Film, Times & Events: Week of Feb. 24th

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



DRIVE ANGRY 3D There’s this tough guy, see (Nicolas Cage, who else?), who breaks out of Hell to avenge his daughter’s murder and save her baby from becoming a cult sacrifice, but a demon from Hell is after him, and Amber Heard is a sexy cocktail waitress, with a cherry-red muscle car, and…oh, I’m sorry, I can’t even type this with a straight face. Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine) directs. (R) 104 minutes. Starts Friday.
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Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis star in this comedy about  a couple of restless guys whose wives give them one week “off” from fidelity, but their liberation is dampened when they realize their wives are having more fun than they are. Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate co-star for directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly. (R) Starts Friday.

SHELTER Julianne Moore stars in this horror thriller as a forensic psychiatrist who begins to realize that all the multiple personalities of her new patient (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) are murder victims. Jeffrey DeMunn co-stars for Swedish co-directors Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein. (R) 112 minutes. Starts Friday.
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Movie Times: 2/25–3/3

Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
Barney’s Version  1:10, 4, 6:40, 9:20
The King’s Speech  1:40, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Cedar Rapids  2, 4:10, 6, 8, 10  + Sun Only 12noon
Zoolander  Midnight Showings Friday 2/25 & Saturday 2/26
9000 Needles  Special Event Screenings – By Five Branches University – Sat Only 11am

Nickelodeon 426-7500
Academy Award Nominated Short Films
Animated Program  3:20, 7:15
Academy Award Nominated Short Films
Live Action Program  5:15 + Sat, Sun 11am
Black Swan   1, 9
Biutiful   12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20 
The Illusionist  1:10, 3:10, 5, 7, 8:50
Another Year  1:20, 4, 6:40, 9:10

Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Gnomeo and Juliet  2:20, 4:10, 6, 7:50, 9:30  + Sat, Sun 12:30 
The King’s Speech  2, 4:30, 7, 9:20  + Sat, Sun  11:30
Dr. StrangeLove  Saturday & Sunday Weekend Matinee Classic   10:45am

Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Hall Pass  1:05, 3:15, 5:20, 7:30, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Unknown  1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Justin Beiber: Never Say Never in 35mm  1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:25 +Sat, Sun 11am
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son  1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:15, 9:25  + Sat, Sun 11am
I Am Number Four  1:25, 4:30, 7:05, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
Gnomeo and Juliet in 35mm  1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Drive Angry In Dolby Digital 3D 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25, + Sat, Sun 11:05am
Just Go With It  1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25  +Sat, Sun 11:05am

Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
I Am Number Four  11:30am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:20, 9:55 + Mon-Thurs no 11:30am
Gnomeo and Juliet  11:55am, 2:20, 4:40, 6:45, 8:55, + Mon-Thurs    no 11:55am
Hall Pass  11:45am, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10  + Mon-Thurs no 11:45am 
Just Go With It  11:10am, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:45, + Mon-Thurs no 11:10am
Unknown 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30 + Mon-Thurs no 11:30am

Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Hall Pass  11:55am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10
I Am Number Four  11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30
Just Go With It  11:10am, 1:45, 4:20, 7:10, 9:45True Grit  2, 7

SC Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Ed Wood  Flashback Feature Thur 3/3 8PM
Iphigenie En Tauride  Met Opera Live  Sat 2/26 10AM
Nixon in China  Met Opera Encore Wed 3/2 6:30 PM
Drive Angry 3D  11:45, 2:15, 4:45, 7:20, 9:50  + Mon-Thur no 11:45
Hall Pass  Noon, 2:30, 5:05, 7:40, 10:15 + Mon-Thur no noon
I Am Number Four  11:30am, 2:05, 4:50, 7:30, 10:05  + Mon-Thur no 11:30am
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son  12:10, 2:40, 5:15, 7:45, 10:10  + Mon-Thur no 12:10
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D  1:15, 3:55, 6:45, 9:20 + Mon-Thur no 1:15
Gnomeo and Juliet 3D  12:15, 2:25, 4:35, 7, 9:10  + Mon-Thur no 12:15   
The Fighter  1:20, 4, 7:15, 9:55
No Strings Attached  1:35, 4:15, 7:05, 9:35       
True Grit  Fri-Tu & Thu  1:30, 4:10, 6:50, 9:25

Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Just Go With It  12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:25 + Mon – Thurs no 12:45
Unknown  1:15, 4:15, 7, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 1:15

Special Events:
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: ZOOLANDER Ben Stiller directs and stars in this 2001comedy about an empty-headed male model who stumbles on the secret of why male models disappear at the age of 30. Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich and Jerry Stiller co-star. (PG-13) 89 minutes. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.

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: DR. STRANGELOVE or HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (Not rated) 93 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: A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS Robert Shaw stars as Henry VIII, and Paul Scofield is trusted counselor Thomas More, who crossed his king and lost his head, in Fred Zinneman’s luscious 1966 historical drama. Leo McKern, Susannah York, and Orson Welles pop up in the supporting cast. (Not rated) 120 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Tonight (Thursday) only, 8 p.m., at the Cinema 9.

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: IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE Susan Graham, Placido Domingo and Paul Groves star in this lavish Gluck opera based on the Greek myth of Iphigenia, staged by Stephen Wadsworth. Maestro Patrick Summers conducts. LIVE: Saturday (February 26), 10:00 a.m. at the Cinema 9.

CONTINUING SERIES: THE MET: LIVE IN HD AT THE CINEMA 9 ENCORE: NIXON IN CHINA Composer John Adams’ celebrated modern opera about the mythic East-meets-West encounter of Nixon and Mao in 1972 stars James Maddalena in the title role, in a production staged by longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars, in his Met debut. Wednesday (March 2nd), 6:30 p.m. at the Cinema 9.

CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES In the Del Mar mezzanine. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.

Now Playing

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED SHORT FILMS, 2011(Five live-action and five animated). LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS In this program, the darker impulses of children explored in The Confession, from the UK, and the Irish vignette The Crush, play off against the goofy, hipster magic realism of the US entry, God Of Love. More serious contenders are Na Wewe, from Belgium, a scathing satire of racial and ethnic divisions set in civil war-torn Burundi, and the cheeky and poignant Wish 143 (also from the UK), about a 15-year-old cancer patient with decidedly carnal ideas about his last wish. (Watch for the delightful Jim Carter in a wry turn as a sympathetic Anglican priest.) (Not rated) 102 minutes.

Pen-and-ink and soft colored pencil washes highlight the French Madagascar, a travel journal that comes to life on the “page.” An A-list cast (led by Helena Bonham Carter) lend their voices to the storybook whimsy of The Gruffalo (Germany/UK). From the US comes the savvy, hilarious Let’s Pollute!, praising how waste and consumption keep our economy strong, made in the spirit of those chirpy old classroom educational films of yore. But by far the most amazing and original is The Lost Thing, from Australia, in which a boy hunting bottle caps on the beach finds a strange creature—a giant red teakettle of a thing powered by rotary fan, gears, and cogs, with organic green tentacles and scuttling crab claws—and tries to find out where it belongs. Steampunk has never been so colorful, fresh and irresistibly silly; this one’s a gem. Rounding out the bill is Pixar’s Day & Night (paired up earlier this year with Toy Story 3D on local screens), along with two esteemed bonus animated shorts. (Not rated) 81 minutes.

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. 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. (Read a longer review at ljo-express.blogspot.com)

BARNEY’S VERSION Paul Giamatti so wonderfully inhabits his character here and deserves the Golden Globe he nabbed for it. Based on Mordecail Richler’s winning novel, Giamatti morphs into a self-involved TV producer here whose penchant for drinking (too much) and womanizing doesn’t quite make him an ideal catch. But fate is kind to this anti-hero and delivers to him the woman of his dreams—Rosamund Pike in a stunning, graceful performance that so beautifully illuminates what “loving” somebody actually looks like. Barney doesn’t realize it, but he’s been given a gift from the Gods with his new love in that it presents him with the possibility to leap—let’s make that crawl—out of his narcissistic way of being and actually care about something, and somebody, other than himself? Can he do it? One of the smartest, well written films to come along in quite a while. Minnie Driver, and Rachel Lefevre star as ex-wives here; Dustin Hoffman co-stars as Barney’s father. Richard J. Lewis directs. (R) 132 minutes. Stats Friday. (★★★1/2) Greg Archer

BIG MOMMAS: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON Martin Lawrence straps on the pumps and the wig once again as an FBI agent going undercover in drag. This time, he and his stepson (Brandon T. Jackson) suit up to investigate skullduggery in an all-girl performing arts high school.  Jessica Lucas, Michelle Ang, Portia Doubleday, and Emily Rios co-star for director John Whitesell. (PG-13) 107 minutes.

BIUTIFUL The wonderful Javier Bardem gives a performance of furious grace as a man clawing a living out of the urban underbelly of Barcelona who discovers he has only a short time left to straighten out his messy life for the sake of his beloved children. Brooding and heartfelt, this is a dark, often despairing vision of life on the fringe from the always provocative Alejandro González Iñárritu, yet infused throughout with tenderness, compassion, and a sense of spiritual redemption. The determination of Bardem’s character to cling to his better nature aginst all odds becomes profound in this haunting, deeply layered film. (R) 148 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen

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

A fantastic surprise. N.ewcomer Ed Helms shines in an indie comedy you can’t help but enjoy—it turned heads at Sundance. Helms plays a naive small-town insurance agent sent by his company to a big convention in Iowa. Like a fish out of water, he’s bedazzled–and bemused—by all the “glitter” of such a “big city” lilke … Cedar Rapids. The convention is full of  jaded old pros, played by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. Sigourney Weaver also stars. Miguel Arteta directs. (R) 86 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer

THE EAGLE Channing Tatum broods effectively as a young Roman officer on a quest to recover the bronze eagle carried into battle by a company of Roman Legionnaires who vanished into the murky mists of northern Britain in 120 AD. Jamie Bell is as watchable as ever as the Briton slave with whom he shares a precarious bond. We assume that director Kevin Macdonald is resurrecting this 1954 historical YA novel by Rosemary Sutcliff is to comment on our modern age of reckless adventuring in foreign lands, but The Eagle never gains the level of complexity that would make its story profound. While lip service is paid to the hollowness of “honor” and glory” in a war of conquest, in the bloody showdown, testosterone, once again, is its own reward. (PG-13) 114 minutes. (★★) Lisa Jensen

GNOMEO AND JULIET The most enduring love story of all time, enacted by…garden gnomes? That’s the plan in this animated Disney family comedy. (G)

Alex Pettyfer stars in this sci-fi thriller as a teenager with disturbing special powers on the run from sinister forces trying to destroy him as he comes to terms with his destiny. Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, and Dianna Agron (from Glee) co-star for director D. J. Caruso. (PG-13) 110 minutes.

Sylvain Chomet’s lovingly hand-drawn animated feature is an artifact of another era. With the look of old-school cel animation in which every frame is a mini work of art, its subject is the bygone era of postwar vaudeville in a story adapted from an unproduced script written decades ago by Jacques Tati. That it’s told almost without dialogue (sound and music, yes, but few discernible words)  adds much to its wistful whimsy and charm. (PG) 80 minutes. (★★★)  Lisa Jensen

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

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

JUST GO WITH IT Most people would never realize this because it wasn’t promoted much in the press, but this film is actually a reboot of the ’60s film Cactus Flower, which starred Walter Matthau and shot Goldie Hawn to fame. The good news? For an Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston comedy, it’s really not that bad. Sandler is a guy trying to nab an attractive gal (Brooklyn Decker) and eventually must lure his female buddy/coworker in an elaborate scheme to do so. He begs her to “play” his ex-wife. She’s got kids. He didn’t count on that secret getting out. It takes a while to warm up to the film, but after 30 minutes, the pacing and the comedy click in and both leads generate some fine chemistry. Great supporting players, too.  Dennis Dugan directs. (PG-13) 116 minutes. (★★1/2) Greg Archer

You’ve seen the videos. Now see the teenage You Tube phenomenon on the big screen (in 3D, yet). (G).

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. (R) 110 minutes. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen

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)

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

It’s Liam Neeson in take-charge mode as a doctor on vacation in Berlin who’s injured in a car crash, and wakes up to find that his wife doesn’t recognize him and another man has taken his place. Mayhem ensues as he determines to sort things out. Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, and January Jones (Mad Men) co-star. Jaume Collet-Serra directs. (PG-13) 113 minutes.

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