Film, Times & Events: Week of Jan. 20th

film_guide_iconFilms This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.



Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones star in this contemporary drama about a year in the lives of three corporate suits downsized out of their jobs trying to come to grips with their lives, their families, and ther sense of worth. John Wells directs. (R) 109 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>


“It” Girl Natalie Portman teams with Ashton Kutcher in this romantic comedy about a footloose couple of singles trying to keep their relationship strictly physical. Cary Elwes and Kevin Kline co-star for director  Watch film trailer >>> Ivan Reitman. (R) Starts Friday.


SOMEWHERE After Lost In Translation and Marie Antoinette, writer-director Sofia Coppola trains her camera eye on decadent Young Hollywood in this contemporary drama about an actor (Stephen Dorff) as celebrated for his brawls and binges as his movies, whose hedonistic lifestyle at the fabled Chateau Marmont Hotel is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning). (R) 98 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

THE WAY BACK Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 133 minutes. (★★★) Starts Friday.


MOVIE TIMES 1/21–1/27

Del Mar Theatre    469-3220
Blue Valentine  2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45 + Sat, Sun  11:45am
The King’s Speech  1:40, 3:20, 4:20, 6, 7, 8:30, 9:30 + Sat- Mon 11am, 12:40
Dazed and Confused  Midnight Showings Friday 1/21 & Saturday 1/22

Nickelodeon    426-7500
Black Swan  2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 9:45  + Sat, Sun  12:30am
Rabbit Hole  3:20, 5:20, 7:20, 9:20   
Casino Jack  1:10
The Way Back   1:30, 4:10, 6:50, 9:30
Somewhere  2:40, 4:50, 7, 9:10  +Sat, Sun 12:30   

Aptos Cinema    426-7500
No Strings Attached  1:40, 4, 6:20, 8:40 + Sat, Sun 11:20am
The Fighter  1:50, 6:40
The Social Network  4, 9
Hitchcock’s To Kill a Thief  Weekend Matinee Classic Sat, Sun, Mon 11:30am

Green Valley Cinema 8    761-8200
No Strings Attached  1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:15, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
The Fighter  7:05, 9:30
Yogi Bear  11:15, 3:15
Season of the Witch  5:20, 7:20, 9:30
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
Tangled in 35MM  11:10, 1:30, 4:30

Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema    438-3260
Please call for show times

Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema    479-3504
Please call for show times

Santa Cruz Cinema 9    (800) 326-3264 #1700
Please call for show times

Riverfront    (800) 326-3264 #1701
Please call for show times

Film Events:
Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week DAZED AND CONFUSED

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 CATCH A THIEF Grace Kelly, the iciest of Alfred Hitchcock’s icy blondes, Cary Grant, at his, well, Cary Grant-est, and the dazzling French Rivera co-star in Hitch’s sophisticated 1955 romantic thriller about a retired cat burglar and a spoiled American heiress who meet during a series of baffling robberies. (Not rated) 106 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Sat-Sun matinee only, 11 a.m. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.

Oldies and goodies on Thursday nights at the Cinema 9, presented by your genial host, Joe Ferrara. $5 gets you in. This week: PSYCHO A generation of women swore off taking showers thanks to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterful 1960 shocker, a shrewd, sophisticated, scary as hell, yet relatively bloodless forerunner of the slasher movie. Anthony Perkins gives a devastating tragi-comic performance as iconic, Mom-pecked Norman Bates. (R) 109 minutes. (★★★★) Lisa Jensen. Tonight (Thursday) only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.

In honor of its 100th anniversary, the Met stages Puccini’s wild west opera about “the girl of the Golden West,” under the baton of maestro Nicola Luisotti. American diva Deborah Voigt stars, with Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo. ENCORE: Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 at 6:30 PM

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.

Now Playing
BLACK SWAN Haunting, hypnotic, sexy. Natalie Portman, who nabbed a Golden Globe for her career-defining role here plays an eager ballerina—tough 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

Billing itself as  “a love story,” this unsettling drama begins after most conventional love stories have concluded, when happily ever after has morphed into stuck forever. Nothing in the movie sounds scripted; the dialogue comes out with a raw edge that feels (often almost painfully) real. Acted with aching quicksilver precision by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling as a conflicted young married couple, this prickly drama from Derek Cianfrance pokes into the raw wound of disappointed dreams and desires while grappling with the elusive nature of love, and why and how it can just as easily slip away. (R) 114 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen

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.

THE DILEMMA 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’ with (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him. Channing Tatum, Jennifer Connelly, and Queen Latifah co-star. (PG-13).

Eccentric filmmaker Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, etc.) might not necessarily be your first choice for director of a new superhero franchise, and you’d never think of Seth Rogan starring in one. But that’s the combo in this remix of the old DC comic (by way of the 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.

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

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.

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

Jack Black stars in this lavish, live-action, 3D  update of the Jonathan Swift social satire for director Rob Letterman. (PG)

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.  (PG-13) 147 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen

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.

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

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

Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro return as battling in-laws in this third installment of the comedy franchise. Paul Weitz directs. (PG-13)

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

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

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart turn in brilliant performaces in this new outing by director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig, Shortbus). Mitchell surprises by offering a deep, sensitive look into the lives of two parents moving through the grief after losing their young son. Kidman grabbed a Golden Globe nom, but it’s Eckhart’s rich performance that truly shines in a tale that finds these actor so believingly appealing. Diane Weist co-stars. (★★★) Greg Archer

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.. (PG-13) 113 minutes.

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

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

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

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)
Greg Archer

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.

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