Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
BLUE Ocean Film Festival – Free poster & complimentary popcorn
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the City of Santa Cruz’s Economic Development & Redevelopment Agency will host an evening of ocean films to preview the BLUE Ocean Film Festival coming to Monterey in August. The event at Del Mar Theatre will be a fundraiser to contribute to educational exhibits at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, opening in 2012 in Santa Cruz (Pacific Avenue and Beach Street) Tickets are $20. Filmgoers will receive a free poster and complimentary popcorn. The evening of film will include presentations on the Sanctuary Exploration Center by officials from the City of Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Films include The Cost of Oil and Wild Ocean.
Info: Thurs. August, 5 at 7:15pm Del Mar Theatre 1124 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz. . Tickets at door or online thenick.com
August 24-29: Monterey Bay: BLUE Ocean Film Festival venues around Monterey Peninsula blueoceanfilmfestival.org
AGORA Reviewed this issue. (Not rated) 127 minutes. (★★1/2) Starts Friday.
CATS AND DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE In this family comedy featuring high-tech puppet animas with CGI-animated talking mouths, a feline secret agent hatches a plan to rule the world, launching an uneasy alliance between cats and dogs to save themselves and their beloved owners. Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, James Marsden, Bette Midler and Nick Nolte contribute voices. Brad Peyton directs. (PG) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
CHARLIE ST. CLOUD Zac Efron stars in this bittersweet tale as a young man so shaken up when he loses his kid brother in an accident that he retreats into a fantasy world, where the brothers can still spend their days together. Kim Basinger plays his worried mom; Amanda Crews is the girl who might snap him out of it. Based on the novel by Ben Sherwood. Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) directs. (PG-13) Starts Friday.
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS To get a rung up on the corporate ladder, young business exec Paul Rudd invites nerdball Steve Carell to his boss’ annual dinner party for the terminally weird in this comedy from Jay Roach (Meet The Parents; Meet the Fockers). (PG-13) Starts Friday.
WILD GRASS Undaunted at 87, veteran French filmmaker Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour; Last Year at Marienbad; Stavisky) directs this offbeat romance about a sixty-something father in search of connection and a middle-aged dentist and amateur pilot who meet over a lost wallet. André Dussolier, Sabine Azéma, and Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) star. (PG) 104 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR On hiatus until September 17, 2010.
CONTINUING SERIES: WEEKEND MATINEE CLASSICS AT APTOS CINEMA If you’ve only ever seen them on TV, don’t miss this series of classic movie matinees unspooling each weekend at Aptos Cinema. This week: GONE WITH THE WIND Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Olivia DeHavilland star in Victor Fleming’s four-hour, 1939 epic adaptation Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War novel. This David O. Selznick production is synonomous with Hollywood’s Golden Age. (G) 248 minutes (with intermission). (★★★★) —Lisa Jensen. (Fri-Sat-Sun matinee only, 10:30 a.m. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.
CONTINUING SERIES: FLASHBACK FEATURES Oldies and goodies on Thursday nights at the Cinema 9. $5 gets you in. This week: O, BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? Break out the Dapper Dan’s pomade; George Clooney stars as a wily 1930’s Depression-era convict who breaks out of the chain gang with hapless fellow inmates John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson for an odyssey across the Deep South to reunite with his not-so-patient wife and son. Joel and Ethan Coen retell Homer’s Odyssey with plenty of laughs, swing and bluegrass mountain music in this eccentric 2000 comedy, their funniest film since Fargo. (★★★1/2) (PG-13) 106 minutes.Tonight (Thursday) only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.
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 discuss current flicks with a rotating series of guest moderators. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
COCO AND IGOR A possibile affair between Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, ca, 1920, inspires this hothouse rhapsody from director Jan Kounen. The era of astonishing artistic, political and cultural ferment is irresistible, the personalities are fascinating, and the project is redolent with possibilities, but few are realized in this static and disappointing film. Despite a marvelous recreation of the 1913 Paris premiere of “The Rite of Spring,” the film devolves into a claustrophobic, rather morose romance in a highly decorative setting. Anna Mouglalis and Mads Mikkelsen star. (R) 120 minutes. (★★) Lisa Jensen
DESPICABLE ME It’s about the de-grinching of a befuddled criminal who uses an army of minions to thwart justice. Steve Carell voices the main character; Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Julie Andrews, and Jermaine Clement are also on board. (PG) 95 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK The face behind the make-up remains a mystery, but a great deal of the complicated woman beneath the icon is revealed in this cinema verité doc from co-filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, which records an eventful year in the life of the comedy legend. As in Rivers’ scathing, unprintable onstage routines, no holds are barred in discussing her life, herself, and the voracious, demanding entity she calls “the career.” (R) 84 minutes. (★★★)
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE Good news for fans of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: the two protagonists from that film (played by the same actors, the excellent Mikael Nyqvist and the incendiary Noomi Rapace) return in this sequel, the second Swedish film made from the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Incoming director Daniel Alfredson crafts a fleet, taut thriller from this “second act” book. (R) 129 minutes. In Swedish with English subtitles. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
GROWN-UPS Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider star in this comedy about five former high school buddies reunitie. (PG-13) 102 minutes.
I AM LOVE In her long, illustrious career in independent film, Tilda Swinton’s roles have ranged from the sublime (Orlando) to the ridiculous (Female Perversions). There are elements of both in this Luca Guadagnino film, a langorous Italian family drama Swinton also co-produced; gorgeous location shooting in Milan and the San Remo countryside, and rapturous depictions of food, border on sublimity, but the overheated melodrama of the storytelling finally skews the film in the other direction. (R) 120 minutes. In Italian with English subtitles. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
INCEPTION One of the best pictures of the year. Sublime, hypnotic and downright thought-provoking. Most of all, director Christopher Nolan (Memento; The Dark Knight). creates an intelligent sci-fi thriller that–imagine this—doesn’t play down to its audience. Leonardo DiCaprio headlines the outing,playing a master thief who steals corporate ideas from the dreams of his victims. (Somebody give this man an Oscar soon.) DiCaprio’s beleagured Dom is hired by a corporate giant to commit the perfect crime—implanting an idea into the dream of an heir of a business foe.. The movie takes its time to set up the ultimate heist and then the fun begins. Nolan reportedly spent a decade writing this spectacle and, clearly, time has been his champion. The last hour of the movie is a wild, intoxicating ride that, aside from all the superior special effects, challenges its audiences to ponder the idea of reality, the significance of dreams and the potency of the subconscious mind. Delicious brain candy. Take time to chew on it long after you leave the theater. Take note: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Berenger deliver powerful turns here. Michael Caine co-stars. (PG-13) 150 minutes. (★★★★) Greg Archer
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT Nic and Jules are a devoted, long-married couple raising their two kids in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Their family has its quirks, but the kids respect their parents, each other, and themselves. That this movie is NOT about the fact that Nic and Jules are a lesbian couple is just one of the things that make Lisa Cholodenko’s family comedy so fresh, fun, and appealing. A sublimely subtle Annette Bening and warm, disarming Julianne Moore star. Mark Ruffalo is great as the anonymous sperm donor “dad” who disrupts their family life. These kids may have two moms, but this perceptive tale of family dynamics should resonate with anyone who’s ever been a parent, a spouse, or a child. (R) 106 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
THE KILLER INSIDE ME The disturbing, small-town noir novel by Jim Thompson, exploring the ruined American postwar psyche, gets a faithful adaptation to the screen via eccentric veteran filmmaker Michael Winterbottom. Casey Affleck is the narrator/protagonist, a sociopathic Deputy Sheriff who sees himself on a righteous crusade against moral turpitude. Jessica Alba (as an imperiled prostitute) and Kate Hudson (as Affleck’s uneasy girlfriend), and Ned Beatty co-star. (R) 109 minutes.
KNIGHT AND DAY Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are back together in a romantic action comedy that’s—brace yourself—not that bad. The fun is spawned by the outlandish premise—an ordinary woman (Diaz) gets caught up in an improbable chase scenario with a rogue agent (Cruise). Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis—both of whom are worthy of better roles—co-star for director James Mangold. (PG-13) 110 minutes. In theaters today. (★★1/2) Greg Archer
THE LAST AIRBENDER The popular kids’ animated TV fantasy series gets a 3-D, live-action remix from M. Night Shyamalan.
ONDINE Colin Farrell is soulful, funny, and romantic as a hard-luck fisherman trying to put his life back together. (PG-13) 111 minutes. (★★★★) Lisa Jensen
PREDATORS A remix of the ’80s sci-fi franchise. Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Alice Braga, and Laurence Fishburne star for director Nimród Antal. (R) 107 minutes.
THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE Nicolas Cage stars in this fantasy adventure as a modern-day sorcerer in New York City. Trying to save the city. Jay Baruchel, from She’s Out Of My League, costars. (PG)
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE It’s war between the good vampires of the Cullen clan and an invading force of evil bloodsuckers in this third installment of the overheated romantic tween franchise. (PG-13) 124 minutes.
TOY STORY 3-D The passage of time is the subtext in this typically whimsical, hilarious, and poignant adventure that celebrates the magical world of a child’s imagination, and ponders the inevitability of growing up and letting go. Veteran Pixar director Lee Unkrich maintains the delicate balance between action, comedy, and heart. (G) 103 minutes. (★★★★) Lisa Jensen
WINTER’S BONE This nerve-rattling exercise in dread and redemption knocked the bejeebers out of everyone at this year’s Sundance festival. Directed with grit and assurance by Debra Granik, it’s a Southern Gothic noir thriller: taut, scary, more than a little creepy, and strangely poignant. Jennifer Lawrence is terrific as a 17-year-old Ozark mountain girl struggling to keep the remnants of her family together against a rising tide of chaos in this tough-minded morality play with plenty of twists and turns. (R) 100 minutes. (★★★1/2)