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Sep 02nd
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Film

Reviews and Times

Hell's Belles

Hell's Belles

Schoolgirls go wild in skillful, but implausible psycho-thriller 'Cracks'

Hot on the muddy, moor-encrusted boots of Jane Eyre comes a new film about English boarding school girls from a potentially bright new talent. Jordan Scott (daughter of Ridley, niece of Tony) makes an assured and skillful feature film debut with Cracks, a psychological melodrama of illusion, identity, festering passions, and emotional mayhem-most-British at a staid girls boarding school in the English countryside.

Scott co-wrote the script with Ben Court and Caroline Ip, adapted from the controversial, experimental 2000 novel by Sheila Kohler. With its impressive production values, and scrupulously maintained period ambience (ca. 1934), this is a compelling mood piece that draws the viewer into the peculiar, hothouse sensibility of females cloistered away together deep in the country.

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Reviews and Times

I Am

I Am

This one’s a keeper. A film that has smatterings of What The Bleep Do We Know? yet manages to tell a more relatable story you can’t help but admire. Most of that is due to its filmmaker, Tom Shadyac (bottom photo; Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura), a likeable if not fiercely devoted chap who offers us something we can really sink our teeth into: an interesting personal mission/vision quest. “Facing my own death brought an instant sense of clarity and purpose,” Shadyac tells viewers of his impetus behind venturing out into the world to ask significant minds what’s actually wrong with it—and what we can do about it. “We’re all interconnected,” the filmmaker soon realizes. Whether you believe it’s true or not, you can’t help but drink some of this Kool-Aid and walk away feeling inspired. Shadyac doesn’t simply go on to prove that point for the sake of being right, he allows us to experience his discoveries in a way that doesn’t feel overly manipulating.

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Apr. 07

Film, Times & Events: Week of Apr. 07

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.

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Reviews and Times

Fresh Eyre

Fresh Eyre

Fukunaga crafts meticulous, vibrant new 'Jane Eyre'

Rising filmmaker (and UC Santa Cruz grad) Cary Joji Fukunaga wants to keep you guessing. His impressive first feature, Sin Nombre, was a gritty look at gang violence south of the border—in Spanish, yet. With his follow-up film, a new version of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte's evergreen Victorian-era romance, not only does Fukunaga achieve a complete about-face, material-wise, his retelling proves to be a deeply felt, beautifully wrought little gem of mood and sensibility.

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Mar. 31st

Film, Times & Events: Week of Mar. 31st

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.

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Reviews and Times

Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers

‘Of Gods and Men' unravels a powerful, true tale of Monks courageously fighting evil
Anyone curious about the monastic life need seek no further than the French drama, Of Gods and Men. A great deal of screen time is devoted to the daily routines and rituals of a small household of French Christian monks embedded within a largely Islamic mountain community in North Africa. But while director Xavier Beauvois lingers over their cloistered life of prayer, work and study behind the monastery walls, the film gradually expands into a larger story of courage, commitment, and community as the peaceful brothers are drawn into a brutal war between a corrupt government and its terrorist opponents.

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Mar. 24

Film, Times & Events: Week of Mar. 24

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.

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Reviews and Times

Hot Water

Hot Water

Modern film crew repeats history's mistakes in the gripping new film, 'Even the Rain'
History repeats itself in alarming, ironic, and yet inevitable ways in the adroit Spanish drama Even the Rain. This story of a modern Spanish movie crew descending on a remote Bolivian town to shoot a historical film exposing Christopher Columbus' mistreatment of the indigenous people in the New World becomes a textured, multi-layered study of the many guises of exploitation.

The film is directed with wit and intensity by Icíar Bollaín, a renowned Spanish film actress who has segued into a career behind the camera. Screenwriter Paul Laverty, longtime collaborator with English social realism director Ken Loach on films like My Name Is Joe and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, lived in Central America for three years, working for a human rights organization. Bollaín and Laverty met during the shoot of Loach's Spanish Civil War drama Land and Freedom. Together, they craft a wry and gripping tale that suggests how little things have changed in 500 years.

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 18

Film, Times & Events: Week of March 18

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.

 

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Reviews and Times

Green Party

Green Party

Funny script, Depp's lizard hero, highlight Western spoof 'Rango'

Johnny Depp has always been an experimental character actor trapped in the body of a guy who looks like Johnny Depp. But he finds a way to do an end run around the burden of his own good looks—and unleash his inner clown—in Rango, an abundantly silly and entertaining animated family comedy in which Depp brings voice and life to the film's unorthodox hero, a bulbous-eyed green lizard with big dreams.

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Foodie File: Beer Thirty

Cups runneth over at Soquel’s new beer garden

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.