New This Week
COLD IN JULY Michael C. Hall stars in this slice of Texas noir as an ordinary guy cheered on for shooting a burglar who broke into his house, who then has to contend with the burglar’s vengeance-minded ex-con father (Sam Shepard). Jim Mickle directs, from the novel by Joe R. Lansdale. Don Johnson co-stars. (Not rated) 109 minutes. Starts Friday.
MALEFICENT Disney revisits Sleeping Beauty in this live-action fairy tale that explores the backstory of the wicked witch and the forces that drove her to curse the princess to 100 years of sleep. Angelina Jolie stars for visual effects wizard-turned-director Robert Stromberg. Elle Fanning plays the princess. Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville co-star. (PG) 97 minutes. Starts Friday.
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST Director and co-writer Seth MacFarlane stars in this spaghetti-western spoof as a cowardly sheep rancher who has to manufacture some courage fast when he comes between a seductive mystery woman (Charlize Theron) and her notorious outlaw gun-slinger husband (Liam Neeson). Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, and Sarah Silverman co-star. (R) Starts Friday.
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: CAESAR & CLEOPATRA Christopher Plummer stars as the wily old Roman warrior-politician, and Nikki M. James plays the seductive teenage Egyptian queen in this celebrated production of the sly George Bernard Shaw comedy from director Des McAnuff. Recorded during the 2008 season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Ontario, Canada, and captured live in HD digital for broadcast to movie theaters worldwide. (Not rated) 114 minutes. At the Del Mar, Thursday only (May 29), 7:30 p.m. Encore performance Sunday only (June 1), 11 a.m. Admission: $15. Seniors, students, and Santa Cruz Shakespeare subscribers: $13.
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: ZOOLANDER Ben Stiller directs and stars in this 2001comedy about an empty-headed male model who stumbles on the secret of why male models disappear at the age of 30. Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich and Jerry Stiller co-star. (PG-13) 89 minutes. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES This informal movie discussion group meets at the Del Mar mezzanine in downtown Santa Cruz. Movie junkies are invited to join in on Wednesday nights to pursue the elusive and ineffable meanings of cinema. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit groups.google.com/group/LTATM.
Movie Times click here.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Andrew Garfield returns for another outing as Peter Parker, college student-turned-web-slinging crime fighter, in this second installment of the rebooted franchise. Jamie Foxx is on board as powerful villain, Electro, with shady ties to OsCorp, the monolithic empire founded by the father of Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan). Emma Stone is back as love interest Gwen, and Sally Field returns as Aunt May for returning director Marc Webb. (PG-13) 140 minutes.
BELLE Newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives a winning performance in this engaging, handsomely-mounted drawing room drama about a real-life young woman of color who may have had an impact on the legal campaign to end slavery in England. The daughter of an English naval captain and a slave woman, Dido Elizabeth Belle was raised in gentility by her father’s aristocratic uncle, the Lord Chief Justice of England, in the late 18th Century. Anglo-African filmmaker Amma Asante mixes abolitionist politics with (largely invented) romance for an affecting tale of a woman’s search for identity and a glimpse into a political era in which men of principle still dared to confront the moral issues of the day. (PG) 105 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
BLENDED Adam Sandler teams up with Drew Barrymore for the third time in this romantic comedy about two single parents and their respective kids thrown together at an African safari resort for families. Longtime Sandler director Frank Coraci takes the helm. (PG-13) 117 minutes.
CHEF Jon Favreau wrote and directed this dramadey in which he stars as a top chef in Los Angeles who quits his job at a tony restaurant over creative differences with the owner (Dustin Hoffman), and decides to go on the road with a food truck, his ex (Sofia Vergara), his buddy (John Leguizamo) and his son. (R) 115 minutes.
GODZILLA To mark the 60th anniversary of the first time the big guy in the rubber suit tottered across the Tokyo landscape, Godzilla rises again in this eco-conscious reboot from Gareth Edwards (Monsters). Trying to stay true to the Toho original (but with more sophisticated effects), Edwards promises a monster spawned in the muck of a polluted planet and thirsting for revenge. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoce and David Strathairn head the human cast. (PG-13) 123 minutes.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL There’s plenty of fun and whimsy to be had here in Wed Anderson’s delightful new comedy. Much like Moonrise Kingdom unraveled in a quirky splendor, so, too, does The Grand Budapest Hotel, which chronicles the unlikely friendship between a revered European hotel concierge, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy. Everything from the era—between two menacing wars—to the fictional setting of the Republic of Zubrowka pepper the tale, which unfolds, layer by layer (a story within a story within a story) much like a Russian doll. Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and other Anderson grads join the fun. R) 100 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer.
THE IMMIGRANT Marion Cotard stars in this period drama as a young Polish woman who sails to America in search of a better life. But when she’s separated from her sister at Ellis Island and finds herself alone on the streets, her destiny entwines with those of an unscrupulous pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) and a dashing stage magician (Jeremy Renner). James Gray directs. (R) 120 minutes.
MILLION DOLLAR ARM Jon Hamm stars in this (more or less) true story about a sports agent who decides to revitalize his flagging career with a grandstanding PR stuntóa trip to India to recruit a young cricket pitcher he can groom into a major league baseball star. Alan Arkin, Lake Bell, and Suraj Sharma (Life Of Pi) co-star for director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) (PG).
NEIGHBORS Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are a young couple with a new baby who find themselves at war with their neighbors when a bunch of rowdy college frat boys move into the house next door. Zac Efron and Dave Franco are the uber fraternity brothers. Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek) directs.(R) 97 minutes.
PALO ALTO James Franco wrote the collection of fictional short stories that inspired this drama about a handful of teens coming of age in Franco’s home town. Franco co-stars as a single-dad coach on the brink of an affair with student/babysitter Emma Roberts. Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff, and Zoe Levin also star for writer-director Gia Coppola, making her feature film debut. (R) 98 minutes.
RIO 2 The parrots from the first film are relocated from the simmering samba of Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon jungle in this family-friendly animated sequel. Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, will.i.am, Jermaine Clement, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jamie Foxx are back in the voice cast, joined by Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno and Bruno Mars. Carlos Saldanha is back in the director’s chair. (G) 101 minutes.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Reviewed this issue (PG-13) 131 minutes.