Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews TAKE SHELTER,
Movie Times click here.
New This Week
Who wrote Shakespeare's plays? This film argues in favor of Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, and delves into Elizabethan court conspiracies to explain why he was forbidden to claim the credit.. (PG-13) 130 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Suppose Butch Cassidy didn't die in a hail of gunfire in Bolivia, but lived on in retirement, until circumstances drew him out for one last reckoning. That's the premise of Spanish director Mateo Gil's spare, soulful tone poem on the iconography of the West, honor among thieves, and redemption. The fiercely iconic Sam Shepard is perfectly cast as the outlaw formerly known as Cassidy, now called James Blackthorn and living peacefully in a tiny, mud-brick ranch house in the Bolivian countryside. After a chance encounter with Spanish bandito, Eduardo (Eduardo Noriega), Blackthorn takes the younger outlaw under his wing and shares his views on honor, friendship, and life, but there's nothing warm and fuzzy about where this movie is going. (A shootout between three women is particularly hair-raising). Stephen Rea is terrific as a drunken old gringo who's wasted his life in fruitless pursuit of Butch and Sundance, but now embraces the quiet life away from the "war" the corporate railroads waged against the outlaws. Director Gil moves the action smoothly along through some luscious Bolivian landscapes to the stark, yet righteous conclusion of this moody, elegiac film. (R) 100 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
In the near future when nobody ages any more, and time itself is the going currency, a poor man stumbles onto a fortune in time, but finds himself on the run from sinister enforcers known as "time-keepers." Justin Timberlake stars. (PG-13) 109 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
An A-list cast stars in this dramatic thriller about members of an elite Wall Street investment firm going into a desperate tailspin during the first 24 hours of the 2008 financial meltdown. Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, and Stanley Tucci star for director J. C. Chandor. (R) 105 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
PUSS IN BOOTS
Meow, indeed. Antonio Banderas returns as the voice of the orange swashbuckling kitty in this animated prequel about Puss' life before he teamed up with Shrek and Donkey. Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Sedaris and Billy Bob Thornton provide supporting voices. Chris Miller directs. (PG) 90 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Johnny Depp returns to Fear-and-Loathing mode in this adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel (begun in 1959, but not published until the late '90s), a lightly fictionalized account of the author's early stint as a reporter for a run-down newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, and Richard Jenkins co-star. Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) directs. (R) 120 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
TAKE SHELTER Reviewed this issue. (R) 120 minutes. (★★1/2) Starts Friday.
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: NEW MUSIC WORKS AND THE RIO PRESENT METROPOLIS Fritz Lang's silent Art Deco futuristic masterpiece has been the gold standard for sci-fi film design since its release in 1927. The visuals are absolutely stunning for their era, or any era since, and with an added 25 minutes of "new" footage recently found in a film museum in Buenos Aires, the plot finally makes complete sense. Accompanying the film is the World Premiere of a new original musical score composed by Phil Collins (Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year, 2011), Performed live by the NMW Ensemble and guest artists Timba Harris, Colleen Donovan, and Ariose Singers. What's more, the lobby of the Rio Theatre will be transformed into a Deco Expressionist Berlin cityscape courtesy of cardboard artists Dag Weiser and Leslie Murray. Advance tickets $14-$36; $20-$45 at the door. Advance tickets available online at newmusicworks.org, or in person at Streetlight Records. At the Rio, Friday and Saturday only, 8 p.m.
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (★★★★) (PG) Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
CONTINUING SERIES: FLASHBACK FEATURES Thursday nights at the Cinema 9, presented by your genial host, Joe Ferrara. $5 gets you in. This week: FRIGHT NIGHT. (R) 106 minutes. Tonight only (Thursday, October 27), 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.
CONTINUING EVENT: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES At the Del Mar mezzanine in downtown Santa Cruz. Movie. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
Movie Times click here.
THE BIG YEAR Extreme birdwatching? The stakes are high for Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin as rival birdwatchers in this comedy about a prestigious competition to spot the rarest birds in North America. David Frankel (Marley & Me) directs. (PG)
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
DOLPHIN TALE Well crafted and filled with plenty of emotion. It’s hard to resist this tale of an injured dolphin and the people—particularly one boy—that helps rally to save it. Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and Morgan Freeman co-star for director Charles Martin Smith. (PG) 113 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
DRIVE Ryan Gosling's commanding presence fuels this lean, stylish suspense thriller. He plays a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for petty criminals, forced to go on the offensive after a job goes awry. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn; costarring. Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks. (R) 100 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
50/50 His own brush with cancer inspired comedy producer Will Reiser to pen this tender, thoughtful and humane comedy disguised as a raunchy guy farce—complete with Seth Rogen as the cancer patient's horndog buddy. In real life, Rogen and Reiser are friends, and Reiser has written him a typically gauche comic part. But the film belongs to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who racks up another wry, disarming, perfectly life-sized performance as a 27-year-old radio writer suddenly facing mortality. Directed by Jonathan Levine, the film never pokes fun at cancer or cancer patients, but it does offer up a bracing and humorous manual on coping with life's surprises. (R) 100 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
FOOTLOOSE Everybody ... cut it loose. Why Hollywood insists on resurrecting modern pop culture “classics” and making them worse than the originals, escapes me. The first film worked because its star, Kevin Bacon, had real charm. You liked the dude. Not so much with newcomer Kenny Wormald or DWTS babe Julianne Hough—they both illuminate the kind of souless, depth-free creatures our current culture tends to idolize; even compete for. (PG-13) 113 minutes. (★1/2)—Greg Archer.
HAPPY, HAPPY Director Anne Sewitsky trades in a laugh-to-keep-from-crying sort of worldview when a city couple and their adopted young African son rent a small guest house from warm, ebullient schoolteacher Katja (Agnes Kittelsen) and her sullen husband for a winter vacation. Sewitsky punches up her dark themes of infidelity and emotional battery with ironic appearances by a quartet of Nordic males, singing a capella American gospel (after a montage of illicit sex, the chorus chimes in with a deadpan, yet somehow salacious "Good Religion"), as the filmmakers introduce the idea iof a bad marriage as a kind of enslavement for couples unhappily shackled together. The narrative strays into some weird, off-putting moments, but Kittelsen delivers a mostly endearing performance; the viewer becomes invested in her emotional journey. And Sewitsky displays a droll sensibility (ironic, if not strictly comic) that keeps her feature debut interesting, however strange it may get. (R) 88 minutes. In Norwegian with English subtitles. (★★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 stars. (PG-13) 137 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
THE IDES OF MARCH A perfect George Clooney trifecta: he directs, co-writes and stars in this winning political drama playing a candidate in a pivotal Ohio presidential primary. It’s Ryan Gosling though that, once again, steals the show, delivering a priceless performance playing a young press secretary (Ryan Goslin) who happens to stumble into a political scandal. Great supporting cast. Great script. Plenty of intrigue. Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Marisa Tomei co-star (R) 101 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer
JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN Rowan Atkinson is back in another episode of his international spy spoof comedy series. Rosamund Pike and Dominic West co-star for director Oliver Parker. (PG) 101 minutes.
KILLER ELITE Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert De Niro star in this action thriller. Gary McKendry directs. (R) 105 minutes.
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. (PG-13) 100 minutes. (★★★★) —Lisa Jensen.
THE MILL AND THE CROSS Rutger Hauer stars as 16th Century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, caught in the act of creating his vast masterwork, "The Way To Calvary," in 1564, in Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski's visually stunning experimental film about art and the artmaking process. Majewski isn't interested in telling a linear story; life sprawls across his cinematic canvas in all its messy, teeming, tragi-comic, absurd humanity. As the painting comes to life onscreen, Bruegel (and Majewski) become godlike figures, grinding the raw grain of life and human activity into art, in this singular, questing, radical art film. (Not rated) 92 minutes. (★★★1/2)
MONEYBALL In Bennett Miller's entertaining screen adaptation of Michael Lewis' non-fiction book, "moneyball" refers to the old-school way baseball has been run over the last 40 years, where celebrity players' salaries skyrocket into the millions, and only the richest teams who can afford the most expensive players ever win championships. Brad Pitt makes a tasty little feast out of the part of Billy Beane, iconoclastic GM of the Oakland As, who in 2002 assembles a group of inexpensive players from spare parts and leftovers, according to computerized stats, who go on to make major league history. A wry, engaging David vs. Goliath tale that pays homage to the "romance" of baseball without resorting to the usual sentimental clichés. (PG-13) 133 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman direct the third (and possibly final) installment of the renegade webcam thriller series. In this prequel, twin girls befriend an unknown entity that lives in their home. (Not Rated)
REAL STEEL It's by-the-numbers in every possible way, plot-wise, but Shawn Levy's workmanlike saga of tarnished dreams and redemption coasts along on the considerable appeal of Hugh Jackman, playing tough and tender as a broken-down fight promoter who gets one last chance to turn his life around. Set in a near future when robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring. (PG-13) 127 minutes. (★★★)—LIsa Jensen.
THE THING Another retread for the venerable pulp horror thriller, this one purports to be a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter version, showing what happened when an alien spacecraft crashed into a Norwegian research station in Antarctica, unleashing terror on the unsuspecting scientists. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, and Ulrich Thomsen star for director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (R) 103 minutes.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) seems a bit young, even for D'Artagnan. But Matthew Macfadyen (Darcy in the most recent Pride and Prejudice) as Athos, Luke Evans (the sexy handyman in Tamara Drewe) as Aramis, and Christoph Waltz as the scheming Cardinal Richelieu sound promising. It may be a stretch for director Paul W. S. Anderson, perpetrator of the Resident Evil series, but veteran co-writer Andrew Davies has adapted everything from Jane Austen to Dickens, to Bridget Jones, so let's hope for the best. (PG-13) 110 minutes.
TOAST The autobiography of Britain's master chef and culinary icon Nigel Slater is the basis for this wry comedy-drama about growing up foodie in the 1960s. Freddie Highmore stars as the teenage Nigel, trying to find himself as both a passionate cook and a gay youth while resisting the influence of his scheming, suffocating step-mother (Helena Bonham Carter). Ken Stott and Matthew McNulty (he played Luis Bunñuel in Little Ashes) co-star. (Not rated) 96 minutes.
THE WAY The title of Emilio Estevez's wistful road movie of self-discovery refers to "El camino de Santiago," the way of St. James, the route across northern Spain to the cathedral of Santiago de la Compostela. Martin Sheen is wry and affecting as an LA eye doctor walking the route with the ashes of his adventurer son in a mismatched group of modern pilgrims. The movie engages as a glorious travelogue of ancient villages and folkways (it was shot on location in France and Spain), and in the little discoveries the characters make about themselves and each other as they travel along. It also may have viewers itching to follow the route, just to see who they might discover within when they leave their familiar selves behind. (PG-13) 115 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
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