Film, Times & Events: Week of May 30th, 2013

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New This Week
film afterearth

A thousand years after cataclysmic upheaval has forced human life to abandon the planet for a distant star, a decorated General and his untested teenage son (Will Smith and Jaden Smith) crash-land on Earth. It’s up to the boy to outwit bizarre mutant animals and an alien menace to try to save his injured father and get them home again. M. Night Shyamalan directs. (PG-13) 100 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film blancanieves
A luscious twist on the Snow White fairy tale, Pablo Berger’s silent, black-and-white fable is set in 1920s Spain and envisions the heroine as a famed and beloved lady bullfighter pitted against a powerful, scheming stepmother. Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth; Y Tu Mama Tambien), and Angela Molina star. (PG-13) 104 minutes. English subtitles. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film frances
Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) directs this cinematic love letter to his partner and muse, Greta Gerwig, who stars in this postmodern comedy as a recent Ivy League grad in New York with vague ambitions to become a dancer and discover her path in life. Mickey Sumner (daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler) plays her best girlfriend. Co-scripted by Baumbach and Gerwig, it’s shot in stylish black-and-white. (Not rated) 86 minutes. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film inthehouse

In this new thriller from stylist Francois Ozon (8 Women; Swimming Pool), a tennage boy insinuates himself into the household of a classmate to write essays about the family for his French professor—with unsettling consequences for all. Fabrice Luchini, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Emmanuelle Seigner star. (R) 105 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film nowyou
A team of slick stage illusionists who pull off bank heists in the middle of their performances are pursued by FBI and Interpol agents in this nervy new thriller from Louis Leterrier (The Transporter; The Incredible Hulk). Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave (brother of James) Franco, and Woody Harrelson are the magicians, with Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent in hot pursuit. Michael Caine co-stars. (PG-13) Starts Friday. Watch film trailer >>>

film whatmaisie

In this modern-day reboot of the Henry James novel, Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore star as a divorcing couple (he’s an art dealer; she’s an aging rock star) too self-absorbed to consider the effects of their bitter custody battle on their watchful six-year-old daughter (Onata Aprile). Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham co-star for co-directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End). (R) 99 minutes. 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: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK Producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg’s deliriously action-packed 1981 pulp adventure stars Harrison Ford in his first appearance as globe-trotting archaeologist Indiana Jones. It’s got action, laughs, and Karen Allen as the tough-talking, hard-drinking heroine. (PG) 115 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:  ZOOLANDER Ben Stiller directs and stars in this 2001comedy about an empty-headed male model who stumbles on the secret of why male models disappear at the age of 30. Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich and Jerry Stiller co-star. (PG-13) 89 minutes. Tonight only (Thursday, May 30), 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 downtown 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. For more information visit

Movie Times click here.

Now Playing

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP Robert Redford offers a fine turn here as star and director in a political thriller that effectively illuminates how much has changed in America (revolt, activism) and how much hasn’t (political shenanigans). The film has its flaws, but the story and the performances carry it to nice heights. Redford plays 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 morphs into a young reporter here eager to know the whole story. Look for captivating performances by Julie Christie and Susan Sarandon in particular. Chris Cooper Nick Nolte, and Anna Kendrick co-star. (R) 125 minutes. (★★★) —Greg Archer

DISCONNECT You don’t experience many movies like this coming out of Hollywood lately, so when you do, it’s best to take notice and relish the journey. Much like Crash exposed the decay of social mores with its colliding parallel storylines, Disconnect brilliantly captures the lack of real connection taking place in a world that, ironically, appears to be more “connected” through technology. But, as we already know, people aren’t more “connected.” They’re more disconnected, in fact, and here, we find a gaggle of loose and sometimes lost souls searching for something substantial that can’t quite articulate. There’s a cell phone addict unable to communicate in real life and issues of bullying, porn, and personal information leaked online. And all of it merges so wonderfully in a hypnotic tale that finds its actors—Jason Bateman, Andrea Riseborough, Hope Davis, Alexander Skarsgard, Paula Patton, Max Thierot (of Bates Motel, who shines here!)—turning in some of the finest performances of the year. Some may find the ending a tad over-dramatic, but it fits the tone of the captivating modern-day opera that director Henry-Alex Rubin so wonderfully creates. (R) 115 minutes. (★★★★) —Greg Archer

EPIC Chris Wedge (one half of the brain trust on the Ice Age franchise) directs this animated family adventure about a teenage girl (voice of Amanda Seyfried) transported into a magical forest realm where she leads a battle of the meek and good against the forces of Evil. Josh Hutcherson, Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Chris O’Dowd and Steven Tyler contribute voices. (PG) 102 minutes.

FAST & FURIOUS 6 Returning director Justin Lin reassembles all the usual suspects in the sixth installment of the high-stakes street racing saga in which the crew reunites to out-drive an international crime organization in hopes of winning pardons so they can all go home to their families. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Sun Kang are back in action; Luke Evans comes on board as the chief villain. (PG-13) 130 minutes.

THE GREAT GATSBY With florid visual stylist Baz Luhrmann in the driver’s seat, this slick, shiny roadster could be a head-on collision of inappropriate styles, or a brilliant reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American Jazz Age classic. Fortunately, the more self-conscious stylistic touches—like jarring Jay-Z rap music—mostly occur early on. Once the stage is set, Luhrmann ditches most of his tricks, letting the characters and their agendas propel the story for a surprisingly faithful and urgent account of Fitzgerald’s enduring tale of class, money, and shipwrecked dreams. Leonardo DiCaprio’s delusional Gatsby comes complete with alluring smile, mystery, and vulnerability intact. And Luhrmann’s attention to period detail is fabulous, from the gorgeous black and white Warner Bros. logo to the Deco-licious costumes and production design. (PG-13) 142 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

THE HANGOVER PART III Reviewed this issue. (R) 100 minutes. (★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

THE ICEMAN Michael Shannon stars in this fictionalized true crime thriller as notorious hit man Richard Kuklinski, a contract killer for the mob whose family had no idea of his other life when he was arrested in 1986 for over 100 murders. Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, and Ray Liotta co-star for director Ariel Vromen. James Franco pops up in a cameo. (R) 106 minutes.
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED A young couple getting married in sunny Sorrento, Italy, a plucky mother of the bride cutting loose from her cheating husband, and the brooding, widowed father of the groom are the ingredients in this wistful comedy-drama-romance of love and second chances. Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dryholm star for always-interesting Danish director Susanne Bier (Open Hearts; After the Wedding). (R) 110 minutes.

IRON MAN 3 The secret weapon in this franchise has always been Robert Downey Jr., whose ironic, deadpan aplomb in the face of utter chaos has fueled more memorable series moments than an entire army of jet-propelled suits. What makes this installment such an entertaining load of hooey is incoming director Shane Black giving Downey plenty of room to deliver his special brand of crisp, pungent commentary. Sure, it’s too long, and too full of random stuff blowing up, but Black keeps the focus on the character of Tony Stark, creating ample opportunity for Downey to rise to the occasion as Stark loses his invincibility and has to literally pick himself up and rebuild his equipment and his psyche from scratch. (PG-13) 130 minutes. (★★★) —Lisa Jensen.

KON-TIKI Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdal’s epic 4300-mile journey across the Pacific in a balsa wood raft in 1947 is the subject of this new fiction film from Norse directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. The story concerns Heyerdal’s Herculean efforts to secure funding and a fearless crew to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized Polynesia, along with the incredible journey itself. (PG-13) 118 minutes.

MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN A Hindu and a Muslim baby, both born in Bombay on the night India declares independence from Great Britain, then switched at birth, are at the center of this magic realism saga in which all children born at that historic moment share telepathic powers with which they influence the progress of modern India. Adapted from Salman Rushdie’s prize-winning novel by filmmaker Deepa Mehta (the exquisite Water). (Not rated) 146 minutes. In Hindi and Urdu with English subtitles, and English.

MUD Jeff Nicholls’ hypnotic tall tale simmers with danger, disillusion, humor, and heart, and Matthew McConaughey’s star performance radiates all of the above. Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland are astonishingly good as two 14-year-old boys growing up on the banks of the Mississippi in rural Arkansas who get involved in the crazed romantic schemes of a disheveled desperado called Mud. Filmmaker Nicholls infuses the movie with a shrewd sense of place, and McConaughey’s Mud maintains the tension between dangerous and fascinating, while also making the character convincingly lovelorn and vulnerable. It’s a lovely piece of work, in an entertaining yarn of fathers, sons, and surrogates. PG-13. 130 minutes. (★★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.

SOMETHING IN THE AIR The setting is Paris, 1968, in the weeks and months following the May uprising, where a group of idealistic friends try to keep the dream alive on the brink of what they are sure will be a worldwide social revolution. Clement Metayer, Lola Creton, and Felix Armand star for director Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours). (Not rated) 122 minutes. In French with English subtitles.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS J. J. Abrams continues to revitalize the series with the fast, punchy, slyly funny, yet surprisingly touching installment. With irreverence and affection for Gene Roddenberry’s beloved characters and the idealized, multi-cultural future they represent, he grafts on a kick-ass action narrative that hurtles along at warp-speed. Chris Pine’s likable Kirk and the excellent Zachary Quinto’s Spock head the cast, with the always marvelous Benedict Cumberbatch as the formidable villain. It’s too easy to get lost in the labyrinth of the plot, and some of the gigantic action sequences devolve into silliness, but mostly this is a fresh and satisfying ride. (PG-13) 132 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

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