Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
CONVICTION Hilary Swank stars as a high school dropout who puts herself through law school to save her brother (Sam Rockwell) from a sentence of life in prison for a crime she’s sure he didn’t commit in this drama based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters. Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher, and Melissa Leo co-star for director Tony Goldwyn. (R) 107 minutes. Starts Friday Watch film trailer >>>
FREAKONOMICS Six rogue documentary filmmakers tackle issues as diverse as Sumo wrestling, the national crime rate, and the naming of babies (as well as the Wall Street meltdown) from the viewpoint of economic theory in this ambitious adaptation of the best-selling non-fiction book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. (PG-13) 85 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
JACKASS 3-D Johnny Knoxville and the usual gang of idiots continue their pursuit of the world’s stupidest stunts—now in 3-D. Jeff Tremaine directs. (R) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
NOWHERE BOY Reviewed this issue (R) 98 minutes. (★★★★) Starts Friday.
RED Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich star in this cheeky adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novel about four ex-CIA ops, framed for a crime in order to silence them, on a mission to stay alive, clear their names, and uncover one of the most scandalous conspiracies in history. Robert Schwentke directs. (PG-13) 111 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
WAITING FOR SUPERMAN Reviewed this issue. (PG) 104 minutes. (★★★1/2) 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:—Lisa Jensen. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY Oren Peli’s no-budget 2009 blockbuster horror thriller about a young couple who think their new house is haunted; they set up a video camera in their bedroom to record any malevolent activity—and boy, does it ever. Don’t see it alone. (R) 99 minutes. Fri-Sat 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: a double feature! DUCK SOUP Ranked #5 on the AFI’s list of all-time comedies, but #1 on the far more exclusive Jensen-ometer of funniest movies ever made! Freedonia’s going to war, and who better to lead the country straight to Hell than Groucho Marx as shyster politico Rufus T, Firefly in this hilarious 1933 satire on war, politics, excessive nationalism, and machismo. (Not rated) 68 minutes. (★★★★) Lisa Jensen. With SHE DONE HIM WRONG Mae West is the woman with a past who invites a stalwart Salvation Army officer (an impossibly young Cary Grant) to “Come up and see me sometime,” in the 1933 comedy classic that made scandalous stage diva West a movie star. (Not rated) 66 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen. (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, presented by your genial host, Joe Ferrara. $5 gets you in. This week: THE BREAKFAST CLUB (R) (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen. 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. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
ALPHA AND OMEGA A pair of Canadian wolves captured and relocated to the parklands of Idaho try to find their way back home in this animated family adventure. (PG) 88 minutes.
THE AMERICAN Brilliant in that it offers George Clooney one of his best roles. Disturbing because the film’s distractionless, one-note pace may make it feel as if it’s plodding along. But director Anton Corbijn delivers a unique tale that holds some great suspense. The drama finds Clooney playing an American assassin in Europe. After the initial tragedy that sets up the film, he’s off to an Italian village where more drama unfolds and, possibly, love with a local (Violante Placido).. (R) 103 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
BURIED Ryan Reynolds stars in this thriller about an American contract truck driver in Iraq who wakes up in a coffin with a lighter, a cell phone, and only hours to find his way out. Rodrigo Cortés directs. (R) 95 minutes.
CAIRO TIME The ever-watchable Patricia Clarkson stars as an American woman taking some time off to visit her husband, a diplomat attached to the UN in Cairo. Alexander Siddig brings delicate reserve and an easygoing charm to the role of a Muslim man sent to squire her around. (PG) 90 minutes (★★★) Lisa Jensen
CASE 39 Renee Zellweger stars in this horror thriller as a child protective services social worker who removes a little girl (Jodelle Ferland) away from her dangerous parents and into her own home, only to discover dark, superntural forces connected to the child that threaten everyone around her. Ian McShane and Bradley Cooper co-star for director Christian Alvart. (R) 109 minutes.
DEVIL A bunch of strangers trapped in a stalled elevator realize the Devil is in their midst in this horror thriller. (PG-13) 80 minutes.
EAT PRAY LOVE Julia Roberts, try as she might, cannot elevate Eat Pray Love to the heavenly place it so wants to reside at. Based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. (★★) (PG-13) 140 minutes. Greg Archer
EASY A Emma Stone headlines this tale about a clean-cut high school girl suddenly caught in a rumor mill. Branded a “slut”—how that happens is amusing, but know that she’s not—our gal studies The Scarlet Letter and so cleverly sticks it back her critics. (PG-13) (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
HEARTBREAKER In this very French romantic comedy, Romain Duris (L’Auberge Espagnole) and Julie Ferrier play a brother and sister whose business is breaking up unsuitable relationships for hire. (Not rated) 105 minutes. In French with English subtitles.
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 is a master thief who steals corporate ideas from the dreams of his victims. Spellbinding. (PG-13) 150 minutes. (★★★★) Greg Archer
IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY It may feel like a Woody Allen at first, but this tale of am angsty teen who checks in to an adult mental health clinic for a week blossoms into a droll, surprisingly winsome coming-of-age comedy from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Keir Gilchrist shapes the young protagonist into a wry, honest commentator on his own failings who grows wiser and more self-deprecatingly funny as the story progresses. Zach Galifianakis is great as the brash inmate who not only mentors the younger man in life and love, but joins him in an emotional growth-spurt or two, and the subtext on how modern kids are pressured to achieve scholastic and financial “success,” at the expense of simply living their young lives, is well done. (PG-13) 101 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT 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. (R) 106 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS A young barn owl from a peaceful forest is taken to training school to learn how to fight a powerful enemy to the owl race in this animated adaptation of the childrens’ book series by Kathryn Lasky. Zack Snyder (300) directs; Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony LaPaglia, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, and Geoffrey Rush provide voices. (PG)
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel star in this romantic comedy-drama as two career-oriented singles who dislike each other (but have friends in common) who are thrown into a contentious relationship when they become co-guardians of a suddenly orphaned baby girl. Josh Lucas and Christina Hendricks co-star fir director Greg Berlanti. (PG-13) 112 minutes.
MY SOUL TO TAKE 16 years after a serial killer wreaked havoc in a small town, a new crop of teens start disappearing in this horror thriller from Wes Craven. (R) 107 minutes.
SECRETARIAT Another famous racehorse gets the biopic treatment. Diane Lane stars Penny Chenery, the housewife and mother who reluctantly takes over her father’s stables in 1973, and helps foster the young horse who will become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. John Malkovich co-stars as trainer Lucien Laurin. Randall Wallace directs. (PG)
SOUL KITCHEN It takes a healthy appetite for slapstick to digest this multicultural comic confection about a foundering restaurant in a shabby Hamburg, Germany neighborhood. But beneath the fizzy froth of physical gags simmers a tender-heartted tale of food, love, and identity. Whipped up by German-born Turkish director Fatih Akin, and Greco-German actor Adam Bousdoukos, both children of immigrant parents, it’s a comedy of kinetic exasperation that also charts its hero’s journey to regain his selfhood and perspective. (Not rated) 100 minutes. In German and Greek with English subtitles. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen.
THE TOWN Ben Affleck directs this impressive Boston-based crime saga—he also cowrote it. As a disillusioned member of a pack of armed robbers, he opts to pursue a romance with a bank teller (Rebecca Hall) the clan briefly kidnapped, perhaps because of what he thinks his fellow crime buddy ( Jeremy Renner in another winning role) might do to her. Watch for how well Affleck builds on the suspense and gives a story we can be invested in. Based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan. Jon Hamm co-stars. (R) 130 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
THE TILLMAN STORY Pat Tillman, gave up a lucrative NFL contract to go fight—and die—in Afghanitan in 2004. His intrepid mother, Mary Tillman, and her struggle to uncover the truth of her son’s death is the center of this excellent doc by filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev. (R) 94 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen.
THE VIRGINITY HIT Because everybody wants to star in their own “reality” drama these days, a trio of teenage buddies decides to film a friend’s quest to lose his virginity. (R) 86 minutes.
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS Michael Douglas is the only reason you want to go to this movie. This sequel to the Oscar-winning 1987 hit, Wall Steeet has some good moments and most of them arrive when Douglas is on the screen. He returns as Gordon Gekko—fallen from grace, toting a bestseller and musing about serving time in prison. A new hotshot trader, Shia LeBouef, has morals—somewhat of a rare thing on Wall Street or so we’re led to believe—but even he can’t be drawn into Gekko’s spell. Eli Wallach, and Frank Langella star. (PG-13) 133 minuutes. (★★1/2) Greg Archer
YOU AGAIN You’re not meant to take anything that seriously in You Again. It’s downright fun, even though it can be predictable. What makes this appealing film rise above mediocrity are the spirited performances from its cast. The actors are in sync. (PG) (★★1/2) Greg Archer