Music, Arts & Culture » Movies

Film Listings 11/15/18 – 11/22/18

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Editor's note: Listings for Regal Arroyo Grande Stadium 10 were incomplete at press time. Also, most other theaters' films are subject to change on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Call the theaters for shows and times.

BEAUTIFUL BOY

OUTED Jared (Lucas Hedges), a Baptist preacher's son, is forced into a gay conversion program after he's outed to his parents, in Boy Erased, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Focus Features
  • OUTED Jared (Lucas Hedges), a Baptist preacher's son, is forced into a gay conversion program after he's outed to his parents, in Boy Erased, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre (ends 11/20)

Pick

Felix van Groeningen (With Friends Like These, The Misfortunates, Belgica) directs this biopic based on a pair of best-selling memoirs by father and son David (Steve Carell) and Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet) about their experiences of surviving addiction over many years.

Powerful performances by Carell and Chalamet, as well as Amy Ryan as mother Vicki and Maura Tierney as stepmother Karen, buoy this somewhat predictable story of addiction and recovery. (120 min.)

—Glen Starkey

BOY ERASED

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Director Joel Edgerton (The Gift) adapts Garrard Conley's memoir about a Baptist preacher's son, Jared (Lucas Hedges), who's forced into a gay conversion program after he's outed to his parents, Marshall (Russell Crowe) and Nancy (Nicole Kidman). (115 min.)

—Glen Starkey

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Bay, Downtown Centre, Fair Oaks, Galaxy, Park

Pick

Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, Superman Returns) directs this biopic about Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and Queen, chronicling the band's rise to super stardom, Mercury's solo career and AIDS diagnosis, and their triumphant reunion and spellbinding performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert.

The criticisms you've heard are all true: The film's chronology is inaccurate, it skips over or condenses much of Queen's history, its PG-13 rating sanitizes the story, and star Rami Malek's prosthetic overbite teeth are distracting, but none of that stops Bohemian Rhapsody from being an engaging, joyous, and highly entertaining film.

Set aside your picked nits and sit back and soak up this uplifting ride. Yes, the film is flawed. So was Freddie Mercury, but that didn't make him any less of a legendary rock star! (134 min.)

—Glen Starkey

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) directs Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, an author in a career limbo who commits literary forgery in order to make ends meet. The film is an adaptation of Lee Israel's confessional autobiography Can You Forgive Me? released in 2008.

The film is centered on the true story of Israel, an author that experienced a peak in her career writing celebrity biographies but now finds herself in a slump. She hasn't had a writing gig in a while, and her agent Marjorie (Jane Curtin) won't return her phone calls. So she doesn't have a job in the only field she knows, and to make matters worse, her beloved cat has fallen ill, she can't make payments on her dreary apartment, and her former partner, Elaine (Anna Deavere Smith), doesn't feel like picking her up anymore when she's down.

The movie trailer that shows Israel trying to sell used books at a local bookstore, only to be given a couple measly bucks and told that one of her authored books is on clearance, is the perfect example of one of her lowest points in the film.

Part of her downfall is that she doesn't care about making appearances or mingling at parties to get her name out there. In the process of figuring out her next venture, an idea literally falls on her lap. While doing research, a letter written by jack-of-all-trades Fanny Brice (she was a comedian, actress, and singer) falls out of a book. Israel figures she could make a pretty penny on her find, but the local bookstore only hands over $75, saying it would be worth more if it were juicer. She finds that there is a lucrative market for this kind of memorabilia in bookstores but the more interesting the letter, the more it's worth. Naturally, Israel uses her talent to embellish more than 400 letters from prominent figures.

She believes she's on a new literary streak, a talent in her eyes, until one of her new ventures captures the attention of the FBI. In order to avoid being caught for fraud, she enlists her only friend, Jack Hock (Richard Grant), who's couch surfing and ready to do anything.

The hardest part to watch in the film was when Israel believed she hadn't done anything wrong with her fake letters; in fact, she believed she contributed to literature with her style of writing.

The film really captures the essence of the rise and fall of Israel and the destruction of a friendship. This is Heller's second go at directing a film and it's riveting from start to finish as the audience is immediately engaged with the grumpy alcoholic that is Israel. Instead of giving us a character to love or connect with, we're given someone who is at her wits' end, and who we eventually feel some sort of compassion for.

I was definitely surprised with Melissa McCarthy's performance as Israel, as she delivered a character I didn't know she could. I'm so used to McCarthy playing the same forgettable role—Life of the Party, The Happytime Murders, Ghostbusters, The Boss, and the list could go on—that I didn't know she could play a serious dramatic character. Israel is a no-nonsense defensive individual with a gloomy outlook on life, who really only shows some sort of emotion for her sick cat. That vulnerability is a perfect marriage of McCarthy's performance and Heller's directing guidance.

I can't say the end is happy or sad. It feels like the limbo that the film started with, and it's left me wanting to learn more about Israel and what happened after her fabrication escapades.

—Karen Garcia

CREED II

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? (starts 11/20) Downtown Centre, Stadium 10

New

Steven Caple Jr. (The Land) directs this sequel about boxer Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), who, under trainer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), takes on the son of Rocky's nemesis Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). (117 min.)

—Glen Starkey

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

MORE MAGIC Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) must once again hunt down evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald, in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros.
  • MORE MAGIC Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) must once again hunt down evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald, in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Legend of Tarzan) directs this J.K. Rowling screenplay, the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series, about magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who's enlisted by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to recapture escaped evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). (134 min.)

—Glen Starkey

FREE SOLO

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

I don't think I've ever sweated so much in a movie theater in my life. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin helm this raw and gripping National Geographic documentary, which chronicles 33-year-old rock climber Alex Honnold's incredible 2017 ascent up the face of El Capitan, a 3,000-foot-tall rock formation in Yosemite, without protective gear—the first in human history to accomplish the feat. (100 min.)

—Peter Johnson

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB: A NEW DRAGON TATTOO STORY

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre (ends 11/22), Galaxy, Park

Co-writer and director Fede Alvarez (Don't Breathe) helms this new installation into the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise, this time around with Claire Foy taking on the role of feminist hacker Lisbeth Salander and Sverrir Gudnason as investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. As they sort through spies, cybercriminals, and corrupt government officials, their investigation takes them back to where Lisbeth began with her own sister Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks).

This is a decidedly grim affair shot in variations of gray. Repressive and relentless, the story begins with a set piece of Lisbeth exacting revenge on a serial woman beater. After stringing him up by his feet, she shows she means business by using a stun gun on his genitals. She drains his bank accounts (she's a master hacker remember?), giving 20 percent to the women he beat and the rest to his wife, who escapes bloodied but with her toddler. The scene's only point is to remind viewers that Lisbeth is a badass out to right wrongs.

What follows is less about a feminist railing against patriarchy and misogyny and more of a high-tech thriller about another programmer, Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant), who's built a program that can commandeer and control any nation's weapons systems and was commissioned by the United States. He realizes his program is an abomination and is too powerful for any country to wield, so he hires Lisbeth to cyber-steal it. This sets in motion a complicated story that includes American operative Ed Needham (Lakeith Stanfield), Swedish official Gabriella Grane (Synnøve Macody Lund), and a mysterious criminal organization called the Spiders, that seems to be headed by Lisbeth's supposedly dead sister Camilla.

Despite the blanket of dread covering the story, there's some fun to be had. Watching Lisbeth outsmart her various opponents is fun, and Balder's gifted son, August (Christopher Convery), ups the emotional ante. It's also interesting listening to Lisbeth converse with various characters, such as her lover Sofia (Andreja Pejic). She has no interest in protecting Sofia's feelings. Americans lie or soften to protect others' feelings, but not Lisbeth. She's essentially humorless.

Fans of the books will probably feel like this new story is off base and that Clair Foy's Lisbeth Salander doesn't feel true to novelist Stieg Larsson's vision. They're right, and the source material is so beloved that any reboot would suffer by comparison. If you like these kids of films, hit a matinee, but for me this is worthy of a rental. (117 min.)

—Glen Starkey

GREEN BOOK

ODD COUPLE African-American classical pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right), hires working-class Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as his driver on a music tour of 1960s American South, in the biopic Green Book, opening Nov. 20. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Dreamworks
  • ODD COUPLE African-American classical pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right), hires working-class Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as his driver on a music tour of 1960s American South, in the biopic Green Book, opening Nov. 20.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre (starts 11/20)

New

Co-writer Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary) directs this biopic about African-American classical pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who hires working-class Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as his driver on a music tour of 1960s American South. Though they're very different people, they develop a warm and enduring friendship. (130 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE GRINCH

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Co-directors Yarrow Cheney (The Secret Life of Pets) and Scott Mosier helm this animated adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story, narrated by Pharrell Williams, about a grumpy curmudgeon, the Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), planning to ruin Whoville's Christmas. Along the way, the Grinch encounters various inhabitants of the town including Cindy-Lou Who (Cameron Seely); her mother, Donna Who (Rashida Jones); and Mr. Bricklebaum (Kenan Thompson).

I never thought we would ever get another feature-length version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Didn't we already stretch the short story to its limits with the Jim Carrey iteration? I just hope the next one is a Christmas horror film akin to Krampus, or better yet an entire trilogy helmed by hobbiteer Peter Jackson (if anyone knows how to carve multiple three-hour films from one single book, it's not him).

If this Grinch brings anything new to the table, it's the fact that Cumberbatch is by far the most uncharacteristically clean and relatively normal (by human standards) Grinch we've ever seen on screen. Not saying that's a bad thing, it's just different. He's still grumpy and mean, but nothing he does warrants his "stink, stank, stunk" description found in the lyrics of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

The song, a holiday favorite since its debut in the original 1966 animated Grinch adaptation, is covered by Tyler the Creator for the new film and can be heard over a montage of the Grinch getting out of bed, putting his socks and pants on, drinking coffee, etc. You know, just the grossest things imaginable. I had to listen to it as soon as I got home. One of the highest rated comments on the YouTube video made my night"The lyrics say his teeth are yellow, but they are white and way brighter than my future will ever be."

Compared to both adaptations that came before it, this year's Grinch doesn't set the bar any higher. For me, few things in this world will ever top Jim Carrey's Grinch sitting alone in his cave, eating broken glass. ("Am I just eating because I'm bored?") But this one is still enjoyable enough in my opinion, and I think that will ring true for children and families especially. I definitely laughed more than I thought I would, even without the glass eating. (86 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

INSTANT FAMILY

GOT KIDS? Married couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) adopt three children, sending their lives into utter chaos, in Instant Family. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
  • GOT KIDS? Married couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) adopt three children, sending their lives into utter chaos, in Instant Family.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Co-writer and director Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2, Daddy's Home) helms his story about Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne), who adopt three children, sending their lives into utter chaos. (119 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE NUTCRACKERS AND THE FOUR REALMS

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Park, Sunset Drive-In

Pick

Co-directors Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, A Dog's Purpose) and Joe Johnston (October Sky; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Jumanji; Captain America: The First Avenger) along with writers Ashleigh Powell (in her screen writer debut) and Simon Beaufoy (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) re-imagine this classic Christmas ballet story. (99 min.)

—Ryah Cooley

OVERLORD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

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

See Split Screen.

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2

WRECK-IT Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly, right) and Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) follow a Wi-Fi router in their arcade to a new adventure, in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • WRECK-IT Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly, right) and Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) follow a Wi-Fi router in their arcade to a new adventure, in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? (starts 11/20) Downtown Centre, Stadium 10

New

Co-directors Phil Johnson and Rich Moore helm this animated sequel in which Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) follow a Wi-Fi router in their arcade to a new adventure. (112 min.)

—Glen Starkey

ROBIN HOOD

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Stadium 10 (starts 11/19)

New

Otto Bathurst directs this action-adventure about former Crusader-turned-rebel Robin of Loxley (Taron Edgerton) and his Moorish partner, Little John (Jamie Foxx), who take on the corrupt British crown. Can the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelson) stop Robin, and can Marian (Eve Hewson) stop herself from falling in love? (116 min.)

—Glen Starkey

A STAR IS BORN

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre (ends 11/20), Galaxy

Pick

Co-writer, director, and co-star Bradley Cooper helms this remake of A Star Is Born (first released in 1937, and later remade in 1954 and 1976). In this iteration, Cooper stars as Jackson Maine, a famous musician whose star is waning as he discovers talented but insecure singer Ally (Lady Gaga). As Jack battles alcoholism and his own decline, he helps Ally find the strength to let her talent shine.

You'd think on the fourth retelling things would be getting stale, but Bradley Cooper takes a sweeping look at the rise and fall of stardom, the shallowness of the entertainment industry, creativity, substance abuse, family dynamics, and romance. (135 min.)

—Glen Starkey

WIDOWS

PAYBACK Viola Davis (left) and Cynthia Erivo star in Widows, about a group of women who must team up for a heist to atone for their dead criminal husbands. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • Photo Courtesy Of Twentieth Century Fox
  • PAYBACK Viola Davis (left) and Cynthia Erivo star in Widows, about a group of women who must team up for a heist to atone for their dead criminal husbands.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Park, The Palm, Stadium 10

New

Co-writer Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) directs this crime drama about Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), and Belle (Cynthia Erivo), who must team up to pull off a heist after their husbands are killed on a botched job and a crime boss demands payment. (129 min.) Δ

—Glen Starkey

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and others. You can contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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