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May 22nd
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Film

Reviews and Times

Mombo

Mombo

Unstoppable 'Mother' fights for son in acute Korean mystery thriller

Don't go to the movies of South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho expecting the ordinary. While tales of maternal devotion have been a staple of human drama (and cinema) from Ma Joad to Stella Dallas to Lily Potter, what Bong brings to the mother-love genre in his absorbing thriller, Mother, is a virtuoso mix of dynamic action, precisely rendered emotions, and a complex worldview that both satirizes and mourns the junk and clutter, opportunism and corruption of modern daily life.

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Reviews and Times

Chloe

Chloe

All the elements should be in place for a classic, psycho-erotic suspense thriller in Atom Egoyan's Chloe: a flirty, attractive husband who never seems to be home, a neglected wife desperate to recapture his attention, and a beautiful young call girl capable of ripping open the couple's orderly, upscale lives. Egoyan and his excellent cast manage to conjure a credibly sensual atmosphere of hothouse desire (literally, in one key scene that occurs in a steamy, secluded room of an indoor botanical garden). David (Liam Neeson) is a popular university professor, adored by his female students, who's always jetting off somewhere to deliver a guest lecture, staying late at the office for faculty meetings, or chuckling over private emails. His wife, Catherine (Julianne Moore) is a busy gynecologist who spends her days explaining orgasms and other sexual functions to her patients, but has not felt the love herself in a long time.

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Reviews and Times

Movies & Film Events: Week of Mar.25

Movies & Film Events: Week of Mar.25

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

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Reviews and Times

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning

‘Cherry Bombed’ indeed. An inside look at the new film ‘The Runaways’ and why Fanning considers morphing into ’70s rocker Cherie Currie the role of a lifetime.

French kissing a girl? Prancing around scantily clad on stage crooning savage rock songs? Morphing into a sex kitten?

Hello -- is this the Dakota Fanning we have all come to know and love?

Yes... and no.

Fanning, who warmed hearts in films like I Am Sam and The Secret Lives of Bees, morphs into uber rock chick Cherie Currie in the new film The Runaways. The ambitious saga chronicles the rise of the famed girl band of the same name and, eventually, the fall of Currie, the band's lead crooner who was caught in an avalanche of fame alongside Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West and Jackie Fox in the mid-'70s.

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Reviews and Times

Little César

Little César

Brutal: Prison breeds a master criminal in 'A Prophet'

A French-Arabian youth with little education and no particular religion falls in with a bad crowd. Although he tries to work hard and stay out of trouble, he is literally forced into criminal activities in which the risks and the consequences are dire in the extreme. Lives (his own and others) are at stake every time he's faced with a new decision. How he learns to navigate this volatile minefield of crime and punishment is at the harrowing heart of Jacques Audiard's violent suspense thriller A Prophet (Un Prophéte). The twist is, the young protagonist's entire extensive education in the criminal underworld occurs within a French prison, after he's jailed on a charge so petty, it's never even mentioned.

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Reviews and Times

THAT EVENING SUN

THAT EVENING SUN

A cantankerous old widower defies the authorities and makes one last, spectacular play to keep the old homestead he's in danger of losing. It may sound a lot like Pixar's Oscar-winning cartoon feature Up, but rookie filmmaker Scott Teems' That Evening Sun, a live-action meditation on loneliness and redemption, establishes a compelling, somewhat astringent personality all its own. Adapted from a short story by William Gay, the film is blessed with a superb performance by Hal Holbrook.

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Reviews and Times

Movies & Film Events: Week of Mar. 18

Movies & Film Events: Week of Mar. 18

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

 

 

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Reviews and Times

After The Fall

After The Fall

Burton follows Carroll down the rabbit hole in a funny, engaging 'Alice in Wonderland'
The better you know the Alice books of Lewis Carroll, the more you'll appreciate Tim Burton's winsome and nutty remix, Alice In Wonderland. Instead of rehashing of the familiar children's story, Burton and scriptwriter Linda Woolverton borrow elements from both classic Carroll books, "Alice In Wonderland," and "Through The Looking Glass," then dare to imagine an entirely new story populated by Carroll's enduring fantasy characters.

Burton and collaborator Woolverton (she wrote the marvelous script for Disney's Beauty And the Beast) understand what makes the books so much fun—deadpan, Seinfeld-like conversations about the minutiae of life, the usefulness (or not) of language, silly plays on words, and the stubborn pragmatism of resourceful little Alice in a world gone cheerfully mad. Staying true to this antic, anarchic spirit, they fashion a funny, girl-empowering saga that is often Carroll's equal in drollery.

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Reviews and Times

Movies & Film Events: Week of Mar. 11

Movies & Film Events: Week of Mar. 11

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

 

 

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Reviews and Times

Gold Fever

Gold Fever

Will twice the nominees be boon or bust at 2010 Oscars?

A funny thing happened on the way to this year's Academy Awards ceremony. The Academy decided to open up its nominating process to 10 films, instead of the usual five. Who (besides Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, who will reap twice the revenue from "For your consideration …" ads), is this new policy designed to benefit? Well, the Academy, mainly, suffering from charges of elitism for failing to include more popular, crowd-pleasing titles among its most august list of Best Picture nominees in recent years. This was kind of a surprise to some of us pointy-heads who thought the Academy's recent trend toward more interesting, independent films was sort of a good thing. (Big box-office movies have big box-office receipts to console them.) After all, you don't have to go too far back in the last decade to find movies like Gladiator and Lord of The Rings: Return of the King—not exactly popularity wallflowers— not only nominated, but waltzing off with the whole Oscar enchilada.

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival