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Dec 28th
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Reviews and Times

Film - Reviews and Times

TETRO

TETRO

Francis Ford Coppola is out of the giant, make-or-break blockbuster biz and back making small indie movies for the sheer joy of it. His newest, Tetro, is such an adventure in technique, style, and pure cinematic brio, it almost doesn’t matter that the story gets away from him the fourth act, and the film runs about 30 minutes too long. You can have too much of a good thing, and the sins of admission in Tetro detract from otherwise masterful storytelling, but there’s still plenty of swoony delight to be had in the look of the film and the operatic scope of its story.

 

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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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Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
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Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her