Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
HEREAFTER Clint Eastwood directs this slightly supernatural meditation on life, death, and mortality. Matt Damon, Cécile de France, Jay Mohr, and Bryce Dallas Howard star in three intersecting stories about ordinary people whose near-death or afterlife expriences change the course of their lives. Peter Morgan (The Queen; Frost/Nixon) wrote the script. (PG-13) 129 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
HOWL Reviewed this issue. (Not rated) 90 minutes. (★★★) Starts Friday.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 Tod Williams takes over as director in this hasty sequel to Oren Peli’s 2009 no-budget horror mega-blockbuster. Peli produces this new tale of skullduggery in the dark, captured on the family webcam. This time, a dog, AND a baby are involved. Yikes. (R) 91 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
YOU WILL MEET A TALL, DARK STRANGER A typically A-list cast steps up to the plate in this new comedy of romantic entanglement from Woody Allen. Anthony Hopkins and Gemma Jones are a long-married couple who separate: he goes off in pursuit a free-spirited, younger woman (Lucy Punch), and she puts her destiny in the hands of a quack medium. Meanwhile, their daughter (Naomi Watts) and her husband (Josh Brolin) stray into the arms of Antonio Banderas and Frida Pinto (of Slumdog Millionaire). (R) 98 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: FALL ITALIAN FILM SERIES The Dante Alighieri Society of Santa Cruz is back with a monthly series of Italian films (one Sunday a month) to promote Italian culture and language. The theme this fall is “Directors of Italian Neorealism,” introduced by Dr. William Park, Faculty Emeritus, Sarah Lawrence College. This Week: OPEN CITY (ROMA, CITTA’ APERTA) Roberto Rosselini directs this groundbreaking 1945 classic about ordinary people in Rome struggling to survive the Nazi occupation. (Not rated) 100 minutes. In Italian with English subtitles. At Cabrillo College, VAPA Art History Forum Room 1001, Sunday only (Oct 24), 7 pm. Free.
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: THE HAUNTING Possibly the best horror movie ever made, and nary a drop of gore in sight. Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson and Russ Tamblyn come unglued during a scientific sojourn in an old, dark house with a creepy mind of its own. This is the 1963 original; accept no substitutes! (Not rated) 112 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Fri midnight only. THE SHINING “He-e-e-ere’s Johnny!” cackles Jack Nicholson as he slices an axe through a door to terrorize wife Shelley Duvall in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psycho-horror thriller based on the Stephen King novel. As a blocked writer snowbound in an empty resort hotel out of season, caretaker Nicholson is driven nuts by evil forces—but with Nicholson, who can tell the difference? Still, a classic for Nicholson fans. (R) 146 minutes (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. 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: ANNIE HALL Arguably Woody Allen’s funniest (and definitely most tender) romantic comedy, this 1977 masterpiece is structured like a scatter-gun comedy monolgue, shifting wildly from flashback to present to fantasy. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress (Diane Keaton). An unalloyed delight. (PG) 93 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. With—Lisa Jensen. (Sat-Sun matinee only, 11 a.m. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.
CONTINUING SERIES THIS WEEK: THE MET: LIVE IN HD AT THE CINEMA 9 Digital broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera projected live, onscreen, Saturday mornings throughout the season (with repeat encore re-broadcasts, as noted). Tickets: $24 general, $22 senior for the live broadcasts; $18 for everyone for the encores. This week: BORIS GUDONOV René Pape sings the lead in this new Stephen Wadsworth production of Mussorgsky’s epic Russian saga. Valery Gergiev conducts. LIVE: Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 AM ENCORE: Wednesday, November 10th at 6:30 PM At the Cinema 9.
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 SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Despite the gruesome, serial-killer storyline, director Jonathan Demme mostly avoids sensationalism in this unnerving 1991 suspense thriller. Jodie Foster is the poised, lucid FBI trainee on the killer’s trail, Anthony Hopkins a ghoulish delight as the psychotic shrink who mentors her. (R) 118 minutes. (★★★)— 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NOWHERE BOY Celebrate the early years that made John Lennon such a complex, driven, caustic and vital man in this ambitious biographical drama. Skillfully directed by Sam Taylor Wood, from a sensitive script by Matt Greenhalgh, the focus is not on the birth of an icon, but on the struggle of a conflicted teenage boy to become himself; emotionally as well as musically, the film hits all the right notes. Aaron Johnson as John gives a performance bursting with sass, heart, and deadpan bravado; he finds his own emotional truth every moment he’s onscreen. Kristin Scott Thomas is marvelous as his fiercely loving, yet undemonstrative Aunt Mimi. Raucous, moving and full of fine (pre-Beatle) R&B music. (R) 98 minutes. (★★★★)
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.
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)
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
WAITING FOR SUPERMAN This persuasive new doc from Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) paints the ongoing decline in the American school system as a problem as devastaing as global warming. Standing up for preventive education as an antidote to crime, violence, joblessness, and prison (in the face of bureacracy, inertia, and hopelessness), Guggenheim cites the effectiveness of charter schools among low-income kids, personalizes his argument with stories of plucky, real-life children struggling for a future, then suggests how to get involved at the community level and work for the change our children and our own futures depend on. (PG) 104 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
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