Six short films that won awards at this year's Sundance Film Festival have been bound together in one topnotch filmic package. Highlights include the sci-fi short from cult animator Don Hertzfeldt, a documentary about casting the role of Olympic champion Oksana Baiul and a 22-minute film about a Japanese office lady who finds herself a new identity. 85 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 7/3)
Guild Cinema and Alibi Midnight Movie Madness are celebrating the Independence Day holiday with a double-feature of summer-centric Bill Murray films. First up is the 1980 comedy classic in which an ensemble cast of characters (including Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield) wreak havoc at a high-class golf club. Harold Ramis (National Lampoon's Vacation, Groundhog Day) writes and directs. Double-featured with Meatballs.98 minutes R. (Opens Friday 7/3)
Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) writes and directs this timely thriller about an Air Force pilot (Ethan Hawke) caught up in the video game-like world of drone warfare. Locked in a bunker in the middle of the Nevada desert, he wages war on terrorists halfway across the planet. When the stakes are raised, our hero's nerves start to fray, causing his relationship with his wife (January Jones) to crumble. 103 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 7/7)
Academy Award winner Al Pacino gives a more restrained than usual performance as a lonely, small-town Texas locksmith who spends his days caring for his cat and mooning over a long-lost love. Enter kindhearted banker Dawn (Holly Hunter), who tries to lure him out of his self-imposed isolation. Your appreciation for this tiny character study will boil down to how much you take to the slow, hazy surrealism of director David Gordon Green (George Washington, All the Real Girls, Prince Avalanche). 97 minutes PG-13. (Opens Tuesday 7/7)
The second in Guild/Alibi's holiday weekend double feature is this cult fave comedy from 1979. Bill Murray is among the randy, rule-breaking counselors at a second-rate summer camp. Romance, sex and comic hijinks ensue when Camp North Star challenges the wealthier and athletically superior residents of Camp Mohawk in the annual Olympiad. Harold Ramis writes, and Ivan Reitman directs (just like in Ghostbusters). Double-featured with Caddyshack. 91 minutes R. (Opens Friday 7/3)
Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, are new to Los Angeles. A chance meeting at the park introduces them to the mysterious Kurt, Charlotte, and Max. A family "playdate" becomes increasingly interesting as the night goes on. 80 minutes R. (Opens Friday 07/3)
Earth's mightiest mortals are back for a second go-around. Seems that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has built a super-powered robot named Ultron (voiced by James Spader) who wants to bring peace to humanity by wiping it out. Can Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and newcomer The Vision stop this metallic madman before his plan comes to fruition? Probably, otherwise we don't get any more movies. Overstuffed? Sure. Exciting. Hell, yeah. 141 minutes PG-13.
At the height of the Vietnam War, two young fathers--one a man of faith, one a doubtful cynic--report for duty. Decades later, their sons travel to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, guided by handwritten letters their fathers sent from the battlefield. There, beside The Wall, the young men learn ... something, something, Jesus. This one comes to us from Pure Flix, the "family friendly" Christian company behind such films as God's Not Dead, Do You Believe? and Jerusalem Countdown. Stephen Baldwin is in it. 93 minutes PG-13.
Carey Mulligan (An Education) stars as Thomas Hardy's literary heroine Bathsheba Everdene, who inherits a sprawling farm in the English countryside and must decide between romance with the hunky farmhand, the kindly next-door neighbor or the smooth-talking soldier. Director Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration) sticks close to Hardy's gritty realism, resulting in a film with more broken hearts than happy endings. FULL REVIEW:Gritty, 19th-century English romance finds love and hate down on the farm by Devin D. O’Leary (5/21/2015). 119 minutes PG-13.
Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) stars in this comedy-drama-romance about "a widow and former songstress who discovers that life can begin anew at any age"--which is pretty much the theme of every movie aimed at the AARP crowd. The material is familiar, but Danner sells it with charm and skill. 85 minutes PG-13.
Pixar mixes up another can't-miss instaclassic. This stunningly original, digitally animated toon takes us inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl and introduces us to the anthropomorphized feelings at work inside her head. Chief among them is Joy (perfect Amy Poehler), who's stuck working with a bunch of negative Nellies (Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust). But when Joy and Sadness get lost in the recesses of the young girl's mind, the film warps from an inventive workplace comedy to a wildly imaginative, Willy Wonka-esque fantasy. It seems silly to say that a film about emotions is emotional, but trust me when I say this film has all the feels! FULL REVIEW:Pixar’s emotional new fantasy has all the feels by Devin D. O’Leary (6/25/2015). 94 minutes PG.
Is it just me, or are these "suburban families stalked by ghosts" movies getting harder to keep straight? Not to be confused with last week's Poltergeist remake or Sinister 2 (coming out later this summer) or the Paranormal Activity series (the sixth film hit theaters this August), this one's actually a prequel to the previous two Insidious movies. Here we learn how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (cult actress Lin Shaye) got her start busting ghosts. 97 minutes PG-13.
I'm not upset that Hollywood has decided to make a third Jurassic Park sequel. Because, you know, money. I am, however, ticked off that the fictional executives at InGen thought they could get away with this. Did someone at the corporation send out a memo saying, "Hey, everybody. Remember that dinosaur theme park we were trying to open? You know, the one where the tourists kept getting eaten over and over and over again? Well, we're pretty sure we've got all the kinks worked out. Fourth time's the charm!" I mean, come on. ... Ah, well, at least we've got Chris Pratt. He's cool. 124 minutes PG-13.
Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) and John Cusack (High Fidelity) split the role of Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson in this musical biopic about the musician's struggles with mental illness. Dano is terrific, but the Cusack sections (set in the '80s) feel like a weird add-on. 120 minutes PG-13.
Some 30 years after the the third Mad Max film (Beyond Thunderdome), legendary director George Miller returns to reboot the road-wrecking series. This time around, Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) is our reluctant, ex-cop antihero Max, wandering the post-apocalyptic wasteland looking for peace and quiet. What he finds is a furious woman of action (Charlize Theron) on the run from a sadistic warlord and his band of motor-mad psychos. For this rule-breaking action classic, Miller eschews old-fashioned niceties like dialogue and character development in order to tell an explosive, operatic myth through movement, explosions and heroic bloodshed. 120 minutes R.
The ab-having studs of Magic Mike (Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriquez) return. It's been three years since our "magic" hero got out of the male stripper business, but he's recruited by the remaining Kings of Tampa to go on one last, blowout performance in Myrtle Beach. Bottom line: Hot guys take off their clothes to the Backstreet Boys. Who needs more information than that? 115 minutes R.
Lassie gets a patriotic, post-9/11 makeover. A dog that helped U.S. Marines in Afghanistan returns to America and is adopted by his handler's teenage brother after "suffering a traumatic experience." Troubled teen and troubled dog bond. Then somebody gets lost in the woods, and there's an adventure. 111 minutes PG.
A teenage filmmaker (Thomas Mann) befriends a classmate with leukemia (Olivia Cooke) in this sensitive, offbeat adaptation of Jesse Andrews' best-selling YA novel. This funny, frank examination of young adulthood deftly avoids cliché and convention, giving audiences an unexpectedly bracing dose of humor and melancholy. FULL REVIEW:Teenage dramedy avoids cliché, but not sympathy by Devin D. O’Leary (7/2/2015). 105 minutes PG-13.
After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas (including way-too-old for college Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson) enter an international singing competition in order to regain their status. Goofy hijinks, sassy sisterhood and an a cappella rendition of "Flashlight" by Jessie J ensue. 115 minutes PG-13.
The B-movie disaster flicks of the '70s get a CGI facelift courtesy of the guy who directed Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as an emotionally wounded rescue copter pilot who has to race across California and save his college-bound daughter (Alexandra Daddario) when the San Andreas fault splits in two. It's got all the collapsing buildings and corny one-liners you'll need this summer. 114 minutes PG-13.
Melissa McCarthy reunites with her Bridesmaids/The Heat director Paul Feig to play a deskbound CIA analyst who suddenly becomes a field agent when the identities of all the other operatives are compromised. McCarthy provides all the slapstick action. Jude Law and Jason Statham drop by to do the sophisticated spy thing. 115 minutes R.
Writer-director-actor Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy") returns for more raunchy shenanigans. MacFarlane once again voices talking, boozing, sex-crazed teddy bear Ted while Mark Wahlberg plays his lifelong human pal. This time around Ted and his new bride (Jessica Barth) want to have a baby. But first, Ted has to prove his "personhood" in court. Hijinks ensue. 115 minutes R.
The Terminator series reboots itself with a partially new cast (Jai Courtney from "Spartacus: War of the Damned" as Kyle Reese, Emilia Clarke from "Game of Thrones" as Sarah Connor), a muddled script and an "alternate timeline." Seems it's 1984 again. Young Sarah Connor has been fully warned of Skynet's plans for Judgment Day and is protecting herself with a reprogrammed (and rather old) Terminator (played, of course, by Arnold Schwarzenegger). Then John Connor shows up from the future, only he's a Terminator now, and things get super confusing. See what you did, Star Trek? 122 minutes PG-13.
A celebrated military contractor (Bradley Cooper) returns to the site of his greatest career triumph (Hawaii) and finds himself caught between his ex-girlfriend (Rachel McAdams) and the no-nonsense Air Force officer assigned to babysit him (Emma Stone). This muddled romantic comedy comes to us from writer-director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire). who's done far better work in the past. 105 minutes PG-13.
Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Thor) directs this straight-faced, unironic live-action adaptation of Disney's 1950 animated gem. It looks gorgeous from top to bottom, and Lily James (from "Downton Abbey") seems perfectly appropriate as the ball-going protagonist. But this version adds nothing whatsoever new to the old story. For Disney princess completists only. 113 minutes PG.
Wacky Jim Carrey probably isn't the best choice to play Dr. Seuss' timid, persecuted environmentalist Horton, but at least the CGI animation does its utmost to replicate the author/illustrator's wild worlds. Scattered around this tale of a selfless elephant who tries to convince his jungle cohorts that a microscopic world needs his protection are vocal ringers like Steve Carrell, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett, Dane Cook, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Amy Poehler, Jamie Pressly and Seth Rogen. 88 minutes G.
The automotive insult to gravity and various related forms of physics continues, despite the untimely death of star Paul Walker. Vin Diesel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Ludacris pick up the slack, shooting and/or crashing cars into countless people, places and things. Seems Evil British Guy (Jason Statham) is going after car thief/invincible superhero Dominic Toretto and crew for killing his brother, Evil British Guy From The Last Movie (Luke Evans). 137 minutes PG-13.
Will Ferrell and the clearly overworked Kevin Hart (six films last year and two so far in 2015) star in this racial comedy. Ferrell is millionaire James King, busted for fraud and bound for San Quentin. On the run from police, James ends up in the South Central LA home of family man Darnell Lewis (Hart). Mistaking him for a street thug (because, you know, racial humor), James offers to pay the man to school him in the art of being a gangsta--so he can survive in prison. Needless to say, this mismatched buddy comedy doesn't try very hard. 100 minutes R.
DreamWorks Animation mashes together E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Lilo & Stitch in the hopes that wayward alien mascot Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons from "The Big Bang Theory") will become the next toy/video game/t-shirt-generating machine. It's safe to say he won't. The story, about a misfit alien who befriends a lonely Earth girl (Rihanna), feels awfully recycled. If you're an adult who doesn't find Parsons' voice grating, you might survive a screening with your kids. 94 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:00am, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:00, 2:30, 5:00, 7:30, 10:00
In the proud tradition of Midnight Run (with Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin) and Witless Protection (with Larry the Cable Guy and Jenny McCarthy), Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara star in this action comedy about an officer of the law escorting a reluctant witness across the country while being pursued by cops and gunmen alike. 87 minutes PG-13.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 12:10, 2:40, 5:20, 7:50, 10:20 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:05, 2:30, 4:55, 7:20, 9:45
The popular young adult book series about a dystopian future in which mean old adults won't let rebellious teens grow up to be whatever they want returns with the second outing in the trilogy (which will, inevitably, turn into four films). Shailene Woodley is back as troublemaking "divergent" Tris, who's obliged to run and fight and take a bunch of tests (no, really) in this predictably rote sequel. 119 minutes PG-13.
DisneyNature's annual Earth Day release concentrates, obviously, on monkeys this year. The focus is on a troop of toque macaques struggling to survive in the ruins of an ancient temple in "the storied jungles of South Asia." Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill (Chimpanzee, Bears, African Cats) produce and direct. Tina Fey narrates. Sure, why not? 100 minutes G.
Ben Stiller and friends (and the monkey) are back in this third outing about wacky hijinks at a natural history museum after the lights go out. Seems the magic that causes all the displays to come to life at night is fading, and our security guard hero (Stiller) must travel the globe, uniting characters old (Robin Willams' Teddy Roosevelt) and new (Dan Stevens' Sir Lancelot) to save it. 97 minutes PG.
You brought this on yourself, America. Incompetent but accidentally heroic security guard Paul Blart (Kevin James) goes off on vacation to Las Vegas with his teenage daughter (Raini Rodriguez). But when crime rears its ugly head in the form of a casino heist, the fat dude on the Segway fights back. With wacky slapstick jokes. At least Larry, Moe and Curly had each other to play off of. 94 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:20am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:05, 2:35, 5:05, 7:35, 10:05
The hit 1982 ghost story from Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper gets an amped-up remake starring Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), Rosemarie DeWitt (Cinderella Man) and Jared Harris (poor Lane Pryce from "Mad Men"). You can see it in 3D if you want. 93 minutes PG-13.
British treasure Helen Mirren stars as Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee who takes on the Austrian government to recover a Gustav Klimt masterpiece stolen by the Nazis during World War II. It's based on a true story. Unfortunately, it's a mostly speech-heavy courtroom drama. And what the hell is Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder, Green Lantern) doing here playing a Jewish lawyer? 109 minutes PG-13.