From the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman comes this whimsically imaginative, stop-motion-animated toon about a young orphan raised underground by cave-dwelling, trash-collecting trolls. Based on the children's novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow. Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan provide voices. 97 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 9/26)
In the midst of a government-imposed 20-year ban on filmmaking, acclaimed Iranian new wave filmmaker/political rebel Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon) takes up the writing/directing mantle for this story of a screenwriter hiding out in a secluded house by the sea. His exile is broken one night by the arrival of a young woman fleeing from the authorities. Refusing to leave, she takes refuge in the filmmaker's house, upending his isolation. In Farsi with English subtitles. 106 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/26)
Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni star in Jim Jarmusch's quirky, deadpan, low-down-arty 1986 comedy about a trio of inmates at a Louisiana prison who escape their crowded cell, but not one another. Double-featured with Stranger Than Paradise. 107 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 9/30)
John Barrymore stars in this early, silent film version of Robert Louis Stevenson's horror classic. Austin-based instrumentalists The Invincible Czars will be on hand for this one-time-only showing to provide a live, original score. 49 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/26)
The popular, but mostly forgotten 1980s TV series starring Edward Woodward as an elderly, ass-kicking former intelligence agent gets a reboot courtesy of actor Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen). Washington is a tough guy with a mysterious past who volunteers to protect a young girl (Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass) from ultra-violent Russian mobsters. 131 minutes R. (Opens Friday 9/26)
This Iranian documentary profiles provocative artist Bahman Mohasses, the so-called "Persian Picasso." Though his works dominated pre-revolutionary Iran, the aging artist now finds himself lost in exile. Filmmaker Mitra Farahani hunts down and interviews the reclusive artist in an Italian hotel room, revealing as much about her own artistic process as her subject's. In Persian with English subtitles. 96 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 9/26)
Stuart Murdoch, lead singer and songwriter of the celebrated indie band Belle and Sebastian, writes and directs this musical romance about an emotionally troubled girl (Emily Browning, Sucker Punch) who starts writing songs, hooks up with a pair of mopey musicians and starts a band. 111 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 9/27)
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh star in this classic 1939 adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's Civil War romance. This year is the 75th anniversary, by the way. That's as good an excuse as any to see it on the big screen--courtesy of the fine folks at Turner Classic Movies. 238 minutes (Opens Sunday 9/28)
Daniel Radcliffe stars as Beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg in this biopic about the young author's first meeting with soon-to-be icons Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) at Columbia University in 1944. The men are united as much by their literary ambitions as a murderous act on the part of a sexually ambiguous pal. Radcliffe is stellar as the insecure writer navigating the usual coming-of-age tropes--alongside a double dose of homosexuality and homicide. 104 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 9/25)
John Lithgow and Alfred Molina are a cute older couple who decide--after three decades together--to get married. To them, it's no big deal. But the union results in a cascading series of losses, from job to apartment. Left without a home in expensive New York City, the couple splits up to bunk with friends and family. But the resulting situation grates on all involved. This quiet slice of life simply provides characters and situations, then sits back to watch what happens. Warm, witty and amazingly empathetic, this small, slow film sneaks up on you. 94 minutes R. (Opens Friday 9/26)
In this silly Mexican horror flick, a young party girl moves into her deceased aunt's mansion. Spooky stuff ensues. This is a (3D!) remake of Carlos Enrique Taboada's classic 1975 Mexi-chiller of the same name. In Spanish with English subtitles. 100 minutes R. (Opens Friday 9/26)
Century Rio Fri-Sat 2:05, 7:50, 12:01am; Sun-Thu 2:05, 7:50
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 The Netherlands, France, Australia, Norway, Mexico, Germany, England 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 10/2)
A middle-aged American loser (Kevin Kline) inherits an apartment in Paris, but it comes with a hitch--an elderly tenant, played by Maggie Smith. Our penniless protagonist camps out in a spare room while figuring out what to do with the property and finds himself regularly abused by his tenant's mean daughter (Kristin Scott Thomas). An tartly enjoyable if stagebound directing debut (at age 75) from veteran playwright Israel Horovitz (dad to Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz). 107 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 9/26)
Former "SNL"ers Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star in his dramedy about estranged twins who both coincidentally cheat death on the same day, sparking a reunion and a possible mending of their broken relationship. Wiig and Hader share some effortless chemistry as our damaged-but-lovable siblings. Hader is particularly great as a gay, depressed wannabe actor. 93 minutes R. (Opens Friday 9/26)
In this chintzy musical drama, an aspiring Nashville singer-songwriter's life and marriage suffer when the song he writes for his wife propels him to stardom. Will he succumb to the temptations of fame and fortune and cheat on his wife? If you guessed "Don't worry, Jesus will save the day," you are correct. 112 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 9/26)
Writer-director Jim Jarmusch blipped his way onto the indie film radar with this near-classic 1984 comedy about a self-styled hipster (singer John Lurie) who gets a surprise visit from his pretty, 16-year-old cousin from Hungary and ends up undertaking a strange road trip across America. Minimalist but oddly compelling. Double-featured with Down By Law. 89 minutes (Tuesday 9/30)
James Stewart stars in this acclaimed 1950 Western about a prized rifle that passes from one ill-fated owner to another. Anthony Mann (T-Men, Raw Deal, The Naked Spur, The Glenn Miller Story, El Cid) directs. 92 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 9/27)
In this archaeologically minded supernatural thriller, a group of explorers descends into the skeleton-filled catacombs below Paris, only to come face-to-face with their own fears made real. If you're a "found footage" completist, you might be the audience for this low-budget mixture of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Descent from the Brothers Dowdle (The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Quarantine, Devil). 93 minutes R.
Filmmaker Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise) spent 12 years--off and on--shooting this coming-of-age tale. Instead of being gimmicky, the film is comfortingly real and quietly observational. We simply watch as Mason (Ellar Coltrane) grows from age 5 to age 18 and experiences all that life throws at him. His parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) are divorced, and he drifts from video games to ogling lingerie catalogues to dealing with awful stepparents to navigating high school. The free-flowing narrative never tries to impose a "story" on the proceedings--and yet it's never dull. Instead, it's a lesson in regression for audiences as they recall all the funny, sad, rough, joyous, confusing moments that make up pre-adulthood. 165 minutes R.
After a flashy showing at Sundance, filmmaker Ned Benson took his films The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her and cut them into a single, (slightly) more conventional narrative. In whatever incarnation, Rigby relates the story of a couple (Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy) who break up in the wake of their baby son's death. She tries to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, moves in with her parents and goes back to school. He buries himself in his work at a struggling bar/restaurant. There's some serious ACTING (in all capitals) going on here. Supporting cast includes Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, Ciarán Hinds and Bill Hader. But the whole affair seems a little too high-minded and "constructed" to really get to the heart of the matter. 122 minutes Unrated.
Winter, the handicapped dolphin who starred in the inspirational family film about her own life, returns in an even more fictionalized sequel. Here, marine biologists at an aquarium in Florida rescue an even cuter baby dolphin named Hope. Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. are the non-dolphin stars. 107 minutes PG.
Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace star in this gritty little crime drama about a good-natured mook working at his cousin's bar in Brooklyn. The place is secretly owned by the Chechen mob, though. And when some neighborhood idiots rob the joint, our protagonist (Hardy) and his cousin (Gandolfini) must find the money before the mob finds them. It's a slow-paced affair, but it builds to a shocking climax thanks to a smart script by author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) and some indelible character work by Hardy. 106 minutes R.
Lois Lowry's much-loved teen lit sci-fi novel finally makes it to the big screen. In a futuristic dystopia--seemingly without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice--a young man(Brenton Thwaites) is chosen to learn from an elderly man (Jeff Bridges) the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world. Note to all future dystopian leaders: Get rid of the teenagers. If YA literature is any indication (Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched, Delirium, Unwind, The Maze Runner), two photogenic teenagers in love will invariably bring down your society. 94 minutes PG-13.
Marvel Comics' superhero movies take off in a different direction, heading into outer space for this buoyantly comic, endlessly entertaining sci-fi romp. A band of misfits, criminals and brash adventurers is conscripted into saving the galaxy when a powerful alien warlord comes looking for a weapon of cosmos-threatening proportions. Cult filmmaker James Gunn (Tromeo and Juliet, Dawn of the Dead, Slither, Super) writes and directs. Chris Pratt ("Parks and Recreation"), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) and Lee Pace (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) star. 121 minutes PG-13.
After the untimely death of their matriarch, a brokenhearted Indian clan wanders Europe looking for a place to open up their family restaurant. They end up in an impossibly picturesque French town where Papa (Om Puri) decides to hang up his shingle across the street from a Michelin Star restaurant. Gifted young chef Hassan (Manish Dayal) falls in love with the rival sous chef (Charlotte Le Bon), while Papa starts up a love/hate relationship with the fancy French restaurant's uptight owner (Helen Mirren). This is exactly (exactly) the sort of semi-exotic foodie romance you would expect from the director of Chocolat. 122 minutes PG.
Capitalizing on the beautiful tragedy of The Fault in Our Stars, this romantic drama adapts another weepy teen lit hit. Young Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass) is on the edge of adulthood, about to go off to Juilliard to study music. But a tragic car accident kills off her parents and leaves her in a coma. An out-of-body experience leaves our gal wandering around watching friends and family gather at the hospital and drifting freely through her memories. Now she must decide if she should wake up and get on with her life or just kick the bucket. 106 minutes PG-13.
Century Rio Fri-Sat 1:20, 4:25, 7:20, 10:20; Sun 11:05am; Mon-Tue 1:20, 4:25, 7:20, 10:20; Wed-Thu 11:05am Cottonwood Stadium 16 Fri-Thu 11:35am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:20, 9:55
We've had found-footage horror films (The Blair Witch Project et al), found-footage monster movies (Cloverfield), found-footage cop movies (End of Watch), found-footage superhero films (Chronicle) and found-footage kids' films (Earth to Echo). So why not some found-footage disaster porn? Into the Storm takes the basic plot of Twister, throws in some handheld camera and adds a whole bunch more CGI destruction. It comes to us from the director of Final Destination 5 and the writer of Step Up All In. 89 minutes PG-13.
Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson (still hanging out off the set of FOX's "New Girl") are a couple of struggling pals who decide to dress up as cops for a costume party. Mistaken for real police officers, and afforded respect for the first time in their lives, the two decide to keep up the charade. Unfortunately a collection of real-life mobsters and dirty detectives put our dressed-up do-gooders in mortal danger. Yes, it's as silly as you're thinking. 104 minutes R.
French filmmaker Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element) gets back into the swing of action filmmaking with this monumentally strange, and epically silly sci-fi flick. Scarlett Johansson stars as a woman tricked into becoming a mule for an experimental drug. When the bags of illegal chemicals in her stomach break open, she instantly and mysteriously gains all the superpowers in the universe by using 100 percent of her brain. We're talking Jackie Chan, all of the X-Men and Neo at the end of The Matrix combined. Naturally she employs these powers to get revenge on the bad people. Given that she can control all of time and space, there's not a lot of tension. 90 minutes R.
Woody Allen's 44th film is a lightweight charmer. Colin Firth plays a professional magician and debunker who travels to Southern France (circa 1920) to expose a fraudulent spiritualist. Our hero is shocked to find the charlatan is a wide-eyed American cutie (Emma Stone). Even more shocking, he can't figure out her tricks. Could it be that she actually has the ability to speak to the dead? The outcome of this period romcom is never remotely in doubt, but the cast is quite likable, and the setting is lovely to look at. 97 minutes PG-13.
More post-apocalyptic YA teen lit hits the big screen. In this adaptation of James Dashner's hit book trilogy, a mind-erased teen (Dylan O'Brien, "Teen Wolf") is dropped into a community of "runners" trapped inside a deadly, monster-filled, impossible-to-escape maze. Why? Just wait two more movies and you'll find out. 120 minutes PG-13.
Taraji P. Henson ("Person of Interest," Think Like a Man) and Idris Elba ("Luther," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) class up this twisty domestic thriller about a suburban wife and mother who finds her home invaded by a dangerous escaped convict. 84 minutes PG-13.
Überproducer Michael Bay (Bad Boys, Armageddon, Transformers) has his grubby fingerprints all over this unnecessary reboot of the classic comic book/cartoon series. The special effects are a major upgrade, but the story--scarred by all the usual overworked, underwritten tropes of modern screenwriting--takes a lot of liberties with the original. It's not a travesty, but it's probably not what fans want either. 101 minutes PG-13.
Middle-of-the-road talent Shawn Levy (Cheaper By the Dozen, Night at the Museum, Date Night, Real Steel) directs this dramedy about a dysfunctional family (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll) brought together by their secret-stealing author of a mother (Jane Fonda) to sit shiva in their childhood home after their father passes away. The story (based on a novel by Jonathan Tropper) doesn't plow any new ground. It's your standard "crazy clan gets the skeletons out of the closet, cries, hugs and makes up" tale--right down to the requisite pot-fueled confessional scene. But the cast is filled with comic ringers, and script generates its emotions in a mostly organic manner. 103 minutes R.
Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Red State) writes and directs this year's most WTF? film experience. This wildly uneven splatstick horror comedy finds an obnoxious podcaster (Justin Long, Live Free or Die Hard) kidnapped by an elderly Canadian seaman (Michael Parks, Kill Bill) who wants to do unspeakable things to the poor guy. Parks saves the day her with his quiet menace, but certain other cast members (who will remain nameless) are extremely freaking silly. If you've ever wondered what it would be like if someone combined The Human Centipede with a Bob and Doug McKenzie sketch, here's your answer. 101 minutes R.
Liam Neeson, still in tough old man mode, stars as Lawrence Block's literary private detective Matthew Scudder in this adaptation of the 10th Scudder novel. Jeff Bridges played the character once before in 1986's nonstarter 8 Million Ways to Die. In this one our alcoholic ex-cop hero is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered the guy's wife. This is gritty, street-pounding. old-school noir. 113 minutes
The 2012 comic reboot of teen cop series "21 Jump Street" worked almost entirely thanks to the efforts of its game cast (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, chiefly). The simple script and low-impact direction certainly didn't add much to the proceedings. This rude follow-up (set in college) tries a little harder, crafting a bigger-stakes story and a perfect storm of self-mocking jokes. It ain't smart, but it does have drug content, brief nudity and a Benny Hill reference. 112 minutes R.
Jon Favreau (now famous as the director of Iron Man) returns to his indie film roots, writing, directing and starring in this humble comedy about a famous chef who loses his fancy restaurant job and starts over with a food truck. John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, Amy Sedaris and Robert Downey Jr. drop by to help out their pal. 115 minutes R.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) was a not-half-bad attempt to reboot a classic film series without really rebooting it. The sci-fi actioner fits neatly in amongst the '60s and '70s Planet of the Apes films. Now things get a little more ... ape-like, with Caesar and his army of genetically modified apes threatening to wipe out the last surviving band of humans. Bottom line: Apes with machine guns riding horses=good times. 130 minutes PG-13.
This well-meaning but entirely uninspired family sci-fi flick glues the entire plot to E.T. the Extraterrestrial onto the handheld, found-footage style of Chronicle. The result is a cheap, nostalgic imitation of mid-'80s Steven Spielberg-inspired wonderment. J.J. Abrams' Super 8 did the exact same (and I mean, exact same) thing 50 times better. 91 minutes PG.
Wrestlin' thespian Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as legendary demigod Hercules, hired to protect the King of Thrace and his daughter from a tyrannical warlord. Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Peter Mullan and Joseph Fiennes mill around in the background trying to look Greek. Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3) directs this musclebound fantasy based on the comic book Hercules: The Thracian Wars. The trailers are sort of false advertising, but the film does a semi-commendable job of bringing the mythical hero down to earth. 98 minutes PG-13.
Viking teen Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his best dragon friend Toothless discover a hidden ice cave, home to hundreds of new wild dragon species. Having only recently made peace with their fire-breathing allies, the dragonriders must now deal with a whole new monstrous threat. This sequel to DreamWorks' surprisingly solid CGI hit from 2010 ups the ante, turning the original boy-and-his-dog variation into a full-blown fantasy war epic. 102 minutes PG.
Disney reboots Sleeping Beauty with this live-action fairy tale concentrating more on the (apparently not-so-)evil sorceress (played by Angelina Jolie) and her tragic backstory. Elle Fanning (Super 8) is our soon-to-be-somnolent princess. Jolie is mesmerizing, and the film does a credible and ultimately quite likeable job melding Disney sentiment with certain aspects of the original fairy tale. But it's an odd fantasy that takes a long time to find its tone. 97 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:10am, 4:30, 7:10 Movies West Fri-Sun 12:00, 2:35, 5:10; Mon-Thu 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45, 10:20
Director Robert Rodriguez finally gets around to adapting more of Frank Miller's Sin City graphic novels. This newest collection of ultra-stylized, noir-drenched crime stories is more or less a prequel to the original film--in that most of the dead characters like Mickey Rourke's Marv and Bruce Willis' Hartigan are all back to absorb more abuse. This time around, everybody's gunning for the first film's "big bad" Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Eva Green (Casino Royale, "Penny Dreadful") joins the cast as the titular femme fatale. 102 minutes R.
If you're a massive fan of the Step Up series ... (I really feel I should stop there, but I'll forge on) then this fifth film in the "classically trained dancers vs. hip-hop street dancers" series should prove very exciting for you. "All-stars" from the previous Step Up installments (I'm unable to identify them, but I'm sure they're there) come together for one massive, ab-bearing dance-off-to-end-all-dance-offs in glitter-filled Las Vegas. 112 minutes PG-13.
Melissa McCarthy, riding high after Bridesmaids and The Heat, plays a white trash woman who loses her job and finds out her husband has been cheating. In response she hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking granny (Susan Sarandon). Hijinks ensue. 96 minutes R.
In his most restrained film to date, Michael Bay ... just kidding. This thing's 2 hours and 45 minutes' worth of exploding and screaming. The original cast has been ditched. (How will we ever survive without Shia LaBeouf?) Mark Wahlberg takes over human hero duties as a poor mechanic who buys a smashed-up semi, only to discover it's a Transformer. This would be more fun to watch at home where you can play the drinking game: Take a shot every time there's a giant fireball, an expensive piece of actual US military hardware races by or an American flag waves in slow motion. 165 minutes PG-13.