Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
ANOTHER YEAR Mike Leigh’s absolutely wonderful new film unfolds during the changing seasons of a single year, as time inevitably marches on. Sly, scruffy, robust Jim Broadbent and compassionate earth-mother Ruth Sheen play a long and happily married couple who cook, garden, and laugh together. Delicate tension is wrought from the desperation with which their aging, less fortunate friends are lured to the nurturing flame of their happiness and stability. Lesley Manville gives a fearless and devastating performance as a lonely divorcee with a demeanor of brittle perkiness who keeps pushing the boundaries, desperately trying to upgrade from work mate to surrogate family status. Leigh famously workshops his story ideas with his casts to arrive at a script, and there’s not a false syllable in the entire movie; every frame has the ache and vitality of real life. Despite the wistful melancholy of its theme, this is a delicious, savvy, and resonant film, peppered with irreverent wit and real feeling. Do not miss it. (PG-13) 129 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday.
(Read a longer review at ljo-express.blogspot.com) Watch film trailer >>>
(R) 148 minutes. (★★★1/2) Starts Friday.
THE ROOMMATE Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, and Cam Gigandet star in this thriller about a nice college coed paired up with the roomie from Hell. Christian E. Christiansen directs. (PG-13) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
James Cameron was one of the producers of this undersea thriller about a cave-diving expedition forced deep into an underwater labyrinth during a tropical storm searching for a way out. Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, and Rhys Wakefield star for director Alister Grierson. (R) 109 minutes.
Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
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
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Midnight Showings Friday 2/04 & Saturday 2/05
Black Swan 2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 9:45 + Sat, Sun 12:40
Biutiful 3:30, 6:30, 9:20 + Fri, Sat, Sun 12:30
The Way Back 1:30, 4:10, 6:50, 9:30
Another Year 1:20, 4, 6:40, 9:10
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
127 Hours 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30
The King’s Speech 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:30
The Grapes of Wrath Saturday & Sunday Weekend Matinee Classic 11am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
No Strings Attached 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:15, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
The Rite 1:30, 4;30, 7;05, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
The King’s Speech 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
The Mechanic 1:10, 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 +Sat, Sun 11am
From Prada to Nada 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:15, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11am
The Green Hornet in Dolby Digital 3D 1:25, 4:15, 7, 9:30 +Sat, Sun 11am
The Roommate 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11am
Sanctum 1:30, 4:15, 7:05, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:05
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
The Rite 11:35am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:40, 10:15 + Mon – Thurs no 11:35am
The Mechanic 1:05, 3:15, 5:30, 7:50, 10:05
No Strings Attached 11:30am, 1:55, 4:25, 7, 9:40 + Mon – Thurs no 11:30am
The Green Hornet 3D 1:35, 4:20, 7:10, 9:55
The Dilemma 1:20, 3:55, 6:45, 9:15 Thurs 2/10 no 6:45
Sanctum 11:45am, 2:15, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10 + Mon – Thurs no 11:45am
The Roommate 12:05, 2:25, 5, 7:20, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 12:05
True Grit 1:30, 4:10, 6:50, 9:25
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
The Company Men 1:15, 4:15, 7, 9:35 + Mon – Thurs no 1:15
The Fighter 1, 4, 6:45, 9:20 + Mon – 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 ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW Oh, Rocky! The granddaddy of all midnight movies totters back onscreen on its platform stilettos in this classic cult 1975 rock horror musical comedy. Tim Curry is irresistible in his corset, fishnet stockings, and purring, throaty vibrato; creator Richard O’Brien and Susan Sarandon co-star, along with a live cast to lead you in rice-flinging and dialogue recitation. Don’t dream it, be it. (PG) 100 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. 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: THE GRAPES OF WRATH Henry Fonda, John Carradine, and the redoubtable Jane Darwell (as Ma Joad) star in John Ford’s sturdy 1940 adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel about Dustbowl “Okies” on the way to a new life in California. (Not rated) 128 minutes. (HHH)—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: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE Japanese anime legend Hayao Miyazaki directs this fable about a young girl who falls in love with a mysterious young wizard, only to be transformed into a 90-year-old woman by a jealous witch (voice by Lauren Bacall). Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale, and Jean Simmons provide voices; Pixar’s Pete Docter directs the actors for this 2005 English language version. (PG) 110 minutes. 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.
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
BLUE VALENTINE 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 COMPANY MEN 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 their sense of worth. John Wells directs. (R) 109 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).
THE GREEN HORNET Seth Rogan stars in this remix of the old DC comic (by way of the 1960s TV show). (PG-13) 119 minutes.
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) (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
FROM PRADA TO NADA This Latina update of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility stars Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega as a pair of spoiled sisters who lose their income after the death of their fathered and are forced o move in with their estranged aunt in East L. A. Angel Gracia directs. (PG-13) 107 minutes.
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)
THE MECHANIC Jason Statham stars as—surprise!—an “elite hit man” who reluctantly takes along a new young protégé (Ben Foster) on a mission of vengeance in this action thriller from director Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). Donald Sutherland co-stars. (R) 92 minutes. Starts Friday.
NO STRINGS ATTACHED It’s a miracle that Ivan Reitman’s silly romantic comedy recovers at all from its absurd premise. (She wants sex without romance; he gallantly tries to play along, even though they’re crazy about each other.) That it actually becomes sort of charming is due entirely to the appeal of stars Natalie Portman, an agile comedienne, and especially Ashton Kutcher as a good-hearted guy coping with a weird situation with humor and thoughtfulness. Some funny stuff later in Elizabeth Meriwether’s script makes up for a fairly awful first half-hour. (R) 110 minutes. (★★1/2) 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
THE RITE Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Anthony Hopkins stars as an old Vatican priest steeped in arcane lore who teams up with a doubting younger priest (Colin O’Donoghue) in the exorcism of a possessed young girl. Alice Braga, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, and Rutger Hauer co-star for director Mikael Håfström (1408). (PG-13) 107 minutes. Starts Friday.
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.. (PG-13) 113 minutes.
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.
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) Greg Archer
THE WAY BACK Imagine a 4000-mile trek on foot from Siberia to Mongolia, across the Gobi Desert to Tibet, and over the Himalayas into India. It’s an incredible journey supposedly made by a handful of escapees from a Soviet prison camp in 1941, as depicted in this absorbing drama on the collision and collusion of man and Nature from the formidable Peter Weir. Whether the 1956 book, “The Long Walk,” on which the film is based, by Soviet gulag survivor Slavomir Rawicz, is fact or fiction, this epic tale of survival inspires Weir’s visionary sense; he and his longtime cinematographer Russell Boyd chart this harsh terrain in dozens of breathtaking vistas. But it’s the labyrinth of human dynamics that keep the viewer engrossed, thanks to a tough, sinewy performance from Ed Harris, the resourceful Jim Sturgess, and wild-card Colin Farrell. (PG-13) 133 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen