Film, Times & Events: Week of July 17

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ANT-MAN For those who didn’t grow up reading the Marvel comic, the idea of a guy with the ability to shrink to the size of an ant sounds like the opposite of what you’d want to have happen in the middle of a scuffle with an evil villain, and at the risk of sounding trite, with Paul Rudd as the leading superhero? OK, maybe non-Comicon goers won’t understand until they see it, but hopefully Rudd’s comic relief ability will round out his backstory as a cunning con man and complement Corey Stoll as his nemesis, Yellowjacket, and Michael Douglas playing his guru, Dr. Hank Pym. (PG-13) 117  minutes. Starts Friday.

MR. HOLMES He doesn’t wear a deerstalker cap, and he prefers cigars to a pipe—who even is this Sherlock? Ian McKellen rewrites the role as a Sherlock Holmes who wants his truth to be revealed—as a man nearing the end of his years, Holmes is haunted by an unsolved case that led to his retirement. With a truly superb cast, it’s a new twist on the old tale, with all the knowing nuance and structural sophistication that die-hard fans would demand. It also goes against the grain of recent leading men who have sexed up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic character (Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name a couple). Bill Condon directs. Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, and Hiroyuki Sanada co-star. (PG) 104 minutes. Starts Friday.

TRAINWRECK Amy Schumer said on a recent episode of the Graham Norton Show that when she wrote Trainwreck she assumed they’d cast some skinny, blonde model type for the lead. Thank the goddesses they did not. Schumer brings her own completely bawdy brand of crass dudeness and uncensored shenanigans that only she can bring. Playing herself, she systematically takes down one gender stereotype after the next as she tries to escape a “real relationship” with Bill Hader despite their obvious chemistry. The classic roles of “player” and “sensitive-type” are reversed as Hader’s character attempts to pin Schumer down, with the help of LeBron James as what we can only assume is the best BFF ever.  (R) 125 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:

Movie Times

Now Playing

AMY The story of Amy Winehouse is a tragic one, of dark genius and tortured soul—and in case her untimely death and all too public struggle with fame didn’t break your heart enough, here’s a new look at her life that will devastate and inspire all at the same time. An homage to her talent as a singer and songwriter, the talent that swiftly enthralled an entire industry, this documentary features unseen archival footages and unheard tracks in a tapestry that has been called “a rush of joy and grief.” Asif Kapadia. Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse and Mark Ronson co-star. (R) 128 minutes.

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 20 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.

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.

SELF/LESS Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 116 minutes.


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