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Sep 19th
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Reviews and Times

Film - Reviews and Times

THE HURT LOCKER

THE HURT LOCKER

Veteran action movie director Kathryn Bigelow is getting plenty of buzz over this epic drama about U.S. military bomb squad technicians risking their lives in the streets of Baghdad. Prize winner at the 2008 Venice Film Festival, and called by one critic "the first great Iraq War movie," the film stars Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty as part of the counter-insurgency force specially trained in diffusing homemade bombs whose unit is taken over by a reckless new tam leader (Jeremy Renner) just weeks before their tour of duty is up. Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, and David Morse have featured roles. (R) 131 minutes.

 

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Film - Reviews and Times

UNMISTAKEN CHILD

UNMISTAKEN CHILD

Filmmaker Nati Baratz goes behind the scenes into the secret and mysterious world of Tibetan Buddhism for this documentary about the search for the reincarnation of a recently deceased holy man. Given his mission by the Dalai Lama himself, a young monk who grew up attending the holy man consults astrologers and sets out for a remote village, where he goes door-to-door in hopes of being enlightened enough to recognize his former master in the child he seeks. (Not rated) 102 minutes.

 

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Film - Reviews and Times

Star Trek: Warp Speed Ahead

Star Trek: Warp Speed AheadRevamped ‘Trek’ will live long and prosper because it boldly goes where no ‘Star Trek’ has gone before

Tricky time-space continuums, a nasty thirst for revenge and stealing kisses with Uhura aren’t the only things that will make your head turn—or your mind spin—in Star Trek. The acting is above par (good news indeed), the script is (relatively) tight and there are actual moments of real suspense. It’s the latter that may stun most because the last time audiences felt more than an inkling of suspense in a Trek film it was back in 1986 with Star Trek IV.

But this isn’t your father’s Star Trek. Not anymore.

It’s director J.J. Abrams’ (Alias, Lost)—at least for now. Actually, it’s really the Trek of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the hot writing team behind Transformers and TV’s Fringe. Together, they create a bold new Trek, one that offers just the right amount of nuances from the iconic franchise— the ’60s series, 10 films and four other weekly shows throughout the decades—and more than enough fast-paced techo panache to keep you invested in the story.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Santa Cruz Film Festival gears up for its best year

Santa Cruz Film Festival gears up for its best year

A talk with the local festival's movie maven, Jane Sullivan

It started eight years ago and no one knew what would happen. Would it be a flop, a raging success, or something in between? But look at it now: The Santa Cruz Film Festival (SCFF) has turned out to be a stellar annual event, and while it may not run in the industry big league film festivals, it serves a very worthwhile purpose—exposing the work of independent filmmakers. And … it educates and inspires us with innovative work every year.

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Film - Reviews and Times

At the movies in 2008

At the movies in 2008

As troubled as this year was, the same audacity of hope that drove people to the polls in November also fueled some of my favorite films of 2008. In the spirit of bi-partisan generosity, I refrain from listing my least favorite films of the year. This is no time to gloat over the losers; instead, let’s pull together for a brighter movie year in 2009!

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Film - Reviews and Times

Monterey screenwriter's journey to Milk

Monterey screenwriter's journey to Milk

Dustin Lance Black's ties to the Central Coast helped craft the powerful civil rights tale

Politics, love and loss are perfect bedfellows in Milk, one of the most powerful, thought-provoking films of the year. But the much-ballyhooed movie about San Francisco politico Harvey Milk and the birth of the gay civil rights movement is a stunning, sometimes haunting portrait of a rarely scene pocket of history and how hope, ultimately, becomes the only saving grace.

And all this written by a man who wasn’t even born during Milk’s political renaissance. That man is Dustin Lance Black, 29, who lived in the Monterey Bay area for a time in the 1990s.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Love, Honor, Dysfunction

Love, Honor, Dysfunction

Anne Hathaway commands the screen in ‘Rachel Getting Married’

It’s not always fun to witness a bevy of messy family dynamics unfold on screen—most people have enough of their own dilemmas to take care of at home—but director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Neil Young: Heart of Gold) manages to deliver the bittersweet realities plaguing one family in Rachel Getting Married with such grace it’s hard not to be drawn into his spell—and care about the outcome of his characters’ dilemmas.
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Film - Reviews and Times

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

The legend's past comes to life in a moving doc

Steven Sebring's film took more than a decade to make

But patience has served the filmmaker well. Dream of Life is one of the most captivating documentaries of the year. And, like its subject, quite hypnotic. It’s a work that sits with you long after you leave the theater. Smith, the outspoken rocker/poet/spoken word artist, has been in the limelight for decades. She stormed onto the music scene in the ’70s, hung out with the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe and William S. Burroughs and made a name for herself the seminal album Horses, among others. The film, like Smith’s own creativity, seems to wander through an esoteric, emotionally rich mine field.

Through archival concert footage and first-hand interviews, we’re taken into Smith’s life and times. But Sebring avoids the linear approach. Instead, we’re treated to a lyrical, stream of consciousness. Among the many musings, the rocker shares her pain over the early

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Film - Reviews and Times

The Swede Hereafter

The Swede Hereafter

‘Let the Right One In’ a moody, poignant Swedish vampire thriller

What better place for a vampire than the almost eternal night of a Swedish winter? Welcome to Let The Right One In, a dark, achingly sweet, deeply subversive genre-busting thriller from Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson. The flip side to the eagerly awaited Twilight, due out later this month, Alfredson’s film hews to the same basic idea as the Stephanie Meyer cult novel: young loner meets dazzling new friend with scary but alluring powers. But there’s far less romance and more runaway id in Alfredson’s story, dealing as it does with the fragile tween years; no longer children, its protagonists are hovering on the precipitous cusp of everything.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Climb a Rock

Climb a Rock

The REEL ROCK film tour scales new heights with a bevy of shorts and one feature-length offering

The life of a ‘rock star’ is typically adventurous, often living on the edge of sanity, scaling every bump along the way with fearlessness. There are two types: The musical ‘rock stars’ and the stars in the rock climbing sport—those who scale the earth one handhold at a time, risking injury and even sometimes their lives.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

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

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.