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Jul 31st
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Film

Reviews and Times

Men (and Women) Behaving Badly

Men (and Women) Behaving BadlyCivility declines when childish parents meet in predictable 'Carnage' 

Why can't Johnny play nice with the other kids in the park? Is he a bullying little monster? Was he goaded into it by some other bullying little monster? Or is he acting out some basic, primal instinct that's still roiling just beneath the fragile surface of human civility? The new Roman Polanski film, Carnage, opts for Door Number Three, exploring at close range (and in often claustrophobic terms) what happens when four apparent grown-ups get together for some polite chit-chat after the son of one couple injures the son of the other couple during an after-school altercation in the park.
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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Jan. 12th

Film, Times & Events: Week of Jan. 12th

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews CARNAGE,
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Reviews and Times

Cold Comfort

Cold Comfort'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' an admirable, chilly thriller 

In keeping with today's topic, Cold War espionage, let me start off with a full disclosure: I am not the ideal audience for spy thrillers. The rules of the genre—the "McGuffin" everyone is searching for, the traitor in the ranks, the dispassionate trust-no-one isolation—are not issues I find especially compelling. For me, there has to be some pretty stylish filmmaking, engaging characters, or a profoundly felt moral dilemma to make it all worthwhile.
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Reviews and Times

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With The Dragon TattooFor the majority of English-speaking readers who devoured Stieg Larsson's international bestselling crime thriller trilogy in translation, but never saw the 2009 Swedish film version, this Hollywood reboot from director David Fincher is reasonably compelling. Kudos to Fincher and scriptwriter Steven Zaillian for maintaining the story's setting in Sweden (not relocating it to, say, New York or L.A.), and assembling an excellent cast.
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Reviews and Times

It's a Wrap

It's a WrapMovie stories light up the screen in 2011

Big surprise: movies about movies shot to the top of the list of films I loved in 2011. Movies about art, writing and Paris also earned a place in my Top 10, along with the usual assortment of strange bedfellows—Werner Herzog, Almodóvar, Harry Potter. Aside from those films still playing in town (which you should run out and see on a big screen right this minute), this list should give you some eclectic ideas for your post-holiday Netflix queue.
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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 29th

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 29th

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews, 
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Reviews and Times

Silence Is Golden

Silence Is Golden'The Artist' a witty, splendid homage to the silent film era 

You can't say filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius lacks the courage of his convictions. When he set out to make a movie that pays homage to Hollywood's silent era, not only did he film in vintage black-and-white, he dared to shoot the entire movie without audible dialogue, relying on only the occasional title card, music, and the actors' expressiveness to tell the story. The splendid result is The Artist, in which Hazanavicius wields the classic storytelling tools of the silent film era with fresh new exuberance. It may look and feel vintage, but The Artist is one of the most original movies of the year.
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Reviews and Times

Action!

Action!Now … what’s your motivation? 

Just as actors examine their motivation to portray Mr./Mrs. Everyman on the screen, (or sometimes, we hope, Neverman,) we as audience members need motivation to buy that increasingly pricey ticket and be a face in the dark. Defining that motivation is a billion-dollar industry, but individually, what drives us to the box office is very personal. What internal elements combine with Hollywood magic to create that perfect match? I’ve boiled my own cinema quotient down to four essential movie-food groups. Whether or not agree with my reasoning, you might consider similar examination when making your film choices, or more importantly, when someone suggests, “You really need to see Young Adult.”
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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 22nd

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 22nd

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews THE ARTIST ,
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Reviews and Times

Out with the new

Out with the new

Harmless, but predictable 'New Year's Eve' sings same old song 


Picture this: Times Square, New York City, New Year's Eve. Crowds have been amassing all day to see the giant glitter ball hoisted up to the top of its pole, to drop down again at the stroke of midnight. But as the festivities begin, and the ball starts to go up—oh no!—it gets stuck halfway up the pole. Will it get to the top in time? Can the new year begin if the ball doesn't drop? These are among the many burning questions posed in the ensemble romantic comedy, New Year's Eve, but audiences may be asking themselves a different question: what are a bunch of nice Oscar winners (and nominees) doing in a movie like this? 

The short answer is: collecting a paycheck. The ensemble romantic comedy Valentine's Day was a big enough hit back in 2010 that distributor Warner Brothers reunited director Garry Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate for this retread. It's not a sequel, there are no characters in common between the two movies, it's just the same formula transplanted from L.A. to New York, in which a vaguely interconnected group of folks try to realize their holiday expectations. Formulaic, too, is the quality of the storytelling. Well-meaning and eager to please, New Year's Day amounts to little more than a collection of sitcom gags, predictable romance, and inspirational speeches about love, hope, and second chances.

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Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Jailbreak with Reality

‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ revisits one of the most notorious studies of all time
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Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover