Music, Arts & Culture » Movies

Film Listings, 7/11/19 – 7/18/19

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ALADDIN

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-in

Pick

Co-writer and director Guy Richie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) helms this live-action remake of Disney's animated 1992 film of the same name. Mena Massoud takes on the title role as a kindhearted street urchin who dreams of winning the heart of Jasmine (Naomi Scott), a princess living a constricted life. Aladdin is ordered by Grand Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) to bring him a magical lamp, but Aladdin soon discovers the lamp, when rubbed, releases a genie (Will Smith), who grants the lamp bearer's wishes. Can Aladdin use the genie to stop Jafar's evil intentions and win the heart of his love? (128 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

ANNABELLE COMES HOME

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

To keep the possessed doll from wreaking havoc, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) lock Annabelle in their artifacts room at home. But unspeakable horror awaits the family when Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on Judy, the Warrens' 10-year-old daughter, and her friends.

You'd think this far along in the Conjuring franchise, the idea fountain would run dry, but for horror fans, they'll be still some surprises here, though perhaps not as scary and effective as those that came before. Add in some great performances, some deeper messages about guilt, and an unnerving atmosphere, and you have the makings of an effective, albeit highly commercialized, horror flick. (100 min.)

—Caleb

BETHANY HAMILTON: UNSTOPPABLE

DETERMINATION Bethany Hamilton may have lost her arm to a tiger shark attack, but that didn't stop her from becoming a pro surfer, chronicled in the new documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AARON LIEBER
  • Photo Courtesy Of Aaron Lieber
  • DETERMINATION Bethany Hamilton may have lost her arm to a tiger shark attack, but that didn't stop her from becoming a pro surfer, chronicled in the new documentary Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Co-writer and director Aaron Lieber (The Pursuit, Lakey Peterson: Zero to 100) helms this documentary about Bethany Hamilton, who as a 13-year-old lost her arm to a tiger shark attack while surfing. Instead of staying out of the water, she instead pursued her dream of becoming a professional surfer and later a mother—all with one arm. (98 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

John Chester (Lost in Woonsocket, Rock Prophecies) directs this documentary about his and his wife's developing a sustainable farm on a 200-acre patch of depleted ground in Ventura County. They work to rehabilitate the soil, plant orchards and row crops, and raise a variety of animals. Hoping to live in harmony with nature, they discover that nature isn't always interested in living in harmony with them. (91 min.)

—Glen

CRAWL

TEETH Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) returns home to save her father during a hurricane but discovers the flooding house is infested with alligators, in Crawl. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
  • TEETH Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) returns home to save her father during a hurricane but discovers the flooding house is infested with alligators, in Crawl.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Piranha 3D, Horns) directs this action-horror film about Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario), who during a Category 5 hurricane returns to her family home to save her father, Dave (Barry Pepper), who's trapped in his flooding basement. When she arrives, however, the hurricane is the least of her problems as alligators make her and her father's escape increasingly unlikely. (87 min.)

—Glen

ECHO IN THE CANYON

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

In his directorial debut, co-writer Andrew Slater (with co-writer Eric Barrett) helms this documentary examining the 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene and bands such as The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas. Through a mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews, we discover how this seminal time in music history has informed contemporary artists such as Fiona Apple, Beck, Norah Jones, and Jakob Dylan.

Both educational and entertaining, this doc is a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in this fertile moment in rock history, when folk and rock were melded together. The period was rife with cross-pollination of sounds and ideas, as well as collaboration and competition. Did you know, for instance, that The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (1966) inspired The Beatles to create Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)?

The film is guided by Dylan, who conducts interviews with the likes of producer Lou Adler, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Michelle Phillips, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty, and other luminaries of the period.

Meanwhile, Dylan has also enlisted a bevy of contemporary performers to re-create some of the classic songs that came out of the Laurel Canyon scene. Fiona Apple, Beck, Jade Castrinos (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes), Norah Jones, Cat Power, and Regina Spektor are shown practicing the songs and later performing them in concert.

And to spice up the proceedings and add vintage color, Slater also mixes in scenes from the 1969 film Model Shop, starring Anouk Aimée and Gary Lockwood, which Slater and Dylan explain helped spark their interest in the '60s LA folk rock scene.

You'll hear some amazing stories and watch some terrific performances, both archival and contemporary as Dylan leads his cohorts in re-creating songs. Poignant moments, laughs, and even a few come-to-Jesus moments work together to create a perceptive walk down memory lane. (82 min.)

—Glen

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job, Fate of the Furious) directs this new installment in the sci-fi comedy franchise Men in Black. This time around, new Agent M (Tessa Thompson) joins the U.K. Men in Black team, including Agent O (Emma Thompson), High T (Liam Neeson), Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), and Agent C (Rafe Spall) to search for an enemy mole in their organization.

This is a sequel in search of an original idea, and try as it might, it can't find one. You won't need to get neuralyzed to erase your memory of this film; it's so forgettable it will be an afterthought before the theater door closes behind you. (115 min.)

—Glen

MIDSOMMAR

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

See Split Screen.

PAVAROTTI

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Filmmaker Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man) directs this documentary that examines the life and career of famed opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The film features never-before-seen footage, concert performances, and intimate interviews with the performer.

Howard clearly has a lot of affection for his subject, and he makes the man as thrilling and interesting as his music. Of course, a man with Pavarotti-sized appetites can't come out looking like an angel, which only serves to humanize a man with god-sized talent. (114 min.)

—Caleb

ROCKETMAN

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm, Stadium 10

Pick

Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill, Sunshine on Leith, Eddie the Eagle) directs "a musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years," with Taron Egerton in the lead role as the singer of "Rocket Man," "Your Song," "Daniel," and dozens of other hits.

It's an impression of Elton's life. It's about his struggle with homosexuality, his estrangement from his parents, his rocky relationships, his handling of fame, and his eventual realization that his lifestyle isn't sustainable. One of his biggest fears is whether or not he'll be as good without the drugs and alcohol, which allowed him to overcome his fears and become a superstar. (121 min.)

—Glen

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Park, Stadium 10

Chris Renaud (Despicable Me, The Lorax, The Secret Life of Pets) and Jonathan de Val band together to co-direct the second installment of the animated Secret Life of Pets. This time around, the New York apartment furry residents leave their owners once again on an adventure to save a new wild friend.

While there are plenty of one-liners that are definitely flying over the heads of the young audience in the theater, the plot of the film is all over the place. An elementary-school-aged kid is probably not going to notice the three stories that honestly should have been separate animated shorts that somehow clumsily come together, but all you adults out there definitely will. Save your pretty pennies, parents, and just wait to Redbox it or stream it on your preferred service. (86 min.)

—Karen Garcia

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

GET THE GIRL Tom Holland (right) returns as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, and Zendaya is MJ, in Spider-Man: Far From Home. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Marvel Studios
  • GET THE GIRL Tom Holland (right) returns as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, and Zendaya is MJ, in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Clown) directs this story that follows the events of Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) joins besties Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) on a European vacation, hoping for a little heroics-free rest and relaxation, but when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) comes calling, Peter works to uncover the mystery of otherworldly attacks plaguing Europe.

Maybe I'm suffering from comic book movie overload, but this new Spider-Man installment just didn't "wow" me the way it seems to for most reviewers and audiences. Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 91 percent with critics and 96 percent with audiences. It's entertaining enough, but I don't see what all the hype is about. It's just another big-budget comic book adventure.

Peter is mourning the loss of Iron Man and questioning Tony Stark's belief in him. He's just a kid, after all, not a "real" Avenger. All he really wants to do is go on his school trip to Europe, where he hopes to generate some sparks with MJ.

Meanwhile, a new threat is menacing Earth. We see Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) investigating an unnatural storm generated by forces they learn are called an Elemental. As the storm rises again, a powerful new superhero named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) shows up to defeat the Elemental.

To remind us that Peter's just a high school kid, there's some teen drama between him and some classmates. Another boy is flirting with MJ, and even nerdy Ned manages to find a girlfriend in overachiever Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) while Peter seems to be getting nowhere with MJ.

When the class arrives in Venice, Italy, another Elemental shows up in the form of water, menacing everyone. Beck arrives to save the day again, and Peter works with him. Fury arrives, scolding Peter for avoiding his calls and giving him Stark's glasses, which contain an artificial intelligence system called E.D.I.T.H., which controls Stark Enterprises' weapons systems. We also learn that Beck comes from a different reality and that the Elementals killed his family.

Even though Peter at first rejects Fury's call for him to fight impending Elemental attacks, Fury finds a way to involve him anyway by redirecting his school trip to Prague, where the fire Elemental is predicted to strike. Things become even more contrived from there. I won't bore you with the details.

Basically, the film is flawed. Its big switcheroo is too obviously projected, Peter is too gullible (where are your "spidey senses," dude?), and the entire affair lacks the coherence of its predecessor. There's nothing I can say that will stop fans from flocking to the theater. The film's already made more that $90 million. For me, it simply had nothing new to say—just sound and fury signifying nothing.

If you've got a couple of hours to waste and need a distraction, hit a matinee. These comic book spectacles are best seen in the theater. Hopefully you'll like it more than I did. (129 min.)

—Glen

STUBER

BUDDY FLICK Vic (Dave Bautista, left), a hard-nosed detective, enlists his Uber driver, mild-mannered Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), to track down a terrorist, in the comedy action film Stuber. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • Photo Courtesy Of Twentieth Century Fox
  • BUDDY FLICK Vic (Dave Bautista, left), a hard-nosed detective, enlists his Uber driver, mild-mannered Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), to track down a terrorist, in the comedy action film Stuber.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight, Goon) directs this action-comedy/mismatched-buddy film about Vic (Dave Bautista), a detective, who enlists his Uber driver, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) to track down a terrorist. Can Stu survive and maintain his excellent Uber driver rating? (93 min.)

—Glen

THE TOMORROW MAN

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Galaxy

New

Writer-director Noble Jones helms this romance between survivalist Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) and shopaholic Ronnie Meisner (Blyth Danner), a mismatched pair that try not to get lost in one another's stuff. (94 min.)

—Glen

TOY STORY 4

What's it rated? G

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

Pick

Josh Cooley directs this fourth feature in the Toy Story franchise. This time around, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) must convince his toy pals to welcome a new addition, Forky (Tony Hale), into their fold, even though Forky is just a spork made into a toy in arts and crafts class by their child, Bonnie. When Bonnie's family goes on a road trip, Forky takes off, so Woody and a few other toys go in search of him.

The Forky stuff is just the tip of the iceberg though; there's so much going on in this movie. And in my opinion, Forky gets upstaged by at least four other new characters.

I'll start with the villain, a 1950s pull-string doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), who Woody and Forky encounter in an antique store on their journey back to Bonnie. Just in case the creepy doll vibe isn't already eerie enough, "Midnight, the Stars, and You"—you know, the ballroom song from The Shining—starts playing as Gabby Gabby sits in a baby carriage, steered by her posse of demented ventriloquist dummies. I won't reveal her insidious intentions, but as with most memorable villains, things aren't so black and white. The film does a great job of exploring her side of the story, and we come to sympathize with Gabby Gabby's plight, just not the means she uses to rectify it.

Some other great new characters include a perfectly cast Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), a Canadian daredevil action figure; and the duo of Ducky and Bunny (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, respectively), a couple of plush toys stuck on the prize rack at a carnival. Those three collectively deliver the best punch lines in the movie, hands down. But in all seriousness, the most badass character in the film is series veteran Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who gets a well-deserved return to the franchise.

When I first heard Toy Story 4 was in the works, I felt betrayed and bewildered. Toy Story 3 had such a finality to it, why try to follow a nearly perfect ending to the series? So why keep going? Well, money of course! Little did I know Pixar's more noble intentions for this installment, which surprisingly opens the door to countless more adventures—for some characters more than others.

The final product isn't the petty cash-grab I was expecting, and believe it or not, I actually enjoyed it even more than Toy Story 3. Fight me! Neither film is on par with 1 or 2 in my book, but wow does this one get pretty darn close. There's a really genuine story here, which can't be said of too many fourth entries in a series. (100 min.)

—Caleb

WILD ROSE

DREAMER Jessie Buckley stars as Rose-Lynn Harlan, an ex-con and single mother with a dream of becoming a country singer, in Wild Rose, screening exclusively at Downtown Centre Cinemas. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FABLE PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Fable Pictures
  • DREAMER Jessie Buckley stars as Rose-Lynn Harlan, an ex-con and single mother with a dream of becoming a country singer, in Wild Rose, screening exclusively at Downtown Centre Cinemas.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

New

Tom Harper (War Book, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death) directs Nicole Taylor's screenplay about Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley), an ex-con and single mother who dreams of becoming a country singer in Nashville, though her mother Marion (Julie Walters) thinks her dream is a waste of time. When Rose takes work as a house cleaner, she finds an ally in the woman of the house. (101 min.)

—Glen

YESTERDAY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later..., Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) directs this screenplay by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love Actually, War Horse) about Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling musician who awakes after a bicycle accident caused by a worldwide power outage to discover he's the only person who remembers The Beatles' music. Soon he's considered the greatest singer-songwriter in the world, but will his newfound fame be a blessing or a curse?

Yes, Yesterday is basically sitcom-level silliness and essentially a one-joke movie, but it's a good joke, and the film may be just the diversion we need right now. Don't believe all the negative reviews from cynical critics. Instead, believe Rotten Tomatoes' 90 percent audience score. This is a crowd pleaser! (116 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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