Film, Times & Events: Week of December 19

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New This Week

ANNIE The delightful Quvenzhane Wallis (last seen in Beasts of the Southern Wild) takes on the iconic role of the beloved orphan heroine of comic book page and stage in this updated revamp of the popular musical. Jamie Foxx co-stars as the Daddy Warbucks guardian, here a politician who adopts the orphan in hopes it will improve his election chances. Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz, and Bobby Cannavale have featured roles. Will Gluck directs. (PG) 119 minutes. Starts Friday.

FOXCATCHER Steve Carell gets an extreme physical, as well as an image makeover for the role of John DuPont in this true crime drama about the increasingly strained and complex relationship between the mercurial loner, DuPont, and Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), the Olympic wrestler he sponsored and trained for the 1988 Seoul games. Mark Ruffalo co-stars as Schultz’s brother. Bennett Miller (Moneyball) directs. (R) 134 minutes. Starts Friday.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES Reviewed this issue. Bilbo, Gandalf, and their allies return for the final installment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy, in which the intrepid company battles the fearsome dragon, Smaug, to save Middle Earth. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, and Cate Blanchett head the cast, with Benedict Cumberbatch returning as the voice of Smaug. (PG-13) 144 minutes. Starts Wednesday, Dec. 17.

NATIONAL GALLERY The unblinking camera  eye of acclaimed documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman leads viewers on a three-hour tour of one of Britain’s most prestigious art galleries, its art collection and its denizens. (Not rated) 180 minutes. Starts Friday. One week only, at the Nick.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRETS OF THE TOMB Ben Stiller returns for the third and final installment of the series in which he stars as museum guard, Larry, on a one-night, global museum-hopping quest to save the magic that allows all the exhibits to come to life after hours. Robin Williams (in his last on-camera role), Owen Wilson, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson, and Ben Kingsley lead the cast. Shawn Levy once again directs. (PG) 97 minutes. Starts Friday.

Film Events

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: BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT Not to be confused with the so-called Director’s Cut, this is the ultimate Ridley Scott-approved, 2007 rethinking of his 1982 futuristic masterpiece. Hard to believe that Scott’s indelible vision of urban America in decay ca. 2019 is only five years away! Harrison Ford, Edward James Olmos, Sean Young, and the incredibly dynamic Rutger Hauer star. (R) 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. 17): Discussion begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information visit

Movie Times click here.

Now Playing

ANTARCTICA: A YEAR ON ICE New Zealander Anthony Powell’s new doc captures an insider’s perspective on this wild, fantastical outpost. It took him ten years to make the film, including the time he spent building a camera that could withstand extreme cold, and the vistas he captures are extraordinary. If he would only let us bask in the strangeness, grandeur and beauty of it all, his film would be so effective, but his fondness for time-lapse photography literally runs away with the movie. Powell wants us to appreciate the stillness and silence of the place, but his busy filmmaking is too frenetic. (PG) 92 minutes. (**1/2)—Lisa Jensen.

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.

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)

WILD Reviewed this issue. (R) 115 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.

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