Music, Arts & Culture » Movies

Film listings 12/14/17 – 12/21/17

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COCO

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full Price

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

Pick

Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina co-direct this animated adventure-comedy written by the directors and Jason Katz and Matthew Aldrich, about Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), an aspiring musician from a family in which music is banned. Miguel is swept into the Land of the Dead meets his forebears, in this film that explores the Mexican tradition of el Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

Coco really is a love letter to the Mexican culture. I won't be one bit surprised if this wins Best Animated Feature at next year's Academy Awards. It deserves it! (109 min.)

—Glen Starkey

DADDY'S HOME

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) have joined forces to provide their kids with the perfect Christmas. Their newfound partnership is put to the test when Dusty's old school, macho dad (Mel Gibson) and Brad's ultra-affectionate and emotional dad (John Lithgow) arrive just in time to throw the holiday into complete chaos. (98 min.)

—Paramount Pictures

THE DISASTER ARTIST

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

See Split Screen.

FERDINAND

HOME ON THE RANGE A young bull must find his way back home in Ferdinand. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE SKY STUDIO/20TH CENTURY FOX
  • Photo Courtesy Of Blue Sky Studio/20th Century Fox
  • HOME ON THE RANGE A young bull must find his way back home in Ferdinand.

What's it rated? PG

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

New

Ferdinand tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, Ferdinand (John Cena) is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can't judge a bull by its cover. (107 min.)

—Blue Sky Studio/20th Century Fox

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre (Starting Dec. 20), Fair Oaks

New

Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. (139 min.)

—20th Century Fox

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Sunset Drive in (Starts Dec. 20)

New

When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they've never heard of, Jumanji, they are immediately drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) "the top two feet of his body" and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don't just play Jumanji—you must survive it. (112 min.)

—Columbia Pictures

JUST GETTING STARTED

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Streaming

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

Morgan Freeman stars as Duke, the sleazy manager of a luxury Palm Springs resort, the Villa Capri, with a dark past that catches up with him. After spotting Duke on television (in an infomercial for Villa Capri), a mysterious woman (Jane Seymour) makes a phone call. "I found him!" she says before ordering the hit man on the other line to "take care of him." It's revealed that the woman is the wife of an incarcerated mob boss who Duke, once a seedy lawyer, betrayed years ago before changing his identity and relocating.

But that opening scene doesn't amount to much as the film progresses. We're only shown two failed attempts on Duke's life and both of them take place at the Villa Capri golf coursea rattlesnake in his golf bag and a bomb on his golf cart. That's it? I guess I'm just used to more ruthless portrayals of the mafia in movies. I'm not saying rattlesnakes aren't scary, because they ARE.

We're given a car chase and a shoot-out during the film's climax, but the majority of Just Getting Started ignores its initial premise and focuses on the uncomfortable relationships Duke forms with two recent arrivals to the resortLeo (Tommy Lee Jones), a new resident, and Suzen (Rene Russo), Duke's new supervisor from the resort's corporate office. We see Duke make a buffoon out of himself in front of both of them. Some of his shenanigans include cheating at golf, getting in a fistfight with a Santa Claus, and seducing two women on the same night in separate rooms of his apartment.

Just Getting Started puts a lot of effort into singling out Duke as the most unsympathetic and irresponsible of the three leads, but Russo's character is surprisingly just as unforgivable by the end of the film (at least on an ethical level). Her reason for not wanting the police involved (after finding out about the assassination attempts) is just as selfish as Duke's (he doesn't want to relocate again). She insists on keeping everything under wraps out of fear of losing her job if an incident at the resort became public (I guess none of the witnesses to the golf cart explosion made any inquiries?).

Even after Suzen is kidnapped, Duke and Leo (who has a mysterious past of his own) continue to pursue the assailant themselves without any assistance. But some police interferenceor interference from ANYONEmight have spiced things up a bit. There were a lot of people on the course the day the golf cart exploded. I don't play golf so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about? Does that happen a lot? Are golf cart explosions a common thing? Or maybe Jones used his Men in Black character's memory eraser thingy on the witnesses? (91 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

JUSTICE LEAGUE

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rental

Where's it showing? Stadium 10, Galaxy

Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) directs this ensemble super hero flick featuring Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Batman (Ben Affleck), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), who must save the world from Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of Parademons, all while humanity ponders the death of Superman (Henry Cavill).

Justice League isn't a terrible movie, but in an age when superhero stories are finding new and fun ways of telling their stories, this feels like a step backwards. When even Gadot's luminescence can't save your dour proceedings, you've done something terribly wrong. (120 min.)

—Glen Starkey

LADY BIRD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm, Galaxy, Fair Oaks

Pick

Writer-director Greta Gerwig helms this coming of age story about high schooler Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) over the 2002-03 school year in Sacramento, exploring her difficult relationship with her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and others in her life. (93 min.)

—Glen Starkey

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rental

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Park

Kenneth Branagh (Dead Again, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) directs himself as famed Belgium detective Hercule Poirot, who on a lavish train trip with 13 strangers must solve a murder that could only have been committed by one of his fellow travelers.

If you're familiar with the story, that may work in your favor. If not, the grand reveal may seem like a cop-out, and it certainly will frustrate the armchair detectives who think they're solving the case. If you like period mystery dramas, this latest iteration of this oft told tale isn't terrible, but I didn't need to see it in the theater. (114 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE STAR

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

A small but brave donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun) yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (Aidy Bryant), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock, and Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told—the first Christmas. (86 min.)

—Sony Pictures Animation

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

THE END In Star Wars: The Last Jedi galactic legends unlock mysteries from the past. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • THE END In Star Wars: The Last Jedi galactic legends unlock mysteries from the past.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

In Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. (152 min.)

—Walt Disney Pictures

THOR: RAGNAROK

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) directs Chris Hemsworth as Thor, the God of Thunder, who loses his hammer, is imprisoned on the other end of the universe, and finds himself pitted against his former ally The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in a gladiatorial battle. Meanwhile, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death, is threatening to destroy Thor's home, Asgard, so he must escape and race against time to protect everything he holds dear.

Between Blanchett as Hela and Goldblum as Grandmaster, you've got two really entertaining scenery chewing bad guys. Hemsworth's Thor has an everyman charm. If you were merely to delineate the plot, this film would sound pretty boring, but as a sustained joke about the preposterousness of the Marvel Universe, it's amazing! (130 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm, Stadium 10

Pick

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one shape-shifter of a movie. Is it a comedy, tragedy, or quest for vengeance, redemption, and catharsis? Director/writer Martin McDonagh (The Guard) manages to convince you it's all of the above at different twists and turns in the story.

We're dropped late into the aftermath of mother Mildred Hayes' (Frances McDormand, Hail, Caesar!, Moonrise Kingdom) grief and pain. Months have gone by since her daughter Angela (Kathryn Newton) was viciously raped and murdered while walking home one night in their small town. Still, local law enforcement has made no arrests and doesn't even have any suspects. While driving down a forgotten road just outside Ebbing, Mildred gets and idea and proceeds to march into town and pay for three billboards in a row painted red with big black letters that say "Raped while dying," "And still no arrests?" and "How come, Chief Willoughby?"

It's a move that instantly sets the town aflutter, leading the viewer down several storylines. There's police chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle, Nanking), who feels targeted by the billboards while he's simultaneously dealing with life-threatening cancer. And we can't forget Willoughby's ne'er-do-well deputy Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell, Frost/Nixon, In The Soup), who has a history of allegedly torturing black people but somehow still has the trust of his boss. And there's the squirmy ad salesman Red (Caleb Landry Jones, Get Out, The Social Network), who surprisingly shows enough gumption to put the billboards up even though he gets flak being (we think) one of the few gay people in town. Meanwhile, the doe-eyed used car salesman James (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones) makes not so subtle passes at Mildred after she gives an interview on TV.

At home, not everyone is on board with Mildred's bold move. Her teen son, Robbie (Lucas Hedges, Manchester By The Sea), is thrown further into depression by the memories the billboards drag up of his sister. And things get downright violent between Mildred and her abusive ex-husband, Charlie (John Hawkes, Lincoln).

The writing is impeccably sharp, with searing lines thrown in at the most emotionally potent moments, and yet, there are so many laugh-out-loud moments, too, in this film that deals rather heavily in anger and sorrow. The acting is superb, particularly performances from McDormand, who plays Mildred as hardened and determined to find justice, and Harrelson as the seemingly hick police chief creates so much nuance and depth for his character. And yet, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri requires being OK with swallowing a hefty dose of imaginative realism. We're dealing with very real problems, but this is a world where the consequences for, say, throwing someone out a window or committing arson don't really line up with reality at all. (115 min.)

—Ryah Cooley

WONDER

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

If you're the type of person who enjoys those inspirational, feel-good, make-you-laugh-and-cry kind of movies, then you'll love Wonder. However, if you're that type of person but also a bit of a nerd, you will love Wonder even more.

Wonder is about Auggie Pullman (Jacob Temblay), a 10-year-old science enthusiast who was born with facial deformities. The main storyline focuses on Auggie trying to adjust to attending school for the first time after being homeschooled his entire life, but there are also plots centered around the other characters, such as Auggie's mother (Julia Roberts) trying to finish her dissertation that she put off after Auggie was born.

Even if cheesy underdog stories aren't your usual cup of tea, I still strongly encourage you to give Wonder a chance. It has more personality to it than most other films of this type, and Auggie isn't even the character in the spotlight 100 percent of the time. It has certain humor and charm that gives it just a touch of uniqueness, and I have a hard time coming up with reasons why anyone wouldn't like this movie. (113 min.)

—Katrina Borges

WONDER WHEEL

CONNECTED In Wonder Wheel, the lives of a lifeguard, carousel operator, former actress, and a young girl on the run from gangsters are intertwined at Coney Island in the 1950s. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Amazon Studios
  • CONNECTED In Wonder Wheel, the lives of a lifeguard, carousel operator, former actress, and a young girl on the run from gangsters are intertwined at Coney Island in the 1950s.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Wonder Wheel tells the story of four characters whose lives intertwine amid the hustle and bustle of the Coney Island amusement park in the 1950s: Ginny (Kate Winslet), an emotionally volatile former actress now working as a waitress in a clam house; Humpty (Jim Belushi), Ginny's rough-hewn carousel operator husband; Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a handsome young lifeguard who dreams of becoming a playwright; and Carolina (Juno Temple), Humpty's long-estranged daughter, who is now hiding out from gangsters at her father's apartment.(101 min.) Δ

—Amazon Studios

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Arts Editor Ryah Cooley and others. You can contact her at rcooley@newtimesslo.com.

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