Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
Zoe Saldana (Avatar) stars as a female assassin, raised and honed on the mean streets of Bogota, Colombia, in this action drama from director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3), with a script co-written by Luc Besson. The assassin's ultimate quest is to find the drug mobsters who killed her parents. Michael Vartan and Cliff Curtis co-star. (PG-13) 107 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciaran Hinds star in this thriller as retired Israeli special ops agents drawn back into dangerous conflict when a celebrated case they cracked 30 years earlier (involving a Nazi war criminal) suddenly reopens. Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington play the agents' younger selves in flashback. John Madden (Shakespeare In Love; Proof) directs. (R) 114 minutes. Starts Wednesday (August 31). Watch film trailer >>>
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
Yet another classic horror remake, this one ("presented by" Guillermo del Toro, although Troy Nixey directs) concerns disturbing forces set loose when a little girl (Bailee Madison) moves into a spooky old Victorian mansion being restored by her father (Guy Pearce) and his new wife (Katie Holmes). (R) 100 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Reviewed this issue. (R) 96 minutes. (★★★1/2) Starts Friday.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER
Paul Rudd stars in this comedy as a jobless, homeless free spirit creating havoc in the lives of the three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, and Zooey Deschanel). They're all stuck taking turns putting him up when he's released from jail early for good behavior after a pot bust. Jesse Peretz directs. (R) 90 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: KING OF HEARTS Alan Bates plays a bewildered British soldier who escapes the insanity of WWI by joining a band of charming lunatics who have literally taken over their abandoned asylum in a French country village. Philippe De Broca directs this bittersweet 1966 comedy, one of the most beloved, crowd-pleasing cult movies of modern times. (Not rated) 102 minutes. (★★★★)—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: THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI Psychological tension and sprawling action highlight David Lean's 1957 epic about Allied prisoners in a Japanese POW camp at odds with their captors and each other over building a bridge. Oscars went to the film itself, Lean, Pierre Boulle's script, Malcolm Arnold's famous whistling march theme, and star Alec Guinness as a by-the-book British officer cracking under the strain. William Holden, Jack Hawkins, and Sessue Hayakawa co-star. (Not rated) 161 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight only (Thursday, August 25), 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 8/26–9/1
DEL MAR THEATRE 469-3220
The Help 12:45, 2, 3:45, 5, 6:45, 8, 9:40 + Fri–Sun, & Wed 11am
Our Idiot Brother 2:15, 4:15, 6:15, 8:15, 10:15 + Fri- Sun 12:15
Our Idiot Brother Baby Friendly Show - Wed 8/31 - 11am
Midnight in Paris 2:10, 4:30, 6:50, 9 + Sat, Sun 11:50am
The Guard 1:10, 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
The Whistleblower 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun noon
Sarah’s Key 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 12:10
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Help 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
Crazy Stupid Love – Ends Tuesday - 7, 9:20
King of Hearts (1966) Classic on the Big Screen Sat, Sun 8/27-8/28 11am
GREEN VALLEY CINEMA 8 761-8200
Columbiana 1:30, 4, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark 1:30, 4, 7, 9:40 + 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 11am
Final Destination 2D 9:40
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
Smurfs 2D 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20 + Sat-Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Fright Night 11:20am, 2, 4:30, 7:30, 10:10
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:55am, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10:10
Colombiana Thursday 08/31 11:59 + Fri - Thurs 11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:20, 9:45
Winnie the Pooh 11:30am
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 1:20, 7
Cowboys & Aliens 4:10, 9:45
One Day 11:10am, 1:45, 4:15, 7, 9:30 + Sat , Sun no 4:15
Our Idiot Brother 8/25 11:59 + Fri-Thurs 12:30, 3, 5:20, 7:40, 10
Conan The Barbarian 3D 11am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 10
The Help 11:55am, 3:20, 6:30, 9:40
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 11:40am, 2, 4:20, 6:45, 9
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:45am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
Our Idiot Brother Thurs 08/25 11:59pm + Fri - Thurs 12:30, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45, 10
Fright Night 11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10
Shrek Forever After $1 Family Film 10am
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Please Call for Show Times
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark 1:15, 4, 7, 9:40 + Mon-Thurs no 1:15
One Day 1, 3:45, 6:45, 9:20
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.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN 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.
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.
FRIGHT NIGHT 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.
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.
ONE DAY 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.
POINT BLANK 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 as 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, cops (and crooked cops), 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.
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. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. (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.
SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D 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)
THE WHISTLEBLOWER Canadian-born Ukrainian filmmaker Laysa Kondracki directs this intense and harrowing war drama, based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkvac. Told from a feminine perspective, it explores the lingering and devastating consequences of warfare on women long after the mission has supposedly been accomplished and the fighting troops have gone home. Rachel Weisz gives an earnest, perfectly calibrated performance as a Nebraska police officer who joins the UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia in 1999, only to uncover a horrifying sex-trafficking ring involving teenage Balkan girls that her superiors are surprisingly uninterested in doing anything about. Weisz' fierce moral outrage both propels and grounds the film. (R) 112 minutes. (★★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.
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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