Film, Times & Events: Week of November 20

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BROOKLYN From far across the cavernous pond, Eilis is an Irish immigrant who lands in 1950s Brooklyn, New York, only to face crippling homesickness, glaring cultural differences, prejudice, and hardship. When Eilis falls in love with a young Italian boy from a totally different world, she’s forced to choose between her old home and her new life. John Crowley directs. Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson co-star. (PG-13) 111 minutes.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2 Did this book need two movies? Who even cares, we’ll follow Katniss anywhere. Francis Lawrence directs. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth co-star. (PG-13) 137 minutes.

SECRET IN THEIR EYES Jess, Claire and Ray are a tight-knit group of investigators quickly rising through the ranks until they find the body of a teenage girl—the body of Jess’s daughter. Thirteen years have passed when another lead falls into their lap and the trail of justice and retribution is picked up once more. Lead by the brilliant trio of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts (with Roberts delivering what looks to be her most haunting performance to date), Secret In Their Eyes is a chilling journey of personal vengeance directed by the screenplay writer for Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games. Billy Ray directs. (PG-13) 111 minutes.

SPOTLIGHT In Boston, the church ran everything. When the Spotlight investigative reporting team from the Boston Globe began unpacking the decades-long cover up of child molestation, they found themselves up against a web of religious, legal, and government croonies. The cover up was linked to the city’s highest levels and the wave of revelations that followed in its wake rocked not only the Catholic world, but the entire international community. Tom McCarthy directs. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams co-star. (R) 128 minutes. 

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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THE ASSASSIN Set in ninth century China during the Tang Dynasty, The Assassin follows a female killer hired to eradicate corrupt government officials—but, she shows mercy to the wrong targets and in punishment she’s forced to kill someone she loves. Mandarin with English subtitles. 

BRIDGE OF SPIES In May of 1960, two weeks before an East-West summit in Paris, a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down over Soviet airspace. With the world teetering on the brink of Mutually Assured Destruction, the entire course of the Cold War depended on getting that CIA agent back on U.S. soil. Tom Hanks plays the man who was trusted with negotiating the prisoner exchange, a lawyer plucked from a normal, everyday existence by the CIA. Steven Spielberg directs. Alan Alda, Amy Ryan co-star. (PG-13) 135 minutes.

BURNT The Netflix show Chef’s Table gives a fairly good look into the angst, desperation and rock-stardom of today’s top chefs—Burnt blows it wide open. Bradley Cooper is Adam Jones, a two-star Michelin chef, who is hunted, wanted, idolized, and despised on the path to culinary perfection and restaurant redemption. John Wells directs. Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl co-star. (NR) 100 minutes.

BY THE SEA It’s the Hollywood royal couple on the screen together as a couple, it’s cinema mirroring life! No, not Jay Z and Beyonce, the other royal couple—Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt star as tortured married couple travelling the country together in the mid-1970s. They’re glamorous, aching and you can’t really look straight at the screen when they’re together in one frame because it’s a little like looking into the sun. Angelina Jolie directs. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Mélanie Laurent co-star. (R) 132 minutes.

EAST SIDE SUSHI Juana is a single mom who can tackle anything thrown her way. But in the back kitchen of a Japanese restaurant, she’s the wrong gender and the wrong race. To become a sushi chef, she has to fight against the many cultural and gendered barriers to claiming her piece of the American dream. Anthony Lucero directs. Diana Elizabeth Torres, Yutaka Takeuchi, Rodrigo Duarte Clark co-star. 100 minutes.

EXPERIMENTER In the wake of WWII the words “I was just following orders” haunted a generation. So, in 1961 psychologist Stanley Milgram decided to test just how perceptions of authority could lead human beings to commit terrible atrocities and how defiance became the anomaly. Milgram’s experiment was the first of its kind (ten years prior to the Stanford Prison Experiment) and his radical methods incurred international outrage but also shockingly profound results. Michael Almereyda directs. Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Taryn Manning co-star. (PG-13) 98 minutes.

GOOSEBUMPS Quiver in your Sketchers and flannel shirts, ’90s kids, because the beloved R.L. Stine books are coming for you—again! This time, in live action, to reawaken every fourth-grade nightmare you ever had. Plus, Jack Black with a very fake, very bad English accent? We are so, so in. Rob Letterman directs. Odeya Rush, Halston Sage co-star. (PG) 103 minutes.

HE NAMED ME MALALA Malala Yousafzai is still a teenager, but it’s possible to look at her life story and not be amazed—she’s a goofball who can do card tricks, she laughs at herself, but she’s also the young Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for taking a stand against the Taliban. Her wisdom and her courage in supporting girls’ education around the world has stunned world leaders. He Named Me Malala takes a look at what has made one young girl an international hero. Davis Guggenheim directs. Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai and Toor Pekai Yousafzai co-star. (PG-13) 87 minutes.

LABYRINTH OF LIES Reconstructing Germany after the war was difficult enough—few wanted to face the daily reality that the perpetrators of the Holocaust often worked, lived, and flourished side by side their victims. For a nation trying to rebuild, it was easier to ignore. Except for Johann Radmann. In the 60s the young public prosecutor begins to uncover the previously unknown truth about Auschwitz and unmask the many thousands of former Nazis who were still sitting in positions of power in the government, academia, law enforcement, and beyond. Giulio Ricciarelli directs.  André Szymanski, Alexander Fehling, Friederike Becht. (R) 122 minutes.

LOVE THE COOPERS In case the ’90s didn’t deliver enough holiday feel-good films about families around the dinner table—here’s one that sounds just like all the others except with Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Diane Keaton and John Goodman. There’s the gorgeous daughter who feels pressure to bring home a life mate so she snags a stand-in at the airport, the single dad with his potty-mouthed daughter, the crazy grandmother, and the overbearing mother who only wants a perfect Christmas. Jessie Nelson directs. (PG-13) 120 minutes.

THE MARTIAN Astronaut Mark Watney is left stranded on Mars after a storm hits and he’s presumed dead—but somehow, he maintains a pretty positive outlook on the whole thing, despite the fact that he only has enough food for 50 days, the terrain isn’t suited for agriculture, and it’ll take four years to get a message back to Earth. There are, of course, complications with attempts to rescue Watney but with such a stellar cast (can you say Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino?) we don’t even care if he dies at the end. Note: we have no idea if he dies at the end. Ridley Scott directs. (PG-13) 141 minutes.

MISS YOU ALREADY Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette play Jess and Milly, two lifelong friends who’ve been at each other’s side through thick and thin. The thick gets thicker when Milly is diagnosed with breast cancer and Jess struggles to have the baby she’s longed for. Catherine Hardwicke directs. Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper co-star. (PG-13) 112 minutes.

OUR BRAND IS CRISIS Sandra Bullock plays Jane, a high-stakes, all-or-nothing campaign manager who is sent to Bolivia to install a new leader against her nemesis, the coordinator for the opposing candidate, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton). Based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, the film follows the events which quickly take Jane’s fight out of the realm of pure politics when the country starts to disintegrate into war and chaos. David Gordon Green directs. Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie co-star. (R) 107 minutes.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION For the crazy kids who weren’t freaked out enough by the handful of other Paranormal Activity films, here’s one about a family that has to protect their daughter from an evil entity using a special camera that can see spirits. We’ll be watching this one with all the lights on, in broad daylight, a solid thirty feet from the movie screen—but, hey, at least it’s the final installment in the franchise so thankfully the nightmares will end soon. Gregory Plotkin directs. Chris J.Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George co-star. (R) 88 minutes.

ROOM To Jack, there is nothing outside Room: Room is the entire world. He wakes up and says hello to Lamp, to Table, and to Plant. Now it’s up to the 5-year-old to break his mother out of Room, so they can both find freedom in a harrowing outside world that he’s never even heard of. Lenny Abrahamson directs. Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridges co-star. (R) 118 minutes.

SICARIO Emily Blunt is like the way cooler, less smiley version of Anne Hathaway. She’s British and she cries less. She can sing, play Queen Victoria, that super badass chick in Edge of Tomorrow, and everything in between. Did we mention that she’s the total package? Fawning aside, Benicio del Toro is also in this movie! He’s in charge of showing the young idealistic FBI agent the ropes as she struggles to understand the world of Mexican drug cartels. Denis Villeneuve directs. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro (R) 121 minutes.

SPECTRE Beautiful Bond is back again: hello, piercing blue eyes and puckered pout, it’s been too long! Oh yeah—something about a secret organization, M struggling again to secure Bond’s job, and over two hours of bing, bang, boom, kablooey. Also, Christoph Waltz! Sam Mendes directs. Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux co-star. (PG-13) 148 minutes.

STEVE JOBS Musicians play their instruments, I play the orchestra,” says Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs. And play it he did—even posthumously, as it seems Hollywood can’t get enough of him. At least this biopic’s got writer Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle behind it.  (R) 122 minutes. Read Lisa Jensen’s Film Review. (R) 122 minutes.

SUFFRAGETTE “All my life I’ve been respectful, done what men have told me—well I can’t have that any more,” says Maud Watts, an almost reluctant suffragette who stumbles upon the underground women’s movement in England in the late 19th century. Cornered by men at every turn, these foot soldiers of the early feminist movement risked everything to gain the right to vote—suffering oppression at work, brutality in the streets, humiliation by their peers, ostracization from their families and children, imprisonment by the police, and in some cases, even death. Sarah Gavron directs. Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter co-star. (Pg-13) 106 minutes.

THE 33 The mine owners knew there was structural damage, but they still sent 33 miners 22-stories under the earth’s surface. Without ladders, radio contact to the outside world, an empty medical kit and food and water for only three days, the miners have no option but to sit and wait for rescue. Only, the mine owners do not attempt any removal of the gargantuan rock blocking the exit and the government sends drills to reach the chamber only after pressure by families and the international media. Based on the 2010 Chilean mining disaster, The 33 follows the 69 agonizing days the men spent underground. Patricia Riggen directs. Naomi Scott, Cote de Pablo, Antonio Banderas co-star. (PG-13) 120 minutes.

TRUTH A group of journalists stumble upon the “holy grail” of documents—proof that President George W. Bush lied about his military service. Only, once the story goes national, it turns out the memos haven’t been confirmed and some of them can easily be forged on Microsoft Word. Truth is the story of the 2004 CBS “60 Minutes” report which sank anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes’ career. James Vanderbilt directs. Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid co-star. (R) 121 minutes.


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