New This Week
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) Starts Friday.
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. Starts Friday.
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. Starts Friday.
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) Starts Friday.
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. Starts Friday.
THE TRIP TO ITALY Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon reteam once again as the comedian buddies who ate and wisecracked their way across Northern England as ad-hoc restaurant critics in the first The Trip. This time they’re invited to take a culinary road trip to Italy. Michael Winterbottom directs another semi-improvised laugh-and-food fest. (Not rated) 115 minutes. Starts Friday.
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: DURAN DURAN UNSTAGED Filmmaker David Lynch puts his own inimitable, hallucinatory spin on this musical concert doc of the band’s one-night-only reunion concert in Los Angeles in 2011. (Not rated) 121 minutes. At the Del Mar, one night only (Wednesday, Sept. 10), 7:30 p.m.
SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: VOICES ACROSS THE DIVIDE Alice Rothchild, an American Jew, physician, activist, and author, presents her documentary and oral history project exploring the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through rarely heard personal stories. The film will be viewed followed by a Q & A session with Ms. Rothchild. Co-Sponsored by the Palestine-Israel Action Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the Resource Center for Nonviolence. At the Resource Center for Nonviolence (612 Ocean St. SC), Monday only, 7 p.m. (Sept. 15) Admission: $5 – 10 Sliding Scale.
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.
Movie Times click here.
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.
FRANK This oddball little comedy about a bizarre art-rock band occasionally achieves the hipster irony it strives for—but more often comes across as dysfunctional as its title character, a would-be musical genius in a giant, fake head he never takes off—ever. For all its quirkiness, there’s not much return for our investment of time. But at least Domhnall Gleeson is an engaging protagonist, and Michael Fassbender contributes some comic body language as the guy in the fake head. (R) 95 minutes. (**1/2)—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.
INNOCENCE After losing her mother, a teenage girl moves to Manhattan with her father and enrolls in a strange boarding school whose beautiful female staff harbors a dark secret. Sophie Curtis, Kelly Reilly, Graham Phillips, and Linus Roache star in this horror drama adapted from the YA novel by Jane Mendelsohn. Hilary Brougher directs. (PG-13) 96 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 AFTER BETH Rom-com meets the zombie apocalypse in this farce about a young man (Dane Dehaan) whose joy when he learns his recently deceased girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) is back goes a little cold when he finds out she’s now a member of the flesh-eating undead. Molly Shannon and John C. Reilly co-star for writer-director Jeff Baena. (R) 91 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)
WHAT IF This lightweight rom-com from director Michael Dowse is lucky to have pair of attractive leads in Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. It’s adapted from a two-character play where dialogue counts for a lot, and conversation in the film is laced with postmodern irony, and often very funny self-deprecating humor. The premise may be tissue-thin (potential soulmates try to just be friends because one of them already has a live-in sweetie), some of the narrative mood swings feel a bit forced, and even the dialogue occasionally fails big time, but the easy charm of the leads keeps us involved. PG-13. 98 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.