Film, Times & Events: Week of December 12

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New This Week

ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE Reviewed this issue. (PG) 92 minutes. (**1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday.

COMET The passionate love affair of a modern young couple is tracked over six years, a slew of locations (New York, Paris, Hollywood), and infinite emotions in this time-jumping debut from filmmaker Sam Esmail. Emmy Rossum and Justin Long star. (R) 107 minutes. Starts Friday.

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS Ridley Scott gets biblical with this 2 1/2-hour epic retelling of the tale of Moses rebelling against the Pharaoh to lead his enslaved people out of Egypt. Christian Bale is Moses and Joel Edgerton is Ramses. Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley co-star. (PG-13) 150 minutes. Starts Friday.

TOP FIVE Chris Rock wrote and directed this pop culture satire in which he stars as a stand-up comedian-turned-movie star who, in a moment of madness, agrees to his fiancée’s idea to document their wedding plans for her reality TV show. Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric the Entertainer, and Tracy Morgan co-star. (R) Starts Friday.

WILD Based on the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed, this wilderness drama stars Reese Witherspoon as Strayed. Grieving after her mother’s death, she decides to pull her life out of a downward spiral of drugs and sex by hiking the 1,000-mile Pacific Crest Trail—alone. Laura Dern co-stars. Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) directs. (R) 115 minutes. Starts Friday.


Film Events

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: THE LAST UNICORN This lyrical animated fairy tale based on Peter S. Beagle’s beloved fantasy novel was co-directed in 1982 by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr. In the story of a lonely young unicorn trying to find out what happened to the rest of her species, Beagle’s beautifully handled juxtaposition of myth and pop culture creates a sense of popular mythology constantly updating and recreating itself. Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow and Alan Arkin (as Schmendrick, the Magician) provide voices. (G) 94 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen. Former Santa Cruzan Peter S. Beagle will be on hand for Q & A and book-signing after the show. At the Del Mar, tonight only (Wednesday, Dec. 10). 7 p.m.

SPECIAL EVENT THIS WEEK: NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE Highlights from the current season of Britain’s acclaimed National Theatre of London, broadcast digitally, in HD, to movie theaters worldwide, play locally in the Grand Auditorium of the Del Mar. This week: JOHN Conceived and directed by Lloyd Newson of the DV8 Physical Theatre company, this adult-themed drama in words and movement tells the true story of an outcast who survives drugs, prison, and homelessness to find sanctuary in the world of gay saunas. Hannes Langolf stars. (NC-17) 90 minutes. At the Del Mar, Sunday only (Dec. 14), 11 a.m. Encore performance Thursday (Dec. 18), 7:30 p.m. Admission: $15. Seniors, students, and Santa Cruz Shakespeare subscribers: $13. (FGB/NT)

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: SNOWPIERCER In the post-apocalyptic future, the surviving members of humanity are trapped together in a giant, high-speed train endlessly circling the globe on the ultimate fast-track to nowhere. Cult Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s brooding cautionary tale of social dynamics and environmental suicide comes dressed in the trappings of a bloody, brawling action thriller. The plot is not exactly airtight, but the director’s energy and humor, and entertaining performances from Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Kang-ho Song, and Tilda Swinton make it worth the ride. (R) 126 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. This week (Dec. 10): THE HOMESMAN Discussion begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information visit



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Now Playing

THE HOMESMAN Tommy Lee Jones directs this western drama in which he co-stars as a bedraggled drifter roped into helping a tough-minded frontierswoman (Hilary Swank) transport three half-addled pioneer women across the brutal, dangerous Nebraska Territories to sanctuary in the east. Mamie Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Meryl Streep co-star. (R) 122 minutes.

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 In these dangerous times, when we all need our wits about us, this movie not only celebrates stupidity, it causes it. In this sequel, the working  stiffs of the first film try to become bosses themselves, but wind up embroiled in a kidnapping plot that is by turns inane, vulgar, tedious and squirm-inducing. The only adjective that doesn’t spring immediately to mind is “funny.” Still, one-half star for incoming Chris Pine, who proves to be an impressively goofy physical clown. (R) 108 minutes. (*1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

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