Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
NEW THIS WEEK
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
Matt Damon learns the ugly truth about fate in this action thriller about a rising young politician who falls in love with the wrong woman and finds himself on the run from the mysterious shadow organization in charge of maintaining the illusion of our perceived reality. Emily Blunt and Terence Stamp co-star for director George Nolfi. Based on a Philip K.Dick short story. (PG-13) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
In this modern riff on Beauty and the Beast, Alex Pettyfer stars as the most handsome, popular, and arrogant boy in high school who’s turned into a scarred, bald-headed freak by a wicca-practicing classmate after he humiliates her. Vanessa Hudgens is the nice girl who might be able to break the curse if he can earn her love. Director Daniel Barnz adapted the script from the Alex Flinn YA novel.
Watch film trailer >>> (PG-13) Starts Friday.
In this South Korean thriller, a woman in her late 30s is forced to accept work as a housemaid for an upper-class family, where the attentions of her new master launch a dire chain of events. Sang-soo Im directs. (Not rated) 106 minutes, In Korean with English subtitles. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Johnny Depp provides the voice and the moves of a lizard who longs to be a swashbuckler in this animated comedy from director Gore Verbinski (the Pirates of the Caribbean movies). Using an updated type of digital rotoscoping, Depp and co-stars Bill Nighy, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, et al, acted out entire scenes together on camera, from which their animated characters’ physical movements were generated, so all the actors contribute more than just vocal peformances.
(PG) 107 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT
’80s nostalgia fuels this comedy about a young MIT grad postponing adulthood with a job in a video store who’s invited to what may be the last epic party of his youth in the summer of 1988. Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, and a killer ’80s soundtrack co-star for director Michael Dowse.
(R) 97 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
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 Noon
District 9 Midnight Showings Friday 2/25 & Saturday 2/26
The Music Never Stopped Special Event Screenings –Only Tues 3/8 7pm
Nora’s Will 2:30, 4:30, 6:45, 9 + Sat, Sun 12:30
Black Swan 2:20, 4:50, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun noon
Biutiful 4:40, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 11:50am
The Illusionist 2:50, 7:30
The Housemaid 2:40, 5, 7:15, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 12:20
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Another Year 1:20, 6
Black Swan 3:50, 8:30
The King’s Speech 2, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:30
Swiss Family Robinson Saturday & Sunday Weekend Matinee Classic 11am
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
The Adjustment Bureau 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
Take Me Home Tonight 1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:25, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11am
Beastly 1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
I Am Number Four 9:20
Gnomeo and Juliet in 35mm 1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, + Sat, Sun 11:15am
Drive Angry In Dolby Digital 3D 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25, + Sat, Sun 11:05am
Rango 1:15, 4, 7, 9:15 +Sat, Sun 11am
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Hall Pass 11:45, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10
Gnomeo and Juliet 11:55, 2:15, 4:30, 6:30
I Am Number Four 8:30
Rango 11am, 1:30, 4:10, 6:45, 9:20 + Mon-Thur no 11am
The King’s Speech 11:10am, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:45 + Mon-Thur no 11:10am
Unknown 11:20am, 2, 4:40, 7:10, 9:40 + Mon-Thur no 11:20am
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rango 11:15, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:30
The Adjustment Bureau 11:45, 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45
Hall Pass 11:55, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
The Godfather Flashback Feature Thur 3/10 8
Carmen 3D Sat 3/5 1PM , Thur 3/10 7:30
Battle: Los Angeles Thur 3/10 Midnight
Red Riding Hood Thur 3/10 Midnight
Rango 11:15, 1:45, 4:20, 7, 9:35 + Mon-Thur no 11:15
Take Me Home Tonight 12:15, 2:35, 5:20, 7:50, 10:15 + Mon-Thur no 12:15
Beastly 1, 3:25, 5:40, 8, 10:10
Drive Angry 3D 11:45, 2:15, 4:45, 7:25, 9:50
+ Sat no 11:45, 2:15, Mon-Thur no 11:45
Hall Pass Noon, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 10:05 + Mon-Wed no noon
I Am Number Four 1:35, 4:15, 6:50
True Grit 9:30
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D 1:15, 3:55, 6:45, 9:20
Gnomeo and Juliet 3D 12:10, 2:20, 4:50, 7:10, 9:15 + Mon-Thur no 12:10
The Fighter 1:20, 4:05, 7:15, 9:55
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
The Adjustment Bureau 1:15, 4:15, 7, 9:45 + Mon – Thurs no 1:15
Unknown 12:45, 3:45, 6:45, 9:25 + Mon – Thurs no 12:45
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: DISTRICT 9 In rookie South African filmmaker Neill Blompkamp’s edgy sci-fi thriller, when alien refugees from space are interred in a camp outside of Johannesburg, a human technician with mutating DNA may be the key to either saving, or destroying, the earth. Sharlito Copley and David James star. Blompkamp generates an admirable amount of tension and visual punch on virtually no fx budget; his story is both allegorically and emotionally complex. (R) 112 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: SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON The film that launched a thousand back-yard tree houses, this 1960 Disney family adventure stars John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James McArthur, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin “Moochie” Corcoran as a shipwrecked Victorian-era family who set up housekeeping on a remote tropical isle—rubbing shoulders with exotic flora, wild animals, and marauding pirates. Every kid’s dream adventure! (Not rated) 126 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: ED WOOD Any hack in Hollywood could make a campy satire out of the story of fringe ’50s moviemaker Edward D. Wood. But only Tim Burton could infuse it with so much loony good cheer, and only Johnny Depp could play Wood with such delirious brio, inspiring his inept, misfit stock players and crew with his own unquenchable optimisim—in the absence of either money or talent. Made in 1994, and shot in vintage black-and-white, it earned Martin Landau an Oscar for his wry humor and battered dignity as forgotten horror star Bela Lugosi. (R) 127 minutes. (★★★★)—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. 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.
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. 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
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
CEDAR RAPIDS 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
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.
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)
HALL PASS Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis star in this comedy about a couple of restless guys whose wives give them one week “off” from fidelity.. (R) Starts Friday.
I AM NUMBER FOUR Alex Pettyfer stars in this sci-fi thriller as a teenager with disturbing special powers on the run.. (PG-13) 110 minutes.
THE ILLUSIONIST 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. (HHH) Lisa Jensen
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
THE KING’S SPEECH And the Oscar goes to this juicy and rewarding true story about an accidental monarch struggling to conquer a private affliction that makes public life a nightmare. Director Tom Hooper also won gold, along with the formidable Colin Firth 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 his eccentric speech therapist; the 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
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER You’ve seen the videos. Now see the teenage You Tube phenomenon on the big screen (in 3D, yet). (G).
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. (R) 110 minutes. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
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)
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
UNKNOWN Liam Neeson stands out in this surprisingly good thriller. The lowdown: Neeson is a doc on vacation in Berlin who’s injured in a car crash. He wakes up to find that his wife doesn’t recognize him. Worse—another guy has taken his place. Watch how well the drama unfolds afterward, Diane Kruger, Aidan Quinn, and January Jones co-star… (PG-13) 113 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer