October 3, 2008
Moving Images Pasa Pics
OPENING THIS WEEK
AN AMERICAN CAROL Kevin Farley (younger brother of Chris) plays director Michael Malone, a Michael Moore caricature, as a buffoon who tries to eliminate Independence Day celebrations. He's visited by three ghosts who teach him the true spirit of America. David Zucker (Airplane!) co-wrote and directed Carol, which boasts Kelsey Grammar and Dennis Hopper in its cast. Rated PG-13. 83 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)APPALOOSA Ed Harris returns to the director's chair for the first time since 2000's Pollock. For this film he set the chair down locally and made New Mexico his canvas. He and Viggo Mortensen play a couple of men in the old West who are hired to take down a crooked rancher (Jeremy Irons) and find themselves fighting over a woman (Renee Zellweger). Rated R. 114 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
(2.5 Chiles) BATTLE IN SEATTLE The 1999 protest against the World Trade Organization in Seattle mushroomed into full-scale riots. Writer-director Stuart Townsend's urgent and viscerally pounding reliving of those events combines fictional stories and actual news footage. The obvious comparison is Haskell Wexler's brilliant Medium Cool, which 30 years earlier plunged actors into the actual events at the disastrous Chicago Democratic Convention. Townsend fares less well with his sometimes mawkish and maladroit fictional threads; but the movie sweeps you up as the violence grows, and out of the bedlam a clarity emerges to illuminate the WTO issues behind the protests. The impressive cast includes Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, and Ray Liotta -- more star power than the film really needs. Rated R. 99 minutes. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)
BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) is the pampered pooch of the title, who gets lost down south in scary Mexico and must be rescued by another Chihuahua (George Lopez). This is not an animated film -- it uses real dogs with animated mouths. If the movie is as frightening as the trailers, then this could be here just in time for Halloween. Rated PG. 85 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
2.5 CHILES BLINDNESS Nameless people in a nameless town in a nameless city are afflicted with sudden blindness. The victims are herded into an isolated industrial complex where social order quickly breaks down. One woman who can still see (Julianne Moore) is able to help when a Lord of the Flies survival mentality ensues. Blindness is a gutsy work. But in struggling to be both a thoughtful treatise on human behavior and an edgy, near-exploitative action pic, it loses its point of view before meandering into an ambiguous climax. Rated R. 125 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Robert Nott) See review, Page XX.
FLASH OF GENIUS Windshield wipers are one of the many indispensable inventions that we take for granted. Robert Kearns pitched the idea to the auto companies, which ran with it, but failed to credit him. Kearns spent decades pleading his case in court. Greg Kinnear plays Kearns in this film based on his ordeal. Rated PG-13. 119 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE British journalist Toby Young's 2003 memoir received notoriety for skewering the publishing hierarchy at Conde Nast. Simon Pegg plays the self-destructive and self-depricating author who almost sabotages his career by unleashing a wild pig at a black-tie event and indulging in other such antics. Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges, and Gillian Anderson costar. Rated R. 110 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola. (Not reviewed)
3 CHILES LOUISE BOURGEOIS: THE SPIDER, THE MISTRESS AND THE TANGERINE Father issues, mother love, self-determination, and indifference toward the art market are all ingredients in this revealing documentary about artist Louise Bourgeois. Now 96, Bourgeois has been referred to as difficult to work with (and that's putting it kindly), but this film captures the artist with her guard down and conveys much about her life and complex work, which may be seen as both intimate and repulsive. Not rated. 99 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Douglas Fairfield) See review, Page XX.
MISTER LONELY Harmony Korine hit the indie-cinema big-time as the 19-year-old screenwriter of 1995's Kids. He's gone on to have a career as an avant-garde director, and Mister Lonely is his latest - - about a Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) in Paris. He meets Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton), who takes him to a celebrity Neverland where Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple, and Sammy Davis Jr., all live. Not rated. 112 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Jill Battson)
THE NEW MEXICO FILM EXPO The Santa Fe Film Festival presents its third annual expo, which shines a light on recent movies by New Mexico filmmakers. The event continues through Sunday, Oct. 5, at the New Mexico Film Museum, 418 Montezuma Ave., Santa Fe, and closes at The Film Center, Santa Fe, on Monday, Oct. 6.
NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST Hey, it's another movie that highlights a crazy 24-hour period in teenagers' lives -- and this one even stars the Superbad Michael Cera. He and Kat Dennings play two lonely kids who share a wild night and maybe find love while looking for a secret indie-rock show. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
RANGE LIFE: A TOURING INDIE FEST Range Life Entertainment founder Todd Sklar brings four films -- Box Elder, In Memory of My Father, On the Road with Judas, and RSO [Registered Sex Offender] -- to Santa Fe for a miniature festival, which runs from Friday, Oct. 3, to Sunday, Oct. 5. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe.
RELIGULOUS Political comic Bill Maher (HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher) finds God -- or tries to -- as he takes a stab at the comedy- documentary genre popularized by Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock. Maher travels the world and speaks with people of different faiths to discover what this "religion" thing is all about. Rated R. 101 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
TAOS MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL The annual festival returns on Thursday, Oct. 9, with its usual melange of movies about nature exploration, conservation, and adventure -- from Tibet to the Taos Box, and many points in between. The festival runs through Oct. 12. Old County Courthouse, 121 N. Plaza, Taos, and La Fonda de Taos, 108 S. Plaza, Taos. See www.mountainfilm.net or call 575-751-3658 for details.
2008 NEW MEXICO FILMMAKERS INTENSIVE SHORTS This free screening of seven short films highlights the work of this year's participants in the College of Santa Fe's program for in-state, aspiring filmmakers. 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, only. The Screen, Santa Fe.
(3 Chiles) YOUSSOU N'DOUR: RETURN TO GORE The Senegalese mbalax singer takes a road trip to the U.S. to explore the music sown by the slaves who were shipped to the New World in shackles through Goree Island, Senegal's dark reverse of Ellis Island. He samples black American music styles in Atlanta, New Orleans, and New York, collects a band, and returns to Goree to give a concert. The music is wonderful, and so is Amiri Bakara, the American poet and activist. Director Pierre-Yves Borgeaud's documentary touch is unimaginative -- lots of walking down hallways in hotels and even the airline graphic of the plane crossing the ocean. And the concert, much anticipated, is a bit of an anticlimax. But world- music fans will put up with the drawbacks to reap the rewards. Not rated. 110 minutes. In French and English with subtitles. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)
NOW IN THEATERS
(3 CHILES) BURN AFTER READING George Clooney, John Malkovich, and Frances McDormand shine in this ensemble farce by the Coen brothers. The main story centers on a harebrained blackmail plot involving an ex-CIA agent's missing memoirs, but that is overshadowed by affairs of the heart. This screwball comedy works best when it throws fastballs. Rated R. 96 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Robert Benziker)
CHOKE Considering the cult appeal of the 1999 film Fight Club, it's a wonder more films haven't been adapted from Chuck Palahniuk's popular novels. Choke is based on his 2001 book and stars Sam Rockwell as a sex addict who pretends to choke at upscale restaurants and uses the sympathy of his rescuers to pay for his mother's medical bills. Rated R. 89 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
(4 CHILES) THE DARK KNIGHT In director Christopher Nolan's latest Batman entry, Christian Bale stars as a more-conflicted Caped Crusader. As Gotham City confronts its crime problem, a new brand of evil emerges from the shadows. Heath Ledger consumes the role of the Joker, upping the ante on cinema villainy. The best superhero movie to date. Rated PG-13. 152 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Rob DeWalt)
(ONION) DEATH RACE A loose remake of the Roger Corman-produced Death Race 2000, this Paul W.S. Anderson film stars Jason Statham as "Frankenstein," a wronged prisoner who must earn his freedom by winning a violent race. It's a dismal picture that drowns us in dull colors, horrible industrial music, and confusing action. Rated R. 89 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Benziker)
(1 CHILE) EAGLE EYE Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan play two people who are forced into an elaborate conspiracy by a mysterious woman who calls their cellphones. The two average citizens suddenly become action heroes capable of surviving 30-foot drops and outfighting police officers -- and that isn't even the most absurd aspect of the film. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Robert Benziker) See review, Page XX.
(3 CHILES) GHOST TOWN This poorly titled film is a very sweet romantic comedy about an emotionally dead man who is taught how to live by people who are physically dead. British comic Ricky Gervais is nicely cast as a dispassionate dentist who is haunted by an arrogant ghost (Greg Kinnear) into romancing the man's widow (Tea Leoni) in an effort to stop her impending marriage to a jerk. Rated PG-13. 103 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola. (Robert Nott)
(2 CHILES) THE HOUSE BUNNY Star-in-the-making Anna Faris is an expelled Playboy Bunny who takes a job as housemother to a sorority of misfits and losers. She helps the girls gain self-confidence and attain vengeance on their rivals. The picture loses its comic drive about halfway through as it strives to deliver a moral. Rated PG- 13. 98 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott)
(1 CHILE) IGOR When evil scientist Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese) dies unexpectedly, his assistant, Igor (John Cusack), sees his chance to prove to the town of Malaria that he, too, is a great inventor. But Igor's supposedly malevolent creation, Eva (Molly Shannon), turns out to be a dud. Great voice talent can't make up for this computer-animated film's flabby, distasteful script, which leans too heavily on story lines and gags from much better films. Rated PG. 87 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola. (Rob DeWalt)
(3 CHILES) LAKEVIEW TERRACE A young, liberal, interracial couple (Patrick Wilson and Kelly Washington) move next door to an old, conservative, racist cop (Samuel L. Jackson), who bullies and berates them until tension boils over. Lakeview requires suspension of disbelief and may prove forgettable, but Jackson flexes his acting muscles, and director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men) peppers this thriller with solid characterizations and questions about race, gender, and politics. Rated PG-13. 110 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola. (Robert Benziker)
3 chiles THE LUCKY ONES Three soldiers (Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Pena) just back from Iraq find themselves thrown together in this low-key, antiwar road movie. They travel from New York to Las Vegas in a minivan, bonding over physical and psychological wounds and discovering themselves. Robbins and McAdams give nice but understated performances; Pena comes alive in jolts. Rated R. 91 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Jill Battson) See review, Page XX.
(3.5 CHILES) MAN ON WIRE In this exhilarating documentary, the Twin Towers are back on-screen to celebrate one of their finest moments: the breathtaking 1974 tightrope walk between their summits by French high-wire artist Philippe Petit. The movie is fascinating, but it makes a few false steps; happily, Petit made none. Rated PG- 13. 94 minutes. In English and French with subtitles. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)
MAYNARD DIXON: ART AND SPIRIT Diane Keaton narrates this documentary about Dixon (1875-1946), the artist who often escaped from San Francisco to the deserts of the Southwest, where he painted landscapes and the Navajo and Hopi people with whom he lived for stretches of time. Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 7 and 9, only. Not rated. 66 minutes. The Film Center, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
2.5 Chiles MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA Four survivors of an all-black U.S. Army unit find themselves behind enemy lines in Tuscany during World War II. This is Spike Lee at his best and his worst, a film filled with good dynamics and clunky speechifying, and the movie is framed by present-day action that strays into the downright silly despite fine performances from the core group of actors: Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, and Omar Benson Miller. Rated R. 160 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards) See review, Page XX.
MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, and Jason Biggs threaten to ruin a perfectly good Cars song by portraying their usual character types. Biggs (American Pie) is the bland guy trying to hook up. Hudson (Fool's Gold) is the object of his desire -- a nice gal who can't resist jerks. Cook (Good Luck Chuck) is the jerk. Rated R. 103 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola. (Not reviewed)
(2 CHILES) NIGHTS IN RODANTHE Fans of The Notebook will find this adaptation of another Nicholas Sparks weepy to be a disappointment. Diane Lane is a housewife in crisis. She flees to the North Carolina coastal town of Rodanthe for some quiet time and runs a bed and breakfast for the weekend. The sole guest is Richard Gere, a doctor on a mission. They come together one stormy night and change each other's lives forever. The film has all the depth of a Tampax commercial. Rated PG-13. 97 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Espanola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Dolores McElroy)
(3 CHILES) RIGHTEOUS KILL Here is a solid thriller with heavyweight acting -- by Robert De Niro, in particular. He and Al Pacino are a pair of police detectives in New York City pursuing a serial killer who targets criminals. Could one of them be the murderer? The picture is at its best as it plays out its suspenseful story, building the mystery and the sense of uncertainty in the minds of its characters and its audience. Rated R. 100 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott)
(3 CHILES) ROMAN DE GARE Filmmaker Claude Lelouch hasn't had a hit in the U.S. since A Man and a Woman in 1966. This film won't match that success, but it's a diabolically entertaining thriller paved with red herrings and mixing genuine suspense with a delightful sense of tongue-in-cheek. With pug-faced veteran Dominique Pinon and the appealing Audrey Dana. Rated R. 103 minutes. In French with subtitles. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)
(3 CHILES) TROPIC THUNDER Ben Stiller (who co-wrote the script and also directs), Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black play actors in a Vietnam War movie who have to face real-life killers in the jungle. Downey Jr. stands out as a white Method actor playing a black soldier. The film's biggest drawback is its uneven rhythm. Rated R. 106 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott)
(3 CHILES) UP THE YANGTZE Chinese-Canadian documentarian Yung Chang took his camera to China's Yangtze River to capture the moment the waters rose before the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project. The film focuses on two young Chinese cruise- ship workers as they cater to Western tourists who have come to see the countryside and villages disappear beneath the rising waters. Not rated. 93 minutes. In English and Mandarin with subtitles. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)
(3.5 CHILES) VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA Woody Allen is in top form with this rumination on romance. Two American women, Vicky and Cristina (Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson), are spending a summer in Barcelona and meet Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem). Clever, often funny, and beautifully performed by all the principals -- special honors to Penelope Cruz as Juan Antonio's fiery ex-wife. Rated PG-13. 96 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)
(4 CHILES) WALLE On a garbage-laden Earth whose inhabitants have long since fled to outer space, a lone robot readies the planet for the return of the human race. But there's a problem: humanity is now lazy and rendered directionless by its dependence on technology. Pixar's latest is a tale of modern woes and timeless romance as well as a visual feast. Rated G. 97 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Rob DeWalt)
(3 CHILES) WHALEDREAMERS This documentary, filmed in Australia, is part Koyaanisqatsi, part An Inconvenient Truth, and part nature film. Produced by Julian Lennon and Kim Kindersley, it's centered on a gathering of tribal leaders from around the world. They share stories and hopes for the Earth with "whale dreamers" from the aboriginal Mirning tribe. Not rated. 83 minutes. Tuesday and Thursday, Oct. 7 and 9, only. The Film Center, Santa Fe. (Paul Weideman)
(ONION) THE WOMEN This remake of George Cukor's 1939 classic could have been the ultimate chick flick (the cast includes Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Candice Bergen, and no men whatsoever). But nobody does any acting; they deliver ham-handed zingers while looking scandalized, concerned, or teary-eyed, and what results is an exhausting, cliche-ridden parody of female friendship. Rated PG-13. 114 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Laurel Gladden)
The Film Center
Wednesday, Oct. 8: The Linguists.
Ten Thousand Waves
3451 Hyde Park Road (Relax Room), 992-5025
Thursday, Oct. 9: Japanese Film Night -- The Tale of Zatoichi Continues.
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