New This Week
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain star in this contemporary drama as a couple on the verge of splitting up, who are trying to recapture the magic of what drew them together in the first place. Filmmaker Ned Benson originally shot the story as two separate but connected films, one told from the male and one from the female point of view, but combined them here. Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciaran Hinds and Isabelle Huppert co-star. (R) 122 minutes. Starts Friday.
THE MAZE RUNNER The dystopian-future YA novel by James Dashner comes to the screen with Dylan O’Brien as a youth who finds himself one of 60 teenage boys imprisoned behind a gigantic maze. But everything changes when a mysterious girl lands in their midst. Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster co-star for director Wes Ball. (PG-13) 113 minutes. Starts Friday.
THE NOTEBOOK Twin boys abandoned to their uninterested grandmother on the Hungarian border as World War II begins learn to survive by studying the evil around them. János Szász directs this award-winning drama, based on the novel by Agota Kristof. (R) 119 minutes. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Starts Friday.
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU A typically dysfunctional family of grown siblings, spouses and in-laws gather for an uneasy shiva after the family patriarch passes on in this star-studded “dramady” directed by Shawn Levy. Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, and Rose Byrne star. (R) 103 minutes. Starts Friday.
TUSK Cult director Kevin Smith ventures into the horror genre with this tale of a podcaster (Justin Long) who goes missing in the Manitoba backwoods while seeking an interview with a mysterious seafarer (Michael Parks). Hayley Joel Osment and Genesis Rodriguez are the best bud and girlfriend who go looking for him. (R) 102 minutes. Starts Friday.
A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES Liam Neeson stars in this adaptation of the gritty Lawrence Block novel about an ex-NYPD cop now operating as an unlicensed private investigator tracking lowlifes through the city’s underbelly. Dan Stevens, David Harbour, and Boyd Holbrook co-star for director Scott Frank (The Lookout). (R) Starts Friday.
THE ZERO THEOREM Expect Terry Gilliam back in Brazil mode in this existential, satirical sci-fi epic about a nutball tech genius (Christoph Waltz) holed up in a burnt-out church with a bank of computer equipment obsessively trying to discover the meaning of life. Melanie Thierry and David Thewlis co-star, with guest cameos by Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton. (R) 101 minutes. Starts Friday.
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 groups.google.com/group/LTATM.
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A MOST WANTED MAN Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in this political thriller adapted from the John Le Carre novel about an illegal Muslim immigrant in Hamburg who gets caught up in the international war on terror. Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and Robin Wright co-star for director Anton Corbijn. (R) 122 minutes.
AS ABOVE/SO BELOW No good can possibly come of it when a team of adventurers decides to explore the catacombs full of ancient bones that lie beneath the city of Paris in this horror thriller, unlocking a dark secret along the way. Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, and Edwin Hodge star. John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, Devil) directs. (R) 93 minutes.
BOYHOOD Kudos to Richard Linklater for such a refreshingly audacious film. Linklater had the simple, yet brilliant idea to shoot a scripted story over a period of 12 years, allowing his cast—including his child protagonists—to age naturally onscreen. Ellar Coltrane (in the central role) was 7 years old when the film started shooting in 2002, 18 when it wrapped last year, and he’s compulsively watchable throughout. It sounds like a stunt, but watching these characters grow up before our eyes (including adults Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, both terrific, as the divorced parents), makes for a bold, moving, and utterly mesmerizing moviegoing experience. (R) 166 minutes. (****)—Lisa Jensen.
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY Engaging performances—especially from the sublime Helen Mirren and Indian national treasure Om Puri—spice up this unsurprising, yet enjoyably romantic foodie film. The location is irresistible, a sun-drenched corner of the South of France where an upstart family-run Indian eatery sets up shop across the street from a venerable French restaurant. Dreamy-eyed Manish Dayal and frisky Charlotte Le Bon make a charming romantic couple. And there’s plenty of good-looking food, from haute cuisine to vivid massala-spiced Indian dishes to simple French country cooking, presented with enough relish to make it all go down smoothly. Lasse Hallstrm directs. (PG) 122 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.
THE IDENTICAL What if Elvis Presley’s twin brother had survived, but grown up as the adopted son of a hellfire evangelist? That seems to be the premise of this Christian family drama about musically gifted twins—one becomes a rock idol, the other a rock impersonator—in a story that spans the Depression ‘30s and the rockin’ ‘50s to the Glam Rock ‘70s. Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta and Seth Green star; Blake Rayne plays both twins. (PG) 107 minutes.
IF I STAY Based on Gayle Forman’s bestselling YA novel, the story revolves around a teenage girl whose life literally passes before her eyes in a moment that changes things forever. Chloe Grace Moretz stars as the heroine trying to determine if and how to go on with her life. Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, and Joshua Leonard co-star for director R. J. Cutler. (PG-13) 106 minutes.
LET’S BE COPS Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. star in this action comedy as buddies who dress up as cops for a costume party and become the toast of the neighborhood—until their ruse gets them involved with real-life mobsters, criminals, and police corruption. Luke Greenfield directs. (R) 104 minutes.
LIFE OF CRIME The Elmore Leonard novel The Switch is the basis for this dark caper comedy about a sleazy real estate developer (Tim Robbins) who opts not to pay the ransom when his wife (Jennifer Aniston) is kidnapped by dysfunctional would-be criminals John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey. Daniel Schechter directs. (R) 94 minutes.
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT Woody Allen’s second comedy set in France is no Midnight In Paris. But there’s modest fun to be had in this tale of a misanthropic stage magician (Colin Firth) attempting to expose a spiritualist (Emma Stone) he believes is swindling wealthy American expats among the Cote d’Azur elite in the Jazz Age 1920s. Firth is wise enough not to try to imitate Allen’s famous mannerisms in the protagonist’s role, Simon McBurney is fun as his devilish sidekick, the scenery is gorgeous, and the period costumes worn by the great Eileen Atkins (as Firth’s grande dame aunt) are worth the price of admission. (PG-13) 97 minutes. (**1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
THE NOVEMBER MAN Pierce Brosnan stars as the hero of the Bill Granger espionage series, a skilled and deadly ex-CIA agent who comes out of retirement to protect a comely witness (Olga Kurylenko) in a conspiracy investigation. Luke Bracey, Bill Smitrovich, and Will Patton co-star for director Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job). (R) 108 minutes.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES In this mostly live-action reboot of the popular comic book series, New York City is in the grip of evildoers when four masked outcast brothers rise up out of the sewers to become heroes. Megan Fox stars as sympathetic, turtle-friendly girl reporter April O’Neil, and Will Arnett is her cameraman sidekick. Jonathan Liebesman directs. (PG-13)
DOLPHIN TALE 2 The young dolphin rescued in the first movie and given a prosthetic tail becomes the object of more human concern when her handlers have to find her a new aquatic companion or lose her to another aquarium. Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, and Harry Connick Jr. return for director Charles Martin Smith. (PG)
THE DROP Tom Hardy stars in this crime drama as a Brooklyn bartender trying to make some easy money funneling cash to neighborhood mobsters when everything goes badly awry. Dennis Lehane adapted the script from his own short story. Noomi Rapace and the late James Gandolfini co-star for director Michaël R. Roskam. (R) 106 minutes.
LOVE IS STRANGE John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as a recently married couple who lose the Manhattan apartment they’ve lived in together for decades and suddenly have to live apart—with friends and relatives—until they can find an affordable new home. Marisa Tomei co-stars. Ira Sachs directs. (R) 94 minutes.
NO GOOD DEED Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba star in this thriller about a suburban Atlanta mom who’s in for trouble when the stranger she lets into her house to use the phone turns out to be an escaped convict on the run. Sam Miller directs. (PG-13)
THE ONE I LOVE Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss star in the comedy-drama as a young couple hoping to revive their flagging marriage at a weekend retreat to a vacation house. Ted Danson co-stars. Charlie McDowell directs. (R) 91 minutes.
THE TRIP TO ITALY Reviewed this issue. (Not rated) 108 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.