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Film Listings 5/3/18 – 5/10/18

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth Matinee

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

Pick

Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War and Captain America: The Winter Soldier) direct this new Avengers installment, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The whole freaking universe is at stake, people, so every single character from the Marvel pantheon must join forces to fight the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) before he wipes out half of everything.

Of course, including every single character can get pretty chaotic and leave for a lot of abbreviated storylines, and then there's the matter of excessiveness. Even comic book action adventure stories offer moments of rest and respite, but they come few and far between in this bombastic and overblown tale. It's everything you want in a comic book movie, but turned up to 11. Some will like that, others won't.

The film opens with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) overcome by Thanos, then it hands off to Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who enlists Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to save the universe. Banner has to round up Steve Rogers/Capt. America (Chris Evans). When they're attacked by Thanos' minions, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has to show up and rescue them. Meanwhile the Guardians of the Galaxy (Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Pratt) have to rescue Thor from outer space death. Various superheroes are trying to protect various "infinity stones" that Thanos is trying to acquire so he can kill off half the universe with a literal snap of his fingers. And soon James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Bucky Barnes/White Wolf (Sebastian Stan) all convene at T'Challa/Black Panther's (Chadwick Boseman) hidden kingdom of Wakanda for a final showdown with Thanos. It's exhausting! It's also pretty exhilarating! Its ending, however, is bullshit!

I suspect everyone who's a Marvel fan has already added to the film's $250 million opening weekend, but if you haven't and you plan on going, stop reading here because I'm going to spoil the ending right now: Thanos wins. That's right. He snaps his fingers and half the population of the universe dies, disintegrating into piles dust. Not just a bunch of randos, but our heroes too! Peter Parker, dead! Dr. Strange, dead! Most of the Guardians of the Galaxy, dead! Even Black Panther, dead! That's not how superhero movies are supposed to end, right?

This ending is lame. Most of these actors have multi-film contracts. Are we to assume, for instance, that the upcoming Guardians and Black Panther films—already in the works—are all going to be prequels? Plus there's an Avengers: Infinity War—Part II listed as in "post-production" on imdb.com with the killed-off characters listed in the cast. No, there's going to be some dumb trick that will somehow resurrect these characters, and that pisses me off, which is why I won't give this film full price. Don't play with me, Marvel! I'm not your toy! (149 min.)

—Glen Starkey

BACK TO BURGUNDY

SAVING THE VINEYARD In Back to Burgundy, three siblings reunite after the death of their father to pull the family vineyard out of debt and create a new blend. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSIC BOX FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Music Box Films
  • SAVING THE VINEYARD In Back to Burgundy, three siblings reunite after the death of their father to pull the family vineyard out of debt and create a new blend.

What's it rated? NR

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Three siblings reunite at their home in picturesque Burgundy to save the family vineyard in this tender tale of a new generation finding its own unique blend from acclaimed director Cédric Klapisch (L'Auberge Espagnole). Jean (Pio Marmaï), the black sheep of the family, unexpectedly returns home from a decade abroad to reconnect with his hospitalized father. He's welcomed by his strong-willed sister, Juliette (Ana Girardot), who took over the reins of the vineyard after their father fell ill, and Jeremie (François Civil), the youngest of the three who has recently married into one of the region's more prestigious wine families. Their father passes shortly after Jean's return, leaving them with the estate and a looming inheritance tax of half a million dollars. As four seasons and two harvests go by, Jean, Juliette, and Jeremie have to learn to reinvent their relationship and trust in each other as they work to preserve the land that ties them together. (113 min.)

—Music Box Films

BAD SAMARITAN

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

New

A valet (Robert Sheehan) develops a clever scam to burglarize the houses of rich customers. Things go smoothly until he robs the wrong customer (David Tennant), and discovers a woman being held captive in his home. Afraid of going to prison, he leaves the woman there and makes a call to the police, who find nothing when they investigate. Now, the valet must endure the wrath of the kidnapper who seeks revenge on him, all while desperately trying to find and rescue the captive woman he left behind. (107 min.)

—Electric Entertainment

BLACK PANTHER

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Pick

Co-writer/director Ryan Coogler (Creed) helms this story about T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a newly crowned king of the technologically advanced but isolationist country of Wakanda, who finds his new kinghood challenged by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a vengeful victim of T'Challa's father's past actions.

Every comic book hero needs a villain, and the obvious one here is white South African arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who's working with Killmonger to steal vibranium, an alien metal that arrived as a meteorite and is responsible for the Wakandan technology. But that's only looking at the surface. Dig deeper into this Afro-centric and female-centric film and the real villain is colonialism and the African diaspora is caused that fuels competing ideologies within the larger black community.

It's an empowering reimagining of African roots but also—remember—a fantasy. Ultimately, this is a super hero flick that refuses to stay in the genre's rut and that's interested in exploring complicated political and cultural ideas. Sure, other Marvel stories have looked at politics, from Iron Man and the arms trade to Captain America: Winter's Soldier and drones, PTSD, and warfare, but Black Panther goes deeper than any other Marvel storyline. I say, keep it coming. (134 min.)

—Glen Starkey

I FEEL PRETTY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Co-writers-directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein helm this story about insecure Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer), who after suffering a fall awakes to believe she's the world's most beautiful and capable woman.

Funny lady Amy Schumer (Trainwreck, Snatched) is back doing what she does best—bringing laughs through self-deprecating humor and physical comedy. While I Feel Pretty has a surprisingly dismal metascore on both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, I for one was laughing from beginning to end, and my fellow audience members seemed to feel the same.

Renee (Schumer) is a sad sack of a woman whose utter lack of self confidence keeps her from going after the things she really wants ... that is until a Soulcycle class gone wrong, resulting in a head injury that brings brimming self-confidence. When Renee looks in the mirror, she sees utter perfection looking back. Her new lease on life leads to a new dream job, a romantic prospect, and an "in" with her boss, a mouse voiced Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) who uses Renee's "every woman" appeal to launch a line of cosmetics to run in stores like Target and Kohl's, not their usual high-end markets.

Of course not everything in Renee's life is smooth sailing because of her new confidence. Her tried-and-true gal pals (Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips) soon grow sick of her strive for stature and exclusivity, and Renee soon learns that even "pretty people" have problems.

While it's a bit ridiculous to say that Schumer is anything short of pretty—she is, in fact, a working Hollywood actress—she does fall outside of the typical starlet aesthetic and is a vocal advocate for inclusion and acceptance. She also isn't afraid to put it all out there for the sake of comedy, and she brings some seriously funny stuff to her character.

Soon after meeting Ethan (Rory Scovel), they venture into a bar with a bikini contest going on, and Renee jumps right in. She ties up her shirt, rolls up her shorts, and hops onstage with the group of toned and tiny contestants. It's hilarious, and Ethan is soon smitten with this bold and brazen chick.

The message being sold is that confidence is sexy, and I for one agree. While she still may not be perfect, confident Renee makes things happen, takes risks, and owns herself. Once she learns to love herself, head injury side effects or not, she can spend her time living a truly fulfilling life and give up on trying to attain perfection. (110 min.)

—Anna Starkey

ISLE OF DOGS

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm, Stadium 10

Pick

Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom) directs this stop-motion animated tale about Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), a young boy living in near-future dystopian Japan, who goes in search of his dog, Spots (Live Schreiber), which has been banished—as have all dogs—to Trash Island because of a dog flu outbreak.

Along the way, Atari receives help from other banished dogs, including Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), Boss (Bill Murray), and Chief (Bryan Cranston).

Meanwhile back in Megasaki City, dog-banisher and Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura)—Atari's guardian—works to thwart Professor Watanabe (Akira Ito), who's developing a cure for the dog flu, so the Mayor can carry out his evil plan to exterminate all dogs.

Talking dogs feels completely natural in Isle of Dogs, which explores the unique relationships between humans and dogs from the dogs' perspective. Chief, for instance, is a stray, and his pack members subtly and silently judge him for it. Nutmeg is a former show dog used to regular grooming and being fawned over, but like all the other dogs banished to Trash Island, she lost her elevated position and deals with it with a level of class that's hard not to admire.

This sort of anthropomorphization is human nature—we love to imagine our pets have an inner dialogue and love us the same way we love them. Anderson has a lot of fun exploring how dogs think of humans and each other.

Ultimately, this is a film about relationships, loyalty, honor, and ethics, which are pretty heavy topics, but first and foremost, this is a wonderful looking film. I absolutely loved it!

It helps that there's a great cast doing great voice work with some fun surprises. Courtney B. Vance's smooth voice as The Narrator provides necessary context, John Lennon's former wife Yoko Ono makes a vocal appearance as Assistant-Scientist Yoko Ono, and long-time Anderson collaborator Anjelica Huston is credited as voicing a character named Mute Poodle, meaning she has no lines. Greta Gerwig is terrific as earnest and idealistic exchange student Tracy Walker.

While the dogs all speak English, all the Japanese characters speak in Japanese, so we have Frances McDormand starring as Interpreter Nelson. You'll also hear the familiar voices of Harvey Keitel and F. Murray Abraham. Tilda Swinton is great as Oracle, a Pug who watches TV and repeats what she sees, leading the dogs around her to think she's a prognosticating mystic.

Even though the story centers on Atari and his search for Spots, this is really Chief's story. He's the character with the biggest arc, the one who has to learn about the sacred relationship between man and dog, who also has to learn he's good enough to deserve a mate like Nutmeg. The dogs are actually a lot more complex than most of the human characters, and it's Chief we're rooting for more than Atari. (101 min.)

—Glen Starkey

OVERBOARD

SURREAL After losing his memory, a wealthy playboy (Eugenio Derbez) is convinced he's a contractor married to his former cleaning lady (Anna Faris) in Overboard. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PANTELION PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Pantelion Pictures
  • SURREAL After losing his memory, a wealthy playboy (Eugenio Derbez) is convinced he's a contractor married to his former cleaning lady (Anna Faris) in Overboard.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

In a splashy new twist, Overboard focuses on Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez), a selfish, spoiled, rich playboy from Mexico's richest family, and Kate (Anna Faris), a working-class single mom of three hired to clean Leonardo's luxury yacht. After unjustly firing Kate and refusing to pay her, Leonardo falls overboard when partying too hard and wakes up on the Oregon coast with amnesia. Kate shows up at the hospital and, to get payback, convinces Leonardo he is her husband and puts him to work—for the first time in his life. (110 min.)

—Pantelion Films

A QUIET PLACE

What's it rated?PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

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

Pick

Director and co-writer John Krasinski (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Promised Land, The Hollars) helms and stars in this horror story, co-written by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, about the Abbott family—father Lee (Krasinski), pregnant mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), and kids Beau (Cade Woodward), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds)—who must live in utter silence to protect themselves from deadly creatures that hunt by sound.

While the synopsis may sound like standard-issue sci-fi horror, A Quiet Place is instead throat-clenchingly tense and a thoroughly thoughtful meditation on parenthood, family, and guilt.

Most recent horror movies have bored me due to a lack of scares, flat characters, or hackneyed writing and direction. A Quiet Place falls prey to none of that, and it offers a badass but open ending, which I found hopeful though my wife didn't—that's deft filmmaking in my book. (90 min.)

—Glen Starkey

RAMPAGE

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Stadium 10, Park

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it's soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield. (115 min.)

—Warner Bros. Pictures

READY PLAYER ONE

What's it rated?PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Steven Spielberg directs this futuristic part live-action, part CGI story about James Halliday (Mark Rylance), the on-the-autism-spectrum creator of a virtual reality called OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), who dies and challenges all users to play "Anorak's Quest" and find his hidden "keys" that will reveal his Easter Egg, with the winner getting control over OASIS.

Set in a dystopian 2044, life sucks for most people, so they spend their time in OASIS where they can live out their fantasies. Those playing the game and searching for the egg are called Gunters (egg hunters), but Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), the power-mad CEO of Innovative Online Industries (IOI) that manufactures the equipment to access the virtual world, also wants control of the OASIS, so he's enlisted a cadre of indentured players called Sixers (due to their six-digit identifications), to win the quest and hand over control to IOI.

Our hero is Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenage Gunter. Can he figure out the game and win control? Seeing as this is a Spielberg film, you already know the answer, but that doesn't stop the ride from being a lot of fun.

Teamwork and friendship is also important theme in this film. Wade and Helen have never met in real life, but they're best friends in OASIS. They have to learn to work with and trust Samantha and her avatar, and Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki) eventually join them to form a team of five. To raise the stakes, we learn that Samantha's father died as an indentured player for Sorrento and IOI, so yes, there are real-world ramifications to the "game," and it's pure Spielberg for a bunch of kids to take on corrupt grownup powers and win. Go geeks! (140 min.)

—Glen Starkey

SUPER TROOPERS 2

What's it rated?R

What's it worth? Rental

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

Co-writer and director Jay Chandrasekhar helms this sequel to the 2001 comedy classic from the Broken Lizard comedy crew. This time around the Vermont State Troopers are tasked with establishing a Highway Patrol station in a disputed area between the U.S. and Canadian border.

Arcot 'Thorny' Ramathorn (Jay Chandrasekhar), MacIntyre 'Mac' Womack (Steve Lemme), Robert 'Rabbit' Roto (Erik Stolhanske), Carl Foster (Paul Soter), Rodney Farva (Kevin Heffernan), and their Capt. O'Hagan (Brian Cox) return, joined by Gov. Jessman (Lynda Carter), ex hockey star Guy Le Franc (Rob Lowe), French-Canadian cultural attaché Genevieve Aubois (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and Fred Savage starring as himself.

The Godfather II this ain't. Instead, it predictably suffers from sequel disease: more of the same turned up to 11, but devoid of the surprise of the first film.

When the film opens, the boys have lost their jobs with the local police department after having earlier lost their jobs as highway patrolmen. They're working at a construction site under foreman Farva, an insufferable tool who makes a lot of caulk (read cock) jokes.

They're told by the governor that they can earn their patrol jobs back if they can successfully transition a Canadian town into an American one. The Canadians aren't too receptive, and things heat up after the team begins discovering caches of drugs, cell phones, and guns, which after the land trade-off between Canada and the U.S. will already be on U.S. soil—a nifty smuggling trick.

What follows is a lot of shenanigans between the troopers and their Mountie counterparts, as well as a search to discover the smugglers. Overall, it's pretty funny, though not quite as funny as the first and certainly not as original. Stay through the credits. The best bit happens at the very end.

If you love this sort of thing, go to the late show high on weed. If you like this sort of thing, try a matinee. Personally, I would have been happy renting this from Redbox in three months. (100 min.)

—Glen Starkey

TULLY

HELP A mom (Charlize Theron, right) of three bonds with new night nanny (Mackenzie Davis) in Tully. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Focus Features
  • HELP A mom (Charlize Theron, right) of three bonds with new night nanny (Mackenzie Davis) in Tully.

What's it rated?R

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

New

Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis). (94 min.) Δ

—Focus Features

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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