Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
ANOTHER EARTH Reviewed this issue.(PG-13) 92 minutes. (★★1/2) Starts Friday.
I was the Son of Saddam; this fictionalized true story tracks the perils of an Iraqi lookalike soldier forced to become the body double for one of Hussein's depraved sons in pre-9-11 Bagdad. Dominic Cooper gets a tour-de-force part, playing both men. Veteran action helmer Lee Tamahori directs. (R) 108 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
FINAL DESTINATION 5 Yet another collection of fresh-faced young disaster survivors (in this case, a collapsing bridge). . (R) 92 minutes Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
The title says it all in this music doc shot during last summer's Glee Live! In Concert tour. Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, Corey Monteith, Chord Overstreet, and the gang do their thing love, onstage; Gwyneth Paltrow and Jane Lynch pop up as well. Kevin Tancharoen directs. (Not rated) 100 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
SARAH'S KEY If you've never heard of the notorious Vel d'Hiv round-up of Jewish citizens in Paris in July, 1942, you're not alone. It's an episode most modern French would prefer to forget, in which thousands of Parisians in the largely Jewish Marais district were herded into the gigantic Velodrome d'Hiver arena for days without even the most basic sanitary amenities before being trucked off to the work camps (en route to the concentration camps). And it wasn't the Nazis in German-occupied France doing the herding; it was the French gendarmes. This heartbreaking story (from the Tatiana De Rosnay novel) of 10-year-old Sarah, caught up in the insanity of the Vel d'Hiv incident and its tragic consequences, packs an emotional wallop, especially in the persuasive performance of little Melusine Mayance. The parallel present-day story of an American journalist in Paris investigating Sarah's story, is less convincing; Kristin Scott Thomas is effective in the role, but her character's marital and family issues are far less compelling. French director Gilles Paquet-Brenner finesses some of the tale's more harrowing moments with admirable discretion, but the denoument (including a strangely tentative performance by Aidan Quinn, who's usually so reliable) feels slightly off, even contrived, a poorly-conceived finish to an otherwise powerful drama. (★★★) (PG-13) 111 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Jesse Eisenberg stars in this caper comedy about a hapless pizza delivery guy hijacked by a couple of inept would-be criminals who strap a time-bomb to his chest giving him 30 minutes to rob a bank. Danny McBride, Nick Swarsdon, and Aziz Ansari co-star for director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). (R) 83 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: A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (Not rated) 99 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: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA Tonight only (Thursday, August 11), 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 8/12–8/18
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
The Help 12:45, 2, 3:45, 5, 6:45, 8, 9:40 + Fri–Sun 11am
Sarah’s Key 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20 + Fri- Sun noon
The Help Baby Friendly Show Wednesday 8/17 11am
Midnight in Paris 2:10, 4:30, 6:50, 9 + Sat, Sun 11:50am
Another Earth 3:10, 5:10, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 1:10
Buck 2:50, 5, 7:10, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 12:40
The Devil’s Double 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun noon
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Help 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
Crazy Stupid Love 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20 Sat, Sun 11:40am
A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Classic on the Big Screen Sat, Sun 8/13-8/14 10:45am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Final Destination 3D 1:20, 7 Final Destination 2D 4, 9:30, + Fri-Sun 11am
30 Minutes or Less 1:20, 4, 7, 9:30, Fri–Sun 11am
The Help 1, 3:50, 6:45, 9:40
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, 6:45
Captain America 4:20, 9:40, + Fri-Sun 11am
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, 7:30
30 Minutes or Less 8/11 11:59 + Fri-Thurs 11:10, 1:20, 3:30, 5:40, 8, 10:10
The Change-Up 11:20am, 2, 4:40, 7:20, 10
Crazy, Stupid, Love 7, 9:45
Cowboys & Aliens 11, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:50
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:45, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10
The Smurfs 11am, 1:30, 4:10, 6:45, 9:10
Captain America: The First Avenger 1, 4
The Karate Kid $1 Family Film Wed 8/10 - Thurs 8/11 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
30 Minutes or Less 12:45, 2:45, 4:55, 7:30, 9:45
Cowboys & Aliens 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7:10, 9:40
Nanny Mcphee Returns $1 Family Film Wed 8/10-Thurs 8/11 10am
The Karate Kid $1 Family Film Wed 8/17-Thurs 8/18 10am
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Double Indemnity Flashback Feature Thu 8/18 8
Rifftrax Live: Jack the Giant Killer Wed 8/17 8
30 Minutes or Less 12:40, 3:10, 5:30, 8, 10:30
Glee The 3D Concert Movie 11:40am, 2:30, 5:05, 7:30, 9:50
Final Destination 5 3D Noon, 2:50, 5:15, 7:40, 10:20
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:20am, 1:15, 2, 4, 4:40, 6:40, 7:20, 9:2, 10
The Smurfs 3D 1:35, 6:50
The Smurfs 11am, 4:10, 9:30
Cowboys and Aliens 11:10, 2:10, 4:55, 7:50, 10:40
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 12:20, 3:45, 6:45, 9:45
Crazy Stupid Love 1:25, 4:20, 7:10, 10:10
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
The Change Up 11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
Captain America 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:35
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.. Plus: Melissa McCarthy—watch out for this one! 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)
THE CHANGE-UP The ubiquitous Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds team up for this ID-switching comedy. Directed by David Dobkin. (R)
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. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake get it together and ... get it on.. (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. HPDH2 delivers this message with affecting grace and heart. (PG-13) 130 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
THE HELP 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.
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 York 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 very 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. Gibney leaves it to us to ponder whether this trippy adventure had any bearing on the fact that Kesey nevr published another novel.) Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, and a disenchanted Jack Kerouac pop up along the way. Neal Cassady is the designated driver (high on speed the entire time, and not in possession of a driver's license.) (R) 90 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
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.
PROJECT NIM In 1973, research scientists at Columbia University got the bright idea to raise a infant chimpanzee like a child, in the home of a human family, and teach him to communicate with sign language. "Wouldn't it be great if we could find out what a chimp was thinking?" they wondered. This absorbing, often infuriating, always provocative new documentary about this chimp experiment poses another, equally compelling question: just how clueless does human science have to be? Directed by James Marsh (Man On Wire). (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES A wonderfully satisfying prequel to the long-running franchise, which was nearly destroyed by Tim Burton’s botch nearly a decade ago. The time is now and the place is San Francisco. Here, soulful researcher James Franco and other humans experiment in genetic engineering. Franco’s pop, played by John Lithgow, has Alzheimer’s and the experiments prove that a certain drug can hold off the disease. But what it does to apes is all the more interesting and one baby chimp, in particular, Caesar, can’t escape his destiny. Eventually, his über mind helps him make decisions that ultimate creates a major power struggle between apes and humans. Andy Serkis (Gollum in “Rings” and King Kong) is the real star of the film—he’s “acts” Caesar with plenty of digi-FX drenched over him. But he infuses real heart and, well, humanity in this tale. There are a number of salutes to the orignal “Apes,” like when the gorillas take to horseback or when Caesar is eyeing a figurine of the Statue of Liberty. There’s even good—and clever—hints of sequals. (Astronauts heading to Mars are reported lost in space—imagine what could happen upon their return?) The last half hour is priceless. Stay for the credits. James Franco, Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), John Lithgow, and Tom Felton star; Andy Serkis ( plays the ape, Caesar. Rupert Wyatt directs. (PG-13) (★★★)—Greg Archer
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. (PG) 103 minutes.
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. (Not rated) 107 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
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