Film, Times & Events: Week of July 10

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THE GALLOWS For those of us who can stand to watch scary movie trailers with the volume on, this looks one of those horror films that offers exactly what it says it will: throwback Blair Witch-ish style hand-held camera shots following a group of teenagers who explore a small town school in an attempt to resurrect a failed show twenty years after a “horrific accident.”  Students try to honor the dead on the anniversary of the school tragedy, but they apparently learn some things are better left alone—kind of like Blair Witch wannabe remakes. Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing direct. Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, and Ryan Shoos co-star. (R) 81 minutes. Starts Friday.

INFINITELY POLAR BEAR Writer/director Maya Forbes‘ directorial debut and arguably Mark Ruffalo’s most complex, beautifully layered role to date, Infinitely Polar Bear explores the inarguable difficulty of living as a manic depressive man in a time when it still wasn’t openly discussed—and making the decision to be a stay-at-home dad when it was socially unheard of. Ruffalo plays a father of two girls who agrees to stay home while Zoe Saldana pursues her dream at Columbia University in an artful look at mental disorders and the ins and outs of being a dad. Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, and Imogene Wolodarsky co-star. (R) 90 minutes.

MINIONS Jon Hamm said recently on The Daily Show that minions are just as appealing to adults as they are to children because “they look like capsules, they look like pills”—and he might be right, sort of. Who can possibly resist the googly-eyed, squishy yellow minions whose shape is somewhat…comforting? Finally, the makers of children’s films have figured it out—that, and the sly adult jokes that in the minion nonsensical garble, which somehow makes perfect sense and no sense at all, are completely hilarious. This time around it’s the origin story of the adorable single-celled yellow organisms, seeking their evil villain leader from the dinosaur age to the present where they find Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) who, with her husband Herb Overkill (Jon Hamm), hatch a plan to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown—and then take over the world, naturally. Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin direct. (PG) 91 minutes. Starts Friday.

SELF/LESS At first glance, Ben Kingsley grappling with the question of death and an unlived potential seems dark and serious—but then he gets the body of Ryan Reynolds and can party it up like he’s 25, black book on speed dial. The thought of Kingsley’s subconscious behind that debauchery, funny or creepy? Perhaps worthy of a second look, Self/Less takes on the question of immortality and the “side effects” that might accompany it with Damian (Kingsley) who is dying from cancer and feels life has more to offer him, even if not in the same body. Slowly, he unravels the origin of his new body and discovers just how far the organization behind his transformation will go to protect it. Tarsem Singh directs. Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, and Matthew Goode co-star. (PG-13) 116 minutes. Starts Friday.

Film Events

CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES Film buffs are invited Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. to downtown Santa Cruz, where each week the group discusses a different current release. For our location and discussion topic, go to:

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INSIDE OUT In the tradition of Toy Story 2 and Up, comes Inside Out, a Pixar movie so smart, so crammed with ideas, and so full of genuine emotion, it reinvents the whole idea of what an animated movie can be. (Oh, and it’s really funny too!) Directed by Pete Docter, its premise is that each individual person is governed by a mission control center in the brain where five key emotions constantly jockey for position. A foul-up in the control booth temporarily disconnects the 11-year-old protagonist from her personality, and intrepid emotion Joy (Amy Poehler) must trek through the adolescent brain to set things right—a journey both hilarious and moving in in this accomplished joyride of a movie. (PG) 94 minutes. (****)—Lisa Jensen.

MAGIC MIKE XXL Oh the very, very thinly veiled layer of sexual innuendo that oozes—no, explodes—from this “dance comedy.” But, hey, who can argue with abs, abs, abs? Channing Tatum (who really is a great dancer, guys) is back from stripper “retirement” to the daily grind with his best buddies, the Kings of Tampa. On their way to a stripper convention, no less, Magic Mike (Tatum) is joined by veteran dancers Big Dick Richie, Tarzan, and Ken (who didn’t get a creative stage name?) and some fresh faces as they thrust their way towards one last blowout performance. And while it’s worth noting that a movie about a tight-knit group of female strippers would never be this successful at the box office, it’s a film for the giggles and the blushes and squeals of delight—like going to a male strip club, only cheaper and probably with better indoor climate control. Gregory Jacobs directs. Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, and Matt Bomer co-star. (R) 115 minutes.

THE OVERNIGHT Alex and Emily are new to Los Angeles; they’re exhausted parents of a young son struggling to keep the excitement in their marriage and, more importantly, to stay awake during most daylight hours. Played by Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling, the couple meets Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) who invites them over for a playdate with his wife and son—and it does become a playdate for the parents. Boy, does it ever. In Schilling’s first major film since stepping on the scene as Piper in Orange Is the New Black, The Overnight offers a glimpse into yuppie life behind closed doors that proves somewhat giddying in its comedic chaos, headed by a small but delightfully deadpan cast. Patrick Brice directs. Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, and Jason Schwartzman co-star. (R) 79 minutes.

TERMINATOR: GENISYS It would be hard for a Terminator film to be lamer than Terminator: Salvation, which was perhaps the first movie in history to make killer robots boring (just kidding, Chopping Mall! You blazed a trail.) The trailers for the annoyingly spelled Terminator: Genisys at least make it look like it will be weirder, although nice job spoiling the big twist, dumbasses. Anyway, Arnie is also back as the time-traveling robot assassin who used to be badass until he started saying things like “Why do you cry?” Duh, I cry because they won’t stop making Terminator movies.

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