Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

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New This Week
THE BOXTROLLS Alan Snow’s children’s book Here Be Monsters is the basis for this animated family film about quirky creatures who live beneath the streets of a quaint English town, and the human boy they’ve raised as their own (voice of Isaac Hempstead Wright, better known as Bran Stark on Game of Thrones) who comes to their aid when the town villain threatens their community. Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Tracy Morgan and Simon Pegg contribute additional voices. Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable direct. (PG) 96 minutes. Starts Friday.

THE EQUALIZER Denzel Washington stars as a mysterious vigilante for justice, and Chloe Grace Moretz is the oppressed young woman who needs his help in this action thriller from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). (R) 128 minutes. Starts Friday.

MY OLD LADY Kevin Kline stars as an American who inherits an apartment in Paris—only to find that it comes complete with a feisty, elderly tenant (Maggie Smith), who’s not prepared to budge. Kristin Scott Thomas co-stars. Veteran playwright Israel Horovitz directs this comedy-drama from his own stage play. (PG-13) 107 minutes. Starts Friday.

THE SKELETON TWINS Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play estranged twins who are forced to reunite due to unusual circumstances and grudgingly begin to take stock of their failed lives and broken relationship. Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell co-star for director Craig Johnson. (R) 93 minutes. Starts Friday.

Film Events

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: SANTA CRUZ SURF FILM FESTIVAL Three nights of surf-related shorts and documentaries at two venues that will take viewers to surf sites, campsites and competitions around the world. At the Del Mar, Wed-Thurs only. At the Rio, Friday only. For details and advance tickets, visit

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: AMERICAN MUSTANG Documentary footage of wild horses roaming the range of the American West is woven into a fictional story about a girl, a cowboy, and a wild mustang pony. This independent film written and co-produced by vintner and wild horse advocate Ellie Phipps Price and Henry Anspacher is meant to raise public awareness about efforts to preserve mustang herds in the wild. Narrated by Daryl Hannah. Monty Miranda directs. (Not rated) 110 minutes. At the Nickelodeon, Thursday only, 6:30 p.m.

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
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 DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY Reviewed this issue. (R) 122 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.

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.

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 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 their situation alters 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.

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 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.

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 In this follow-up to The Trip (2011), Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return as lightly fictionalized versions of themselves, comedian buddies this time on a luscious-looking culinary road trip to Italy. Orchestrated by director Michael Winterbottom, with a funny script largely improvised by its stars, the laughs are consistent, and the wistfulness of the framing story—touching as it does on such issues as age, talent, friendship, and mortality—is effectively done. Not to mention the gorgeous scenery and great-looking food, more than enough to inspire viewers to tag along. (Not rated) 108 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.

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 “dramadey” directed by Shawn Levy. Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, and Rose Byrne star. (R) 103 minutes.

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.

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.

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