Film, Times & Events: Week of May 8

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Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews
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New This Week

ADULT BEGINNERS TV regular Nick Kroll stars in this comedy (he came up with the story) as a would-be entrepreneur reduced to leaving Manhattan to move in with his estranged sister’s family and become a nanny to their little boy. Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Jane Krakowski co-star for director Ross Katz. (R) 90 minutes. Starts Friday.

THE D TRAIN Jack Black stars as a guy so desperate to be cool at his upcoming high school reunion, that he recruits a classmate (James Marsden)—now the star of a popular TV ad campaign—to go with him, in this comedy from directors Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel. (R) 98 minutes. Starts Friday.

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD  Thomas Hardy’s literary classic of love, sexuality, and class in Victorian England gets an update from director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt). Carey Mulligan stars as the headstrong Dorset lass courted by three very different men—a solid, reliable farmer (Matthias Schoenaerts), a prosperous older man (Michael Sheen), and a dashing young soldier (Tom Sturridge). (PG-13) 119 minutes. Starts Friday.

FIVE FLIGHTS UP Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman star as a married couple of a certain age preparing to sell their apartment in New York City’s East Village after 40 years in this drama from Richard Loncraine (My One and Only). (PG-13) 92 minutes. Starts Friday.

HOT PURSUIT A no-nonsense Texas policewoman and the mobster’s sexy wife she’s assigned to protect find themselves on the run from cops and crooks in this chase comedy. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara star. (Guess who plays which role?) Anne Fletcher (The Guilt Trip) directs. (PG-13) (87 minutes) Starts Friday.

RIDE Helen Hunt wrote and directed this dramatic comedy in which she stars as an editor from New York who follows her son (Brenton Thwaites) to California after he drops out of college to surf, and reinvents her own life as well. Luke Wilson and David Zayas co-star. (R) 93 minutes. Starts Friday.

WELCOME TO ME Kristen Wiig stars as a woman who wins big in the lottery, dumps her psychiatric meds, and buys a talk show of her own to host. James Marsden, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Linda Cardellini, and Wes Bentley co-star for director Shira Piven. (R) 87 minutes. Starts Friday.

Film Events

CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild and crazy tastes plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT Without the hard-boiled narration tacked onto the original studio version, director Ridley Scott’s recutting of his moody, 1982 sci-fi masterpiece is much more focused. Harrison Ford’s ex-cop Deckard is more eloquent in his silences as he scours a futuristic Third World L. A. gone to seed for renegade replicants, and with a slightly altered ending, the theme of the preciousness of life, however short, has new urgency. Hard to believe that Scott’s indelible vision of urban America in decay ca. 2019 is only five years away! (R) 120 minutes. (***1/2)—Lisa Jensen. At the Del Mar, Fri-Sat midnight only.

CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES Film buffs are invited to join us Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in downtown Santa Cruz, where each week we discuss a different current release. For our location and discussion topic, please visit our Google Groups webpage:

Movie Times click here.

Now Playing

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON The fate of the universe hangs in the balance (surprise!) in this latest superhero slugfest from the ever-wry imagination of writer-director Joss Whedon. Usual suspects Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), reteam to battle villainous Ultron (James Spader). Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Paul Bettany have featured roles. (But, sadly, no Loki this time.) (PG-13) 141 minutes.

CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA Reviewed this issue.(R) 124 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.

EX MACHINA Screenwriter Alex Garland moves into the director’s chair with this simmering sci-fi chamber piece for three, with elegant echoes of Frankenstein and Blade Runner. Domhnall Gleeson is effective as a drone at a giant Internet search company invited to help his genius boss (Oscar Isaac) to determine if his AI experiment has consciousness. Alicia Vikander is the seductive creation. Garland has fun viewing the mad-scientist motif through the template of modern technology, and invites us to consider the nature of humanity, at its best and worst, in this smart, literate thriller. (R) 110 minutes. (***)—Lisa Jensen.

THE SALT OF THE EARTH The 40-year global journey of photographer Sebastião Salgado, on a mission to capture and record our planet’s wild, unspoiled beauty, is the subject of this documentary from Wim Wenders. (PG-13) 110 minutes.

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