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Film Listings, 2/15/18 – 2/22/18

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Editor's Note: Listings for Regal Arroyo Grande Stadium 10 were not available as of press time.

BLACK PANTHER

HERO In Black Panther, T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman, center) resolve as king and superhero Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of  his country and the world at risk. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Marvel Studios
  • HERO In Black Panther, T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman, center) resolve as king and superhero Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of his country and the world at risk.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Black Panther follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as king. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T'Challa's mettle as king and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk. (135 min.)

—Marvel Studios

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Galaxy

It's the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old American-Italian, spends his days in his family's 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother, Annella (Amira Casar), a translator. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. (130 min.)

—Sony Pictures Classics

DARKEST HOUR

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Fair Oaks

Pick

Darkest Hour drops viewers into one of the tensest, grimmest periods of World War II to illustrate how British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Garry Oldman), orated Britain and its people out of surrendering to and into defiantly fighting Nazi Germany.

Set in May of 1940, British Parliament has just ousted Neville Chamberlain as its Prime Minister as Hitler prepares to invade Belgium and Holland. Churchill is begrudgingly appointed as his successor, but fear and doubt still consumes the nation.

Churchill assumes the helm with the message to the nation that accepting defeat isn't an option. But he faces resistance from many members of Parliament and even members of his own cabinet, who bicker with him to settle a peace treaty with Hitler, as millions of British soldiers' lives are on the line. It's Churchill's commitment to the principles of his country and disdain for the moral atrocities of Nazism that compel him to push back against the momentum of a surrender. That's what's thrilling about this movie: the emotional battle between the convenience of giving up versus the profound consequences of that concession. (125 min.)

—Peter Johnson

DEN OF THIEVES

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

Every day, $120 million in cash is taken out of circulation and destroyed by the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve—unless a notorious, elite crew of bank robbers can pull off the ultimate heist and get to the money first ... right under the noses of LA's most feared division in law enforcement. (140 min.)

—STX Entertainment

DUNKIRK

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Pick

Writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar) helms this historical drama about the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk, when allied forces from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France were surrounded by the German army between May 26 to June 4, 1940. Civilians in fishing, merchant marine, and pleasure boats valiantly came to their rescue.

Throughout the film, we revisit these three situations—land, sea, and air—each telling their small, personal stories in service to the whole, like individual pieces of a mosaic that comprise a masterpiece. It's frightening and terrible to behold. (106 min.)

—Glen Starkey

EARLY MAN

CAVE MEN One caveman must unite his tribe against a common enemy in Early Man. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LIONSGATE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Lionsgate
  • CAVE MEN One caveman must unite his tribe against a common enemy in Early Man.

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Park

New

Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, the animated stop-motion comedy film Early Man tells the story of how one brave caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day! (100 min.)

—Lionsgate

THE 15:17 TO PARIS

What's it rated?PG-13

What's it worth? Steaming

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

Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino) directs this true account of how three American friends on vacation in Europe disrupted a terrorist attack on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. In a bold move, Eastwood cast the actual heroes of the event—Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler—as themselves.

Does the gamble pay off? The quick answer is no. Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler are not professional actors, and even though they lived the events depicted, their performances largely come off as wooden. At the end of the film, Eastwood mixes archival footage from the French ceremony honoring the three men, which adds a nice touch of realism, but it's not enough to warrant casting these three non-actors.

Eastwood starts the film by showing how the friends meet as children, depicting them as fairly typical boys, albeit ones who seemed attracted to trouble. Stone's storyline is given the most development, and we learn how he trained himself into fitness, entered the Air Force, but ultimately didn't get the job he wanted. Less time is given to Skarlatos, who joined the Army and was deployed in Afghanistan, and Sadler, who was working a dead-end job when the three decided to meet up for a European backpacking trip during military leave.

The film spends a lot of time sightseeing, but in an attempt to keep it interesting, Eastwood occasionally cuts forward to the train event before returning to the backstory. These teases are marginally effective, but I'm not going to kid you, the film is pretty slow, especially the long, annoying night of clubbing in Amsterdam that was interminable and largely unnecessary.

When we finally get to the train, Eastwood displays his skills at staging violence, and the attack as well as the men's work to thwart it is dramatic and exciting, but compared to the sort of fantasy violence in most action films, this is pretty tepid stuff. Such is real life when compared to Hollywood.

There's certainly some emotional payoff when we see the men honored in France as well as a parade for them back home in their native Sacramento. What the three men did was incredibly brave, and it made me proud to be an American, but this film simply doesn't live up to Eastwood's reputation as a gifted filmmaker. He took a risk, and it failed. If you like the idea of using the real heroes in the roles, it may be worth a trip to the big screen for you, but I think most viewers will leave the theater underwhelmed. (94 min.)

—Glen Starkey

FIFTY SHADES FREED

What's it rated?R

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

Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Ana (Dakota Johnson) fully embrace an inextricable connection and shared life of luxury. But just as she steps into her role as Mrs. Grey and he relaxes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardize their happy ending before it even begins. (120 min.)

—Universal Pictures

GET OUT

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Pick

In his directorial debut, actor-writer Jordan Peele (Keanu, Key and Peele, Rubberhead, MADtv) helms this mystery-horror film about a young African-American man named Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), who's in a mixed-race relationship with his white girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), who decides it's time for him to meet her parents—Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener)—so they head to her family's estate. When they arrive, he discovers the area's black residents behave in bizarre ways, and when he's warned to "get out," he discovers it's not so easy to leave.

The gore was convincing, the acting roundly competent, and the story fresh enough not to wallow in horror and mystery cliché. The film has a 99 percent critic rating on rottentomatoes.com, and I can see why. I'll remember this film. (103 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Rental

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

First-time director Michael Gracey helms The Greatest Showman, an original, straight-to-screen musical inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum (played here by Hugh Jackman) and the formation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The film never claims to be wholly factual and only uses the aspects of Barnum's life that fit into its desired rags-to-riches structure.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is a mixed bag full of flawed and fun moments alike. It's hard to tell how serious it takes itself at times, but the best parts are the unashamedly cheesy ones. And I really wish it embraced that cheesiness moreit could have been grater. (139 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

I, TONYA

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

From director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, The Finest Hours) and writer Steven Rogers (P.S. I love You, Friday Night Lights) comes I, Tonya, based on unbelievable, but true events. This mock-u-mentary style film is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver). The cast is rounded out with a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as Harding's impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden.

I, Tonya takes someone from popular culture we thought we had the measure of, and throws all of our ideas out the window. (119 min.)

—Ryah Cooley

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Park, Galaxy

Pick

With Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, we see an old game through new lenses. In present day, we have a group of four archetypal teenagers. You know, similar to The Breakfast Club. You've got the nerd Spencer (Alex Wolff), his former best friend turned jock Fridge (Ser' Darius Blain), a self-absorbed popular Bethany (Madison Iseman), and smart girl Martha (Morgan Turner) who's a little salty about her peers. The crew gets detention and winds up having to remove staples from magazines for the evening. Anyone else find that to be an unusual punishment? To top it off, they're doing it in an abandoned classroom filled with old school memorabilia and random junk. That's where the unlikely group finds Jumanji (this time in video game form). They decide to ditch their task to play it. Once the game is plugged in and rebooting, the kids are sucked into the console, entering into the Jumanji world. But there's a catch: They have assumed the bodies of their avatars.

This is where the fun really starts; Spencer turns into Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). His weakness: he has none. Fridge turns into Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart). You can only guess where the nickname comes from. Notorious hottie Bethany turns into the nerdy, male Professor "Shelly" Oberon (Jack Black), a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist, and paleontologist. Shy Martha turns into Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). She's a martial artist and dance fighter with very short and tight clothing. With their new personas, the group must learn to work together and trust one another so they can return the jewel known as the Jaguar's Eye to the jaguar statue.

This film does what many remakes fail to do, which is successfully entertain its audience. I wasn't quite sure how this would go walking into the theater. But these actors did a hilarious job delivering as prepubescent teenagers in way over their heads. I was laughing nonstop throughout the film. (112 min.)

—Karen Garcia

LADY BIRD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

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.

One of the things the film does well is capture what a weird time high school is. It's like a bubble of unreality. Insecurities rule the day, and in general, high school students have no idea that most of the popular kids have peaked and will grow up to be unhappy losers while the misfits inherit the earth, but as viewers we can see the writing on the wall. (93 min.)

—Glen Starkey

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

What's it rated?PG-13

Where's it showing?Downtown Centre

In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all and get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze. (114 min.)

—20th Century Fox

OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS

What's it rated? NR

Where's it showing? The Palm

The Animation category is shown daily (except Monday) at 7 p.m. and Monday at 1:15 and 7 p.m. The Live Action category is shown daily at 4:15 p.m. Documentary A is shown Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and Documentary B is shown Sunday 1:15 p.m.

PHANTOM THREAD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, The Master, Inherent Vice) reteams with Daniel Day-Lewis in this story of dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock, who with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) runs the posh fashion business the House of Woodcock. Set in 1950s London, Woodcock's fastidious life is turned upside down by Alma (Vicky Krieps), a willful young woman who becomes his lover and muse.

All the worst human emotions are on display in Phantom Thread, a story about ego, jealousy, manipulation, hostility, and disappointment. Incongruently, it's also very funny.

Like many of Anderson's stories, Phantom Thread is about big personalities with compromised morals. That can make it difficult to find anyone to root for; however, Anderson's sumptuous filmmaking, attention to detail, and unflinching gaze at his complicated characters is as gorgeous and elevated as one of Reynolds' haute couture designs.

It also helps that the acting is truly amazing, and Anderson gives his players the space they need to develop their characters. Nothing feels rushed, which for some viewers may translate as a slow pace, but I was never bored. (130 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE POST

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Steven Spielberg (Jaws, The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln) directs this true story about Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), the first female newspaper publisher, and tenacious editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), who join forces to reveal a government cover-up spanning five presidencies. Written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, the film also stars Sarah Paulson as Tony Bradlee, Bob Odenkirk as Ben Bagdikian, Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe, Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons, Bruce Greenwood as Robert McNamara, and Matthew Rhys as famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Spielberg is a superlative director, not as showy as some, but great at building tension in the small moments and letting his actors carry the weight of scenes, and what amazing actors! Streep is a revelation, displaying Kay's internal struggle with the lightest of expressions, yet we know exactly what she's going through. Hanks plays Bradlee with the brash confidence of someone more committed to journalistic integrity than with keeping his job.

As far as The Post is concerned, I see Oscar wins on the horizon. This is great filmmaking! (116 min.)

—Glen Starkey

PETER RABBIT

What's it rated?PG

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

Peter Rabbit (James Corden), the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter's feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). (100 min.)

—Columbia Pictures

SAMSON

BLESSED In Samson, filmmakers revisit an epic biblical tale about the source of one man's strength. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PURE FLIX ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Pure Flix Entertainment
  • BLESSED In Samson, filmmakers revisit an epic biblical tale about the source of one man's strength.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

New

Samson is based on the powerful, biblical epic of a champion chosen by God to deliver Israel. Samson's (Taylor James) supernatural strength and impulsive decisions quickly pit him against the oppressive Philistine empire. After being betrayed by a wicked prince and a beautiful temptress, Samson is captured and blinded by his enemies. Samson calls upon his God once more for supernatural strength and turns imprisonment and blindness into final victory. (110 min.)

—Pure Flix Entertainment

THE SHAPE OF WATER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm, Bay

Pick

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a lonely mute who works as a janitor in a high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. For 10 years she's walked and cleaned the halls of the facility with her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer).

Every day Elisa sticks to her routine: take a shower, polish her shoes, make lunch as well as a meal for her neighbor and friend Giles (Richard Jenkins), and then catch the bus to work.

Her life takes a turn when she and Zelda are called into a room to clean up a bloody mess created by "the asset" (Doug Jones), at least that's what the scientists and government officials are calling it. The asset is a scaled creature from South Africa that now resides in a water tank against its will. Elisa is drawn to the creature, maybe because she too is an outsider in the world that she lives in. She forms a bond with the creature that feels more like love than friendship. But her days of sharing hard-boiled eggs for lunch and listening to her vinyl record player are numbered; the very fate of the creature is on the line.

Writer and director Guillermo Del Toro's (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim) latest offering is visually intriguing as an everyday woman finds her fairy tale—with some bloody scenes mixed in, of course. (123 min.)

—Karen Garcia

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

Pick

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) continues the Skywalker saga as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force.

What's interesting about the latest chapter in the saga is the connection that Rey (Daisy Ridley) is building with the force. While it's thought that Luke (Mark Hamil) is the last Jedi needed to save the Rebellion, let's be real: There are great forces of power within Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Rey seeks Luke not only for his help with the fight against the First Order, the next generation of the Empire, but also for his teachings. There is a strong sense of the Force within her, she just doesn't know how to harness or understand it. That connection has brought a different kind of communication between her and Kylo Ren. Wherever the two are, they are able to communicate with one another and even see the other's surroundings. (152 min.)

—Karen Garcia

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

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

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.

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?"

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. (115 min.)

—Ryah Cooley

WINCHESTER

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Streaming

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Park

Purportedly inspired by true events, this ghost story suggests that Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), heir to the Winchester rifle empire, constructed the famed San Jose Winchester Mystery House while guided by vengeful spirits killed by Winchester rifles. Under risk of being forced out of her 51 percent share of the company for being of unsound mind, Sarah agrees to allow San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to visit the house and assess her mental fitness. The film is co-rewritten and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (Undead, Daybreakers, Predestination) from a script by Tom Vaughan.

I'd love to see a real biopic of Sarah Winchester instead of this flappy piece of filmmaking. The acting is commendable and the house is fascinating, but save your money and take a trip up to San Jose to see the real thing live and in person. This forgettable and unnecessary film doesn't have a ghost of a chance being remembered. (99 min.) Δ

—Glen Starkey

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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