George A. Romero's 1978 sequel to his groundbreaking horror hit Night of the Living Dead is arguably the high watermark of zombie films. Set in a crumbling Pennsylvania shopping mall, the film finds two SWAT team members, a traffic reporter and a television executive trying to survive against the ever-growing horde of reanimated corpses. 127 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 10/2)
Peter Jackson loads everybody back into the hobbit cart to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's pre-Lord of the Rings novel. Martin Freeman ("Sherlock") plays the young Bilbo Baggins, sent on an epic quest by wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to stop a marauding dragon. The tone is notably more juvenile, and the story has been much inflated to fill out three whole films. In case that wasn't enough, though, this version's got 21 more minutes of furious hobbit action. 190 minutes PG-13. (Opens Monday 10/5)
Director Peter Jackson spent a goodly amount of time setting up the story for J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit in the last film. Now the journey is well and truly underway, and we finally get some rousing action, some gorgeous set-pieces and one hell of a dragon. Plus, this version's got 25 more minutes of furious hobbit action. 186 minutes PG-13. (Opens Wednesday 10/8)
Albuquerque is one of over 250 cities worldwide participating in this "global" film festival. Organizers received hundreds of entries from dozens of countries. The top 10 finalists (all 15 minutes or less in length) will be screened. Countries represented this year include Finland, Denmark, France, Chile, Germany, Turkey, the UK and the US. Audiences around the world will get to vote on their favorites and help crown a winner. For a full rundown of the films (including interviews with the directors), go to manhattanshort.com. (Opens Thursday 10/1)
Matt Damon is an astronaut who gets left for dead on Mars after a manned mission goes horribly awry. Stuck on the red planet with only minimal supplies and his scientific mind, our hero must figure out a way to survive based on ingenuity, wit and spirit. Ridley Scott (Alien) directs. It's based, of course, on the best-selling book by Andy Weir. 141 minutes PG-13. (Opens Thursday 10/1)
William Powell and Carole Lombard star in this 1936 screwball comedy/romance about a scatterbrained socialite who hires a homeless man as a family butler. This Depression era piece of witty wish fulfillment is considered one of the best films for both stars. 94 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 10/3)
A true modern classic, this much-loved 1987 film (from the book by William Goldman) gives us comedy, romance, fantasy, action and adventure. This postmodern fairy tale features swashbuckling swordplay, a giant (André the Giant, to be specific), an evil prince, a beautiful princess and a kiss or two. Still magnificent after all these years. 98 minutes PG. (Sunday 10/4)
Emily Blunt stars as an idealistic FBI agent enlisted into a shadowy mission by a mysterious CIA agent (Josh Brolin) and his tight-lipped "advisor" (Benicio Del Toro). Ostensibly, the group is trying to stop the drug trade along the US/Mexico border. But as the operation grows more violent and secretive, our heroine begins to wonder what side of the fence she's really on. Director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Prisoners) directs this lightless thriller with all the grisly tension of Se7en. FULL REVIEW:Blunt, brutal drug war drama finds cops and robbers (but not good guys and bad guys) along the US-Mexico border by Devin D. O’Leary (10/1/2015). 121 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 10/1)
Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as two romantic failures who reunite 10 years after their college hookup at a 12-step program for sex addicts. The two attempt to become platonic friends, counseling one another on their romantic problems (and vowing to not sleep with together). Writer-director Leslie Headland (Bachelorette) has crafted a smart, sexy and delightfully raw anti-romantic comedy with a hell of a cast. (Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne and Amanda Peet are in there too.) 101 minutes R. (Opens Friday 10/2)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays real-life daredevil Philippe Petit, who in 1974 talked a group of friends into helping realize his life's dream--breaking into the world Trade Center and performing an illegal high-wire walk between the towers. Based on the 2008 documentary Man on Wire. 123 minutes PG. (Opens Thursday 10/8)
Subtitled "The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music," this tune-filled documentary traces the roots of American music right back to the Appalachian foothills (a town called Maces Springs, Va., to be precise). It's there that the Original Carter Family made its mark on the history of American recorded music. 90 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 10/4)
Johnny Depp finally puts his penchant for dressing up in odd costumes and playing with makeup to some serious purpose in this hard-hitting biopic about notorious South Boston mobster Whitey Bulger. Depp is striking and scary, but he's surrounded by other great actors as well: Joel Edgerton as a conflicted FBI agent, Benedict Cumberbatch as a state senator. It's not the greatest Mob movie ever made--it may not even be as good as Depp's Donnie Brasco--but it's a bracing return-to-form for Depp. 122 minutes R.
Actress Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) directs this emotionally messy Single White Female riff about a friendship between an average suburban teenager and a rebellious new girl at school that goes from platonic to passionate to toxic. Relative newcomers Joséphine Japy and Lou De Laage do nuanced work as the codependent BFFs. Based on Anne-Sophie Brasme's popular YA novel. In French with English subtitles. 91 minutes Unrated.
Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright and Emily Watson star in this high-altitude drama "inspried by the incredible true events surrounding a trecherous attempt to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain." In a nutshell, eight climbers died when they were caught in a blizzard back in 1996. Four other people died that year, making it the deadliest year atop Everest on record. Until 2014 when 18 people died. The moral: Never climb Mt. Everest. 121 minutes PG-13.
Legendary comedienne Lily Tomlin stars as a feminist, lesbian, poet, occasional academician and generally cranky misanthrope who gets an unexpected visit from her granddaughter (Julia Garner, The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Seems the teen is pregnant and in need of $500 to carry out an abortion that afternoon. Unfortunately, grandma is tapped out. But the two women unite forces, combing through grandma's mental Rolodex looking for someone with money. If only grandma didn't have a talent for burning bridges. A funny, lacerating, emotionally honest indie comedy from writer/director Paul Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy). FULL REVIEW:Lily Tomlin is a tough old bird in emotional comedy about the choices we make in life by Devin D. O’Leary (9/17/2015). 78 minutes R.
Century Rio Fri-Thu 11:20am, 4:50, 10:40 High Ridge Fri-Sun 12:20, 3:40, 7:25, 10:30; Mon-Thu 12:20, 3:40, 7:25
Writer-director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) pays tribute to the extreme horror cannibal craze of the late '70s/early '80s (The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Eaten Alive, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferrox). Here, a group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest. Its not long, though, before their plane crashes in the jungle causing them to run afoul of some primitive man-eaters. 100 minutes R.
Genndy Tartakovsky ("Dexter's Laboratory," "Samurai Jack") returns to helm this cartoon sequel in which Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) tries to bring out the monster in his half-human. half-vampire grandson in order to keep his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) from leaving his now famous hotel. 89 minutes PG.
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.
Robert De Niro is a bored retiree who gets an internship at an up-and-coming online retailer run by young go-getter Anne Hathaway. Writer-director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something's Got to Give) has put together a genial crowd-pleaser, but the script never asks much heavy lifting of its characters, providing them with easy laughs and simple solutions whenever the spectre of actual drama rears its ugly head. FULL REVIEW:Nancy Meyers’ genial workplace comedy does the job it was hired to do by Devin D. O’Leary (9/24/2015). 121 minutes PG-13.
When will futuristic dystopian leaders learn? Never mess with teenagers; they'll bring you down every time. (See for reference: the Divergent series, the Hunger Games series, et al.). Despite its strict adherence to the tropes of the genre, the second installment of the Maze Runner series makes for some exciting post-apocalyptic entertainment. It's mostly a bunch of personality-deficient kids running from evil adults and the occasional zombie horde, but the pace is breathless and the production design is impeccably bleak. This one plays mighty fast and loose with James Dashner's original novels (which don't make a whole lot of sense anyway), so it's hard to tell how hardcore YA lit fans will react. But the mediocre script and gripping action is probably enough to carry audiences into a third film. 131 minutes PG-13.
The lovable yellow sidekicks from the Despicable Me films finally get their own spin-off. History tells us that the Minions have been around since the dawn of time, looking for evildoers to whom they can pledge their slavish devotion. This hectic, anarchy-driven toon takes us to swingin' '60s London where a trio of semi-moronic Minions try to help the world's first female supervillain (voiced by Sandra Bullock) steal the Crown Jewels. The plot is terribly inconsequential--but it's hard to deny the silly fun to be had along the way. 91 minutes PG.
Former Spider-Man Tobey Maguire takes on the role of infamous (and eventually quite nutty) chess prodigy Bobby Fischer. The bulk of this dramatic biopic takes place during the Cold War when Fischer battled Russian champ Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), providing the world with a distinctly black-and-white metaphor for East-West relations. 114 minutes PG-13.
A successful lobbyist (Sanaa Lathan, The Best Man) meets a charming IT expert (Michael Ealy, Think Like a Man) who appears to fit the title description. After the two jump into bed for some sexual satisfaction, however, he turns violent, jealous and vengeful. Basically, this bad romance thriller is a Lifetime network movie in the theater. 100 minutes PG-13.
This Brazilian drama centers on Val (legendary theater, cinema and TV actress Regina Casé), a hard-working live-in housekeeper who happily cooks, cleans and raises the teenage son of her wealthy employers in modern-day Sao Paulo. But when Val's own estranged daughter suddenly shows up, unspoken class barriers are thown into disarray. In Portuguese with English subtitles. 114 minutes R.
F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, The Negotiator) directs this dutiful biopic relating the origin story of controversial, groundbreaking LA rap group NWA. O'Shea Jackson Jr. is particularly convincing as the young Ice Cube--not too surprising, considering he's Cube's son. The film has generated some serious buzz; too bad it's so by-the-numbers. 147 minutes R.
Writer-director M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening) dials back the preposterous plot twists for this simple, low-budget, "found footage" shocker. A pair of tweens (Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould) are shipped off to the rural farm of the grandparents they've never met. Unfortunately, Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie) seem a little ... weird. This winking, modern riff on "Hansel & Gretel" is a fun, PG-13 horror-comedy that works far better than expected. FULL REVIEW:What’s the twist in M. Night Shyamalan’s new “old people are scary” thriller? ... That it’s a decent film. by Devin D. O’Leary (9/10/2015). 94 minutes PG-13.
Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in this innocuous adaptation of Bill Bryson's equally innocuous nonfiction book. Redford is the conservative, stay-at-home type of guy. Nolte is the troubled ne'er-do-well. Together these two mismatched old pals reunite and vow to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. 104 minutes R.
From the writer-director of such Christian films as Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous comes this drama about a "seemingly perfect" African-American family who try to fix their problems (hubby grapples with "temptation"--maybe from Ashley Madison?) with the help of an older, wiser, Bible-endorsing woman. Spoiler alert: All they need is prayer. 120 minutes PG.
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.
After a couple of less-than-stellar outings, 20th Century Fox tries to reboot the Marvel Comics franchise with director Josh Trank (Chronicle) at the helm. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell are our quartet of (decidedly younger) scientific explorers who teleport themselves to an alternate dimension and are imbued with a wide range of superpowers. Yes, it's as bad as you've heard. It's 80 percent boring set-up and 20 percent random bad-guy battle. A decade ago this might have scraped by. But not today. 100 minutes PG-13.
Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger) take over for Robert Vaughn and David McCallum in this remake of the mid-'60s spy-fi TV series. Writer-director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) gives the film plenty of style and temporal flair, turning this Cold War team-up between American and Russian spies into a witty buddy cop drama. Whereas the Mission: Impossible films want you to watch them from the edge of your seat, this one wants you to sit back and absorb the mid-century cool. FULL REVIEW:‘60s spy saga retuns with style by Devin D. O’Leary (8/13/2015). 116 minutes PG-13.
When space aliens misinterpret video game signals from Earth as a challenge to war, a group of former arcade nerds (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad) are recruited by the government to fight off the likes of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. The story (based on a short film) is loaded with nostalgic potential ... all of which is squashed by bored-to-be-here Adam Sandler and his pals. 106 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.
From the makers of "Wallace & Gromit" comes this charm-filled claymation spin-off about a smart-alec (albeit silent) sheep who decides to take the day off and ends up searching the big city for his amnesia-prone farmer. There is much silliness, physical humor and sight gags to be had--all of it wonderful. 85 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:10, 2:50, 5:15, 7:40, 10:00
At least this reboot/sequel starts with a clever idea: Some 30 years after that fateful vacation to Wally World with his parents, now-grown-up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms, taking over from Anthony Michael Hall) vows to recreate the journey with his wife (Christina Applegate) and kids. 99 minutes R.