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Apr 20th
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Film

Reviews and Times

Director Andrew Jarecki on The Friedmans

Capturing the Friedmans, this year’s Memento, nabbed the Grand Jury Prize Award at the Sundance Film Festival months ago and sent the film industry buzzing. How did a guy who set out to make a light-hearted documentary about Silly Billy, one of New York City’s better-known children’s party clowns, eventually find himself overhauling the entire project to create the year’s most mind-bending tale—a tale about sex, lies and old film reels that revolved around the criminal case that dismantled the clown’s entire family? To this day, Jarecki remains stumped over the Friedman case.

“I always did feel that the truth is a very difficult thing to figure out,” Jarecki says in a recent interview with GT.

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Reviews and Times

Hail Whale Rider

Writer-director Niki Caro may have created a knockout indie hit with Whale Rider, but first, there was a legend to learn


You are a filmmaker living in the western world. You’re modernized, scrutinized and accessorized. You’re hip, but you’re also deep, which is way your burning desire to make a movie out of Witi Ihimaera’s novel about the surprise emergence of a female leader in a so-not-westernized male-dominated coastal New Zealand tribe takes 10 years, a great deal of patience and hell of a lot of humility.

If you were screenwriter/director Niki Caro, you may be experiencing some pride these days—Caro’s artistic verve resonates in every frame of the fascinating-to-watch Whale Rider, opening at the Nickelodeon Theatre this week.

But long before the film became a reality,

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Reviews and Times

The Green Vile


Lou Ferrigno, come out, come out wherever you are!

The muscles bulge, the pants split open and voila—the big monster is set free. But, sadly, this Hulk goes limp.

In some ways, you want to really like Ang Lee’s ambitious outing. It looks and feels like a big screen comic book and, overall, the FX are impressive, but after two hours and 18 minutes of misadventures, you’d be more apt to just toss this Hulk  a bottle of zanax and call it a day. (Talk about annoying mood swings!) Screenwriters James Schamus, John Turman and Michael France have penned characters audiences should care about: a mad scientist horrified over his own mishap (Nick Nolte, who steals the show), a man uncertain of the molecular manipulation he’s been put through (newcomer Eric Bana as eager scientist Bruce Banner), a caring woman falling for an emotionally unavailable man (Jennifer Connelly).

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Reviews and Times

To LL and Back

It’s a battle of Good Vs. Eva for LL Cool J

James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J struts into a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, his sleek, diamond-stud earrings capturing the light, reflecting it back to the occupants of the room. By no means does it blind us, but it does make an impact, which is symbolic because ever since the one-time “legend in leather” became the über stud of Def Jam Records back in the ’80s he’s been evolving as an “artist,” often throwing a brick into the glass house where stale perceptions live.

Get ready. Here comes another brick.

LL Cool J as a leading man in a romantic comedy? It’s true. Start sweeping up the glass.

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Reviews and Times

Wajda Doing


Andrzej Wajda on Zemsta, Roman Polanski and Polish Culture


It was back in 2000 that Andrzej Wajda got a peck on the cheek from Jane Fonda in front of millions of people. One second later, she handed him the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and suddenly his life changed. Or did it? Certainly the honor was well received, but it didn’t necessarily change Wajda’s own vision as an artist, which was to create fine films with significant messages. And that he’s done. Wajda has been the leading filmmaker in the world for more than 50 years. His early creations— the trilogy of A Generation (1954), Kanal (1957) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958)—pushed the limits of Soviet censorship. But other films were full of pathos and a great many were nominated for Best Foreign Film by the Academy. Land of Promise (1975), The Maids of Wilko (1979) and Man of Iron (1981)—they all turned heads. Now, Zemsta has become a hit in Poland and local company MGE is bringing t to North American audiences. The film also reunites the director with a former struggling actor—Roman Polanski, who starred in Wajda’s A Generation in 1955. In Zemsta, Polanski takes on the role of Papkin in a film that’s full of a comedy of errors.

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Reviews and Times

His Kind of Town

His Kind of Town

‘Chicago’ director Rob Marshall opens up about his big screen razzle-dazzler

Like the town it’s named after, the film Chicago boasts guts, glory and a gust of (show biz) wind that will bowl you over. It’s one of the best films to come out of Hollywood in the last decade and deserves every morsel of praise it’s getting. That said, get a ticket and indulge in the Chicago experience when it officially opens in Santa Cruz County next Friday, Feb. 7. In the meantime, check local listing for sneak previews this weekend.

What makes Chicago the show-stopping, pulse-pounding entertainment extravaganza that it is?

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Reviews and Times

Where No Man Has Gonged Before

Where No Man Has Gonged Before

So, was Chuck Barris really a CIA operative or is it just confessions of a frivolous mind?

Chuck Barris is tired of being asked the same question by the press. Was the famous Hollywood producer of such campy TV game show hits like The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and later, The Gong Show, also a CIA hitman?

If it’s time to go to confession, Barris isn’t budging. And why should he? Keeping his lips zipped to that juicy question will only lure people into see Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the high-profile film directed by George Clooney and written by screenwriter du jour Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation). The big-screen outing is based on Barris’s 1980 memoirs of the same name, in which he writes:

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Reviews and Times

Keys to Adrien Brody

Keys to Adrien Brody

Brody strikes a chord in the lead role in Roman Polanski’s haunting Holocaust film, ‘The Pianist’

Adrien Brody sighs deeply, his charcoal eyes lost in his own brooding thoughts. Sometimes, it’s hard to put into words how, exactly, he changed personally after taking on the title role in Roman Polanksi’s new film The Pianist.

There’s the obvious—it had to be the role of a lifetime morphing into Wladysaw Szpilman, the Polish Jew/composer-pianist who barely survived the Warsaw Ghetto during the German occupation in WW II. That Polanski, an Alpha director known for

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Reviews and Times

About Dermot

Hollywood’s popular supporting player, Dermot Mulroney, dusts off the Julia mystique and rubs elbows with Jack in ‘About Schmidt’

Dermot Mulroney is not a puer aeternus, but he does a damn good job playing one in the film About Schmidt.  As Randall Hertzel, Mulroney morphs into a quirky yet loveable mandolescent, a mamma’s boy who sports a ridiculous mullet haircut, sells waterbeds and is about to become the son-in-law of Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson), a 66-year-old retiree who’s got symptoms of “I-can’t-believe-this-is-all-life-has-to-offer.”

About Schmidt is one of the best films of 2002—**** (out of four). It’s humorously and painfully real;

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Reviews and Times

Direct at Your Own Risk

The artisans behind ‘Raising Victor Vargas’ and ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ boldly explore different facets of teenage life

Culture clashes, over-active male libidos, teen angst—it may sound like the perfect formula for two new recently-released and buzzworthy independent films, but the real creative TNT can be found in the risktaking directors who sat behind the lens for both films.

In Raising Victor Vargas, director-writer Peter Sollet rounded up some thespians, bonded with them for several years and only after doing so did he pen his coming-of-age script about a Latino teen living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Meanwhile, writer-producer-director Justin Lin maxed out 10 credit cards, drained his life savings and accepted some cash from fallen rap king MC Hammer to fund Better Luck Tomorrow, his sexy little tale about a group of Asian teen brainiacs who moonlight as thieves. Both films have been winning accolades for showcasing teens in gripping stories that not only engage audiences but actually veer far away from conventional filmmaking. Malibu’s Most Wanted they are not.

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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?