Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
FAST FIVE Paul Walker and Vin Diesel team up for one more race in this latest zoom-zoom episode of the Fast and Furious franchise. This time Dwayne (Rock) Johnson joins in the mayhem as a federal agent on their trail. Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris co-star; Justin Lin directs. (PG-13) 130 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
IN A BETTER WORLD Reviewed this issue. Reviewed This Issue >
(R) 119 minutes. In Danish and Swedish with English Subtitles. (★★★1/2) Starts Friday.
Hoping to rekindle the old High School Musical flame, Disney presents this teen-oriented extravaganza about high school kids coming of age, coupling and uncoupling, while getting ready for the biggest night of the school year. Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Danielle Campbell, Yin Chang, and Kylie Bunbury head the cast of newcomers. (PG) 104 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
WINTER IN WARTIME In this coming-of-age drama set in Nazi- occupied Holland, Dutch filmmaker Martin Koolhoven makes a thriller-type boy’s own adventure out of the popular YA novel by Jan Terouw. The themes are youth impatient to grow up, and the struggle to establish a moral imperative within a labyrinth of complex political realities. Raymond Thiry and Martijn Lakemeier are both excellent as a collaborationist mayor trying to keep everybody safe, and his 14-year-old son who tries to do the right thing when he discovers a downed RAF pilot hiding in the woods. At some point, the film loses its sense of urgency over too many close calls, twists, and diversions, and the finale feels less profound and consequential than it should. Still, the acting is heartfelt, and the film makes a conscientious attempt to explore the psychology of wartime. (R) 103 minutes. In Dutch and German with English subtitles. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Movie Times 4/29–5/5
Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
Water for Elephants 12:40, 1:40, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Fri, Sat, Sun 11am, Fri, Sat 10:30
African Cats 12:50, 2:50, 4:45, 6:45, 8:45 Fri, Sat, Sun 10:50am
The Life Aquatic Friday & Saturday night Midnight showing
Winter in Wartime 2:20, 4:40, 6:50, 9 + Sat, Sun noon
The Conspirator 1:50, 4:20, 7, 9:30 + Sat, Sun 11:20am
Win Win 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:20 + Sat 12:10
In a Better World 1:40, 4:10, 6:40, 9:10 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
Hanna 4:30, 8:30
Prom 2:10, 4:20, 6:30, 8:40 + Sat, Sun noon
I Am 2:40, 6:50 Sat, Sun 1pm
Excalibur Saturday +Sunday Weekend Matinee 10:30am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Fast Five 11am, 1:30, 4:10, 7, 9:40
Hoodwinked Too! 1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15,
Prom 1, 3, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15, +Sat, Sun 11:15am
Medea’s Big Happy Family 1:30, 4:25, 7, 9:25 + Sat, Sun 11:15am
African Cats 1, 3, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11am
Water for Elephants 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:05am
Rio in Dolby Digital 3D 1, 3:10, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11am
Scream 4 9:20
Soul Surfer 1:30, 4:25, 7, 9:20 + Sat, Sun 11:15
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Fast Five 1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:10 + Mon- Thurs no 1:15
Water For Elephants 1, 4, 7, 9:45 + Mon- Thurs no 1, 9:45
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Fast Five 11am, 1:45, 4:40, 7:30, 10:15
Water For Elephants 11:20am, 2, 4:40, 7:20, 10
Rio 11:55am, 2:15, 4:30, 6:45, 9
Thor Thursday midnight showing 05/05 11:59
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Flashback Feature Thur 4/28 8
MET Opera Il Travatore Sat 4/30 10AM
Broadway Musical Memphis Sun 5/1 12:30, Tues 5/3 7:30
NCM Fathom Event Grateful Dead Encore Thurs 5/5 7:30
Thor 3D Midnight Show Thurs 5/5 12:01 AM
Fast Five 11am, 1, 1:55, 4, 4:50, 7, 7:45, 10, 10:40 + Mon-Wed no 11am or 10:40
Rio 3D 2:10, 7:10
Rio 2D 11:50am, 4:40, 9:35 + Mon-Thurs no 11:50am
Prom 11:35am, 2:25, 5, 7:35, 10:10 + Mon-Thurs no 11:35am
Hoodwinked Too 3D 2:50, 5:05, 7:25, 9:50
Hoodwinked 2D 12:30
Hannah 1:25, 4:15, 6:50, 9:30
Scream 4 Noon, 2:40, 5:15, 7:55, 10:30 + Mon-Thurs no Noon
Source Code 11:25am, 1:45, 4:05, 6:30, 9 + Mon-Thurs no 11:25am
Limitless 11:10am, 1:40, 4:10, 6:40, + Mon-Thurs no 11:10am
Your Highness Fri-Thurs 9:10
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Soul Surfer 1, 4, 6:45, 9:20 + Mon – Thurs no 1
Medeas Big Happy Family 12:45, 3:45, 7, 9:30 + Mon – Thurs. no 12:45
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: JAZZ ON FILM Kuumbwa Jazz launches its 4th bi-annual Jazz on Film series at the Del Mar this weekend with three tasty music documentaries. Fri: REJOICE AND SHOUT 200 years of African-American gospel music, from the slavery era to R&B, is explored and presented in Don McGlynn’s exhaustive historical music doc. The story is told in interviews, concert footage, rare musical performance clips, and even rarer audio recordings. Mahalia Jackson, Smokey Robinson, the Staple Singers, and the Blind Boys of Alabama are among the many performers onscreen. (Not rated) 115 minutes. Fri only (April 29), 7:30 p.m. at the Del Mar. Sat Double Feature: DAVE BRUBECK: IN HIS OWN SWEET WAY Clint Eastwood and jazz filmmaker Bruck Ricker direct this tribute to iconic jazz pianist Brubeck on the eve of his 90th birthday (and still on the road, making music), in a film that also documents a century in the evolution of jazz itself. (Not rated) 90 minutes. Plays with ICONS AMONG US: JAZZ IN THE PRESENT TENSE Directors Michael Rivoira, Lars Larson, and Peter J. Vogt. turn the spotlight on the next generation of jazz artists taking the music in dynamic new directions. Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, recent Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding, and many others perform in the film. (Not rated) 93 minutes. Sat only (April 30), complete show begins at 7 p.m., at the Del Mar.
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 LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU Bill Murray stars as a modern-day Ahab, an eccentric oceanographer who takes a dysfunctional crew on a submersible undersea journey to find the shark that killed his partner, in this off-the-wall 2004 comedy from Wes Anderson. Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, and Owen Wilson co-star. (R) 119 minutes. Fri-Saturday 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: EXCALIBUR John Boorman secured his reputation as a visual stylist with this voluptuously textured 1981 plunge into the Arthurian saga. Don’t miss Nicol Williamson’s cagey Merlin, or the young Helen Mirren as an entrancing, diabolical Morgana le Fey. Set not in any recognizable historical period, but in the murky depths of human imagination where myths are born, it’s not a fairy tale for kids, but a spectacle of intoxicating mythic power and savage grace. (R) 140 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: CLUELESS Jane Austen gets a makeover in Amy Heckerling’s 1995 update of Emma. Alicia Silverstone stars as the popular cool girl meddling in the love lives of her friends. (PG-13) 97 minutes. 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: II TROVATORE Verdi’s passionate opera of love, treachery, betrayal, and gypsy curses is performed by a quartet of exceptional singers— Sondra Radvanosky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky—in David McVicar’s production. Marco Armiliato conducts. LIVE: Saturday (April 30th) at 10 a.m.
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 o guest moderators. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. For more information visit www.ltatm.org.
AFRICAN CATS In the spirit of Earth (2009) and Oceans (2010), this third Earth Day-oriented offering from Disneynature turns the spotlight on the lives and social habits of two families of wild felines in the savannahs of Africa. I am SO there! (G) 90 minutes.
ARTHUR The old Dudley Moore comedy gets a reboot for Russell Brand in the role of the lovably boozy rich boy who will have to get a grip and grow up to keep the woman he loves (Greta Gerwig). Helen Mirren plays his ally and nanny (a female version of the butler role for which John Gielgud won an Oscar in the original film). Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte co-star for director Jason Winer (TV’s Modern Family). (PG-13) 105 minutes.
THE CONSPIRATOR Robin Wright’s fierce dignity as a boarding house proprietress charged with conspiracy in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and James McAvoy as the conflicted Union war hero defending her at a military tribunal, highlight Robert Redford’s historical drama. The witch-hunt to blame and punish scapegoats in times of national crisis make the story timely, but Redford is too meticulous a craftsman to beat us over the head with these comparisons; he lets the story unfold at its own pace, with his usual eye for period detail and sense of restraint. There may be a whiff of staid earnestness about the whole thing, but the actors are engaging, the story is gripping, and the film achieves moments of quiet power. (PG-13) 123 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES The original cast is back in place for this second installment of the series based on the illustrated novels of Jeff Kinney. Zachary Gordon returns as the adolescent hero, back in middle school and coping with all the usual suspects—including an older brother (Devon Bostwick) who’s blackmailing him to do his bidding. Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, and Steve Zahn co-star for incoming director David Bowers. (PG)
HANNA Saoirse Ronan (Atonement; The Lovely Bones) stars in this action thriller as a 16-year-old girl raised in the wilds of Finland by her ex-CIA op father (Eric Bana) and dispatched on a deadly mission across Europe, pursued by agents dispatched by a sinister spymaster (Cate Blanchett). Olivia Williams and Tom Hollander co-star for director Joe Wright (Atonement). (PG-13) 111 minutes.
HOP The suddenly-ubiquitous Russell Brand lends his voice to this live-action/animation comedy as E.B., teenage son and heir apparent to the Easter Bunny, who runs away to Hollywood to become a drummer. (PG)
I AM An uplifting doc that dares to ask: What’s right with the world? Filmmaker Tom Shadyac, who was more of a mainstream film director, seems to want to come to terms with life here—he survived a tragic accident and suddenly got to thinking more deeply. There are some fine moments in the film and it works because the director takes us along his journey, rather than trying to force feed us his opinions. (PG) 76 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
INSIDIOUS Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star in this supernatural thriller as parents battling to stop an evil force from dragging their comatose child permanently into an alternate realm. Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, and Barbara Hershey co-star for director James Wan. (PG-13) 102 minutes.
JANE EYRE Mia Wasikowska is a poised, yet fiercely self-directed Jane to Michael Fassbender’s wry, stormy Rochester in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s fresh take on the evergreen, Victorian-era Gothic romance. It’s a deeply felt, beautifully wrought little gem of mood and sensibility. Moira Buffini’s smart script mines every nuance of feeling out of Charlotte Bronte’s story, spoken and otherwise; together, the filmmakers resist every temptation to resort to overheated melodrama, weaving instead a compelling narrative of urgent emotional suspense. (PG-13) 120 minutes. (★★★1/2) Lisa Jensen
LIMITLESS Bradley Cooper stars in this thriller about a lowly copywriter and wannabee novelist who’s slipped a radical, secret “smart drug” that enables him to use 100% of his brain power—but also brings him to the attention of a powerful mogul (Robert De Niro), and sinister forces out to obtain his supply of the drug. Adapted from the Alan Glynn novel. Abbie Cornish and Anna Friel co-star for director Neil Burger. (PG-13) 97 minutes.
MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY Tyler Perry is back in the wig and housedress as the feisty busybody, this time helping a niece with health issues (Loretta Devine) get a grip on her self-absorbed offspring. Shannon Kane, Isaiah Mustafa, and rapper Bow Wow co-star. (PG-13) 106 minutes.
RIO Brazilian animation director Carlos Saldanha (the first three Ice Age movies) turns to more familiar turf with this CGI comedy about a domesticated pet macaw (voice of Jesse Eisenberg) on the adventure of a lifetime with a free-spirited female (Anne Hathaway) and a flock of exotic wild birds in Rio de Janeiro. Jamie Foxx, Jane Lynch, George Lopez, and Will i Am contribute voices. (PG) 96 minutes.
SCREAM 4 Well, it’s better than you think. And much more brutal than some of the other Screams. Still, I had a ball in this fourth outing, which seems to deliver a sobering commentary on the state of today’s youth and how modern media, social networking and the undying thirst for fame—”sick is the new normal”—have bled the culture dry of real integrity. Neve Campbell is back. Her Sidney has written a self-help book, but when she returns to her hometown for a book signing … let the stabbings begin. Take note of the clever movie within a movie within a movie within a movie thing happening here at various points. And the final sceness? Well played. David Arquette and Courtney Cox are back. Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts. Wes Craven directs. (R) 103 minutes. (★★1/2) Greg Archer
SOUL SURFER AnnaSophia Robb stars as Bethany Hamilton in this inspirational true story of the teenage girl who lost her arm in a shark attack, but didn’t let it stop her from returning to the world of competitive surfing. Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Craig T. Nelson, and Kevin Sorbo co-star for director Sean McNamara. Shot on location in Hawaii. (PG)
SOURCE CODE I smell a sequel. In this clever film, Jake Gyllenhaal is a government agent transported again and again into the mind of a passenger on a commuter train just before it blows up. The idea is to determine the identity of the bomber before another strike. Look for the stellar subplot about why this is actually happening. Vera Farmiga, Michelle Monaghan, and Jeffrey Wright co-star; Duncan Jones (Moon) directs. (PG-13) 93 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
SUPER After his ex-girlfriend falls in with a sinister drug dealer, an average guy with no powers decides to suit up as The Crimson Bolt and fight crime in this contemporary comedy. Rainn Wilson stars as the wannabe superhero; Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon co-star. Look for Nathan Fillion in a featured role. James Gunn directs. (Not rated) 96 minutes.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Okay, I’m one of the few people alive who did not read Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel about passion and mayhem under the Big Top during the Depression 1930s. But the bones of a satisfying romantic suspense story underlie Francis Lawrence’s evocative film adaptation. The movie may not be one hundred per-cent effective in its storytelling, or its central romance, but it’s steeped in period atmosphere and a keen sense of the precarious, knockabout gypsy life of a traveling circus. Robert Pattinson is appropriately youthful, stalwart, and at times gutsy as the veterinary student taken in to tend the circus animals. His relationship with Reese Witherspoon’s glamorous bareback rider never quite catches fire, but Christophe Waltz’s silky psychosis as her husband, the owner/ringmaster, generates plenty of tension. Pattinson and Witherspoon are most appealing when bonding over the animals, but it’s Pattinson’s deep affection for Rosie, the soulful circus elephant, that’s most convincing. Theirs is the most passionate and tender relationship in the film, and hers the story we care most about. (R) 122 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen
WIN WIN Paul Giamatti stars in, yet again, a standout film about a character trying to come to terms with what life is handing him. GIamatti is a lawyer and volunteer high school wrestling coach who winds up caring for a displaced teen (newcomer Alex Shaffer). He decides to mold the boy into a star athlete. There’s an interesting back story, too, about the boy’s grandfather and mother.. Written and directed by quirk-meister Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent; The Visitor). Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Bobby Cannavale, and Melanie Lynskey co-star. (R) 106 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer
YOUR HIGHNESS The creators of The Pineapple Express (stars Danny McBride and James Franco; director David Gordon Green) come together again and the result … is not that pretty. Franco plays a prince hoping to rescue his kidnapped love (Zooey Deschanel).He drags his weed-smoking, slacker brother (McBride) along. And then Natalie Portman shows, not offering much to this tired tale. (R) 102 minutes. (★★) Greg Archer