Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
Ryan Gosling stars in this action thriller (based on the James Sallis novel) as a marginally employed Los Angeles movie stunt car driver who picks up some extra cash at night driving getaway cars for petty criminals. When one such extracurricular job goes awry, it takes all the maneuvers he knows to save himself and his passengers—a woman and her child—from their homicidal pursuers. Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks co-star for Danish-born director Nicolas Winding Refn. (R) 100 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Reviewed this issue. (R) 109 minutes. (★★1/2) Starts Friday.
I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT
Sarah Jessica Parker stars in this comedy about an on-the-go executive trying to juggle career, family, and marriage (to recently downsized hubby Greg Kinnear), whose life is complicated further by a sexy new business associate (Pierce Brosnan). Christina Hendricks and Kelsey Grammer co-star for director Douglas McGrath.
Based on the Allison Pearson novel. (PG-13) 95 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Sam Peckinpah's shockingly violent Dustin Hoffman vehicle of 40 years ago gets remade by directr Rod Lurie (right down to the poster, a clone of the riginal). James Marsden stars as a seemingly "civilized: Hollywood screenwriter who moves to the south with wife Kate Boswoth, only to be driven to savagery when a pair of sinister locals menace his home and his wife. Alexander Skarsgard and James Woods co-star. (R) 110 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
NEW SERIES THIS WEEK: NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE @ THE DEL MAR Can't make it to London for the Fall Theater Season? Now you don't have to: Britain's acclaimed National Theatre presents its 2011 Fall Season digitally, in HD, to movie theaters worldwide. Live performances will be broadcast one Thursday evening a month, in the Grand Auditorium of the Del Mar, with encore performances the following Sunday morning. This week: ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS Richard Bean's update of an 18th Century farce by Carlo Goldoni serves up the staples of Commedia del'Arte—mistaken identities, sexual cross-dressing, a permanently famished clown/hero—in a ribald modern-day comedy of sex, food, desire, and money. Nicholas Hynter directs. At the Del Mar, Thursday only (September 15), 7 p.m. Encore performance Sunday only (September 18), 11 a.m. Admission: $15. Seniors, students, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz subscribers: $13.
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: RASHOMON A crime committed by bandit Toshiro Mifune is explored through four conflicting, yet equally plausible eyewitness accounts in Akira Kurosawa's classic 1950 drama that grapples with the subjective nature of truth. (Not rated) 88 minutes. In Japanese with English Subtitles. 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: STARMAN Jeff Bridges gives one of the most audacious, weird, funny, and touching performances of his cheerfully eccentric career as a benevolent, goofy space alien who crash-lands in earthling Karen Allen's back yard. John Carpenter directs this charming 1984 intergalactic romantic comedy. (PG) 115 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight only (Thursday, September 8), 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 9/16–9/22
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
The Help 12:50, 3:50, 6:45, 9:40
Our Idiot Brother 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Drive 2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 9:50 Fri, Sat, Sun 12:30, Midnight
Attack the Block late night showings Fri, Sat 11
Baby Friendly Show Returns Wednesday 09/21
Midnight in Paris 2:10, 4:30, 6:50, 9 + Sat, Sun 11:50am
The Guard 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:20 + Sat-Sun 11:10am, 1:10
The Debt 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:30 + Sun 12:10
Higher Ground 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:10 + Sat, Sun Noon
One Man, Two Govnors British National Theatre LIVE 9/15 7pm, 9/18 11am
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Help 1, 3:50, 6:40, 9:25
The Debt 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun Noon
Rashomon Classic on the Big Screen Saturday, Sunday 11am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star 5:15, 7:20, 9:30
Warrior 1, 3:50, 6:45, 9:30
Contagion Digital 1:30, 4, 7, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
The Smurfs 1:05, 3:10 + Sat, Sun 11am
Saving Private Perez 1:30, 4, 7, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
I Don’t Know How She Does It 1:15, 3:10, 5:05, 7:15, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Drive 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat & Sun 11am
Straw Dogs 1:30, 4, 7, 9:40 + Sat-Sun 11am
The Lion King 2D 1:15
The Lion King 3D 3:10, 5:05, 7:15, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Warrior 12:30, 3:30, 6:45, 9:15 The Help 11:55am, 3:15, 6:30, 9:40
Drive 11:45, 2:10, 4:45, 7:30, 10
I Don't Know How She Does It 12:30, 2:45, 5:10, 7:20, 9:30
Contagion 11:30am, 2, 4:40, 7:10, 9:45 Crazy, Stupid, Love 1:30, 9:45
Seven Days In Utopia 11:15am, 4:20, 6:45
The Lion King 3D 11:30, 2, 4:30, 7 The Lion King 9:45
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:55am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10:10
The Debt 11:10am, 1:45, 4:15, 7, 9:30
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Drive 11:55am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10
Contagion 11:45am, 2:10, 4:40, 7:15, 9:45
Seven Days In Utopia 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7
Our Idiot Brother 9:20
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Zoolander Flashback Feature Thu 9/22 8
Lion King 3D 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 9:55 + Sat & Sun 12:05
Lion King 2, 4:25, 6:50 + Sat & Sun 11:25am
Contagion 1:50, 4:35, 7:10, 9:45 + Sat & Sun 11:15am
Straw Dogs 2:20, 5:05, 7:50, 10:35 + Sat & Sun 11:35am
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2:10, 4:45, 7:40, 10:20 + Sat & Sun 11:30am
Colombiana 1:35, 4:15, 7:20, 10:05 + Sat & Sun 11am
Bucky Larson 3, 5:30, 8, 10:25 + Sat & Sun 12:30
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 3D 1:40, 6:30
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4:05, 9 + Sat & Sun 11:10am
Apollo 18 Fri-Thu 9:15 Crazy Stupid Love 1, 3:45, 6:40, 9:30
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Warrior 12:45, 4, 7, 10 + Mon – Thur no 12:45
I Don’t Know How She Does It 1, 4:15, 7:15, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 1
APOLLO 18 This Blair Witch-style thriller depends on the notion of recently discovered suppressed NASA footage from a secret 18th mission to the moon and its horrific consequences. Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego directs. Thriller stylist Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) produced. (Not rated)
ATTACK THE BLOCK When aliens attack their neighborhood, a bunch of irreverent street kids in working-class South London band together to repel the invaders in this action comedy. Written and directed by Joe Cornish in the Hot Fuzz / Shaun of the Dead mode. Nick Frost, Jodie Whitaker, and Luke Treadaway star. (R) 88 minutes.
BELLFLOWER In this much-buzzed indie action drama, a couple of aimless youths who arm themselves with flamethrowers and other weapons in hopes of surviving the apocalypse they expect any day are thrown off track when one of them falls in love. But they resume their fantasies with a vengeance when the relationship starts to sour. Writer-director Evan Glodell also stars; Tyler Dawson and Jessie Wiseman co-star. (R) 106 minutes.
BUCKY LARSON: BORN TO BE A STAR Comedy Central alumni Nick Swarsdon stars in this comedy about a buck-toothed nerdball from Iowa who goes to Hollywood to become a pon star. Don Johnson and Christina Ricci co-star; Tom Brady directs. (R)
COLOMBIANA 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.
CONTAGION This one’s a keeper. Fine storytelling, wonderful execution and a pitch-perfect cast elevate Contagion beyond typical Hollywood offering. There’s an outbreak of a deadly virus that kills its victims within days. Director Steven Soferbergh.does a fine job of rotating the subjects and the mood he’s focusing on. Great locales here—Hong Kong, Macao, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, London and Geneva. Even better cast: Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, and Gwyneth Paltrow. This a bold, thought-provoking work. (PG-13) 106 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer
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
THE DEBT John Madden's gripping, tidily made (if at times, starkly visceral) suspense thriller plot unspools in two separate time frames. In 1965, a trio of young Israeli undercover Mossad agents go underground into East Berlin to expose an ex-Nazi war criminal. 30 years later, the three ex-ops are called out of retirement as the case is unexpectedly reopened. With a featured performance by the iconic Helen Mirren in one of her gutsiest roles, it's a persuasive, time-traveling political thriller about how easily the facts can go astray in pursuit of a more appealing big picture. (R) 114 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
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.
THE GUARD John Michael McDonagh’s profane, subversively funny comedy pairs a sophisticated FBI agent (Don Cheadle) with an irasicible small-town Irish police sergeant (the great Brendan Gleeson) on the trail of an international drug-trafficking ring that’s preparing to offload a suspected half-billion dollars worth of cocaine. Philosophical debates, existential angst, musings on Anglo-Irish prejudices, and other explorations into the Irish character ensue, in both hilarious and insightful terms. Gleeson gets to sink his chops into a delicious central role; his robust performance is the glue that holds the entire enterprise together. Less an action movie than character study, but Gleeson’s character is irresistible, and so is the film in its entertainingly cheeky, no-nonsense look at the wages of crime. (R) 96 minutes. (★★★1/2)—LIsa Jensen.
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 Kathryn Stockett's bestselling novel about female solidarity and racial stereotype-busting in the American south of the 1960s is given fine treatment here. Emma Stone continues to prove she can do no wrong on screen. She morphs into a post-collegiate gal here whose empathy and compassion for black maids in a Mississippi town eventually leads to her publishing a tell-all book about the foibles of their often ruthless employers. Great cast. Wonderful story.. Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Mary Steenburgen, Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, and Cicely Tyson. (PG-13) 137 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS There's nothing not to love in Woody Allen's irresistible romantic comedy. Owen Wilson is great fun as a Hollywood screenwriter longing to write 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.
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.
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
SHARK NIGHT 3D A lakeside vacation house off the Louisiana Gulf, a handful of nubile young weekend guests, and freshwater sharks set the stage of 3D mayhem in this thriller from director David R. Ellis (perpetrator of two of the Final Destination movies, and Snakes On A Plane). Sara Paxton and Dustin Milligan star. (PG-13)
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 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. (PG)
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.
WARRIOR The world of competitive mixed martial arts is the setting for this drama about an ex-Marine (Tom Hardy, from Inception) training for a tournament in conflict between his father (Nick Nolte), an alcoholic former coach, and his brother (Joel Edgerton, from The Square), a former champ. Gavin O'Connor (Pride and Glory) directs. (PG-13).
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