Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 23rd

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


Jack Black stars in this lavish, live-action, 3D  update of the Jonathan Swift social satire. He plays a modern-day travel writer who washes up on an uncharted island in the middle of the Bermude Triangle, populated by teeny-tiny people who make him their captive, then their pet. Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, and Amanda Peet co-star for director Rob Letterman. (PG) Starts Saturday, Christmas Day. Watch film trailer >>>


Reviewed this issue.
(R) 98 minutes (★★1/2) Starts Saturday, Christmas Day.)


THE KING’S SPEECH Reviewed this issue. (R) 118 minutes. (★★★1/2) (Starts Saturday, Christmas Day)
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Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro return as battling in-laws in this third installment of the comedy franchise that began with Meet The Parents. Story revolves around a birthday party Stiller and wife Teri Polo throw for their twins, at which he tries to prove himself yet again to her father (De Niro). Owen Wilson co-stars as her ex. Harvey Keitel, Laura Dern, and Jessica Alba are featured in the cast. Paul Weitz directs. (PG-13) Starts today.


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. Starts today.
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Del Mar Theatre 469-3220
Tangled In Dolby Digital 3D  2:30, 4:45, 7  Ends in 3D 12/24
Tangled In 2D  1:45, 4, 6:15 Saturday 12/25 to Thursday 12/30 11:10, 1:20, 4, 6:30, 8:45
Fair Game  2:15, 7:10  Ends 12/24
The Social Network  4:45 Ends 12/24
The King’s Speech Starts 12/25 11am, 12:40, 1:40, 3:20, 4:20, 6, 7, 8:30, 9:30

Nickelodeon 426-7500
Black Swan  12:40, 2, 3, 4:30, 5:30, 7, 7:45  + Sat 12/25 –Thurs 12/30 9:30, 10
127 Hours   12:30, 2:40, 4:50, 7:10  + Sat 12/25 – Thurs 12/30 9:20
Tiny Furniture  4:40 Ends 12/24
Tamara Drewe  2:20, 6:50 Ends 12/24
I Love You Phillip Morris Starts 12/25 12:20, 2:30, 4:40, 6:50, 9:10

Aptos Cinema 426-7500
How Do You Know  11:40am, 2, 4:30, 7  + Sat 12/25 – Thurs 12/30  9:30
Miracle on 34th Street  Fri 12/24 ONLY 11am
Little Fockers  Starts 12/22 12:40, 2:50, 5, 7:10  + Sat 12/25  – Thurs  9:20
White Christmas Starts Sat 12/25 – Mon 12/27 11am
The Apartment  Tuesday 12/28 – 12/29 10:30am

Green Valley Cinema 8 761-8200
Tron Legacy  1:30, 4:20, 7, 9:30  + Sat, Sun 11am
The Fighter  1:30, 4:15, 7:05, 9:30  + Sat, Sun 11:05am
How Do You Know  1:25, 4:20, 7:05, 9:25, + Sat, Sun 11am
Yogi Bear  1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11:15
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader  1:30, 4:20, 7, 9:15 + Sat, Sun 11:10am
The Tourist  1:30, 4:25, 7:10, 9:30  + Sat, Sun 11:05
Gulliver’s Travels in 35MM Opens 12/25 1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:25 +Sat, Sun 11am
Tangled In 35MM  1:30, 4:30, 7, 9:15  + Sat, Sun 11:10am
True Grit Opens 12/29  1:25, 4:30, 7, 9:25  + Sat , Sun 11:05am
Little Fockers  1:05, 3:10, 5:15, 7:25, 9:30, + Sat, Sun 11am

Cinelux Scotts Valley Cinema 438-3260

Cinelux 41st Avenue Cinema 479-3504

Santa Cruz Cinema 9 (800) 326-3264 #1700

Riverfront (800) 326-3264 #1701
Little Fockers  11:45am, 2:20, 4:50, 7:20, 9:50 Friday 12/24 no 9:50pm .
The Fighter  1, 4, 7, 9:40 Friday 12/24 no 9:40pm   

Film Events
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR On holiday hiatus this week.

CONTINUING SERIES: MATINEE CLASSICS AT APTOS CINEMA Special daily holiday programming this week: MIRACLE ON 34th STREET Jolly old elf Edmund Gwenn stars in George Seaton’s 1947 family classic as a Macy’s department store Santa who throws the city into a comic uproar by claiming to be the general article. Natalie Wood is the disenchanted little girl he wants to convince, whose working single mom, Maureen O’Hara, doesn’t believe in magic. (Not rated) 96 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. (Today-Friday)

WHITE CHRISTMAS Bing Crosby (crooning you-know-what), Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, and the songs of Irving Berlin star in this durable Christmas chestnut from director by Michael Curtiz. In 1954-vintage Technicolor and wide-screen VistaVision. (Not rated) 120 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. (Saturday-Monday) THE APARTMENT Jack Lemmon wants to get ahead in business during the holiday season by loaning out his apartment to boss Fred MacMurray for his adulterous trysts with a wistful Shirley MacLaine in Billy Wilder’s incisive, Oscar-winning 1960 comedy. (Not rated) 125 minutes. (Tuesday-Friday (Dec 31)) Showtime is 11 a.m. daily. Admission $6. At Aptos Cinema.

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.

Now Playing

BLACK SWAN Haunting, hypnotic, sexy. Natalie Portman headlines in career-defining role playing an eager ballerina—touch 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. (HHH1/2) Greg Archer

BURLESQUE It’s a mess. But you can’t really walk away hating it. Cher shines. Christina Aguilera—not so much. Although the diva is powerful as a singer here whose talents help reboot a failing burlesque club on Sunset Strip. Cher plays the club’s matron. The script appears to have benefitted from a script doctor because some scenes appear as if they’re wandering nowhere and yet, surprisingly, are saved from ruin. All of the performances are superior. The story—not the case. Rated R. (★★) Greg Archer

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWNTREADER  In this third Narnia adventure, director Michael Apted keeps the story pulsing along at a good clip, moral lessons are succinct and not too heavy-handed, and the magical elements are stylishly done. Happly, there are no military battle campaigns this time, in a picaresque seagoing adventure that reunites the youngest Pevensie siblings and their bratty cousin with young King Caspian (a stalwart Ben Barnes) on a quest to the outer isles. An unfortunate amount of screen time is devoted to the peevish cousin (played to obnoxious pefection by Will Poulter), but the Hero’s Journey-style episodes are ripping, magical and occasionally poignant. (PG) 115 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen (Read the full review at goodtimessantacruz.com)

THE FIGHTER  Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg star in this fact-based boxing drama as half brothers Dicky Ecklund and Micky Ward of working-class Lowell, MA: one’s career is foundering while the other pursues his one shot at his dream. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (as the battling brothers’ tough, ringside mom) co-star for director David O. Russell. (R) 114 minutes.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 1  This brooding and foreboding first half of the last book in J.K. Rowling’s epic series (Part 2 comes out next summer) plays out like a middle act, and it’s not for the uninitiated. But director David Yates scrupulously re-introduces beloved characters and weaves in threads from the past to construct a solid foundation for the epic showdown to come. There’s enough action and comedy to keep things moving, but the focus is on the Passion of Harry (the endearing Daniel Radcliffe), the interior journey by which he comes to grips with his destiny, and what it means not only to himself, but to the larger world. As in the book, lengthy sojourns in empty landscapes drag down the middle of the story while Harry and pals are on the lam, but Yates finds a lyrical, heartbreaking plateau at which to conclude this first half and gear up for the grand finale. (PG-13) 147 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen

HOW DO YOU KNOW  Reese Witherspoon stars in this romantic comedy with Owen Wilson), and Paul Rudd. Jack Nicholson co-stars. James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment; Broadcast News) directs. (R) 113 minutes.

LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway make for a great couple. The script surprises in this love story. Rated R. (★★)1/2 Greg Archer

MEGAMIND In this animated 3-D comedy from DreamWorks, when a superhero (voice of Brad Pitt) hangs up his cape, it’s up to his longtime adversary, scheming villain Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell) to save the city from an even more diabolical evildoer. Tina Fey and Jonah Hill also contribute voices. (PG) 96 minutes.

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 SOCIAL NETWORK One of the best, if not the best, films of the year. Smart, savvy and downright engaging. Is it true? It doesn’t really matter. This story about Facebook’s inception works. (It’s based on the non-fiction Ben Mezrich  book “The Accidental Billionaires.”) Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), experiements in interactive blogging, which quickly morphs into a revolutionary process in which people can communicate with each other. Meanwhile, he gets sued for strealing the idea. Aaron Sorkin’s script is remarkably tight and the acting stands out—Justin Timberlake offers the best performance playing Napster founder. David Fincher directs. (PG-13) 120 minutes. (★★★★)  Greg Archer

TAMARA DREWE Stephen Frears’ wry, delicious adaptation of veteran Brit cartoonist Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel is a saucy dark comedy about sex, beauty, infidelity, and the writing life. Gemma Arterton is wickedly gorgeous as the prodigal daughter whose return home to a tiny Dorset village brews up  sexy firestorm involving a hunky handyman, a surly visiting alt-rock star, and a libidinous crime-novelist neighbor who runs a writers retreat. It doesn’t matter whether or not you notice the bare bones of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd in Simmonds’ tale; her ironic take is fresh, tart, and delightful either way. (R) 111 minutes. (★★★1/2)
Lisa Jensen

TANGLED  The classic “Disney princess” movie evolves in this entertaining update of the Rapunzel fairy tale. Rapunzel (nicely voiced and sung by Mandy Moore) doesn’t know she’s a kidnapped princess. Sexy witch, Mother Gothel (the great Donna Murphy), who uses the girl’s magical mane to keep heself eternally young, is a passive-aggressive manipulator way more complex than the wicked step-mothers of yore. And the hero is not the typical bland, boring prince; he’s a good-hearted thief whose cheeky narration tells the story in this fun, exuberant 50th Disney cartoon feature. (PG) 100 minutes. (★★★) Lisa Jensen

TINY FURNITURE Quirky and offbeat, this film is a sweet surprise. Filmmaker Lena Dunham writes and directs and stars in a tale about a recent college grad unable to figure out what to do with her life next.  She moves back in with her artsy mother in New York City. Laurie Simmons (Dunham’s real-life mom) co-stars. Spirited and completely indie. (Not rated) 98 minutes. (★★★) Greg Archer

THE TOURIST This Hollywood star vehicle positions Johnny Depp, as an innocent abroad, and Angelina Jolie, as a glamorous femme fatale, against the gorgeous backdrop of Venice. But it’s all a matter of perspective in what turns out to be a surprisingly cheeky, but flawed adventure from German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others). Depp gets to spoof his cool persona as an unsophisticated, nice-guy Midwesterner. He’s fun to watch, but Jolie’s character is a cypher, an overly made-up Barbie Doll who never once has an unguarded moment where we feel like she might be an actual human being. As a result, their repartee falls flat and their spark never sizzles, a critical flaw in a movie that depends on star power. Better appreciated in retrospect, after sorting out the plot, this movie should have felt a lot more urgent and engaging along the way. (PG-13) 104 minutes. (★★1/2) Lisa Jensen

TRON: LEGACY Jeff Bridges returns as videogame maker Kevin Flynn, who was sucked into his own virtual arcade game program in the original Tron, 20 years ago. Garret Hedlund plays his now-grown son, drawn into the same virtual universe, who struggles to destroy the Master Program and free his father. Olivia Wilde and Bruce Boxleitner co-star, along with a lot of glow-in-the-dark fx. Joseph Kosinski directs. (PG) 125 minutes.

THE WARRIOR’S WAY Korean martial artist Dong-gun Jang (last seen in the overwrought, but rapturous The Promise) stars in this Eastern Western as an Asian warrior seeking only peace who finds he can’t escape violence in a small, one-horse town. Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, and Danny Huston co-star for director Sngmoo Lee. (Not rated) 100 minutes.(Saved FGB)

YOGI BEAR Hey, Boo Boo! Dan Aykroyd voices the genial, pic-a-nic basket-snatching denizen of Jellystone Park in this 3D reboot of the old Hanna Barbera cartoon series that combines live action woth CGI animation. Justin Timberlake provides the voice of sidekick, Boo Boo. Tom Cavanaugh co-stars as Ranger Smith, who teams up with Yogi to save their imperiled park. Eric Brevig directs. (PG) 79 minutes.

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