Music, Arts & Culture » Movies

Film Listings, 10/31/19 – 11/7/19

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All theater listings are as of Friday, Nov. 1.

Editor's note: Listings for Rodkey Theaters—Fair Oaks of Arroyo Grande (805) 489-2364 and Sunset Drive-In of SLO (805) 544-4475—and full listings for Paso Robles' Park Cinemas (parkcinemas.com or (805) 227-2172) were not available by deadline.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

Co-directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon helm this animated comedy about a peculiar and macabre family. Despite the talent, the story is too blah to elicit much interest. (105 min.)

—Glen Starkey

ARCTIC DOGS

DOGS TO THE RESCUE Swifty the Arctic Fox (voiced by Jeremy Renner) enlists his friends to stop a villain who plans to melt the Arctic and rule in the world, in Arctic Dogs. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMBI GROUP
  • Photo Courtesy Of Ambi Group
  • DOGS TO THE RESCUE Swifty the Arctic Fox (voiced by Jeremy Renner) enlists his friends to stop a villain who plans to melt the Arctic and rule in the world, in Arctic Dogs.

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Stadium 10

New

Aaron Woodley directs this animated adventure comedy about Swifty the Arctic Fox (voiced by Jeremy Renner), who enlists his friends to stop a villain who plans to melt the Arctic and rule in the world. (93 min.)

—Glen

BLACK AND BLUE

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Stadium 10

Pick

Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks, Traffik, The Intruder) directs this crime drama about rookie police officer Alicia West (Naomie Harris), who captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. When she realizes the perpetrators were corrupt cops, she has to escape the criminals out for vengeance as well as the cops who want the incriminating video.

Harris' committed performance helps elevate this otherwise pedestrian crime drama. Its premise is topical and it's clearly well intentioned, but that isn't enough to help this predictable, clichéd script. If you're in the mood for a bit of well-acted melodrama, hit a matinee. (108 min.)

—Glen

COUNTDOWN

TIME TO DIE Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) downloads an app that purports to tell users the exact time of their death, and she's only got three days left, in the horror-thriller Countdown. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WRIGLEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Wrigley Pictures
  • TIME TO DIE Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) downloads an app that purports to tell users the exact time of their death, and she's only got three days left, in the horror-thriller Countdown.

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Stadium 10

In this horror-thriller, writer, and director Justin Dec (Rolling) shows us just how spooky technology can be, when several doomed characters download an app that predicts—down to the very last second—exactly when its users will die.

If you could find out exactly when you're going to die, would you want to know?

Tempting, but I think that'd be a "no" from me, dog, because yikes. But right off the bat we meet several teens who download Countdown, an app that answers that very question, despite its clear satanic ties and ominous description. One discovers she only has a few hours to live.

After opting out of a potentially life-threatening situation, the girl is haunted by a shadowy figure until she's killed and dies right when the app said she would.

Later our leading lady, a nurse named Quinn (Elizabeth Lail), finds out about the app from a patient and installs it on her phone. When it predicts that she'll die in a few days, she goes on a panicked hunt for a way to prevent her impending death.

Along the way she meets Matt (Jordan Calloway), a guy with even less time to live, and Father John (P.J. Byrne), an unconventional priest who tries to help Quinn cleanse the app, which he believes is related to an ancient demon mentioned throughout the Bible. She also finds Derek, a tech bro who tries to help her delete the app, as if you can just delete Satan. And when that doesn't work, he helps her hack it, as if you can just hack Satan.

Apart from the distractingly bad acting throughout Countdown and a script so cliché and void of creativity that it almost felt purposefully satirical (maybe it was?), I actually kind of enjoyed watching.

To be fair, I not so secretly love bad horror movies. It's sort of like watching one of those Hallmark or Lifetime made-for-TV movies—they're just so bad you have to watch. What can I say? Ridiculing someone else's horrible art makes me feel alive. So do jump scares, and although there isn't any real substance in Countdown, there sure are a lot of those.

Still, a few cheap scares can't make up for the fact that this movie was bad. So bad that when a sexual predator who works with Quinn gets what's coming to him, she actually, and I'm not kidding, shouts, "Time's up, you rapey fuck," which I'm assuming is a nod (or more like an enormous arrow pointing) to Hollywood's Time's Up movement against sexual harassment. And it's also kind of a pun. Because the movie is about counting down the time until you die. Get it?

There's a lot wrong here—lacking cinematography, hastily laid-out rules, surface-level characters—but my biggest issue with Countdown is its insufficient sticking power. The killer app premise is interesting enough, kind of in the same vein as The Ring (2002) or Christine (1983), but those movies were at least a little scary because they stay with you afterward. The Ring forces you to watch the movie within the movie that leads to death in seven days, so for at least a day or two after watching you're paranoid that maybe you really will die. In Christine, it's an evil car that comes to life and kills its drivers, which is pretty easy to think about every time you get behind the wheel of a car late at night.

But Countdown doesn't have that, because if you just don't download the app, you don't have to worry about being killed.

Still, it's spooky season, so I think it's worth a watch. Happy Halloween! (90 min.)

—Kasey Bubnash

THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR'S CUT

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Stadium 10

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) has recut and released his 2017 film about the race between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and partners George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), and their battle between alternating current or direct current technologies to power the world.

The film was disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's last film as producer, so it almost didn't see the light of day as it was shelved when his sex scandal was revealed. Audiences have appreciated the film, but critics have offered mixed reviews, calling it "scattershot," "underpowered," and "flaccid." If you're interested in the story, it might be worth a matinee. (107 min.)

—Glen

HARRIET

AMERICAN HEROINE Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) escapes from slavery and goes on to help free hundreds of other slaves, in the historical drama and biopic, Harriet. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PERFECT WORLD PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Perfect World Pictures
  • AMERICAN HEROINE Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) escapes from slavery and goes on to help free hundreds of other slaves, in the historical drama and biopic, Harriet.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Stadium 10

New

Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayoo, The Caveman's Valentine, Talk to Me) directs this historical drama and biopic about Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo), who escaped from slavery and went on to become an American hero who helped free hundreds of other slaves. (125 min.)

—Glen

JOKER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Stadium 10

Pick

Co-writer Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover, War Dogs) directs this character study and origin story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who after being rejected by society becomes Joker, Batman's future arch nemesis.

Like a mirror on contemporary society, Joker reflects our problems back to us—the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, paternalistic politician-"saviors" who believe they know best for the "misguided" underclass, and the dismantling of the social safety net by a government that abandons its marginalized. It's a dark and depressing film, and it reminds me of the old saying, "Society gets the criminal it deserves." (121 min.)

—Glen

THE LIGHTHOUSE

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

See Split Screen.

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman direct this documentary about singer Linda Ronstadt, who in her 20s burst into the '60s folk scene and went on to be one of the biggest music stars of the 20th century. The film features interviews with Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Maria Muldaur, and many more.

Whether you're a longtime fan or one of the uninitiated, you'll find a lot to love here, from Ronstadt's amazing voice to her inspirational life. Deeply moving, the film will have you clamoring for more of her music. (95 min.)

—Glen

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Bay, Galaxy, Stadium 10

Pick

Disney's reimagined black-horned villainess, potentially gone soft, graces the big screen once again. With director Joachim Rønning at the helm (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil tells the story of how pending nuptials could tear not only Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora's (Elle Fanning) lives apart, but the human and magical worlds as well.

While the film as a whole was entertaining, it just lacked a flow in the story. Not to mention the fact that it's predictable. There were too many side stories that of course somehow come together in the end. But I don't blame Jolie for a second; her portrayal of the character, down to the deep villainous voice she uses, is amazing. She was ruling the screen, and the other characters were peasants in comparison. (118 min.)

—Karen Garcia

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN

HE'S ON THE CASE Edward Norton stars as Tourette's Syndrome-afflicted private detective Lionel Essrog, in Motherless Brooklyn, a film Norton wrote and directed based on Jonathan Lethem's crime novel. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros. Pictures
  • HE'S ON THE CASE Edward Norton stars as Tourette's Syndrome-afflicted private detective Lionel Essrog, in Motherless Brooklyn, a film Norton wrote and directed based on Jonathan Lethem's crime novel.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

New

Writer-director Edward Norton (Keeping the Faith) helms this 1950s-period crime drama based on Jonathan Lethem's novel about Tourette's Syndrome-afflicted private detective Lionel Essrog, who works to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). (144 min.)

—Glen

PADDINGTON 2

THAT SORT OF BEAR Paddington (voiced by Ben Whipshaw) with his marmalade sandwiches at the ready, goes on another adventure in Paddington 2 (2017), screening Nov. 2 and 3 at Park Cinemas. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STUDIOCANAL
  • Photo Courtesy Of Studiocanal
  • THAT SORT OF BEAR Paddington (voiced by Ben Whipshaw) with his marmalade sandwiches at the ready, goes on another adventure in Paddington 2 (2017), screening Nov. 2 and 3 at Park Cinemas.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Park on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, at 10 a.m.

New/Pick

Co-writer and director Paul King (Bunny and the Bull, Paddington) helms this charming family comedy sequel starring Paddington (voiced by Ben Whipshaw), a sweet-natured talking bear, who this time around finds himself happily settled with the Brown family. When he finds the perfect gift for his beloved Aunt Lucy's (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday, he begins a series of odd jobs to earn the money to buy it. But then the gift is stolen and Paddington and the Browns work to find the thief. (103 min.)

—Glen

SHOCK AND AWE

TRUTH WILL OUT Reporters Warren Strobel (James Marsden, left) and John Walcott (Rob Reiner) work to prove the Bush administration lied to justify the 2003 Iraq invasion, in Shock and Awe, screening on Nov. 4, at Cal Poly's Spanos Theatre, followed by a discussion with Walcott. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Castle Rock Entertainment
  • TRUTH WILL OUT Reporters Warren Strobel (James Marsden, left) and John Walcott (Rob Reiner) work to prove the Bush administration lied to justify the 2003 Iraq invasion, in Shock and Awe, screening on Nov. 4, at Cal Poly's Spanos Theatre, followed by a discussion with Walcott.

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Cal Poly's Spanos Theatre on Monday, Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m.; free

New/Pick

Rob Reiner stars and directs this 2017 biographic historical drama about journalist John Walcott (Reiner), who with fellow Knight Ridder journalists Warren Strobel (James Marsden) and Jonathan Landay (Woody Harrelson) uncovered the questionable use of intelligence used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. While other newspapers toed the Bush administration's line about Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction, Walcott and his team didn't believe it.

Cal Poly will screen the film with journalist and author John Walcott, followed by a guided discussion with journalism professor and former KCOY news reporter Patti Piburn. They'll discuss the relationship between the U.S. government and the news media—then and today.

The event is free and open to the public, no tickets required. (90 min. film followed by discussion).

—Glen

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

THREE STRONG (Left to right) Daniella "Dani" Ramos (Natalia Reyes) finds protection from enhanced soldier Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from a new Terminator out to kill Dani, the future mother of a resistance leader, in Terminator: Dark Fate. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
  • THREE STRONG (Left to right) Daniella "Dani" Ramos (Natalia Reyes) finds protection from enhanced soldier Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from a new Terminator out to kill Dani, the future mother of a resistance leader, in Terminator: Dark Fate.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Stadium 10

New

Tim Miller (Deadpool) directs this next installment into the Terminator franchise. This time around, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and a "retired" T-800 Terminator going by the name Carl (Arnold Schwarzenegger) join forces with enhanced soldier, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), who's been sent from the future to protect Daniella "Dani" Ramos (Natalia Reyes), who if she lives will give birth to a Resistance leader who will stop an A.I. called Legion, who like Skynet hopes to destroy humankind. They're being pursued by Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), an advanced Terminator that's able to split in two. (128 min.)

—Glen

WESTERN STARS

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

Pick

Bruce Springsteen and his co-director Thom Zimny helm this concert film of Springsteen playing songs from his Western Stars album, backed by a full band and orchestra under the cathedral ceiling of a nearly 100-year-old barn. Consider it the visual companion of his first studio album in five years. Even at 70, Springsteen is still The Boss. (83 min.)

—Glen

WHERE'S MY ROY COHN?

THE FIXER Lawyer and political insider Roy Cohn (1927-1986), mentor to both Joseph McCarthy and Donald Trump, gets his own documentary, in Where's My Roy Cohn? - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALTIMETER FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Altimeter Films
  • THE FIXER Lawyer and political insider Roy Cohn (1927-1986), mentor to both Joseph McCarthy and Donald Trump, gets his own documentary, in Where's My Roy Cohn?

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54, Scott and the Secret History of Hollywood) directs this documentary about lawyer Roy Cohn (1927-1986), the unscrupulous political insider who helped create demagogues, from Joseph McCarthy to Donald Trump. The thriller-esque exposé reveals how this master manipulator shaped American politics. (97 min.)

—Glen

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Stadium 10

Pick

Ruben Fleischer (Venom, Gangster Squad) directs this sequel to his 2009 comedy horror film, Zombieland, about four survivors—Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin)—navigating a zombie apocalypse wasteland. In this follow-up, they slay a whole lot of zombies and encounter other survivors such as Madison (Zoey Deutch), Nevada (Rosario Dawson), Berkeley (Avan Jogia), Albuquerque (Luke Wilson), and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch). Somehow, Bill Murray—slain in the original—returns to play himself. (99 min.) Δ

—Glen

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey. Contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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