Film, Times & Events: Week of Sept. 27th

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film backeloretteBACHELORETTE
In this femme riff on The Hangover, a trio of bridesmaids spin out of control after the bachelorette party and chase through New York City after hours, trying to get the wedding gown repaired and sort out their own romantic lives before dawn breaks on their friend’s wedding day. Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan star; Rebel Wilson, James Marsden, Kyle Bornheimer, and Adam Scott have featured role. Written and directed by Leslye Headland, from her stage comedy. (R) 90 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film beloved

Love is in the air in this romantic French drama about a mother and daughter attempting to navigate their respective love lives. While the mother considers rekindling an affair from her past, her daughter tries to choose between a commitment-shy musician and an ex who can’t let go. Real-life mother and daughter Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni star; Ludivine Sagnier co-stars as Deneuve’s younger self in flashbacks. Christophe Honor (Love Songs) directs. (Not rated) 139 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film hoteltr

It’s a monster’s ball in this animated family comedy about a plush resort run by Count Dracula where monsters can get away from pesky humans and relax. But trouble brews when an ordinary guy accidentally comes across the hotel and falls for the count’s daughter. Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, and Steve Buscemi head the voice cast. Genndy Tartakovsky directs. (PG) 92 minutes. Starts Friday Watch film trailer >>>

LOOPER Joseph Gordon-Levitt meets himself coming and going in this futuristic time-warp thriller as a hitman making a tidy living from untraceable victims the mob sends back to him from 30 years in the future‚ until his next target turns out to be his future self (Bruce Willis). Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels co-star for director Rian Johnson (Brick). (R) 108 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film pitch

Anna Kendrick stars as a coed who leads a misfit girls’ chorus in a competitive singing contest in this new comedy with music. I’ll forgive the PR references to “the cutthroat world of college a capella” because the movie promises to deconstruct and reboot a lot of classic tunes, and because its all put together by Jason Moore, transitioning to live-action film after his huge success with the puppet musical, Avenue Q on Broadway. Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, and Rebel Wilson co-star. (PG-13) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film slomon

The brainchild of Robert E. Howard, pulp hero Kane (James Purefoy) is a ruthless 16th Century English mercenary battling the queen’s enemies in Africa when a close encounter with the Devil’s Reaper convinces him to change his murderous ways. But he reverts to battle mode when a virtuous young Puritan woman (Rachel Hurd-Wood) is abducted by Evil Forces. Ian Whyte, Max Von Sydow, and Jason Flemyng co-star for director Michael Bassett. (R) 114 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film wontback

Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Holly Hunter star in this fact-based drama about concerned mothers and teachers who band together to revitalize a failing Pittsburgh inner city school. Oscar Isaac and Rosie Perez co-star for director Daniel Barnz (Beastly). (PG) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

Film Events
Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Holly Hunter star in this fact-based drama about concerned mothers and teachers who band together to revitalize a failing Pittsburgh inner city school. Oscar Isaac and Rosie Perez co-star for director Daniel Barnz (Beastly). (PG) 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: FIGHT CLUB Brad Pitt stars as a charismatic nutball who introduces stressed-out worker drone Edward Norton to life on the edge in the urban underworld of illegal, bare-knuckle boxing in this cult 1999 foray into rampant machismo from David Fincher. Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf co-star. (R) 139 minutes. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
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: ANIMAL HOUSE Grab your toga and join the frat party in John Landis’ seminal 1978 college comedy. John Belushi, Tom Hulce, Tim Matheson, and Karen Allen star. (R) 109 minutes. (★★1/2)‚ Lisa Jensen. Thursday only (September 27), 9 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 7pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.

Movie Times click here.

Now Playing
ARBITRAGE Richard Gere stars in this suspense thriller as a financial wheeler-dealer in way over his head trying to unload his business, conceal his infidelity from his wife, and cover up an inconvenient crime before his empire comes crashing down. Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, and Tim Roth co-star for writer-turned-director Nicholas Jarecki. (R) 100 minutes.

Rarely has a coming-of-age story been told with such engrossing originality as in this remarkable first feature from Benh Zeitlin, infused with elements of fairy tale, folklore and magic realism. At it’s center is a tiny dynamo named Quvenzhané Wallis, the non-professional actress who stars as a philosophical six-year-old girl living with her volatile Daddy in the Southern Delta when a giagantic storm throws Nature out of balance. Wallis is onscreen in every scene, and we never get tired of her poignant, expressive little face. In a story brimming with themes and metaphors, it offers a compelling portrait of a marginalized lowland community coming together with quiet resolve in the face of catastrophe. But it’s the child’s viewpoint—an irresistible mix of awe, trepidation, and grit—that makes the film so special. (PG-13) 91 minutes. (★★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.

It takes a while to get moving, but once it does, the film captures some of the magic found in the previous Bourne adventures. Out: Matt Damon. In:  Jeremy Renner as a super soldier running for his life. Rachel Weisz lends him a hand against bad guys Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac. Bourne alums Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn have cameos. (PG-13) 135 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer.

CHICKEN WITH PLUMS Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (Persepolis) return with another splendid adaptation of a Satrapi graphic novel. This time, they use live action and delirious color to tell a wistful, allegorical, fairy tale-like drama about a famed concert violinist (Mathieu Almaric) dying of disillusion in 1958 Tehran. Yet the narrative is buoyant, pirouetting between past, present, and future through several decades of Iranian culture while gradually revealing the love story at its core. The imagery is a constant delight, provocative, playful and seductive, and pros like Isabella Rossellini and Chiara Mastroianni pop up in wry cameos. Not every vignette works, but mostly this is a luscious, inventive film. (PG-13) 93 minutes. In French with English subtitles. (★★★1/2)

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES In this final installment of Christopher Nolan’s brooding bat opera, Christian Bale is still worth watching; as conflicted Bruce Wayne, he regains the will to restore honor and heroism to the Bat legacy, and save a besieged Gotham City—whether they like it or not. Anne Hathaway is a wry, sassy Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is terrific as a smart young beat cop who rekindles Bruce’s tarnished idealism, and Michael Caine, as loyal butler Alfred, infuses his scenes with warmth and intelligence. But Tom Hardy’s Bane is a ho-hum villain, a bald, masked brute with inexplicable motives and indecipherable dialogue (we miss the intense danse macabre between Batman and Heath Ledger’s magnificent Joker over the thin line between good and evil, hero and villain), and the usual chaotic vehicle chases, extreme shootouts, and massive explosions weigh things down. But a great kicker, plotwise, and a satisfying coda ends things on a high note. (PG-13) 164 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

DREDD 3D In a crime-ridden, futuristic American city, where cops called Judges have absolute authority to enforce the law, legendary Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and trainee, Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) plunge into the urban war zone to sabotage a powerful drug ring. This is the second reboot of the long-running comic book for the screen; the first starred Sylvester Stallone in 1995. Lena Headey co-stars for director Pete Travis (Vantage Point). (R) 95 minutes.

END OF WATCH Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as LAPD partners, patrolling the men streets of South Central Los Angeles in this gritty slice-of-life cop drama that plunges the viewer into the midst of the action via surveillance cameras, video footage, and various  other hand-held devices. Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera co-star for director David Ayer (Training Day). (R) 109 minutes.

THE EXPENDABLES 2 Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Jean-Claude van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, even Chuck Norris surface in the cast.. (R) 102 minutes..

FINDING NEMO 3D It’s a 3D makeover for Pixar’s 2003 animated hit, a gorgeous and funny underwater fantasy about a timid daddy clownfish (voice of Albert Brooks) searching for his missing son in and around Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef. (G) 100 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.  

HOPE SPRINGS A wonderfully underplayed gem. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are the long-married couple who venture off to an intensive, week-long couples retreat in hopes of recapturing the sizzle their relationship once had. Streep is stellar here; Jones even better as her reluctant husband. The film is believable and embraceable.. Steve Carrell co-stars as a famous couples therapist in this comedy from David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada). (PG-13) 100 minutes. (★★★) —Greg Archer

THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET Jennifer Lawrence  stars in this supernatural thriller as a teenage girl who moves into a new house with her single mom (Elisabeth Shue), where they are drawn into the nasty vibe of the sinister house next door. Max Thieriot and Gil Bellows co-star for director Mark Tonderai. (PG-13) 101 minutes.

THE MASTER Reviewed this issue. (R) 137 minutes. (★★)‚ Lisa Jensen.

LAWLESS The excellent credentials of Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition; The Road), along with an impressive cast, recommend this Prohibition-era gangster melodrama. Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf head a family of moonshining brothers in the American south fending off a crooked lawman (Guy Pearce) and a powerful gangster (Gary Oldman) who want a cut of their profits. Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Mia Wasikowska co-star. (R) 115 minutes.

MOONRISE KINGDOM This could be Wes Anderson’s (Rushmore; Fantastic Mr. Fox) to date. it’s a quriky little love story revolving around two 12-year-olds and boy, does it have a lot of heart. Set in 1965 in a sleepy New England coastal community, the two young ones run off together. Meanwhile, the entire town is tossed into an upheaval trying to find them. Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman all co-star. Willis plays the island cop; Norton a troubled scout master and Murray/McDormand the young girl’s mother. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward so beautifully inhabit their roles that you don’t want them to leave the screen. Anderson also co-wrote this outing, which, could turn into one of the summer’s more memorable offerings. (PG-13) 97 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer.

PARANORMAN In this stop-motion animated horror comedy, an outcast boy who can talk to the dead gets his chance to be a hero when his town is invaded by zombies. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, and John Goodman head the voice cast. Sam Fell and Chris Butler direct. (PG) 101 minutes.

THE POSSESSION It’s kind of a new riff on the old genie-in-a-bottle story when a schoolgirl buys an antique box at a yard

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