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. (Opens Thursday 4/30)
Bruce W. Timm and Paul Dini spun their successful run on the film noir-inspired "Batman: The Animated Series" into this dark, mystery-filled 1993 feature. Seems our hero is being implicated in a series of mob boss murders. The real culprit? A vigilante assassin known only as The Phantasm. See also:Reel World: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Outdoor Vision Fest, Santa Fe Labor Film Festival by Devin D. O’Leary (4/30/2015). 76 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 5/1)
On the eve of its new Blu-Ray release, John Carpenter's 1986 action romp returns for a brief theatrical visit. Kurt Russell is rowdy trucker Jack Burton, who gets roped into a centuries-old supernatural brawl on the streets of Chinatown. 98 minutes PG-13. (Opens Sunday 5/3)
A veteran actress (Juliette Binoche) is thrown for a loop when the filmmaker who gave her her big break dies. At the memorial she runs into an up and-and-coming director who proposes remaking her first film. She retreats to the Alps with her assistant (Kristen Stewart from the Twilight films) to contemplate the career move. Binoche is good; Stewart is even better--but the self-referential script is glacial and extremely talky. FULL REVIEW:Film industry drama finds actress caught between art and a hard place by Devin D. O’Leary (4/30/2015). 123 minutes R. (Opens Friday 5/1)
The Guild celebrates Orson Welles' birthday with a two-film tribute. This 1947 film noir showcases the legendary actor/director's skill in turning cheap pulp material into complex cinematic puzzles. Here, Welles plays a boat captain who signs on to a bizarre yachting cruise just to get closer to the mysterious Mrs. Bannister (Rita Hayworth--well, who could blame him?). What follows is a twisty plot full of deception, fraud and murder. Double-featured with Magician. 88 minutes Unrated. (Wednesday 5/6)
On the eve of his hundredth birthday, Orson Welles gets the biopic treatment from Academy Award-winner Chuck Workman (Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol). Magician features scenes from just about every existing Welles film, including clips from his final, unfinished works. Friend Peter Bogdanovich, lover Oja Kodar and biographers Joseph McBride and Simon Callow are among those interviewed--but it's the patchwork of film clips that provide the best portrait of the actor/filmmaker. Double-featured with The Lady from Shanghai.94 minutes PG-13. (Opens Wednesday 5/6)
The Brain Hackers STEM program and the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School present this collection of short films rooted in brain and behavior science. The idea is to introduce young students to brain-based science by exploring a range of topics from curious phenomena to artistic illustrations of how our gray matter works. Admission is $5 for adults. Anyone under 16 is free. 100 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 5/3)
Funded through an APS Education Foundation Horizon Grant, this free student film festival features collaborative short films made by, for and about local high school students. Aliens, ghost stories and a John Steinbeck adaptation are just some of the topics to go in front of the cameras. 65 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 5/2)
Famed Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado is profiled in this stunning documentary co-directed by arty German Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire). Since the 1970s Salgado has traveled the world documenting the lives of native peoples, migrant workers and displaced populations. After covering ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, however, his faith in humanity broke down--setting in motion a beautifully unexpected, late-in-life shift in perspective. The film is an emotional reminder that art can change the lives of people who make it as easily as the lives of people who view it. FULL REVIEW:Breathtaking photography forms backbone of life-changing biopic by Devin D. O’Leary (4/23/2015). 110 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 4/24)
A rural cattle herder (Ibrahim Ahmed) and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives--which are typically free of the urban Jihadists determined to control their faith--abruptly disturbed. An Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. In English, French, Arabic, Bambara and Songhay with English subtitle 97 minutes PG-13. (Opens Sunday 5/3)
Blake Lively ("Gossip Girl") stars as a young woman, born at the turn of the 20th century, who is "rendered ageless" after an accident. In present day, our immortal protagonist falls in love with a young man (Michiel Huisman, "Game of Thrones"), only to discover that his dad (Harrison Ford) is one of her old lovers. Awkward. 110 minutes PG-13.
Gorgeous but glum, this small-town drama from first-time filmmaker Lance Edmands follows the messed-up lives of a husband (John Slattery from "Mad Men") and wife (Amy Morton, "Chicago Fire") in snowbound Maine. He loses his job, and she accidentally leaves a kid trapped overnight on the school bus she drives. And then things get really bad. For just about everybody who lives in this dead-end town. The cinematography and acting is amazing, but the glacial pacing and grief-filled storytelling are not for everyone. 90 minutes Unrated.
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.
Al Pacino stars as an aging musician who has transitioned from Bob Dylan integrity to kitschy, burned-out pop star. When his manager (Christopher Plummer) stumbles across a long-lost, 40-year-old piece of fan mail from John Lennon himself, our hero decides it's time for some late-in-life redemption. He sets off on a cross-country road trip to reunite with the adult son (Bobby Cannavale) he fathered with a groupie, then holes up in suburban New Jersey hoping his songwriting muse will return. Pacino takes this assignment seriously, but writer-director Dan Fogelman (Cars, Bolt, Tangled) veers toward the sitcomish. 106 minutes R.
British writer Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later..., Dredd) tries his hand at directing with this sci-fi tale about a young programmer selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluation the "human qualities" of a female robot. Like all female robots in movies, she turns out to be both sexy and dangerous. We've seen this sort of high-tech Frankenstein story before, but Garland's script is highly literate and his direction thrilling. 108 minutes R.
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.
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.
This faith-based parable (produced by Hollywood super-Christians Roma Downey and Mark Burnett) ups the ante by hiring a bunch of name-brand actors (including Michael Rapaport, Emily Watson, Kevin James, Ben Chaplin, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Ali Landry and Toby Huss). It's set during World War II and concerns a diminutive kid in a coastal California town who worries for his soldier dad's safe return. The local priest assures the boy that God will end the war if he fulfills the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy (stuff like "feeding the hungry," and "visiting the sick"). The kid does and is rewarded with a series of increasingly convenient miracles, leading to a conclusion that is really disturbing if you think about it. Writer/director Alejandro Monteverde (2006's Bella) is obviously sincere, but the film is way too sugary and sentimental to take seriously. 100 minutes PG-13.
Clint Eastwood's studly son Scott Eastwood stars in this extremely Nicholas Sparks-esque adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Eastwood is a rodeo rider sidelined by injury who falls for a sweet, artsy college girl (Britt Robertson from "Under the Dome"). At some point they rescue an old man (Alan Alda) from an auto accident. The sweet, artsy college girl helps the old dude recover in the hospital by reading a bunch of his love letters from the 1940s. So, yup, we get a flashback-filled B-story in which young Alan Alda (Jack Huston) romances Oona Chaplin (jeez, everybody here is descended someone famous) in picturesque North Carolina. There's a lot of flannel and lakes and romantic picnics. 139 minutes PG-13.
This recently rediscovered comedy-drama from a little-known black woman filmmaker (Kathleen Collins, who died in 1988) has become an unusual success story more than 30 years after it was filmed. It's the story of a troubled marriage between two remarkable people, both at a crossroads in their lives. Sara Rogers (Billie Allen) is a professor of philosophy, embarking on an intellectual quest to understand "ecstasy," while her painter husband sets off on a more earthy exploration of "joy." Things come to a head when the couple try to spend their summer at an idyllic country house. 86 minutes Unrated.
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.
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.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gave audiences the exact dose of twee elderly romance, exotic locals and faintly inuendo-filled comedy they were looking for. So everybody from director (Shakespeare in Love's John Madden) to cast (Dev Patel, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy) have returned for more of the same. Seems the now successful retirement hotel in Jaipur, India, has only one vacancy left, prompting newcomers (including Richard Gere) to fight for space. 122 minutes PG.
For those Millennials who can't tear themselves away from their phones, tablets and computers for one freaking minute comes this unspeakably "contemporary" found-footage horror film that takes place entirely on Skype. Seems that a teenage girl was bullied into committing suicide. One year later, all her social media "friends" find themselves being stalked and murdered, one by one, online. ... And for those of you under the age of 15, don't worry, a Snapchat horror film will be coming at you sooner or later. 100 minutes R.
Russell Crowe directs and stars in this stoic-yet-weepy drama about an Australian farmer who travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli (1916, for you non history buffs) to try and locate his three missing sons. Think Saving Private Ryan with lots more family melodrama mixed in. 111 minutes R.
Century Rio Fri-Thu 10:20am, 1:20, 4:25, 7:20, 10:20 High Ridge Fri-Sun 12:30, 3:20, 7:40, 10:50; Mon-Thu 12:30, 3:20, 7:40
Indie wunderkind Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, Francis Ha) dissects two couples: an insecure pair of fortysomething Brooklynites losing touch with their youth (Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts) and a couple of twentysomething hipsters (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) whom they "adopt" as friends. Baumbach has a lot to say about the mismatch in today's generations, and he takes his time doing so, paying attention to the little details. As in previous films, it's Baumbach's mixture of humor and discomfort and his eye for actors that ground this serio-comedy firmly in the real world. 97 minutes R.
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.
Reliable but rarely more than workmanlike director Clint Eastwood helms this biopic based on the biography of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper is excellent, running through all the emotions of our main character as he goes from front-line shellshocked to home-front rehabilitated. But Eastwood waffles too much between gung-ho patriotism and a more reasoned examination of the horrors our modern military men and women are asked to endure. It wants to tackle some big moral issues, but unlike Eastwood's Unforgiven, it can't break the Hollywood formula long enough to find the metaphorical weight behind the story. 132 minutes R.
From the writer-director of District 9 and Elysium comes another South Africa-based sci-fi drama. In the near future, Hugh Jackman has built an army of oppressive robot cops to patrol the streets. But a rebellious scientist (Dev Patel) and a couple of street thugs (Ninja and Yo-Landi from Die Antwoord) kidnap one of the robots and reprogram it, teaching it the value of human life. The effects are amazing, but the story is sorely lacking in the sypathetic character department. 120 minutes R.
From the creators of God's Not Dead comes some more preaching to the choir. Like a Jesus-based version of Crash, this film consists of a bunch of random, seemingly unconnected characters (a pastor, a pregnant teenage girl, a nurse, a paramedic, an ex-soldier, a homeless mother, a suicidal young man, a lawyer), all of whose lives are "interconnected by the hand of God." Ted McGinley ("Married with Children"), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), Delroy Lindo (Get Shorty), Lee Majors ("The Six Million Dollar Man"), Brian Bosworth (former NFL linebacker and star of Stone Cold) and Cybill Shepherd (The Last Picture Show) are among the odd cast. 115 minutes PG-13.
A young woman (Mae Whitman, "Arrested Development") shakes up the social order of high school after discovering she's been labeled a "DUFF" (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by her more popular pals. Naturally, this is accomplished though the time-honored magic of the cinematic makeover. As in all Pygmalion-inspired romcoms, this is easily accomplished, since our "fat" and "ugly" heroine is clearly neither. Think John Hughes with hashtags ... and you're trying a lot harder than this formulaic tween comedy is. 101 minutes PG-13.
The filmmakers formerly known as the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas) are responsible for this madly over-conceptualized, pulp sci-fi doohickey. Mila Kunis is a poor, Chicago house cleaner who finds out the Earth is just an "estate" built and populated by an ancient alien dynasty--and that she's the long-lost queen of the galaxy. The story is a transparent fairy tale about a missing princess in (frequent) need of rescuing and the dashing knight (Channing Tatum) who protects her from her evil royal family. On top of that familiar framework, the Wachowski siblings have added bits of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Dune, The Matrix, Brazil and The Fifth Element. It's entirely ridiculous, but damned if it isn't eye-poppingly pretty and filled with zippy, zappy entertainment. 127 minutes PG-13.
Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, X-Men: First Class) directs this fast, funny, impossibly kinetic action flick based on the comic book by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted). Newcomer Taron Egerton stars as a trendy British street kid who gets recruited to a top-secret spy agency that's, like, James Bond cranked up to 11. Colin Firth is the young spy's perfectly aloof bad-ass of a trainer. Samuel L. Jackson is the high-tech baddie. 129 minutes R.
From the director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi (really?) comes this inexpensive, Insidious/Sinister-esque horror flick about a bunch of med students who discover a way to bring the dead back to life--with predictably ghostly repercussions. The atypical cast includes "The O.C." babe Olivia Wilde, mumblecore director/actor Mark Duplass and Evan Peters (from "American Horror Story"). 83 minutes PG-13.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 12:00, 2:20, 5:00, 7:40, 10:30 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:30, 2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 9:50
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.
The beloved British picture book character gets the requisite CGI makeover for the movies. Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) voices the raincoat-wearing Peruvian bear who ends up lost and alone at a London train station. He gets adopted by a kindly family (led by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins) and has some episodic adventures. Nicole Kidman plays the villain, an evil taxidermist. Because there has to be a villain in these sorts of things. 95 minutes PG.
Terrorists, criminal kingpins and bad guys in general: When are you going to stop threatening members of Liam Neeson's family? It never ends well for you. Neeson--still in full-on, ass-kicking, old-man mode--stars as a mob hitman who accidentally (sorta) shoots his boss' son. As expected, the boss man (Ed Harris) doesn't take too kindly to the action and pledges to execute our protagonist's offspring (Joel Kinnaman from "The Killing"). Our hitman antihero has just one night to figure out where his loyalties lie and how many people have to die before dawn. Spaniard Jaume Collett-Serra (Orphan, Unknown, Non-Stop) directs this violent action thriller. 114 minutes R.
When the secret formula for Krabby Patties goes missing, SpongeBob and his pals (Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs) venture into the real world (featuring a mix of live-action and 3D animation) to recover it from a dastardly pirate (Antonio Banderas ... no, really). Also, they become superheroes. Yeah, SpongeBob doesn't make a lot of sense. But it's awesome. 93 minutes PG.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:10 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:05, 2:35, 5:05, 7:35, 10:05
Uttaman, an 8th century drama actor, and Maoranjan, a 21st century superstar (both played by Kamal Haasan), somehow cross paths in this Indian comedy/drama/musical. In Tamil with English subtitles. 178 minutes Unrated.