Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With reviews and trailers.
New This Week
This Blair Witch-style thriller depends on the notion of recently discovered suppressed NASA footage from a secret 18th mission to the moon and its horrific consequences. Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego directs. Thriller stylist Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) produced. (Not rated) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Owen Wilson returns as the voice of racing car Lightning McQueen, in this sequel to the Disney Pixar animated hit from 2006. this time, Lightning and his pit crew of pals are off to an international race that takes them to Paris and Tokyo. Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Caine, Cheech Marin, and Emily Mortimer provide additional voices. Original director John Lassiter teams up with co-helmer Brad Lewis for the sequel. (G) 106 minutes. (Special Labor Day, one-week only engagement, in 2D.) Watch film trailer >>>
A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY
Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Lake Bell, and Tyler Labine star in this comedy about a bunch of 30-year-old friends, pals since high scool, who attempt to hold a weekend orgy. Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck direct. (R) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
Lucas Black stars as a young golfer who cracks under the pressure of his first pro tour and flees to Utopia, Texas, where he learns golf and life lessons from crusty old rancher Robert Duvall. Melissa Leo co-stars. Matthew Dean Russell directs, from the book, Golf’s Sacred Journey by David L. Cook. (G) 98 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
A lakeside vacation house off the Louisiana Gulf, a handful of nubile young weekend guests, and freshwater sharks set the stage of 3D mayhem in this thriller from director David R. Ellis (perpetrator of two of the Final Destination movies, and Snakes On A Plane). Sara Paxton and Dustin Milligan star. (PG-13) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>
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: MARY POPPINS Spend a jolly holiday with Mary in this charming, witty, and rambunctious 1964 Disney adaptation of the beloved P. L. Travers novels. Julie Andrews stars (and sings) as the world’s most proper and magical nanny, bringing wonder to the children of a staid Edwardian London banker (David Tomlinson). Dick Van Dyke shines as her Cockney chimney sweep gentleman-friend. Glynis Johns is the kids’ scandalous suffragette mom. Great songs and great fun! (Not rated) 140 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Sat-Sun-Mon matinee only. 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: FIVE EASY PIECES As the star of Bob Rafelson’s 1970 neo-absurdist drama, Jack Nicholson delivers the infamous “chicken salad andwich” scene—badgering a rule-obsessed diner waitress—which became the symbol of defiance for the alienated pre-Watergate generation. Karen Black co-stars. (R) 98 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.Tonight only (Thursday, September 1), 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.
MOVIE TIMES 9/2–9/8
DEL MAR THEATRE 469-3220
The Help 12:45, 3:45, 5, 6:45, 8, 9:40 + Fri–Sun, & Wed 11am
Our Idiot Brother 2:15, 4:15, 6:15, 8:15, 10:15 + Fri- Mon 12:15
Cars 2 2:30 Fri – Mon noon
Baby Friendly Show – Wed 09/07 – Cars 2 11am
Midnight in Paris 2:10, 4:30, 6:50, 9 + Wed-Mon 11:50am
The Guard 1:10, 3:15, 5:20, 7:20, 9:30 + Wed-Mon 11:10am
The Debt 2:30, 4:50, 7:10, 9:30 + Wed-Mon 12:10
Sarah’s Key 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:35 + Wed-Mon noon
Aptos Cinema 426-7500
The Help 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
The Debt Noon, 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20
Classic on the Big Screen Saturday, Sunday, Matinee –
Mary Poppins Sing-Along! Sat, Sun, Mon 10am
Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Apollo 18 1, 3, 5:05, 7:15, 9:30 + Fri-Mon 11am
Columbiana 1:30, 4, 7, 9:30 + Fri-Mon 11:15am
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark 1:30, 4, 7, 9:40 + Fri-Mon 11:15am
Shark Night 3D 3, 7:15, + Fri-Mon 11am
Shark Night 2D 1, 5:05, 9:40
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 1, 3, 5:05, 7:15 + Fri-Mon 11:05am
The Help 1, 3:50, 6:45, 9:30
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 1:30, 4, 6:45, 9:30 + Fri-Mon 11am
Cowboys and Aliens 9:30
Cars 2 In Digital 1:30 + Fri-Mon 11:15
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2 In Digital 4, 7
Bad Teacher 9:40
Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260
Colombiana 11:45am, 2:10, 4:30, 7:10, 9:45
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:55am, 2:30, 4:55, 7:30, 10:10
Apollo 18 12:45, 3, 5:10, 7:20, 9:30
Cars 2 11:30am
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2
Cowboys & Aliens 4:45, 7:30
Conan The Barbarian 10:10
The Debt 11:10am, 1:45, 4:15, 7, 9:30
The Help 11:55am, 3:20, 6:30, 9:40
Shark Night 3D 11am, 3:30, 8, 10:20
Shark Night 1:15, 5:45
The Smurfs 11am, 1:20
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 3:40, 5:45
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 8
Our Idiot Brother 12:30, 2:45, 5:20, 7:40, 10
Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30
Apollo 18 12:30, 2:45, 5:15, 7:30, 9:45
Our Idiot Brother 11:55am, 2:20, 4:45, 7:20, 9:45
Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700
Please Call for Show Times
Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark 1:15, 4, 7, 9:40 + Tues-Thurs no 1:15
One Day 1, 3:45, 6:45, 9:20 + Tues-Thurs no 1
COLOMBIANA Zoe Saldana (Avatar) stars as a female assassin, raised and honed on the mean streets of Bogota, Colombia, in this action drama from director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3), with a script co-written by Luc Besson. The assassin’s ultimate quest is to find the drug mobsters who killed her parents. Michael Vartan and Cliff Curtis co-star. (PG-13) 107 minutes.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN Hawaiian-born Jason Momoa steps into the Triple-E fur boots of Ah-nold in this remake of the Robert E. Howard pulp classic about a barbarian warrior in a pre-historic fantasy landscape on a mission of vengeance against an evil overlord. Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman, and Rose McGowan co-star for director and remake-meister Marcus Nispel (he’s also remade The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th). (R) 122 minutes.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS A wild hoot. It’s 1873 and Daniel Craig has lost his memory. Then there’s Harrison Ford playing a gruff cowboy whose nutty son Paul Dano stirs up trouble. Very western but here’s the twist—aliens. They’re occupying the desert and snatching up humans. Ouch. But what fun. Director Jon Favreau manages to elevate what could have been a dismal ride into an engaging summer romp. The mixing of genres—sci-fi and western—actually works and the movie really takes off when the local folk fight to get their people back. Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, and Keith Carradine) costar. (PG-13) 118 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
THE DEBT Reviewed this issue. (R) 114 minutes. (★★★★)
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK Yet another classic horror remake, this one (“presented by” Guillermo del Toro, although Troy Nixey directs) concerns disturbing forces set loose when a little girl (Bailee Madison) moves into a spooky old Victorian mansion being restored by her father (Guy Pearce) and his new wife (Katie Holmes). (R) 100 minutes.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 Yet another collection of fresh-faced young disaster survivors (in this case, a collapsing bridge) outlast their expiration dates, and find themselves in for even more gruesome demises in this latest installment of the horror thriller series. (R) 92 minutes.
FRIGHT NIGHT Anton Yelchin stars as a popular high school senior forced to take matters into his own hands when vampire Colin Farrell moves in next door. Craig Gillespie directs this reboot of the 1985 horror camp-fest. Toni Collette co-stars. (R) 120 minutes.
THE GUARD John Michael McDonagh’s profane, subversively funny comedy pairs a sophisticated FBI agent (Don Cheadle) with an irasicible small-town Irish police sergeant (the great Brendan Gleeson) on the trail of an international drug-trafficking ring that’s preparing to offload a suspected half-billion dollars worth of cocaine. Philosophical debates, existential angst, musings on Anglo-Irish prejudices, and other explorations into the Irish character ensue, in both hilarious and insightful terms. Gleeson gets to sink his chops into a delicious central role; his robust performance is the glue that holds the entire enterprise together. Less an action movie than character study, but Gleeson’s character is irresistible, and so is the film in its entertainingly cheeky, no-nonsense look at the wages of crime. (R) 96 minutes. (★★★1/2)—LIsa Jensen.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 Series veterans David Yates (directing his fourth Potter film) and Steve Kloves (screenwriter on all but one) do their damnedest to honor all the complex subtexts of J. K. Rowling’s books, in one of the most thrilling, yet elegiac films in the series. HPDH2 delivers this message with affecting grace and heart. (PG-13) 130 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
THE HELP Disney gloms onto Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel about female solidarity and racial stereotype-busting in the American south of the 1960s. Emma Stone is the post-collegiate deb who scandalizes her Mississippi town by befriending the community’s black maids and recording their stories. An eye-popping cast—Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Mary Steenburgen, Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, and Cicely Tyson—cements this movies femme-centric credentials. Actor-turned-director Tate Taylor is at the helm. (PG-13) 137 minutes.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS There’s nothing not to love in Woody Allen’s irresistible romantic comedy. The poster image of star Owen Wilson sauntering alongside the river Seine at night under Van Gogh’s sprawling “Starry Night” says everything about the art, history, enduring fantasy, and cultural allure of Paris, issues Allen addresses with savvy brio in this marvelously inventive film. Wilson is great fun as a Hollywood screenwriter longing to writer serious fiction who’s transported back to the era he idolizes, Paris in the 1920s, in this endlessly sharp and funny riff on our collective desire to embrace a past “Golden Age” we think we’ve missed when the present gets too complicated. Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard co-star, along with Corey Stoll (Ernest Hemingway), Kathy Bates (Gertrude Stein), and a great cameo by Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali. (PG-13) 100 minutes. (★★★★) —Lisa Jensen.
ONE DAY Impeccable credentials make this look promising: Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) in the sophomore effort from director Lone Scherfig (An Education), from a novel by David Nicholls (Starter For 10). A couple meets on the last day of college, 1989, then circle in and out of each other’s orbit every July 15 for the next two decades—Same Time Next Year with a post-modern pulse? Patricia Clarkson co-stars. (PG-13) 108 minutes.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER Paul Rudd stars in this comedy as a jobless, homeless free spirit creating havoc in the lives of the three sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, and Zooey Deschanel). They’re all stuck taking turns putting him up when he’s released from jail early for good behavior after a pot bust. Jesse Peretz directs. (R) 90 minutes.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES A wonderfully satisfying prequel to the long-running franchise, which was nearly destroyed by Tim Burton’s botch nearly a decade ago. The time is now and the place is San Francisco. Here, soulful researcher James Franco and other humans experiment in genetic engineering. Franco’s pop, played by John Lithgow, has Alzheimer’s and the experiments prove that a certain drug can hold off the disease. But what it does to apes is all the more interesting and one baby chimp, in particular, Caesar, can’t escape his destiny. Eventually, his über mind helps him make decisions that ultimate creates a major power struggle between apes and humans. Andy Serkis (Gollum in “Rings” and King Kong) is the real star of the film—he’s “acts” Caesar with plenty of digi-FX drenched over him. But he infuses real heart and, well, humanity in this tale. There are a number of salutes to the orignal “Apes,” like when the gorillas take to horseback or when Caesar is eyeing a figurine of the Statue of Liberty. There’s even good—and clever—hints of sequals. (Astronauts heading to Mars are reported lost in space—imagine what could happen upon their return?) The last half hour is priceless. Stay for the credits. James Franco, Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), John Lithgow, and Tom Felton star; Andy Serkis ( plays the ape, Caesar. Rupert Wyatt directs. (PG-13) (★★★)—Greg Archer
SARAH’S KEY If you’ve never heard of the notorious Vel d’Hiv round-up of Jewish citizens in Paris in July, 1942, you’re not alone. It’s an episode most modern French would prefer to forget, in which thousands of Parisians in the largely Jewish Marais district were herded into the gigantic Velodrome d’Hiver arena for days without even the most basic sanitary amenities before being trucked off to the work camps (en route to the concentration camps). And it wasn’t the Nazis in German-occupied France doing the herding; it was the French gendarmes. This heartbreaking story (from the Tatiana De Rosnay novel) of 10-year-old Sarah, caught up in the insanity of the Vel d’Hiv incident and its tragic consequences, packs an emotional wallop, especially in the persuasive performance of little Melusine Mayance. The parallel present-day story of an American journalist in Paris investigating Sarah’s story, is less convincing; Kristin Scott Thomas is effective in the role, but her character’s marital and family issues are far less compelling. French director Gilles Paquet-Brenner finesses some of the tale’s more harrowing moments with admirable discretion, but the dénouement (including a strangely tentative performance by Aidan Quinn, who’s usually so reliable) feels slightly off, even contrived, a poorly-conceived finish to an otherwise powerful drama. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. (PG-13) 111 minutes.
THE SMURFS IN 3D Live action and animation combine to bring the little blue folk out of their happy village and into modern New York City. (PG) 103 minutes.
SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D Robert Rodriguez revamps his family-friendly, moneymaking franchise for a new generation. Jessica Alba stars as an ex-superspy who has to enlist her two young step-children on a mission to thwart an evil genius from taking over the world. Original spy kids Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara pop up as Alba’s now-grown niece and nephew. Jeremy Piven and Danny Trejo co-star. (PG)
THE WHISTLEBLOWER Canadian-born Ukrainian filmmaker Laysa Kondracki directs this intense and harrowing war drama, based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkvac. Told from a feminine perspective, it explores the lingering and devastating consequences of warfare on women long after the mission has supposedly been accomplished and the fighting troops have gone home. Rachel Weisz gives an earnest, perfectly calibrated performance as a Nebraska police officer who joins the UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia in 1999, only to uncover a horrifying sex-trafficking ring involving teenage Balkan girls that her superiors are surprisingly uninterested in doing anything about. Weisz’ fierce moral outrage both propels and grounds the film. (R) 112 minutes. (★★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.
30 MINUTES OR LESS Jesse Eisenberg stars in this caper comedy about a hapless pizza delivery guy hijacked by a couple of inept would-be criminals who strap a time-bomb to his chest giving him 30 minutes to rob a bank. Danny McBride, Nick Swarsdon, and Aziz Ansari co-star for director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). (R) 83 minutes.