Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
BEAT RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
The long-running hip hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, the pride of Queens, NY, is the focus of this music doc from actor-turned filmmaker Michael Rapaport. Concert footage and interviews tell the story of these alternative hip hop pioneers. Mary J. Blige, Common, Ludacris, and Mos Def pop up in the film, along with Tribe members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.) (R) 97 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Hawaiian-born Jason Momoa steps into the Triple-E fur boots of Ah-nold in this remake of the Robert E. Howard pulp classic about a barbarian warrior in a pre-historic fantasy landscape on a mission of vengeance against an evil overlord. Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman, and Rose McGowan co-star for director and remake-meister Marcus Nispel (he's also remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th). (R) 122 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Anton Yelchin stars as a popular high school senior forced to take matters into his own hands when vampire Colin Farrell moves in next door. Craig Gillespie directs this reboot of the 1985 horror camp-fest. Toni Collette co-stars. (R) 120 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Impeccable credentials make this look promising: Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) in the sophomore effort from director Lone Scherfig (An Education), from a novel by David Nicholls (Starter For 10). A couple meets on the last day of college, 1989, then circle in and out of each other's orbit every July 15 for the next two decades—Same Time Next Year with a post-modern pulse? Patricia Clarkson co-stars. (PG-13) 108 minutes.
Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
The back alleys and industrial warehouses of Paris are the backdrop for this electrifying chase thriller from action maestro Fred Cavayé. Gilles Lellouche is wonderful a male nurse plunged into a desperate mission to save his pregnant wife (an appealing Elena Anaya), who's been kidnapped by thugs to force him to spring a notorious criminal (Roschdy Zem) from the hospital. As he struggles to outwit crooks and cops (both good and bad), appearances deceive, alliances shift, and tensions mount by the nanosecond. Hold on to your ratatouille; this is one fierce, wild ride. (Not rated) 84 minutes. In French with English subtitles. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Robert Rodriguez revamps his family-friendly, moneymaking franchise for a new generation. Jessica Alba stars as an ex-superspy who has to enlist her two young step-children on a mission to thwart an evil genius from taking over the world. Original spy kids Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara pop up as Alba's now-grown niece and nephew. Jeremy Piven and Danny Trejo co-star. (PG) Stats Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
THE WHISTLEBLOWER Reviewed this issue. (R) 112 minutes. (★★★1/2) Starts Friday.
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 CONFORMIST (R) 107 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: DOUBLE INDEMNITY (Not rated) 107 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight only (Thursday, August 18), 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 at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
MOVIE TIMES 8/19–8/25
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
The Help 12:45, 2, 3:45, 5. 6:45, 8, 9:40 + Sat–Sun, Wed 11am
Sarah’s Key 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20 + Sat-Sun, Wed noon
The Help Baby Friendly Show Wednesday 8/24 11am
The Whistleblower 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun noon
Point Blank 3:20, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 1:20
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
Another Earth 9:10 + Sat, Sun 12:50
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Help 12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
Crazy Stupid Love 4:30, 7, 9:20
The Devil’s Double 2
The Conformist (1970) Classic on the Big Screen Sat, Sun 8/20-8/21 11am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Final Destination 3D 3, 7:20 + Sat, Sun 11am Final Destination 2D 1, 5:05, 9:40
30 Minutes or Less 1, 3, 5:05, 7:15, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11am
The Help 1, 3:50, 6:45, 9:30
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 1:30, 4, 6:45, 9:30 + Sat,Sun 11am
Fright Night 3D 1:30, 7, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11am Fright Night 2D 4
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 1, 3, 5:05, 7:15, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Conan the Barbarian 1:30, 4:05, 7, 9:40 +Sat, Sun 11 am
The Smurfs 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:30 +Sat, Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Winnie The Pooh 11:30am The Smurfs 11am, 1:30, 4, 6:45, 9:20
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 1:20, 7
30 Minutes or Less 11:10 am, 1:15, 3:30, 5:30, 7:40, 9:45
Cowboys & Aliens 4:10, 9:45
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:55 am, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10:10
One Day 11:40am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:20, 10
Conan the Barbarian 3D 8/18 11:59, Fri-Thurs 11am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 10
The Help 11:55 am, 3:20, 6:30, 9:40
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 11:45 am, 2:20, 4:30, 7, 9:10
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:45am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
Fright Night 11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10
30 Minutes or Less 12:45, 3, 5:15, 7:45, 10
The Karate Kid Thurs 8/11 $1 Family Film 10am
Shrek Forever After Wed 8/24 $1 Family Film 10am
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
God Bless Ozzy Osbourne Wed 8/24 7:30
Conan the Barbarian 3D 2:10, 7:40, 10:30 Conan the Barbarian 2D 11:10 am, 4:55
Fright Night 3D 2:30, 8, 10:40 Fright Night 2D 11:40am, 5:20
30 Minutes or Less 12:20, 2:50, 5:05, 7:30, 9:50
Glee The 3D Concert Movie Fri-Wed noon, 2:40, ,5:10, 7:45, 10:10, Thurs 11 am, 1:15, 3:30, 5:45
Final Destination 5 3D 12:40, 3, 5:30, 7:50, 10:15
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:20am, 2, 4:40, 7:20, 10
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 1, 4, 7:15, 10:20
Crazy Stupid Love Fri-Tues 1:20, 4:5, 7:10, 10:05, Weds 1:20, 4:15, 7:10, 10:05, Thurs 1:20, 4:15, 7:10, 10:05
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
One Day 11:45 am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
The Smurfs 11:50, 2:20, 4:50, 7:10, 9:35
ANOTHER EARTH This speculative film co-written by actress Brit Marling, who also stars, and Mike Cahill, who directs, offers up a very slightly science-fictionalized version of our present world to explore larger thematic human issues of life, death, guilt, and forgiveness. There's a lyrical eeriness to the storytelling, especially the handling of the sci-fi element: the discovery of a duplicate Planet Earth rising and setting like a giant moon in our sky. But in the story of what this might mean to a guilt-stricken young woman and the man whose life she inadvertently destroyed, the day-to-day details of the characters' lives are often unconvincing, while the thematic elements never quite resonate enough. (PG-13) 92 minutes. (★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.
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.
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
THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE 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.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 Yet another collection of fresh-faced young disaster survivors (in this case, a collapsing bridge) outlast their expiration dates, and find themselves in for even more gruesome demises in this latest installment of the horror thriller series. (R) 92 minutes.
GLEE: THE 3-D CONCERT MOVIE The Glee Live concert tour comes to life. Good news: The creators of this big screen 3D explosion manage to infuse some heart amidst all the spunk. In between concert footage, we’re treated to several stories from real-life highschoolers (“losers”). Their stories are downright interesting. The concert? Well, that’s interesting, too. But if you’re not a Gleek, maybe less so. Still, it’s hard not to walk away from this inspired. 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. (★★1/2)—Greg Archer
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.
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.
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
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 dénouement (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.
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.
30 MINUTES OR LESS 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.
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