when gulls, sparrows, even little Veronica Cartwright's lovebirds start to go berserk. Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, and Suzanne Pleshette struggle against the avian assault in this masterful blend of dry wit, funky locale, and spooky mood. (PG) 119 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. 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: ALMOST FAMOUS Cameron Crowe's autobiographical 2000 romp into the heart of rock 'n' roll recalls his youth as a teenage music reporter for Rolling Stone, on tour with an emerging power band. Crowe understands how rock involves musicians and fans in a complicity of shared dreams, and serves up a feast of vintage classics and authentic-sounding originals. Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand, and Billy Crudup star; Kate Hudson won an Oscar nomination for her dreamy groupie-muse. (R) 120 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight only (Thursday, August 4), 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 8/5–8/11
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 5:30, 7:30, 9:40
Winnie The Pooh 2:15, 3:50 + Sat, Sun 12:40
Beginners 5:10, 7:20
Midnight in Paris 1:50, 4:10, 6:20, 8:30 Sat, Sun 11:50am
The Trip 2:50, 9:30 Sat, Sun 12:20
Magic Trip 2:40, 4:50, 7, 9:10 Sat, Sun 12:30
Project Nim 3, 5, 7:10, 9:20 Sat, Sun 1
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Cars 2 1:50
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 4:10, 6:45, 9:20
Crazy Stupid Love 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20 Sat, Sun 11:40am
The Birds (1963) Classic on the Big Screen Sat, Sun Matinee 8/06-8/07 11am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 1:40, 4:20, 7:15, 9:40 + Fri-Sun 11am
The Change-Up 1:40, 4:20, 7:15, 9:40 + Fri-Sun 11am
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 and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 35mm 1, 4, 7, 10
Smurfs 3D 1:20, 7 Smurfs 2D 4, 9:30 +Fri-Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Winnie The Pooh 11:40am
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 1:30, 4:20, 7:10, 10
The Change-Up 8/04 11:59 + Fri- Thurs 11:30am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10
Crazy, Stupid, Love 11:20am, 2, 4:30, 7:20, 10
Cowboys & Aliens 11, 11:30, 1:40, 2:10, 4:20, 4:55, 7, 7:40, 9:40, 10:20
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 8/04 11:59 +Fri-Thurs 11:45, 12:15, 2:20, 2:45, 4:45, 5:30, 7:15, 8, 9:45, 10:20
The Smurfs 11:20am, 1:45, 4:10, 6:45, 9:15
Captain America: The First Avenger 11:10am, 2, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10
Nanny McPhee Returns Thurs 8/4 $1 Family Film 10am
The Karate Kid Wed 8/10 - Thurs 8/11 $1 Family Film 10am
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 8/04 11:59 + Fri-Thurs 12:15, 2:40, 5:15, 7:40, 10:10
Cowboys & Aliens 11:15, 1:55, 4:30, 7:10, 9:45
Captain America: The First Avenger 3D 11am, 1:45, 4:40, 7:20, 10:10
How To Train Your Dragon 8/04 $1 Family Film 10am
Nanny Mcphee Returns 8/10-8/11 $1 Family Film 10am
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Lawrence of Arabia Flashback Feature Thu 8/11 8
Angels & Airwaves Presents Love (Live) Wed 8/10 9
DCI: Big, Loud, and Live 8 Thu 8/11 3:30
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:20am, noon, 2, 2:40, 4:40, 5:20, 7:20, 8, 10, 10:40
The Smurfs 3D 1:40, 7 The Smurfs 11:10am, 4:20, 9:40
Cowboys and Aliens 11am, 12:50, 1:50, 3:50, 4:50, 6:50, 7:40, 9:50, 10:30
Captain America 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, 10:20
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 3D 1, 7:10
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 4, 10:10
Crazy Stupid Love 12:40, 3:40, 6:40, 9:30
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
The Change Up 11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
Friends with Benefits 1, 4, 6:45, 9:15
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 If you have to see a comic book superhero movie this summer, you could do a lot worse than this entertainingly retro adventure. What makes it stand out is its fidelity to its source material, and the era that produced it—the 1940s, when America was the last hope of the free world. Working from a clever script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, director Joe Johnston works the comic book aesthetic for all it's worth: shiny period cars, sexy dames, tough, red-blooded fighting men. But at its core is a human story guaranteed to gladden the heart of everyone's inner fanboy; a stout-hearted guy in a misfit's body given the chance to prove he's a hero inside. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers with an appealing mix of modesty, gee-whiz enthusiasm, and gutsy courage. (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)
COWBOYS AND ALIENS A wild hoot. It’s 1873 and Daniel Craig has lost his memory. Then there’s Harrison Ford playing a gruff cowboy whose nutty son Paul Dano stirs up trouble. Very western but here’s the twist—aliens. They’re occupying the desert and snatching up humans. Ouch. But what fun. Director Jon Favreau manages to elevate what could have been a dismal ride into an engaging summer romp. The mixing of genres—sci-fi and western—actually works and the movie really takes off when the local folk fight to get their people back. Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, and Keith Carradine) costar. (PG-13) 118 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
CRAZY STUPID LOVE What a refreshing surprise to find this movie coming out of Hollywood. A modern-day romcom that doesn’t play down to its audience and a film so wonderfully written—thanks Dan Fogelmann—and acted—thanks Steve Carell, Julianne Moore. Emma Stone (a wonderful gem) Marisa Tomei (a hilarious scene stealer), Kevin Bacon (a solid perf), Josh Groban (the wild card that works) and Ryan Gosling (solidifying himself as a true actor able to morph into any kind of role) —that you simply don’t want it to end. Carell plays a sad sack whose wife (Moore) wants a divorce. Playboy Gosling helps him find his inner stud again. Watch for surprise twists in plotting and terrific pacing that elevate this movie beyond the likes of, say, Friends With Benefits and The Change-Up. Embrace this smart, funny outing. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. (PG-13) 118 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
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. (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.
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.
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.
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.
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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