Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
MACGRUBER Another recycled SNL skit comes to the big screen. Will Forte reprises his role as a mullet-haired, muddle-headed ex-military, Special Forces op lured out of retirement to track down an evil maniac with a dubious accent (Val Kilmer) who’s stolen a nuclear weapon. Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, and Maya Rudolph co-star; Jorma Taccone directs. (R) 99 minutes. Starts Friday.
SHREK FOREVER AFTER The Green One tries to reclaim his inner ogre in a Faustian bargain with the devilish Rumplestiltskin that goes horribly awry in this fourth installment of the popular fractured fairy-tale series. Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, and John Cleese return to voice the denizens of Far Far Away Land. Mike Mitchell directs. (PG) 93 minutes. Starts Friday.
TERRIBLY HAPPY In this film noir from Denmark, a cop suffers a nervous breakdown and retreats to a small town to recover—only to stumble upon secrets, skullduggery and murder. The official Danish entry in the 2010 Academy Awards Foreign Language division. (Not rated) 90 minutes. In Danish with English subtitles. Starts Friday.
THE GOOD HEART Reviewed this issue. (R) 95 minutes. (★) Starts Friday
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: OLDBOY South Korea has a nuclear weapon too, and its name is Park Chanwook. Fasten your seatbelts for his blisteringly intense, sometimes savagely funny psychological thriller/revenge gangster melodrama from 2005. Equal parts Hitchcockian suspense, paranoid Kafka-esque nightmare, and sheer adrenalin, it’s about a man out for revenge after 15 years of imprisonment by an unknown captor. Prepare for sex, violence, and extreme dentistry, while Park niftily deconstructs the concept of revenge that fuels his plot. (R) 120 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Friday-Saturday midnight only. At the Del Mar.
CONTINUING SERIES: WEEKEND MATINEE CLASSICS AT APTOS CINEMA Get an education in classic cinema—or just revisit some of your favorite oldies—presented as God intended, on a big screen in the dark. If you’ve only ever seen them on TV, don’t miss this new series of classic movie matinees unspooling each weekend at Aptos Cinema. This week: THE THIN MAN Dashiell Hammett’s famed detective novel comes to the screen in this 1934 adaptation from director W. S. Van Dyke. Part mystery, part screwball comedy, it’s as famous for the sophisticated bantering of stars William Powell and Myrna Loy (playing Nick and Nora Charles, characters loosely patterned on Hammett himself and longtime companion Lillian Hellman) as for its fast-paced, intricate private eye action. Terrific fun. (Not rated) 93 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Sat-Sun matinee only, 11 a.m. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.
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.or
BABIES A great outing and a great film that contains very little dialogue. 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—from Tokyo, Namibia, San Francisco and Mongolia. Filmmaker Thomas Balmès manages to create a fine bundle of joy here. (PG) 79 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
DATE NIGHT Tina Fey and Steve Carrell are pitch perfect in this surprisingly clever action comedy that could have easily stumbled into the creative abyss. The plot: a couple attempts to spice up their marriage with a date night in the Big Apple. Cases of mistaken identity ensue. Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, James Franco and Mark Ruffalo pop up in supporting roles. Shawn Levy directs. (PG-13) 88 minutes. (★★1/2) Greg Archer
FURRY VENGEANCE Brendan Fraser returns to slapstick comedy as a real estate developer whose plans to subdivide a section of Oregon wilderness are upset when the wildlife critters decide to fight for their habitat. Brooke Shields co-stars. Roger Kumble directs. (PG) 92 minutes.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO Noomi Rapace is riveting as the kick-ass young heroine of this bracing Swedish thriller, based on the Stieg Larsson novel. Directed with kinetic verve by Niels Arden Oplev, it combines a mystery plot about a missing heiress and an expose of moral and political corruption among the male power elite, with a compelling study of the unlikely bond between a scruffy investigative reporter (Michael Nyqvist) and a tough young computer hacker (Rapace) who’s been battling male fascism all her life. Larsson had a knack for making the political personal, a delicate balance Oplev preserves with skill and chutzpah in this violent, but uncompromising drama. (R) 152 minutes. In Swedish with English subtitles. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
HARRY BROWN A superb performance by Michael Caine (is there any other kind?) can’t quite justify this Death Wish retread about an old codger, newly widowed, who gets so fed up with random youth violence in his tough council flats neighborhood, he decides to put his wartime Marine training to good use and do something about it. Caine is gentlemanly and persuasive, and his victims are slimy vermin who kill and torture for fun, yet director Daniel Barber can’t escape the queasy moral center of any vigilante potboiler: who decides who is righteous enough to act outside the law? Every nutball with a weapon believes his cause is just. Emily Mortimer co-stars as a caring, but ineffectual police inspector. (R) 103 minutes. (★★) Lisa Jensen
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE Four middle-aged party animals pass out in a hot tub in the present day and wake up in 1986.. John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke star for director Steve Pink (High Fidelity). (R) 92 minutes.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON A sensitive Viking boy shocks his warrior tribe by suggesting that instead of slaying dragons, they should try to make the fiery wild beasts their allies.. (PG) 98 minutes
KICK-ASS The Mark Millar comic series about an average teenager with no powers or training who decides to become a superhero comes to the big screen in this action-comedy-adventure from Matthew Vaughn (Stardust; Layer Cake). Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage star. (R) 117 minutes.
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
JUST WRIGHT A physical therapist (Queen Latifah) falls for a pro basketball player (Common) whom she’s healing through a sports injury in this romantic comedy from director Sanaa Hamri. Paula Patton co-stars. (PG)
LETTERS TO JULIET Consider it the ultimate date movie. And, while the film is predictable, at times, it manages to evoke enough authentic emotion to make it worthy of your attention. This multi-generational romance chronciles the tale of a young American (Amanda Seyfried) in Verona, Italy, who discovers a 50-year-old letter addressed to Juliet—yes,. Shakespeare’s Juliet—and then decides to reunite the letter’s author (Vanessa Redgrave in a surprisingly pitch-perfect role) with her long-lost love (Franco Nero). Gael Garcia Bernal and Christopher Egan co-star in this feel-good tale. The critic in gives the film (★★1/2) but the hopeless romantic in me says: (PG) (★★★) Greg Archer
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET The inimitable Jackie Earl Haley takes over the role of Freddy “Scissorhands” Kruger, invader of teenage nightmares, in this revamp of the veteran horror series from music video director Samuel Bayer. Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara and Thomas Dekker co-star. (R) 102 minutes.
OCEANS This second event in the new Disneynature series of eco-documentaries explores the infinite varieties of marine life from the Asian Sea to the oceans off South Africa and South America, from the tropical coral reefs of Australia, to the frozen waterways of Alaska, and the Arctic. It’s a marvelous journey into a rarely-seen inner space that can be just as alien, otherworldly, and weirdly beautiful as anything out of science fiction. Jacques Perrin (Winged Migration) and Jacques Cluzaud direct. (G) 100 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. (R) 127 minutes. (★★★★) Greg Archer