Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
Undersea kingdoms explored in poetic eco-doc 'Oceans'
A few years ago, French documentary filmmaker Jacques Perrin astonished the world with Winged Migration, an extraordinary you-are-there look at bird life in which cameras seemed to soar in the air alongside geese, gulls, and other migrating flocks. Perrin now sets the bar for wildlife documentaries, so it's no surprse it took him and his intrepid team some seven years to complete filming for his new release, Oceans. Although this time Perrin's cameras delve deep—often straight to the sandy bottom—of the world's seven seas, Oceans too soars in its own poetic way. Particularly when sea creatures huge and small are performing lazy aerial ballets in the vastness of blue aquatic space.
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS
The engrossing story of the brainy Rand Corp. employee who smuggled out the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times is told by filmmakers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith in this lively, coherent and informative Oscar-nominated documentary. Fri., May 14, 2:15 p.m., at the Del Mar.
New leadership preserves intrepid, independent vision in Santa Cruz Film Festival IX
One-woman human dynamo Jane Sullivan may be out of the picture, but the show will go on next week for the ninth annual Santa Cruz Film Festival. While Sullivan enjoys a much-deserved sabbatical, the festival's intrepid board of directors has risen to the challenge of producing SCFF IX, which begins Thursday, May 6, and runs through Sunday, May 15. Under the guidance of a newly created leadership team made up of longtime board members and festival veterans, SCFF IX will feature 133 films from 33 countries (40 of them locally produced) at multiple venues around town, along with a full slate of panels, workshops, parties, live music, gala receptions, and a demonstration of extreme hula-hooping.
Vibrant Latino culture, family drama, explode in 'La Mission'
It may be Benjamin Bratt's name above the title, but the Latino community in San Francisco's Mission District is the real star of La Mission. As viewed through the camera eye of writer-director Peter Bratt (the star's older brother), the Mission is an E-Ticket ride of cultural vitality: vibrant, colorful murals sprawl across every wall, Aztec dance troupes and Mariachi bands are out performing on the street at all hours, and a sleek parade of extravagantly restored, airbrushed and detailed lowrider cars prowls the neighborhood seemingly every night, winding up with a fiesta of music and dancing. Every interior is painted in vivid, sun-drenched colors and decorated with altars and family photos.
Watch out for The Eclipse, an unusual and affecting hybrid of a movie from Irish filmmaker Conor McPherson. A finely limned character drama about a lonely widower and father slowly coming to terms with life, death, and grief, the tone is part magic realism, and part lyrical Irish folk ballad. It's certainly not what you'd call a thriller in any conventional sense. And yet it contains two or three of the most frightening, jump-out-of-your-skin shock moments you'll see in the movies all year. The story is set in the rugged, starkly beautiful coastal hamlet of Cobh, in County Cork, during an annual literary festival. The wonderful Ciaran Hinds play Michael Farr, a local woodshop teacher who has dabbled in story-writing and volunteers at the festival every year as a driver, ferrying visiting literati to and from events.
Consumerism runs amok in savvy satire 'The Joneses'
You know "the Joneses" that we're all supposed to be keeping up with? They actually exist in the eponymously named The Joneses, a sly and sharp black comedy from filmmaker Derrick Borte about consumerism and its consequences. Liberated from the prison of metaphor, they stride onto the screen intact, the coolest new family on the block with all the coolest new stuff that all their neighbors instantly covet. In an already affluent neighborhood, they raise the curve for essential possessions and throw down the gauntlet: let the games begin!
Sappy filmmaking bobbles great story in 'Perfect Game'
A wonderful true story lurks inside the family-friendly baseball movie, The Perfect Game. In 1957, a motley group of street kids from a working-class industrial area of Monterrey, Mexico, not only shaped themselves into a baseball team with the heart and chutzpah to earn official Little League franchise status, they also became the first foreign team to advance all the way to the top in the Little League World Series across the border.