New This Week
PAPER TOWNS Although Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows were the first to make a name for the young fashion model, now on virtually every surface—magazine, billboard, music video—the storyline for Paper Towns gleans interesting enough (with the Fault In Our Stars writer behind it all, we expect some tear jerking) for the coming of age teenage romcom. Popular and mysterious, Margo (Delevingne) is the quintessential adolescent fantasy who, after barging into Quentin’s (played by Nat Wolff) window and wheedling him into her devious revenge plans, disappears altogether. The search to find missing Margo holds promise, although likely not due to Delevingne’s smoldering stare—but rather the young cast with Wolff at the helm. Jake Schreier directs. Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, and Austin Abrams co-star. (PG-13) 109 minutes.
PIXELS The promotional poster for Pixels features a giant Pac-Man eating San Francisco; props for creativity? Oh, it gets better—Adam Sandler plays Brenner, former Pac-Man video game champion, who must use his gamer skills to save the world after aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic games as a declaration of war. Let’s allow that to sink in. “We got this—if we don’t, the world ends,” says Sandler, and although the cast offers some comic potential to the science fiction action comedy (Peter Dinklage with a mullet? We accept.), the jury is still out on whether this is a clever parody of itself or seriously a movie about Donkey Kong and Tetris ending human civilization. Chris Columbus directs. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Michelle Monaghan co-star. (PG-13) 105 minutes.
SOUTHPAW While Jake Gyllenhaal’s impressive physical transformation into boxer Billy Hope has been the subject of most talk show hosts’ line of questioning, the actor’s dedication to the roles that require an obsessive level of intensity is worth the oohs and aahs (although his abs are too). With a more dominating physical presence than ever before, Gyllenhaal plays the hopelessness of Hope with a rattling intensity—an intensity that has director Antoine Fuqua’s penchant for raw thrillers written all over it, but with slightly more nuance than past works. Rachel McAdams plays Hope’s wife and Oona Laurence his young daughter, bringing softness to an otherwise bristly storyline. Kurt Sutter directs. Rachel McAdams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Forest Whitaker co-star. (R) 123 minutes.
UNEXPECTED A Juno for the inner-city reality, Unexpected is a look into the joys and pitfalls of an unplanned pregnancy—both for a middle-class teacher and for her tough-as-nails high school student. On opposite sides of the motherhood spectrum, the roles of mentor and mentee oscillate as an unlikely friendship between Samantha (Cobie Smulders) and her most promising student, Jasmine (Gail Bean) grows. Going one layer deeper than the comedic relief of Anders Holm (who plays John and most notably associated with his role in Workaholics) the film unpacks what societal norms and pressures hold for two women from very different backgrounds. Kris Swanberg directs. Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, and Gail Bean co-star. (R) 90 minutes.
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: https://groups.google.com/group/LTATM.
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 footage 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.
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 till 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.
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.
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.
TRAINWRECK Amy Schumer said on a recent episode of BBC’s 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 could. 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.
MR. HOLMES Reviewed this issue. (PG) 104 minutes.