Movies & Film Events: Week of June 16


Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.






film_jonah_hexJONAH HEX Josh Brolin stars as the scarred, bad-boy bounty hunter first introduced in the crossover horror-western comics series “Weird Western Tales.” John Malkovich plays the arch-villain Hex has to take down before his minions can rampage cross the earth. Megan Fox co-stars in a script concocted by Neveldine & Taylor (Crank). Jimmy Hayward directs. (PG-13) 81 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film_micmacsMICMACS Reviewed this issue. (R) 105 minutes. In French with English subtitles. (★★★1/2) Starts Friday.

film_ondineONDINE Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 111 minutes. (★★★★) Starts Friday.

film_toy_story_threeTOY STORY 3-D In this third (and 3-D) installment of the venerable Pixar franchise, Andy goes off to college, and his mom packs up Woody, Buzz, and the gang and recycles them to a day care center. To protect lives and limbs from the terrible tots, the toys must band together to plot their escape. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, and all the usual voice talents reprise their famous roles. Michael Keaton, Ned Beatty, and Timothy Dalton join the voice cast. Series veteran Lee Unkrich directs from a script by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine). (G) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

Film Events

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: SLITHER Nathan Fillion (of Firefly and Serenity) stars in this cheerfully gross-out 2006 horror comedy about an alien plague that turns a town of ordinary Middle Americans into zombie mutants. Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry co-star. James Gunn is the auteur. (R) 96 minutes. Friday-Saturday midnight only. At the Del Mar.

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: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY Open the pod bay door, HAL, and re-enter Stanley Kubrick’s visually stunning 1968 sci-fi epic. It traces the evolution of humankind from ape to reborn space embryo in a future when machines clearly have the upper hand. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood struggle to make their presence felt amid all the hardware and mind-blowing effects. (G) 151 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Fri-Sat-Sun matinee only, 11 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: STAND BY ME River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton and Corey Feldman star as best pals who stumble over their small town’s guilty secret and have to grow up fast during one life-altering weekend in 1959. Rob Reiner directs this 1986 drama from one of Stephen King’s non-horror short stories. (R) 97 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Thursday only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.

CONTINUING SERIES: THE MET: LIVE IN HD Digital broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Encore series projected onscreen Wednesday evenings through June and July at the Cinema 9. This week: ROMÉO ET JULIETTE Placido Domingo conducts the orchestra in this production of the Gounod opera based on Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy. Soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Roberto Alagna sing the tile roles; Nathan Gunn co-stars as Mercutio. Wednesday only (June 23), 6:30 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 .ltatm.org.

Now Playing

THE A-TEAM This month’s award for Remake-of-a-TV-Series-We-Wish-We-Could-Forget goes to this designated blockbuster about renegade ops pursuing their brand of kick-ass justice in an unjust world. Liam Neeson stars as the cigar-chomping team leader, a buff Bradley Cooper is pretty-boy “Face,” and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson plays Bosco “B. A.” Baracus, the role that made Mr. T a household name. Series alumni Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz show up in cameos; Sharlito Copley, Jessica Biel, and Patrick Wilson co-star for director Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces). (PG-13)

BABIES It’s all about the koochie koo here as the doc chronicles the first year in the lives of four infants from around the world. Filmmaker Thomas Balmès manages to create a fine bundle of joy here. (PG) 79 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer

CITY ISLAND This one’s a gem—Moonstruck meets Mystic Pizza. But here, the life-pondering protagonist is Andy Garcia. He morphs into a Bronx prison guard with a big secret—he wants to act so he takes acting classes. This won’t sit well with this overbearing wife, Julianna Margulies. If you enjoy touching comedies about nutty families, you’ll dig this. Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Alan Arkin, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, and Steven Strait co-star. (PG-13) 100 minutes. (HHH1/2) Greg Archer

THE CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION  Veteran director James Ivory brings his deft, classical touch to this tale of a graduate student in Uruguay seeking the rights to a literary biograohy from a family of eccentric expat artistes. The characters are more effective as thematic ideas, but the marvelous Laura Linney is a pleasure to watch, even in a film more impeccable than heartfelt. (PG-13) 114 minutes. (HH1/2)

Lisa Jensen

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP Is art a joke? The answer is yes and no in this savvy, invigorating and wickedly entertaining doc. Video-obsessed  Frenchman Thierry Guetta sets out to record the street art movement of the last decade, but when the result is unwatchable, one of his subjects, the notorious and elusive  Banksy, takes over the footage. His insider’s viewpoint captures the evolution of art, culture, and politics in one sly, deft, subversive package. (R) 87 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen

GET HIM TO THE GREEK One of the most refreshing surprises of the summer movie season. This smart, sassy endeavor features Jonah Hill as a befuddled record company intern who must bring a British rock idol (Russell Brand offering a fine turn) to a concert at L.A.’s Greek Theater. A fun, engaging comedy that works from beginning to end.(R) 109 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer

IRON MAN 2 A fine outing, one that stumbles here and there, but the end result leaves you feeling as if you’ve just had some fun at the movies—and that’s just what this film is supposed to do. Robert Downey Jr. returns as billionaire inventor Tony Stark / Iron Man. This round has a new foe in Mickey Rourke, who creates similar Iron Man equipment. Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, and Scarlett Johansson co-star. (PG-13) 124 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer

THE KARATE KID Jaden Smith gets lessons in discipline and self-esteem from humble janitor/king fu master Jackie Chan in this redux. (PG)

KILLERS Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher star in this romantic action comedy. Think True Lies—add 15 years and stir. (PG-13)

LOOKING FOR ERIC British director Ken Loach, best known for his gritty, realistic dramas, lightens up with this sly urban comedy. Steve Evets turns in a solid performance, crackling with nervy energy, as a sad-sack, midlife postal worker who conjures up the spirit of legendary soccer great Eric Cantona (playing himself in a very droll turn) as a life coach. There’s a dark side to the story, and plenty of raucous profanity, but mostly, this is a funny, upbeat film about conquering one’s inner loser and going for the goal. But be warned: the Brits’ North Country dialect and Cantona’s French accent are all but impenetrable. (Not rated) 116 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen.

MARMADUKE Really? Is this movie necessary? For kids, perhaps. The kiddie comedy features Owen Wilson as the voice of the Great Dane. Tom Dey directs. (PG)

MOTHER AND CHILD The lives of three women entwine and intersect in modern Los Angeles in this elliptical ensemble drama from Colombian-born filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia. Annette Bening is a woman who had to give up her child as a pregnant teenager. Naomi Watts is the daughter she never knew, a morally adrift, fast-track lawyer, and Kerry Washington is  a wife unable to conceive who’s hoping to adopt a child. Jimmy Smits and Samuel L. Jackson co-star. (R) 126 minutes. Starts Friday.

PLEASE GIVE Nicole Holofcener is becoming the bard of upper middle-class, white ineffectuality. Her angsty new comedy considers liberal guilt in New York City among clueless, privileged characters whose behavior ranges from merely baffling to downright unpleasant. Holofcener coaxes some nice performances out of her players (Catherine Keener, Rebecca Hall, Oliver Platt), but she never digs deeply enough into her themes or characters; she settles for wistfulness over insight. (R) 90 minutes. (★★) Lisa Jensen

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME Jake Gyllenhaal goes the action blockbuster route as the swashbuckling hero of this adventure fantasy based on a popular video game. (PG-13) 116 minutes.

PRINCESS KA’IULANI Q’orianka Kilcher brings regal bearing and multicultural integrity to the title role, the last princess of the royal line fighting to preserve Hawaiian independence, in Marc Forby’s lukewarm historical drama. Shot on lush locations in Honolulu (including interiors inside the royal Iolani Palace), and in Britain, Forby’s film aims for historical grandeur and righteous moral fervor. But while he offers a cogent depiction of how American business interests hijacked the Kingdom of Hawaii and stole the islands from their people in the name of “democracy,” Forby’s pedestrian storytelling never quite lives up to the story being told.  (PG) 100 minutes. (★★1/2)

Lisa Jensen

ROBIN HOOD Ridley Scott unites with Russell Crowe in this wry, thoughtful integrity and his formidable presence to this Robin, an archer in the army of Richard Lionheart fighting the war against tyranny at home. Cate Blanchett is a piquant and feisty Marion. (PG-13) 140 minutes. (★★★)

Lisa Jensen

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (EL SECRETO DE  SUS OJOS) This Oscar-winner for 2010 Best Foreign Language film is a fascinating, unforgettable mystery that grabs you in the beginning and doesn’t let go—not so much because of its “thrills” but more because of the emotionally rich landscape filmmaker Juan Jose Campanella allowa us to move through with a rarely felt grace and dignity. There were times I simply forgot I was watching a movie. It’s a testament to superb storytelling if not a brutal reminder of how watered-down typicaly Hollywood films tend to be. But this isn’t “typically” and nor does it come from Hollywood. The Argentinean mystery-drama, based on the novel by Edouardo Sacheri, takes place in 1999 and revolves around a befuddled police detective who decides to reopen a savage murder case that took place in a Buenos Aires suburb back in 1974. He soon finds himself embroiled in a trail of conspiracy, cover-up and corruption. Take note of the beautiful nuanaces found in the acting of Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil and Pablo Rago. This is one film you’ll relish. In Spanish with English subtitles..  (★★★★) Greg Archer

SEX AND THE CITY 2 It’s more like Sex in the Sand when Carrie and the girls travel to Morocco. (★★) (R) 146 minutes.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER It’s a wonderful life for everybody’s favorite green ogre—until he screws things up and sees what life would have been like for his loved ones if he’d never been born—in this fourth installment of the fractured fairy tale franchise. Directed by Mike Mitchell. (PG) 93 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen.

SPLICE Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star in this sci-fi thriller as a pair of genetic research scientists whose secret gene-splicing experiments create a mysterious humanoid being with strange powers. Delphine Chanéac co-stars for director Vincenzo Natali. (R) 104 minutes.


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