Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
Reviewed this issue. (R) 114 minutes. (★★★) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
The true story of high-living “uber-lobbyist” power broker “Casino Jack” Abramoff (so well detailed in the recent doc of the same name) gets dramatized in this bio-crime-comedy from George Hickenlooper. Kevin Spacey stars in the title role, the influence-peddler whose schemes lead to corruption and murder. Barry Pepper, Kelly Preston and Jon Lovitz co-star. (R) 108 minutes. Sarts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Ron Howard attempts comedy with this tale of best buds with a big problem: Vince Vaughn is afraid to tell pal Kevin James that James’ wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him. Channing Tatum, Jennifer Connelly, and Queen Latifah co-star. (PG-13) Starts Friday.
Watch film trailer >>>
Eccentric filmmaker Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, etc.) might not necessarily be your first choice to direct a new superhero franchise, and you’d never think of Seth Rogen starring in one. But that’s the combo in this remix of the old radio serial (by way of the campy 1960s TV show). Martial artist Jay Chou steps in as resourceful sidekick, Kato (the role that introduced Bruce Lee to American TV audiences). Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, and Oscar-winner Christopher Waltz co-star. (PG-13) 119 minutes.
Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Reviewed this issue. John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) directs the David Lindsay-Abaire stage play about a couple coping with grief, loss, and each other after suddenly losing their only child. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhrt star, Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh pop up in supporting roles. (★★★1/2) (PG-13) 92 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Movie Times 1/14–1/20
DEL MAR THEATRE 469-3220
Blue Valentine 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45 + Sat – Mon 11:45am
The King’s Speech 1:40, 3:20, 4:20, 6, 7, 8:30, 9:30 + Sat- Mon 11am, 12:40
The Big Lebowski Midnight Showings Friday 1/14 & Sat 1/15
Black Swan 2, 3:15, 4:30, 5:30, 7, 7:45, 9:30, 10 + Sat – Mon 11:30am
Rabbit Hole 2:50, 5, 7:10, 9:20 + Sat – Mon 12:50
Casino Jack 1:50, 4:20, 6:50, 9:10 + Sat-Mon 11:40
Tangled 1:15 + Sat- Mon 11:10am
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Made in Dagennham 1:40, 6:40 Ends Soon!
The Fighter 1:50, 4:10, 6:30, 8:50 + Sat- Mon 11:30am
The Social Network 4, 9
To Kill a Mockingbird Saturday, Sunday, Monday Weekend Matinee Classic 11am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Season of the Witch 1:05, 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Country Strong 1:30, 4:15, 7:05, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:05
Tron Legacy In 35MM 1:30, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
The Dilemma 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
Black Swan 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
The Green Hornet in Dolby Digital 3D 1:25, 4:15, 7, 9:30 +Sat, Sun 11am
True Grit 1:25, 4:30, 7, 9:25 + Sat , Sun 11:05am
Little Fockers 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:25, 9:30, + Sat, Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Season of the Witch 11:55am, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 9:55 + Mon- Thurs no 11:55am
Black Swan 11:30, 2, 4:20, 7:30, 9:55 + Mon – Thurs no 11:30
True Grit 11:20, 2, 4:40, 7:10, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 11:20
Yogi Bear 3D 11:20am, 1:20
Little Fockers 1:20, 4, 6:30, 9 + Mon – Thurs no 1:20
The Dilemma 11am, 1:30, 4:10, 7, 9:30 + Mon – Thurs no 11am
The Green Hornet 11:10, 1:45, 4:30, 7:20, 10
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
The Green Hornet 11:15, 2, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10
Black Swan 11:55, 2:30, 4:55, 7:15, 9:40
True Grit 11:30, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Season of the Witch 12:15, 2:40, 5:15, 7:50, 10:05 + Tues – Thurs no 12:15
Country Strong 1:25, 4:15, 7:10, 9:50
Tron Legacy In 3D 1, 3:45, 6:45, 9:35
The Dilemma 11:30, 2:10, 4:55, 7:40, 10:15 + Tues – Thurs no 11:30 am
Gulliver’s Travel in 35MM 12:05, 2:25, 4:40, 6:50
True Grit 11:05, 1:35, 4:25, 7:15, 10 + Tues – Thurs no 11:05am
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 1:05, 3:50, 6:30
The Tourist 9
The Green Hornet 3D 11am, 1:15, 1:45, 4:05, 7, 7:30, 9:45, 10:20
+ Tues – Thur no 11am
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows 9:10
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Little Fockers 1:15, 4:15, 7, 9:30 Tues – Thurs. no 1:15
The Fighter 1, 4, 6:45, 9:200 Tues – Thurs. no 1
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 BIG LEBOWSKI (★★1/2) (R) 117 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: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Not rated) 129 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 BLUES BROTHERS As blue-eyed soul brothers Jake and Elwood, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd put the wind in the Windy City in this hipster, all-star musical comedy from 1980. John Landis directs. Aretha’s full-tilt “Think” stops the show. (R) 133 minutes. (★★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.
BLACK SWAN Haunting, hypnotic, sexy. Natalie Portman headlines in career-defining role playing an eager ballerina—touch on the outside, fragile on the inside. After landing the prime role of the Swan Queen in a re-imagined production of “Swan Lake,” Nina soon grows suspcious of what’s unfolding around her. Is her fellow ballerina (Mila Kunis) after her role? Watch for how well directer Darren Aronofsky uses these brilliant talents (Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel and Winona Ryder) among them) to craft one of the year’s best—a gripping psycho-sexual thriller that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. (R) 110 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWNTREADER In this third Narnia adventure, director Michael Apted keeps the story pulsing along at a good clip, moral lessons are succinct and not too heavy-handed, and the magical elements are stylishly done. Happly, there are no military battle campaigns this time, in a picaresque seagoing adventure that reunites the youngest Pevensie siblings and their bratty cousin with young King Caspian (a stalwart Ben Barnes) on a quest to the outer isles. (PG) 115 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
COUNTRY STRONG Garret Hedlund plays a rising young country singer/songwriter who gets involved with broken down Nashville diva Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband/manager (Tim McGraw) when they all hit the road together in this musical drama from director Shana Feste. Leighton Meester co-stars. (PG-13) 111 minutes.
THE FIGHTER Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg turn in surprisingly good performances in this fact-based boxing saga, based on a true story. The duo play half brothers Dicky Ecklund and Micky Ward in a working-class town. Walberg is the fighter everybody roots for but can’t seem to make it on his own without his family meddling. Bale delivers another career defining performance as the druggie brother everybody hoped would have succeeded more after a stellar boxing win. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (terrific as the brothers’ controlling mom) co-star. Directed by David O. Russell. (R) 114 minutes. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS Jack Black stars in this lavish, live-action, 3D update of the Jonathan Swift social satire for director Rob Letterman. (PG)
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1 This brooding and foreboding first half of the last book in J.K. Rowling’s epic series (Part 2 comes out next summer) plays out like a middle act, and it’s not for the uninitiated. But director David Yates scrupulously re-introduces beloved characters and weaves in threads from the past to construct a solid foundation for the epic showdown to come. There’s enough action and comedy to keep things moving, but the focus is on the Passion of Harry (the endearing Daniel Radcliffe), the interior journey by which he comes to grips with his destiny, and what it means not only to himself, but to the larger world. As in the book, lengthy sojourns in empty landscapes drag down the middle of the story while Harry and pals are on the lam, but Yates finds a lyrical, heartbreaking plateau at which to conclude this first half and gear up for the grand finale. (PG-13) 147 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
HOW DO YOU KNOW Reese Witherspoon stars in this romantic comedy with Owen Wilson), and Paul Rudd. Jack Nicholson co-stars. James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment; Broadcast News) directs. (R) 113 minutes.
I LOVE YOU, PHILIP MORRIS Jim Carrey goes bravura as Steven Russel, a real-life con artist, serial imposter, and habitual prison escapee whose bizarro story unfolds in this aiudacious but never quite convincing comedy. Ewan McGregor is sweet and beguiling as the genteel object of Russel’s obsessive affection, for whom he commits years of outrageous frauds and scams.. (R) 98 minutes (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
THE KING’S SPEECH If you’re looking for a gorgeously mounted entertainment, a compelling history lesson, a wry comedy of manners, or just a jolly game of Name That Actor, prepare to gobble down Tom Hooper’s juicy and rewarding true story about an accidental monarch struggling to conquer a private affliction that makes public life a nightmare. The formidable Colin Firth queues up for his next Oscar nomination as the prince who will be George VI, cursed with a crippling stammer just when the nation needs a strong, confident leader. Geoffrey Rush is great as the eccentric speech therapist who earns his trust. A marvelous Helena Bonham Carter leads a Who’s Who of splendid British thesps in supporting roles. (R) 118 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
LITTLE FOCKERS Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro return as battling in-laws in this third installment of the comedy franchise that began with Meet The Parents. Story revolves around a birthday party Stiller and wife Teri Polo throw for their twins, at which he tries to prove himself yet again to her father (De Niro). Owen Wilson co-stars as her ex. Harvey Keitel, Laura Dern, and Jessica Alba are featured in the cast. Paul Weitz directs. (PG-13)
MADE IN DAGENHAM The true story of working-class women employed at a Ford Motor plant in industrial England in 1968 who went out on strike to demand equal pay for equal work. Director Nigel Cole does an admirable job of sketching in the hierachy of males the women are up against (husbands, co-workers, Ford execs, even their own union bosses), and crafting a milieu of subtly ingrained sexism. Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) brings her fun-loving demeanor and piercing intelligence to the fictional heroine invented to represent the journey the Ford women took from complacency to consciousness. (R) 113 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
127 HOURS When a freak accident left rock climber Aron Ralston stranded at the bottom of a deep crevice, his right hand pinned between the rockface and an immovable boulder, he had to make an impossible decision: forfeit his arm or lose his life. A man immobilized in a narrow crevice for five days may not sound like promising material for a moving picture, but Danny Boyle ramps up the suspense and makes something both kinetic and gripping out of Ralston’s story. Swooping in and out of Ralston’s memories, the material in his video camera, and his delirious fantasies, Boyle keeps the narrative pace brisk and the action intense. In the starring role, James Franco captures not only Ralston’s up-for-anything cockiness, but his wry wit and unalloyed courage as well. (R) 94 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
SEASON OF THE WITCH Nicolas Cage stars as a medieval knight charged with escorting suspected witch Claire Foy to a far-off abbey to be exorcised in hopes of ending the Black Death. Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, and Robert Sheehan are among the ragtag wayfareres who join them in this gritty action fantasy from director Dominic Sena (Gone In 60 Seconds). (PG-13) 113 minutes.
TANGLED The classic “Disney princess” movie evolves in this entertaining update of the Rapunzel fairy tale. Rapunzel (nicely voiced and sung by Mandy Moore) doesn’t know she’s a kidnapped princess.. (PG) 100 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
THE TOURIST This Hollywood star vehicle positions Johnny Depp, as an innocent abroad, and Angelina Jolie, as a glamorous femme fatale, against the gorgeous backdrop of Venice. But it’s all a matter of perspective in what turns out to be a surprisingly cheeky, but flawed adventure from German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others). Depp gets to spoof his cool persona as an unsophisticated, nice-guy Midwesterner. He’s fun to watch, but Jolie’s character is a cypher, an overly made-up Barbie Doll who never once has an unguarded moment where we feel like she might be an actual human being. As a result, their repartee falls flat and their spark never sizzles, a critical flaw in a movie that depends on star power. Better appreciated in retrospect, after sorting out the plot, this movie should have felt a lot more urgent and engaging along the way. (PG-13) 104 minutes. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
TRON: LEGACY It has hints of Matrix, a touch of Fifth Element and shades of Star Wars, but even all that doesn’t make this long-awaited sequel a superior film. But it’s not a bad film, either. You come here for the experience, not the story. Jeff Bridges is back as videogame titan Kevin Flynn—remember he got sucked into his own virtual arcade game program in the original Tron, two decades ago. Garret Hedlund is on board here, playing Flynn’s grown-up son, who, is sucked into the same virtual universe. Guess who wants to free daddy? Joseph Kosinski directs. (PG) 125 minutes. (★★1/2) Greg Archer
TRUE GRIT The Coen Brothers reimagine the old John Wayne western as a vehicle for Jeff Bridges. He plays broken-down, one-eyed U. S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, hired by a determined 14-year-old girl to track down the villain (Josh Brolin) who killed her father. Matt Damon plays a Texas Ranger on the trail of the same scoundrel. Hailee Steinfeld plays the justice-minded young girl. (PG-13) 110 minutes. (★★★1/2)
YOGI BEAR Hey, Boo Boo! Dan Aykroyd voices the genial, pic-a-nic basket-snatching denizen of Jellystone Park in this 3D reboot of the old Hanna Barbera cartoon. . (PG) 79 minutes.