Film, Times & Events: Week of APR. 25, 2013

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New This Week
film bigwedding

An all-star cast livens up this matrimonial comedy in which the divorced adoptive parents of the groom must pretend to still be married for the sake of his conservative Catholic biological mother—to the dismay of Pop’s new wife. Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and Susan Sarandon star as the uneasy threesome; Ben Barnes and Amanda Seyfried are the happy couple; Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, and Robin Williams co-star for director Justin Zackham (The Bucket List). (R) 90 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film company
Robert Redford directs and stars in this political thriller as a man who has been living under a false name for 40 years to conceal his former identity as a Weather Underground activist during an incident in which a bank guard was killed. Shia LeBeouf plays a young reporter who picks up his trail. Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper Nick Nolte, and Anna Kendrick co-star. (R) 125 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film disconnect
Sort of like Crash in cyberspace, this thriller offers colliding parallel stories of online dysfunction, from a cell phone addict unable to communicate in real life to issues of bullying, porn, and personal info leaked online. Jason Bateman, Andrea Riseborough, Hope Davis, Alexander Skarsgard, and Paula Patton star. Henry-Alex Rubin directs. (R) 115 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film mud
Filmmaker Jeff Nicholls (Take Shelter) returns with a tall tale about a charismatic drifter (Matthew McConaughey) hiding out on an island in the Mississippi who convinces two impressionable young boys to help him reconnect with his sweetheart and evade a posse of bounty hunters. Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, and Michael Shannon co-star. (PG-13) 130 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film pain
Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Ken Jeong and Anthony Mackie star in this action comedy thriller based on a bizarre true story about a trio of buff personal trainers in 1990s Miami who attempt to turn to crime to underwrite their American Dream. Tony Shaloub and Rebel Wilson co-star for director Michael Bay. (R) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

Film Events
Eclectic movies for wild & crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES The delicious banter between Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez sparks things along in Barry Sonnenfeld’s overly-plotted but entertaining 1993 sequel that cheerfully skewers all our favorite sacred cows: babies, childhood, matrimony, Disney movies, and Thanksgiving. (PG-13) 94 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. 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:  ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY Will Ferrell dons bad hair and leisure suits in this 2004 comedy about a pompous, 70s-era San Diego TV newscaster who feels threatened when he’s assigned a female co-anchor (Christina Applegate) with feminist ideas. Steve Carrell costars. (PG-13) 91 minutes. Tonight only (Thursday, April 25), 9 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 Santa Cruz. Movie junkies are invited to join in on Wednesday nights to pursue the elusive and ineffable meanings of cinema. Discussion begins at 7 pm and admission is free. Visit

Movie Times click here.

Now Playing
THE CROODS A prehistoric family sets out to find a new home when their idyllic primordial homeland is threatened in this animated family adventure from DreamWorks. Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, and Catherine Keener provide voices. Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders direct. (PG) 98 minutes.

EVIL DEAD Sam Raimi had a hand in producing this remake/update of his 1981 cult horror hit about a group of unwary friends at a remote cabin who start fooling around with a Book of the Dead and falling prey to nasty demonic possession. Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, and Lou Taylor Pucci star for director Fede Alvarez; expect a female survivor this time around with Diablo Cody helping to cook up the script. (R) 91 minutes. 

42 Newcomer Chadwick Boseman stars as Jackie Robinson, the first African American ballplayer to cross the color line into Major League Baseball, suiting up for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. Harrison Ford co-stars as Dodger GM Branch Rickey, whose policy against racism changes the game forever. Written and directed by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, A Knight’s Tale). (PG-13) 128 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer.

FROM UP ON POPPY HILL The latest from Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki’s famed Studio Ghibli is directed by Goro Miyazaki, the maestro’s son. It’s an unusual outing for Ghibli in that the story features no overt eco-advocacy message nor any magical elements like gods, demons, or witches. Instead, it’s a simply-told tale of two Yokohama teenagers in 1963, facing life-sized issues of identity, loss, and love in the real world. Miyazaki fans should appreciate the subtlety of the craft here, but viewers coming to anime for the first time might want to start with something a little more dynamic. (PG) 91 minutes. (★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

JURASSIC PARK 3D The dinosaurs will be even more killer in 3D, running amok on a tropical island “theme park” in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 fx extravaganza based on the Michael Crichton novel. Homo sapiens co-stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum don’t have much to do, but as popcorn-chomping entertainment, the movie delivers the goods. (PG-13) 127 minutes. (★★★)

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, and Channing Tatum power this testosterone frenzy where the elite fighting force not only faces its mortal enemy, Cobra, but battles sinister forces within its own government. Jon Chu directs. (PG-13) 110 minutes.

GINGER & ROSA In Sally Potter’s thoughtful drama, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is the backdrop before which two teenage girls in London struggle to come of age. The remarkable Elle Fanning and Alice Englert star in a simple, yet potent story about teenage girlfriends, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, and all the ways those delicate balances can be tipped, one way or another, during the perilous dance of growing up. The plot may seem a bit far-fetched at times, and the hair and clothes are not always accurate for the era, but there’s something so touching about the authenticity of these young female voices. (PG-13) 90 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

THE HOST It could be Invasion of the Bodysnatchers for teens in this first adaptation of a new book series by Stephanie Meyer (the Twilight Saga), in which a plucky teen girl romances two hot guys while trying to outwit a sinister force that robs people of their memories and takes over their bodies. Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, and Jake Abel star for director Andrew Niccol. (PG-13)
OBLIVION Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 126 minutes.

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Sam Raimi’s lavish prequel imagines the witches and the wizard of Oz in their heedless youth, its mood and texture heavily influenced by the beloved 1939 MGM film. James Franco is fun as the cheesy carnival magician destined to become the wizard (and savior) of Oz, although his superficial character never takes enough of a journey. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams are three delectable young witches. Despite some slow-going, dubious plotting, and an unresolved strain of moral ambiguity, the cheeky dash of Raimi’s film, and his affection for the source, makes for a mostly entertaining trip down the yellow brick road. (PG) 130 minutes. (★★★) —Lisa Jensen.

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES Director Derek Cianfrance, who weaved Blue Valentine into the stunning tapestry it was, proves himself in his second film. It stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in a generational drama that does not quite move in linear fashion. Instead we’re given moments in time where Cianfrance  evokes a certain mood, steering audiences into considering how one’s fate can often be predetermined by family, residence, social constraints and unresolved emotional issues. Gosling plays a motorcycle stunt rider hoping to support his new family but his intentions venture off course when he delves into a series of daring crimes. Meanwhile, Cooper plays an ambitious rookie cop suddenly lured into the corrupt judicial system. Can he create a sea change by doing the right thing? Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, and Ray Liotta co-star. (R) 140 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer. 

RENOIR Reviewed this issue. (R) 111 minutes. In French with English subtitles. (★★★) 

THE SAPPHIRES Set in1968, an Aboriginal girl group from the outback morphs into a Motown-style quartet thanks to a down-on-his-luck promoter (Chris O’Dowd) and gets sent to entertain the U.S. troops in Vietnam. There’s a great deal of heart in this film. It also creates a believable backstory for the girls, which allows us to become invested in what transpires for them. Based on a true story, the film is “feel-good” but also well-crafted. A sheer delight. Chris O’Dowd, Jessica Mauboy, and Deborah Mailman star for director Wayne Blair. (PG-13) 103 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer

SCARY MOVIE V It’s the satire franchise vs. the Paranormal-type home video horror motif in the fifth outing for the spoof comedy series (with some digs at Black Swan and the Fifty Shades phenomenon long the way). Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, Molly Shannon, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan pop up in the cast for director Malcom D. Lee. (PG-13)

TO THE WONDER Terrence Malick’s latest plays like a series of outtakes from The Tree of Life. It’s as if Malick didn’t have the time to invent new characters, so decided ito recycle the same dynamic between an elemental female (Olga Kurylenko) and an uptight male (Ben Affleck). It’s meant to be an impressionistic tone poem about love, but these cardboard figures in a landscape seem incapable of so strong an emotion. (R) 112 minutes. (★★)—Lisa Jensen.

TRANCE Trippy, but downright alluring. James McAvoy plays an art auctioneer who enables a criminal gang to steal a priceless painting. Or does he? The plot boasts plenty of twists and turns and offers an amazing performance by Rosario Dawson. Meanwhile, Vincent Cassel is effectively brooding as the leader who hires a hypnotherapist (Dawson) to delve into the auctioneer’s troubled psyche—he can’t recall where he hid the paintings. (R) 101 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer

UPSTREAM COLOR After his feature debut with Primer, writer/director/star Shane Carruth is back to mess with your mind again in this oddball drama about a man and a woman so wrapped up in each other—and the life cycle of a mysterious eternal organism—that their identities have become fragmented. Amy Seimetz, Andrew Sensenig, and Thiago Martins co-star with Carruth. (Not rated) 96 minutes.

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