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Jul 24th
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Film

Reviews and Times

Don Bachardy: Perfect Portrait

Don Bachardy: Perfect Portrait

The Del Mar Theatre’s benefit screening of ‘Chris and Don’ delivers one of the year’s more illuminating documentaries
If there is one movie you must see this year to convince you of the incredible power of love, and how it can transform those captured by its magical prowess, it would have to be Chris and Don … a love story. The heartwarming documentary, which enjoyed a healthy run and critical praise within the film festival circuit, hits Santa Cruz on Sept. 11 with a special screening and fundraiser at the Del Mar Theatre for the Santa Cruz Cultural Council. This imaginative film chronicles the against-all-odds relationship between British writer Christopher Isherwood and portrait painter Don Bachardy, whose memorable works grace the halls of the Met and The Smithsonian. But Chris and Don (****) unveils a portrait of another kind. It seems to illuminate the unending depths love can take two people, and with vivid strokes of its artistic brush—so wonderfully executed by director Guido Santi—manages to convey the unlimited possibilities of what something real can offer. Isherwood

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Reviews and Times

Pure Cinema Alchemy

Pure Cinema Alchemy

Take ‘The Fall’ and prepare to be spellbound

In big, expensive studio movies, the entire budget may go into a star’s bank account, or noisy special effects, while no-budget independent movies often struggle to make up in integrity what they lack in production values. And then there’s The Fall, the kind of unclassifiable virtuoso performance that happens when a filmmaker has an extraordinary vision and pursues it with relentless drive, focus and imagination, come what may. Part fairy tale, and part coming-of-age drama, it combines stunning visual beauty and a beguiling storyline in a witty and artful homage to both the early days of moviemaking and the power of storytelling itself.

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Reviews and Times

Belgian Wafflers

Belgian Wafflers

Irish gangsters re-examine their career choices in smart, violent, perversely funny ‘In Bruges’

In one respect, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges is a marvelous travelogue for the medieval Old Town in the Belgian city of Bruges. The urge to join the migration of international tourists who will no doubt be flocking there in the wake of this film’s release may be irresistible. Just don’t forget to pack your bulletproof vest.

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Reviews and Times

Primal Screen

Primal Screen

Signs and portents, plus the best, worst and weirdest of the 2007 movie year

What if they gave a movie and nobody came? A lot of theater-owners wrestled with this dilemma in 2007. Box office returns were up this year, since it now costs half your kingdom and your first-born male for a couple of tickets to the multiplex, but the incredible shrinking audience became a factor to reckon with at smaller venues.

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Reviews and Times

Nature of the Beast

Nature of the Beast

   Emile Hirsch explores inner landscapes in ‘Wild’

“Besides his outstanding intellect and creativity, his willpower, strength and integrity stood out,” says “Into the Wild” star Emile Hirsch. “He really is a tremendous spirit.”

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Reviews and Times

Peter Fonda: Still on Track

Peter Fonda: Still on Track

He’s not done yet. Why Peter Fonda hopped on the testosterone train in ‘3:10 to Yuma’

Morality, courage, honor and family may be the themes explored in the riveting, re-imagined 3:10 to Yuma, but for Peter Fonda, the shoot-’em-up extravaganza by director James Mangold (“Walk The Line”) was a reminder of how well westerns can illuminate real-life political dramas.

“The best way to discuss what’s going on right now is through a western—and in the past tense,” Fonda says. “If you talk in the ‘right now,’ you’re going to force people to go one way or another in an ideology they may not like, but in a western, that idiom gives you the chance of encompass all sides of the political spectrum.”

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Reviews and Times

Somewhere North of Up

Somewhere North of Up

The adventurous Chris Sharma on tough rock climbs and what life looks like on top of the world
Chris Sharma has a firm grip on life. He needs the tight handhold because he’s often dangling by just a few fingers, death or injury close by. Such is the life of the world’s best rock climber. At 26, the Santa Cruz native, who now spends more time away from his hometown than in it, is the type of daredevil that will scour the world, hunting for the most challenging climb that planet Earth can offer.

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Reviews and Times

The Hair and How to Spray it

The Hair and How to Spray it

How newcomer Nikki Blonsky went from wannabe to gotta-see in ‘Hairspray’

The message in Hairspray is loud and clear: Embrace being different. That may be yesterday’s news to a gaggle of gays and lesbians, but in a day and age when even something as retro as prejudice wants to make a comeback, the message can’t be heard often enough. Hopefully with “Hairspray” hitting theaters this month, something will stick. The new John Waters-inspired film musical, based on the Broadway hit, which was inspired by Waters’ ’70s cult classic—Oy!—could very well become summer’s brightest offerings. Handsomely directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman, the movie offers the same sort of zing once found in Grease or Little Shop of Horrors. A delight from beginning to end, the story chronicles the misadventures of Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Nikki Blonsky), “a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart.” Tracy’s got one passion—dancing—and a bold dream of appearing on “The Corny Collins Show,” Baltimore’s wildest television dance party.

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Reviews and Times

Watch Your Step

Watch Your Step

Actor-director David Arquette unleashes his cinematic odyssey, ‘The Tripper,’ at the Santa Cruz Film Festival | by Christa Martin


After numerous e-mails, phone calls and waiting around for two weeks for an interview with David Arquette, I’m on the verge of giving up. Right then, my phone rings. “Hi, this is David Arquette,” says the film and television star, much to my amazement. We exchange pleasantries and he offers apologies for the confusion over scheduling an interview. OK, all is forgiven. He’s a really nice guy.

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Reviews and Times

The Bold and the Badass

The Bold and the Badass

In ‘Grindhouse,’ Freddy Rodriguez morphs into one fiery little torpedo

He went from playing a befuddled undertaker’s assistant in the cable hit Six Feet Under to slowly becoming a memorable presence on the big screen. His name is Freddy Rodriguez and after watching Grindhouse, the cinematic double whammy from directing titans Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, you bound to remember him. Last seen playing a compassionate busboy in the critical hit Bobby—he also turned heads playing a struggling immigrant in Fast Food Nation—Rodriguez warp speeds past his typically “Mr. Nice” demeanor to  fully embody a machine-gun totin’ wild man opposite sexy siren Rose McGowan in Rodriguez’s segment of Grindhouse. In a round table interview with journalists, Rodriguez bares all.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.