Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews, Times and Trailers.
New This Week
BRIGHTON ROCK Graham Greene's 1939 noir-ish novel about the rise and spectacular burn-out of an ambitious young British gangster gets a slight update to 1964 in this period crime drama from filmmaker Rowan (son of Roland) Joffe. In this version, as the next generation of kids struggles to emerge from the shadow of postwar depression, and Mods and Rockers get ready to rumble on The Brighton boardwalk, a volatile young psychopath rewrites the rule book on the road to power, love, and revenge. Sam Riley stars (he played Ian Curtis in Control); Helen Mirren and John Hurt co-star. (Not rated) 111 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
CIRCUMSTANCE Two 16-year-old girls dare to experiment with sex, drugs, boys, and life within the repressive social regime that governs Iran in this feature narrative debut from assured young Iranian-American filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz. Her film won the Audience Award at this yeat's Sundance Festival. (R) 107 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
CONNECTED: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY ABOUT LOVE, DEATH, AND TECHNOLOGY Documentary filmmaker Tiffany Shlain considers what it means to be connected—virtually, politically, and otherwise—in the Internet Age, while musing on the history and civilization of modern culture and how technology and social networking are changing all the rules. (PG) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
DOLPHIN TALE It takes a village to rally around a young dolphin caught in a crab trap, save her life, and fit her with a new prosthetic tail in this family film based on a true story (and starring the actual dolphin survivor herself, Winter). Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and Morgan Freeman co-star for director Charles Martin Smith. (PG) 113 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
MONEYBALL Brad Pitt stars in this lightly fictionalized adaptation of Michael Lewis' non-fiction baseball book of 2003. Pitt plays Oakland As general manager, Billy Beane, who revolutionalizes the centuries-old traditions of how championship teams are put together by relying on computer technology to stay competitive in the era when the profit-drive bottom line trumps all other concerns. Jonah Hill plays his computer-nerd sidekick; Philip Seymour Hoffman plays outgoing coach Art Howe. Bennett Miller (Capote) directs. (PG-13) 133 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
RETURNING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: FIGHT CLUB Brad Pitt stars as a charismatic nutball who introduces stressed-out worker drone Edward Norton to life on the edge in the urban underworld of illegal, bare-knuckle boxing in this cult 1999 foray into rampant machismo from David Fincher. Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf co-star. (R) 139 minutes. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
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: PLAY TIME. (Not rated) 124 minutes, In French 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: ZOOLANDER . (PG-13) 89 minutes.Tonight only (Thursday, September 22), 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 9/23–9/29
DEL MAR THEATRE 469-3220
The Help 12:50, 3:50, 6:45, 9:40
Our Idiot Brother 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
Drive 12:40, 2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 9:50
Fight Club Friday & Saturday Midnight
Midnight in Paris 2:50, 6:50
The Guard 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:20 + Sat-Sun 11:10am, 1:10
Connected 5, 9 + Sat, Sun 1
Circumstance 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:10 + Sat, Sun Noon
Brighton Rock 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 12:10
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Help 1, 3:50, 6:40, 9:25
The Debt 4:40, 7 + Sat, Sun Noon
Higher Ground 2:20, 9:20
Play Time Classic on the Big Screen Saturday, Sunday 10:30am
GREEN VALLEY CINEMA 8 761-8200
Contagion 4, 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, 7
The Lion King 2D 1:15
The Lion King 3D 3:10, 5:05, 7:15, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Abduction 1:30, 4, 7, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
Killer Elite 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11am
Moneyball 1:35, 4:10, 7, 9:40 + Sat, Sun 11am
Dolphin Tale 3D 1:30, 7 Dolphin Tale 2D 4, 9:30 +Sat, Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
The Lion King 7, 9:15
Drive 12:15, 2:45, 5:20, 7:45, 10:10
I Don't Know How She Does It 11:20am, 1:45, 4, 6:30, 9
Contagion 11:45am, 2:10, 4:40, 7:10, 9:30
Abduction 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7:30, 10
The Help 11:55am, 3:15, 6:30, 9:40
The Lion King 3D 11:55am, 2:20, 4:40
Killer Elite 11:30am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:20, 10
Moneyball 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:45 Dolphin Tale 11am, 1:30, 4:15, 7, 9:30
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Dolphin Tale 3D 11am, 1:30, 4:15, 7, 9:30
Moneyball 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:45
Drive 11:45am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:30, 10
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Taxi Driver Flashback Feature Thu 9/29 8
An Evening With Jane Goodall Tue 9/27 8
Lion King 3D 1:50, 4:20, 6:40, 9:10 Lion King digital Sat & Sun 11:20am
Moneyball 1, 3:10, 4:10, 6:20, 7:20, 9:30, 10:30 + Sat, Sun Noon, Mon-Thu no Noon
A Dolphin Tale 3D 1:10, 7 A Dolphin Tale digital 4, 9:40
Abduction digital 2:20, 5, 7:40, 10:20 + Sat & Sun 11:40am, Mon-Thu no 11:40am
Killer Elite digital 2:10, 5:10, 8, 10:40 + Sat & Sun 11:10am, Mon-Thu no 11:10am
Contagion digital 2, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10 + Sat & Sun 11:30am, Mon-Thu no 11:30am
Straw Dogs 1:40, 4:40, 7:50, 10:35 + Sat & Sun 11am
Crazy Stupid Love 3:50, 7:10, 10 + Sat & Sun 12:50, + Mon-Thu no 12:50
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Warrior 1, 6:45, 9:45 + Mon – Thur no 1
Rise of the Planet of Apes 4:15
I Don’t Know How She Does It 7:15, 9:45
Spy Kids 4 1:15, 4 + Mon – Thur no 1:15
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)
BUCKY LARSON: BORN TO BE A STAR Comedy Central alumni Nick Swarsdon stars. 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
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.
DRIVE Reviewed this issue. (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.
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
HIGHER GROUND Actress Vera Farmiga's impressive directing debut is bsed on the Carolyn S. Briggs memoir "This Dark Place," about a modern woman's decision to leave her born-again Christian church in the 1970s and '80s. Farmiga plays the protagonist with lively intelligence, and her storytelling style is fluid and compelling. But such a strong thread of skepticism runs through the story, we expect the character's break with the church to be more profound, dramatically and spiritually. Instead, her apparent decline in faith occurs with a whimper, not a bang. Because she never seems completely connected to her faith, losing it doesn't have the impact it should. (R) 109 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
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.
THE LION KING Return engagement—in 3D—for Disney's classic 1994 Hamlet-like coming of age drama.. (G) 89 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
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 A surprisingly good film with a lot of heart—something you wouldn’t know if you just watched the previews, which make the film out to be totally slapstick. It’s not. Paul Rudd does a wonderful job morphing into a jobless, homeless dude whose family begins losing patience in his “free-spiritedness..” He has three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, and Zooey Deschanel). They’re all stuck helping him out. Jesse Peretz directs. (R) 90 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
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. Andy Serkis (Gollum in “Rings” and King Kong) is the real star of the film—he’s “acts” ape Caesar with plenty of digi-FX drenched over him. But he infuses real heart and, well, humanity in this tale. (PG-13) (★★★)—Greg Archer
SAVING PRIVATE PEREZ Mexican stereotypes and Hollywood movies are satirized in this Spanish-language action comedy about a crime lord sent by his mother on a mission rescue his brother against the backdrop of the drug wars in Sinaloa, Mexico. Beto Gómez directs. (PG-13) 105 minutes.
SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA Lucas Black stars as a young golfer who cracks under the pressure of his first pro tour and flees to Utopia, Texas, where he learns golf and life lessons from crusty old rancher Robert Duvall. Melissa Leo co-stars. Matthew Dean Russell directs, from the book, Golf's Sacred Journey by David L. Cook. (G) 98 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 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)
STRAW DOGS Sam Peckinpah turned heads with original,. starring Dustin Hoffman 40 years and now, director Rod Lurie does the same. My sense is the original works better. At times, it’s hard to believe this tale, but you certainly can’t take your eyes off of it. James Marsden plays the "civilized" Hollywood scribe who moves to the south with wife Kate Boswoth. (The original took place in the English countryside.) The acting here is stellar all around, especially when Marsden is driven to savagery when a gaggle of sinister locals menace his home and his wife. Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) and an raging James Woods co-star. (R) 110 minutes. (★★1/2)—Greg Archer
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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