Film, Times & Events: Week of Sept. 13th

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Richard Gere stars in this suspense thriller as a financial wheeler-dealer in way over his head trying to unload his business, conceal his infidelity from his wife, and cover up an inconvenient crime before his empire comes crashing down. Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, and Tim Roth co-star for writer-turned-director Nicholas Jarecki. (R) 100 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film findingnemoFINDING NEMO 3D 
It’s a 3D makeover for Pixar’s 2003 animated hit, a gorgeous and funny underwater fantasy about a timid daddy clownfish (voice of Albert Brooks) searching for his missing son in and around Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef. (G) 100 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film littlewhiteliesLITTLE WHITE LIES 
Oscar-winners Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin (The Artist), and Francois Cluzet (The Intouchables) head an impressive ensemble cast in this French comedy-drama about a group of Parisians who go on holiday every year to one couple’s beach house on the southwest coast of France. But this time, due to unexpected circumstances, facades begin to crack and longstanding secrets bubble to the surface. Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) directs. (Not rated) 154 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

Returning franchise veterans Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez join forces. (R) 95 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film samsaraSAMSARA Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 102 minutes. (★★1/2) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film stolenSTOLEN
Nicolas Cage is on the run again through yet another cookie-cutter action thriller; this time he’s an ex-thief desperately searching for his daughter, kidnapped for ransom and locked in the trunk of a taxi somewhere in New Orleans. Malin Akerman, Josh Lucas and Danny Huston co-star for director Simon West. (R) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

Film Events

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING Neil Berkeley’s documentary captures the life-in-progress of artist Wayne White. Leaving Tennessee for New York City and a cartooning career, White was soon designing the groundbreaking visuals for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse—which led to designing a variety of other iconic pop culture images. Wayne White will be on hand in person to talk about the film and answer questions. At the Nickelodeon, Monday only (September 17), 7 p.m. Advance tickets at the Nick box office or THENICK.com   

NEW SERIES: MOVIES AT THE MUSEUM: WEIRD SCIENCE The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History launches a new eco-themed film series screening the second Friday of each month. This quarter (through December) the themes is “Weird Science.” A brief, informal talk precedes each film to discuss the bizarre real-life facts behind the fiction. This week: THE BIRDS Peaceful Bodega Bay is thrown into chaos when it’s besieged by millions of eye-pecking, marauding budgies in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1963 thriller. Is it the sheer perversity of Nature running amok, or was there something toxic in the unregulated septic tanks? Mary Wilcox Silver, Professor Emeritus Ocean Sciences, UCSC, leads the discussion. (Not rated) 119 minutes. (★★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Friday only (September 14), 8 p.m. At the SC Natural History Museum, 3505 East Cliff Drive, SC. Donation suggested at the door. 

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: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (R) 153 minutes. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.

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: ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (PG-13) 131 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Thursday only (September 13), 9 p.m., at the Cinema 9.

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

Movie Times click here.

Now Playing

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD Rarely has a coming-of-age story been told with such engrossing originality as in this remarkable first feature from Benh Zeitlin, infused with elements of fairy tale, folklore and magic realism. At it’s center is a tiny dynamo named Quvenzhané Wallis, the non-professional actress who stars as a philosophical six-year-old girl living with her volatile Daddy in the Southern Delta when a giagantic storm throws Nature out of balance. Wallis is onscreen in every scene, and we never get tired of her poignant, expressive little face. In a story brimming with themes and metaphors, it offers a compelling portrait of a marginalized lowland community coming together with quiet resolve in the face of catastrophe. But it’s the child’s viewpoint—an irresistible mix of awe, trepidation, and grit—that makes the film so special. (PG-13) 91 minutes. (★★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.

THE BOURNE LEGACY It takes a while to get moving, but once it does, the film captures some of the magic found in the previous Bourne adventures. Out: Matt Damon. In: Jeremy Renner as a super soldier running for his life. Rachel Weisz lends him a hand against bad guys Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac. Bourne alums Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn have cameos. (PG-13) 135 minutes. (★★★) —Greg Archer.

BRANDED Set in the dystopian future (is there any other kind?), and shot in Russia and Bulgaria, this US-Russian coproduction is an action thriller about a lone man struggling to unravel a conspiracy of global mega-corporations whose advertising has somatized society into disillusioned passivity. Ed Stoppard (son of playwright Tom), Leelee Sobieski, Jeffrey Tambor, and Max von Sydow star for co-directors Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Dulerayn. (R) 106 minutes.

THE CAMPAIGN This election-year comedy that never quite gets out of its own way and if often played over the top when it doesn’t need to do so. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star alongside. John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, and Brian Cox for director Jay Roach. (R) 85 minutes. (★★) —Greg Archer.

CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER A hip, young married couple and longtime best buds are getting a divorce, yet continue to live life joined at the hip, enjoying themselves and each other hugely. Um, why exactly are these guys breaking up? The short answer is, to create conflict so the scriptwriters will have something to write about, but it causes some problems in the context of the story for writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Still, beyond its romantic complications, their script is so funny and their characters so engaging, it’s worth suspending one’s disbelief. Co-star Jones’ caustic one-liners and Andy Samburg’s deadpan goofy sweetness in the title roles keep things in high gear, and the satire on pop culture is often hilarious. Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, and Emma Roberts provide nifty support under the direction of Lee Toland Krieger. (R) 91 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

COMPLIANCE Craig Zobel’s fact-based drama tells the harrowing story of a prank caller pretending to be a cop who convinces a fast-food restaurant manager and her employees to brutally punish an innocent young co-worker he claims stole from a customer. (R) 90 minutes. (★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY Henry Cavill (soon to be seen as the new Superman) stars in this action thriller as a Wall Street trader up against sinister forces in Madrid after his family is kidnapped while on holiday in Spain. Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver co-star; Mabrouk El Mechri (JCVD) directs. (PG-13) 93 minutes.

COSMOPOLIS A limo ride across town to get a haircut becomes an existential journey to find the meaning of life in David Cronenberg’s moody adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel. Robert Pattinson stars. (R) 108 minutes.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES In this final installment of Christopher Nolan’s brooding bat opera, Christian Bale is still worth watching; as conflicted Bruce Wayne, he regains the will to restore honor and heroism to the Bat legacy, and save a besieged Gotham City—whether they like it or not. Anne Hathaway is a wry, sassy Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is terrific as a smart young beat cop who rekindles Bruce’s tarnished idealism, and Michael Caine, as loyal butler Alfred, infuses his scenes with warmth and intelligence. But Tom Hardy’s Bane is a ho-hum villain, a bald, masked brute with inexplicable motives and indecipherable dialogue (we miss the intense danse macabre between Batman and Heath Ledger’s magnificent Joker over the thin line between good and evil, hero and villain), and the usual chaotic vehicle chases, extreme shootouts, and massive explosions weigh things down. But a great kicker, plotwise, and a satisfying coda ends things on a high note. (PG-13) 164 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

THE EXPENDABLES 2 Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Jean-Claude van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, even Chuck Norris surface in the cast.. (R) 102 minutes..

HIT & RUN Dax Shepard wrote and co-directed this road comedy in which he stars as a former getaway driver who breaks out of the witness protection program. Kristin Bell, Tom Arnold and Bradley Cooper co-star. David Palmer co-directs. (R) 100 minutes. HOPE SPRINGS A wonderfully underplayed gem. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are the long-married couple who venture off to an intensive, week-long couples retreat in hopes of recapturing the sizzle their relationship once had. Streep is stellar here; Jones even better as her reluctant husband. The film is believable and embraceable.. Steve Carrell co-stars as a famous couples therapist in this comedy from David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada). (PG-13) 100 minutes. (★★★) —Greg Archer

THE INTOUCHABLES In this cross-cultural French comedy drama, a wealthy, middle-aged Frenchman rendered quadriplegic in a paragliding accident hires a younger man from a different race, culture, and neighborhood to be his caretaker. Francois Cluzet (Tell No One) and Omar Sy star for directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. (R) 122 minutes. In French with English subtitles. LAWLESS The excellent credentials of Australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition; The Road), along with an impressive cast, recommend this Prohibition-era gangster melodrama. Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf head a family of moonshining brothers in the American south fending off a crooked lawman (Guy Pearce) and a powerful gangster (Gary Oldman) who want a cut of their profits. Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Mia Wasikowska co-star. (R) 115 minutes.

MOONRISE KINGDOM This could be Wes Anderson’s (Rushmore; Fantastic Mr. Fox) to date. it’s a quriky little love story revolving around two 12-year-olds and boy, does it have a lot of heart. Set in 1965 in a sleepy New England coastal community, the two young ones run off together. Meanwhile, the entire town is tossed into an upheaval trying to find them. Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Jason Schwartzman all co-star. Willis plays the island cop; Norton a troubled scout master and Murray/McDormand the young girl’s mother. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward so beautifully inhabit their roles that you don’t want them to leave the screen. Anderson also co-wrote this outing, which, could turn into one of the summer’s more memorable offerings. (PG-13) 97 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer.

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton star in this fanciful Disney family comedy.. (PG) 100 minutes.

PARANORMAN In this stop-motion animated horror comedy, an outcast boy who can talk to the dead gets his chance to be a hero when his town is invaded by zombies. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, and John Goodman head the voice cast. Sam Fell and Chris Butler direct. (PG) 101 minutes.

THE POSSESSION It’s kind of a new riff on the old genie-in-a-bottle story when a schoolgirl buys an antique box at a yard sale. Instead of a wish-granting genie, she unlocks a nasty spirit who puts her under a curse. (PG-13) 92 minutes.

PREMIUM RUSH Premium Rush? Premium awesome. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who seems to do no wrong these days picking the right roles, headlines this fast-paced and clever caper, playing a New York City bike messenger relentlessly pursued by a homicidal crooked cop (Michael Shannon)—the man is offfered some of the most outlandish, over the top dialogue at times, but hey, we’re in this for the fun, so there we are. David Koepp directs in of the summer’s more inventive outings. (Secret Window; Ghost Town). (PG-13) 91 minutes. (★★★) —Greg Archer

ROBOT & FRANK From the trailer, you’d think this was a madcap comedy about an aging ex-jewel thief and his new robotic accomplice in crime. Yes, these elements do figure into the plot, but beneath the laughs—and there are plenty of them, thanks to yet another knockout performance from Frank Langella—this sly debut feature from director Jake Schreier is a surprisingly poignant meditation on age, friendship, family, and the role of memory in defining who we are. Its near-future setting lets Schreier have fun satirizing the pop culture of tomorrow, but the underlying story of family dynamics and friendship are just as compelling. (PG-13) 105 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN Malik Bendjelloul’s English-language doc explores the cult of Rodriguez with a tasty twist. The singer proves to be alive and well and ready at last to meet his enormous fan base. (PG) 86 minutes.

SLEEPWALK WITH ME Real-life stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia co-wrote, co-directed and stars in this inventive narrative comedy about an aspiring stand-up comic who also—you guessed it—sleepwalks thanks to a sleep disorder. But there’s so much more to this amusing tale than that as he comes to term with what direction to take his life—on all levels. Lauren Ambrose also stars,. while battling an increasingly intrusive—and metaphorical—sleep disorder. (Not rated) 90 minutes (★★★) —Greg Archer

THE WORDS Bradley Cooper stars in this romantic drama about an author who achieves enormous success with the publication of an acclaimed novel he did not actually write.(PG-13) 96 minutes.

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