Film

Film, Times & Events: Week of October 30

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OUR BRAND IS CRISIS Sandra Bullock plays Jane, a high-stakes, all-or-nothing campaign manager who is sent to Bolivia to install a new leader against her nemesis, the coordinator for the opposing candidate, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton). Based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, the film follows the events which quickly take Jane’s fight out of the realm of pure politics when the country starts to disintegrate into war and chaos. David Gordon Green directs. Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie co-star. (R) 107 minutes.

SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE “It’s the zombie apocalypse, c’mon, we’re Scouts, were trained for this,” says one Boy Scout to another, because in between the zombie cats, flesh-eating high schoolers and savior stripper (ahem, cocktail waitress) they can use their essential outdoors survival training to save the world, right? Christopher Landon directs. Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan co-star. (R) 93 minutes.

TRUTH A group of journalists stumble upon the “holy grail” of documents—proof that President George W. Bush lied about his military service. Only, once the story goes national, it turns out the memos haven’t been confirmed and some of them can easily be forged on Microsoft Word. Truth is the story of the 2004 CBS “60 Minutes” report which sank anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes’ career. James Vanderbilt directs. Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid co-star. (R) 121 minutes.

Film Events

CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES Film buffs are invited Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. to downtown Santa Cruz, where each week the group discusses a different current release. For our location and discussion topic, go to: https://groups.google.com/group/LTATM.


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BEASTS OF NO NATION Based on the highly acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts follows Agu—a young boy forced to join a group of soldiers in an unnamed West African country‚ his childhood shattered by war, his innocence stolen by chaos. Idris Elba plays the commandant in charge of rallying his men—or rather, his boys. Cary Joji Fukunaga directs. Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor co-star. (NR) 137 minutes.

BRIDGE OF SPIES In May of 1960, two weeks before an East-West summit in Paris, a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet airspace. With the world teetering on the brink of Mutually Assured Destruction, the entire course of the Cold War depended on getting that CIA agent back on U.S. soil. Tom Hanks plays the man who was trusted with negotiating the prisoner exchange, a lawyer plucked from a normal, everyday existence by the CIA. Steven Spielberg directs. Alan Alda, Amy Ryan co-star. (PG-13) 135 minutes.

BLACK MASS Just when you thought you’d seen Johnny Depp at his creepiest, he puts on jagged tiny teeth and a blondish receding hairline to become the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston. While it’s true that a terrible film can still feature a brilliant cast, Black Mass shows true promise with Depp as mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, Joel Edgerton as his ally in the FBI, Benedict Cumberbatch as his senator brother, and a smattering of genre crossovers like Adam Scott, David Harbour, and Corey Stoll. Scott Cooper directs. (R) 122 minutes.

BURNT The Netflix show Chef’s Table gives a fairly good look into the angst, desperation and rock-stardom of today’s top chefs—Burnt blows it wide open. Bradley Cooper is Adam Jones, a two-star Michelin chef, who is hunted, wanted, idolized, and despised on the path to culinary perfection and restaurant redemption. John Wells directs. Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl co-star. (NR) 100 minutes.

CRIMSON PEAK It’s got the old-fashioned horror tale elements like old scary mansions, ghosts, and evil sisters-in-law, and there’s something classically terrifying about a mansion that “bleeds, breathes, and remembers” that it might just be worth being too freaked out to sleep. Guillermo del Toro directs. Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston co-star. (R) 119 minutes.

EVEREST As groups of Everest climbers make their way up the summit, a massive storm hits and it’s every man for himself. Goosebumps are inevitable when watching this harrowing tale of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster and the survival attempts of two expedition groups. The star-studded (yet just gritty enough to be believable) cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright, and Keira Knightley. Baltasar Kormákur directs. (PG-13) 121 minutes.

FREEHELD The real events of Laurel Hester’s life and death took place less than a decade ago; it’s the story of a New Jersey police lieutenant who, after dedicating her life to the force, was diagnosed with lung cancer. As if being faced with the inescapable fate of death wasn’t bad enough, Hester spent her last days fighting to ensure that her domestic partner, Stacie Andree, would be able to receive her pension benefits—just as every married partner on the force does when their spouse dies. Her fight gained national attention, and with it began the battle to secure the same rights for couples across the country. Peter Sollett directs. Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell co-star. (PG-13) 103 minutes.

GOOSEBUMPS Quiver in your Sketchers and flannel shirts, ’90s kids, because the beloved R.L. Stine books are coming for you—again! This time, in live action, to reawaken every fourth-grade nightmare you ever had. Plus, Jack Black with a very fake, very bad English accent? We are so, so in. Rob Letterman directs. Odeya Rush, Halston Sage co-star. (PG) 103 minutes.

HE NAMED ME MALALA Malala Yousafzai is still a teenager, but it’s possible to look at her life story and not be amazed—she’s a goofball who can do card tricks, she laughs at herself, but she’s also the young Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for taking a stand against the Taliban. Her wisdom and her courage in supporting girls’ education around the world has stunned world leaders. He Named Me Malala takes a look at what has made one young girl an international hero. Davis Guggenheim directs. Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai and Toor Pekai Yousafzai co-star. (PG-13) 87 minutes.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 Last time Adam Sandler tried to make a movie, half the cast walked off the set, so it’s probably best that this time he leaves the directing to Genndy Tartakovsky, sticks to a children’s film and plays an animated character so nobody can see his face. (Too mean? We say too true.) In the second round of Hotel Transylvania, Dracula is elated to be a grandvampire, except that Johnny and Mavis’ baby is half-vampire, half-human, and with his foofy mess of red curls, adorable face and very apparent lack of fangs, he’s not quite living up to his family legacy. Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez co-star. (PG) 89 minutes.

THE INTERN Robert De Niro is the intern and Anne Hathaway is his boss. Yes, yes, we know—role reversal, oh, the irony! (Of the Alanis Morissette variety, obviously.) Chortles aside, Robert De Niro could bring a certain element of heartwarming nostalgia to this critique of the baby-driven entrepreneurial movement behind modern tech companies and startups. Or the whole thing could just be a big old schmaltz-fest with Hathaway crying a lot. We all know how she loves to cry. Nancy Meyers directs. Rene Russo co-stars. (PG-13) 121 minutes.

THE MARTIAN Astronaut Mark Watney is left stranded on Mars after a storm hits and he’s presumed dead—but somehow, he maintains a pretty positive outlook on the whole thing, despite the fact that he only has enough food for 50 days, the terrain isn’t suited for agriculture, and it’ll take four years to get a message back to Earth. There are, of course, complications with attempts to rescue Watney but with such a stellar cast (can you say Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino?) we don’t even care if he dies at the end. Note: we have no idea if he dies at the end. Ridley Scott directs. (PG-13) 141 minutes.

MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS Oh, oh, oh, it’s Littlefinger from Game of Thrones and the Effy from BBC’s Skins—plus that adorable kid also from Thrones. Memorable faces aside, the movie’s about a bunch of children who escape an experimental facility and venture out into the desolate landscape of “The Scorch,” where they’re hunted. And … zombies? It’s a teen flick, but it still looks better than those Shailene Woodley Hunger Games knockoffs. Wes Ball directs. Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster co-star. (PG-13) 131 minutes.

PAN Wait, have you heard this one—the story of the boy who would never grow up? You may think you have, but never like this. Director Joe Wright and the studio who brought us Harry Potter create Peter Pan’s previously unimagined origin story—the one before Hook’s hand got chomped off and Pan was the hero. Hugh Jackman is hairless and almost unrecognizable as Blackbeard, and Rooney Mara plays Tiger Lily in an epic CGI fantasy world that paints a Neverland where friends start off as enemies and enemies as friends. Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund co-star. (PG) 111 minutes.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION For the crazy kids who weren’t freaked out enough by the handful of other Paranormal Activity films, here’s one about a family that has to protect their daughter from an evil entity using a special camera that can see spirits. We’ll be watching this one with all the lights on, in broad daylight, a solid thirty feet from the movie screen—but, hey, at least it’s the final installment in the franchise so thankfully the nightmares will end soon. Gregory Plotkin directs. Chris J.Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George co-star. (R) 88 minutes.

ROCK THE KASBAH Music manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) has seen better days. So, he puts an unconscious Zooey Deschanel on a plane to Afghanistan, ends up handcuffed to a bed wearing a blonde wig and diapers, meets his muse in Kate Hudson, hears a magical voice in the Afghani winds and finds the girl behind it. Plus Bruce Willis and Danny McBride. Need we say more? Barry Levinson directs. Bill Murray, Leem Lubany, Zooey Deschanel co-star. (R) 100 minutes.

SICARIO Emily Blunt is like the way cooler, less smiley version of Anne Hathaway. She’s British and she cries less. She can sing, play Queen Victoria, that super badass chick in Edge of Tomorrow, and everything in between. Did we mention that she’s the total package? Fawning aside, Benicio del Toro is also in this movie! He’s in charge of showing the young idealistic FBI agent the ropes as she struggles to understand the world of Mexican drug cartels. Denis Villeneuve directs. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro (R) 121 minutes.

STEVE JOBS Reviewed this issue. (R) 122 minutes.

THE WALK Can we all just chuckle a little at Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a French accent? Now that that’s out of the way—this is so not a film for anyone with fear of heights. It’s the totally true story of Philippe Petit, who decided to walk the void between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Of course it would take a Frenchman to pull off a totally illegal, renegade traverse over a wire at the height of 1,362 feet (no diss to the French, but it was complètement fou!). The documentary starring the real Petit, who’s still alive today, was harrowing enough. In IMAX 3D? We’ll stick to ground-level films, thank you very much. Robert Zemeckis directs. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Ben Kingsley co-star. (PG) 123 minutes. 

VICTORIA Forging dangerous connections with strange people in a strange city, Victoria finds herself in underground dealings that are far from the idyllic holiday that brought her to Berlin. Directed by the genius behind cult classic Run Lola Run, Sebastian Schipper, the entire film was shot in one shot, no cuts, no stops—creating a world of fast paced drama where nothing is as it seems and every second counts. German and English. Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski co-star. 138 minutes.

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