Film, Times & Events: Week of May 23

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BLENDED Adam Sandler teams up with Drew Barrymore for the third time in this romantic comedy about two single parents and their respective kids thrown together at an African safari resort for families. Longtime Sandler director Frank Coraci takes the helm. (PG-13) 117 minutes. Starts Friday.

CHEF Jon Favreau wrote and directed this dramadey in which he stars as a top chef in Los Angeles who quits his job at a fancy restaurant over creative differences with the owner (Dustin Hoffman), and decides to go on the road with a food truck, his ex (Sofia Vergara), his buddy (John Leguizamo) and his son. (R) 115 minutes. Starts Friday.

FOR NO GOOD REASON Johnny Depp stars in this documentary devoted to the life and work of his good friend, Ralph Steadman, whose crazed pen and ink drawings most famously illustrated the books and magazine articles of the late Hunter S. Thompson. Charlie Paul directs. (R) 89 minutes. Starts Friday.

THE IMMIGRANT Marion Cotard stars in this period drama as a young Polish woman who sails to America in search of a better life. But when she’s separated from her sister at Ellis Island and finds herself alone on the streets, her destiny entwines with those of an unscrupulous pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) and a dashing stage magician (Jeremy Renner). James Gray directs. (R) 120 minutes. Starts Friday.

X-MEN:  DAYS OF FUTURE PAST The team embarks on a time-traveling mission to join forces with their younger selves in an epic battle for the future—or, in other words, a clever way to get both generations of the popular franchise characters onscreen at the same time. Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, and Peter Dinklage star, alongside series stalwarts Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. (PG-13) 131 minutes. Starts Friday.

YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL French filmmaker Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool; 8 Women) directs this erotic coming-of-age tale about a teenager who drifts into the life of a call girl. Marine Vacth stars. (Not rated) 95 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Starts Friday.

Film Events

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: BRIDEGROOM  The issue of marriage equality gets a human face in this documentary about a young couple in love—Shane and Tom—separated by a sudden, fatal accident, and the repercussions experience by the grieving, surviving partner without the legal rights or protection of marriage. The film’s subject, Shane Bitney Crone, will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening, introduced by former Santa Cruz mayor John Laird. This one time only screening at the Del Mar is a benefit for The Diversity Center. Program: light refreshments in the mezzanine, 6:30 p.m., John Laird introduction, 7:45 p.m., film screening, 8 p.m., followed by Q&A. Thursday only (May 22), at the Del Mar.

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE It’s a new season for Britain’s acclaimed National Theatre of London, broadcasting highlights from its Winter 2014 Season digitally, in HD, to movie theaters worldwide. Live performances will be broadcast one Thursday evening a month, in the Grand Auditorium of the Del Mar, with encore performances the following Sunday morning.

This week: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME Adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens from the bestselling novel by Mark Haddon, this is the tale of a developmentally challenged 15-year-old boy trying to navigate the perilous adult world while investigating the death of a neighbor’s dog. Tony-winner Marianne Elliott (War Horse) directs. Matthew Barker, Niamh Cusack, and Luke Treadaway star. At the Del Mar, Thursday only  (May 22), 7:30 p.m. Encore performance Sunday only (May 25), 11 a.m. Admission: $15. Seniors, students, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz subscribers: $13.

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: DUMB AND DUMBER Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels star in the title roles of this 1994 lowbrow comedy by the Farrelly Brothers. (PG-13) 107 minutes. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.

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 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Andrew Garfield returns for another outing as Peter Parker, college student-turned-web-slinging crime fighter, in this second installment of the rebooted franchise. Jamie Foxx is on board as powerful villain, Electro, with shady ties to OsCorp, the monolithic empire founded by the father of Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan). Emma Stone is back as love interest Gwen, and Sally Field returns as Aunt May for returning director Marc Webb. (PG-13) 140 minutes.

BELLE Reviewed this issue. (PG) 105 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

DIVERGENT It’s back to the dystopian future in this adaptation of the bestselling Veronica Roth YA trilogy. Shailene Woodley stars as Tris Prior, a young woman categorized as Divergent—unaligned with any group—in a society that maintains control by dividing people into distinct factions based on their personality traits. Theo James, Ashley Judd, Zofi Kravitz, Miles Teller, and Kate Winslet co-star for director Neil Burger (The Illusionist). (PG-13).

FADING GIGOLO John Tuturro wrote and directed this offbeat comedy in which he and Woody Allen star as a couple of friends who get into the gigolo buiness to make ends meet. Allen’s character—whose bookstore has just closed down— finds the clients, and Turturro’s character performs the service. Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis, and Liev Schreiber co-star. (R) 90 minutes.

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER In 2007, John Maloof, a real estate agent in the Chicago area, bought some miscellaneous boxes at an estate auction—and stumbled into one of the greatest discoveries in 20th Century photography: the previously unknown, but amazingly prolific work of amateur street photographer Vivian Maier. In this fascinating doc, Maloof exposes her work to the light of day at last, along with the mystery shrouding the artist herself. The portrait of that emerges of Maier (who made her living as a nanny/housekeeper) is compelling in its oddity. That so much of her work was never even developed (much less exhibited) suggests it was the process, not the outcome, that was important to her. And isn’t that what art is all about? (Not rated.) 83 minutes. €(★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN The yearning to leave the vice and folly of the material world behind and carve out a new life in some unspoiled place, is at the heart of this fascinating real-life mystery about strife and skullduggery in a so-called tropical paradise of the 1930s. Directed by Bay Area filmmakers Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, this stranger-than-fiction documentary isn’t a story about a looming villain invading an idyllic realm; it’s about a handful of cranky misanthropes and the accumulation of little frictions between them that leads to trouble in Paradise. Most of the principals kept detailed diaries, and copious home movie footage keeps things percolating along in this exotic thriller of a doc. Not rated. 120 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.

GODZILLA To mark the 60th anniversary of the first time the big guy in the rubber suit tottered across the Tokyo landscape, Godzilla rises again in this eco-conscious reboot from Gareth Edwards (Monsters). Trying to stay true to the Toho original (but with more sophisticated effects), Edwards promises a monster spawned in the muck of a polluted planet and thirsting for revenge. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoce and David Strathairn head the human cast. (PG-13) 123 minutes

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL There’s plenty of fun and whimsy to be had here in Wed Anderson’s delightful new comedy. Much like Moonrise Kingdom unraveled in a quirky splendor, so, too, does The Grand Budapest Hotel, which chronicles the unlikely friendship between a revered European hotel concierge, Gustave H  (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy. Everything from the era—between two menacing wars—to the fictional setting of the Republic of Zubrowka pepper the tale, which unfolds, layer by layer (a story within a story within a story) much like a Russian doll. Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and other Anderson grads join the fun. (R) 100 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer.

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL Just in time for Easter comes this screen adaptation of the non-fiction book by Todd Burpo about his 4-year-old son who survived a near-death experience and came back full of detailed stories about the other side. Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, and newcomer Connor Corum star for director Randall Wallace. (PG) 100 minutes.

LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN Inspired by the classic childrens’ book series continued by the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, this 3D-animated musical finds Dorothy (voice of Lea Michelle) whisked back to Oz to help her friends save the Emerald City from a new villain called the Jester (Martin Short). Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Kelsey Grammer, Bernadette Peters, and Patrick Stewart are featured in the voice cast. Bryan Adams contributes new songs. Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre direct. (PG) 88 minutes.

LOCKE Tom Hardy stars in this thriller as a man at a challenging moment in his life whose career, family, and psyche begin to unravel during one long, fateful car ride. Steven Knight (Eastern Promises; Dirty Pretty Things) directs. (R) 85 minutes.

MILLION DOLLAR ARM Jon Hamm stars in this (more or less) true story about a sports agent who decides to revitalize his flagging career with a grandstanding PR stuntóa trip to India to recruit a young cricket pitcher he can groom into a major league baseball star. Alan Arkin, Lake Bell, and Suraj Sharma (Life Of Pi) co-star for director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl). (PG)

NEIGHBORS Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are a young couple with a new baby who find themselves at war with their neighbors when a bunch of rowdy college frat boys move into the house next door. Zac Efron and Dave Franco are the uber fraternity brothers. Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek) directs. (R) 97 minutes.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE It’s a vampire romance, Jim Jarmusch-style. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star as an undead European gadabout and a reclusive Detroit rocker who reignite their centuries-old love affair. John Hurt and Mia Wasikowska co-star. (R) 122 minutes.

PALO ALTO James Franco wrote the collection of fictional short stories that inspired this drama about a handful of teens coming of age in Franco’s home town. Franco co-stars as a single-dad coach on the brink of an affair with student/babysitter Emma Roberts. Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff, and Zoe Levin also star for writer-director Gia Coppola, making her feature film debut. (R) 98 minutes.

THE OTHER WOMAN Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jamie Lannister) gets up to more shenanigans in this revenge comedy about a woman who discovers that her boyfriend is not only married, but seeing yet another woman on the side. Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton are the wronged women who become allies in retribution. Nick Cassavetes directs. (R) 109 minutes.

RIO 2 The parrots from the first film are relocated from the simmering samba of Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon jungle in this family-friendly animated sequel. Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg,, Jermaine Clement, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jamie Foxx are back in the voice cast, joined by Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno and Bruno Mars. Carlos Saldanha is back in the director’s chair. (G) 101 minutes.

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