This could be the Nicholas Sparksiest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel to date. In this schmaltz-heavy romance, we've got a blandly photogenic couple (James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan) who tragically break up and then reunite after many years. Boat docks at sunset? Check. Quaint old country barns? Check. Kissing in the rain? Check. It's Nicholas Sparks all right. 117 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 10/17)
Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) produces this candy-coated, fiesta-colored cartoon. In it, two small-town pals (Diego Luna and Channing Tatum) battle for the heart of their childhood sweetheart (Zoe Saldana)--spurned on by a pair of cosmic entities, the angelic La Muerte and the demonic Xibalba. The film's complicated mythology borrows a lot from Mexico's Dia de los Muertos tradition. The result--a sort of reverse Orpheus and Eurydice--is probably too dark for the youngest kids. But this original, unpredictable toon is a vivid seasonal treat for the rest of us. FULL REVIEW:Mexican-themed cartoon offers unexpected seasonal treats by Devin D. O’Leary (10/16/2014). 95 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 10/17)
Who doesn't love a good tank movie? We haven't had a good tank movie in a long time. Tanks are cool. Brad Pitt stars as a veteran Sherman tank commander leading a five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines toward the end of World War II. Outnumbered, outgunned and limping along in a broken war machine, our heroes face overwhelming odds. Gritty, bloody and brutally paced, this down-in-the-trenches look at life during wartime mixes exaggerated movie violence and "ugly truth" history in almost equal measure. 134 minutes R. (Opens Friday 10/17)
The late Robin Williams gave one of his best serious performances in this 1997 drama about a surprisingly brilliant janitor at M.I.T. (Matt Damon), who nurtures his gift for mathematics with the help of a kindly psychologist. It won a lot of awards. 126 minutes R. (Opens Sunday 10/19)
Hayao Miyazaki adapts Diana Wynne Jones' young adult novel for this 2004 animated masterpiece. This fabulous fairy tale concerns a young girl, cursed to live as an old woman, who takes up residence in the titular dwelling of a handsome wizard in hopes of finding a cure. The story, mixing fantasy and technology, is more intuitive than logical; but fans (both young and old) of otherworldly drama will be duly impressed. 119 minutes PG. (Friday 8/23)
Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when their (straight) son announces he's getting married, forcing them to meet their conservative new in-laws. This popular 1978 farce was remade in 1996 with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. In this day and age, the caricatures are a bit outrageous, but the manic comedy of manners still holds up. In French and Italian with English subtitles. 110 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 10/23)
This week's overly earnest, preaching-to-the-converted, faith-based melodrama is A Matter of Faith. Jordan Trovillion (who appeared as "Goodwill Cashier" in Jack Reacher) stars as a good Christian girl who goes off to college (mistake number one) and suddenly finds herself "influenced" by an evil/secular biology professor (Harry Anderson from "Night Court," of all people). When her loving Christian father discovers that his precious daughter is considering believing in evolution, he pledges to do something about it! 89 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 10/17)
This near-surreal, experimental, music industry drama follows a mysterious blues musician (Willis Earl Beal, playing a version of himself) around Memphis as his avoids working on his newest album. Equal parts spiritual meditation and low-down travelogue, the film examines ancient oak trees, broken windows, night-stained boulevards and crowded churches with an almost Terrence Malick-like eye. This fractured visual and aural landscape isn't for everyone, but in the right mood ... 82 minutes Unrated. (Opens Monday 10/20)
A group of high school teenagers and their parents attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communications, their self-image and their love lives. Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Emma Thompson, Dean Norris and Rosemarie DeWitt star. Jason Reitman (Juno) directs. (Opens Friday 10/17)
The only X-rated film to win an Academy Award, this seedy but sensitive look at male prostitution in New York City circa 1969 may not be the shocker it once was; but it's still a powerful look at the '60s mindset. Jon Voight is our drifter/gigolo from Texas who comes to the Big Apple and befriends a scuzzy, street-smart mentor in the form of Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman). Still a classic. 119 minutes (Monday 10/20)
Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West are among the very British cast of this feel-good historical comedy-drama. In the summer of 1984, the National Union of Mineworkers went on strike. In solidarity UK gay activists offered to help out. Needless to say the rough mineworkers of South Wales didn't know what to think of the rainbow-colored contingent. A happy-go-lucky group of gay and lesbian sympathizers were, at first, greeted with something close to hostility. In time, of course, the two oppressed parties learned to appreciate one another. This one borrows a lot of tone from films like Billy Elliot and Kinky Boots, but that's not a bad thing. 117 minutes R. (Opens Friday 10/17)
The venerable outlet for alternative film returns with 70 selections from Sweden, Mexico, England, Brazil, Poland, the US and more over the course of 10 days (Oct. 10 through 19). There are documentaries, comedies, dramas and the ever-popular shorts programs--plus parties and special guest appearances. For a complete list of films and times, go to swglff.com.
Lionsgate's new "Code Black" label distributes its first film, an upscale erotic thriller based on the best-selling dirty novel by Zane (who also writes "Zane's Sex Chronicles" on Showtime). Sharon Leal ("Guiding Light," "Hellcats") plays a successful businesswoman with a loving husband, two beautiful kids and a successful career. She's also got an addiction to naughty, naughty sex and finds gratification with a sexy, sexy painter (model Tyson Beckford). This might tide horny female viewers over until 50 Shades of Grey in February. 105 minutes R.
The popular chidren's book gets turned into a madcap comedy in which an unlucky boy transfers his bad juju to his hapless family for a single day. Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner are on mom and dad duty. There isn't a lot of depth to be found here--mostly just a string of chaotic set-pieces--but director Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl) adds just enough honest-to-goodness social awkwardness to give it a bit of gravity. 81 minutes PG.
Pity the poor, flesh-and-blood stars of The Conjuring. Turns out the inanimate doll got her own spin-off before they did. Seems another nice couple are experiencing deadly supernatural occurrences after they bring a creepy antique doll into their house. Do I sense a team-up with Chucky in the near future? R.
From the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman comes this stop-motion-animated toon about a young orphan raised underground by cave-dwelling, trash-collecting trolls. The look is imaginative, but the story is so-so. 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.
Universal has decided to reboot all of its classic "Universal Monsters" films, starting with their chief bloodsucker. Unfortunately somebody at the studio thought he needed one of those "boring superhero origin story" movies. Here we find out how good-guy Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans from Fast & Furious 6) became a vampire to fight off invading Turks. This one's perfect for people who felt Bram Stoker's classic tale needed to look a lot more like 300. 92 minutes PG-13.
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.
David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) directs this gripping adaptation of Gillian Flynn's twisty crime novel about a man who comes under intense media scrutiny after his wife disappears. Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris star. 148 minutes R.
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.
Robert Downey Jr. is a big-city lawyer recalled to his childhood home to defend his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a local judge, on charges of murder. Downey and Duvall chew scenery at an impressive rate, but the low-grade John Grisham-wannabe script is short on logic, heavy on melodrama. 114 minutes R.
A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in funding Nicaraguan rebels by smuggling cocaine. This fact-based thriller is based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb (played here by Jeremy Renner). 112 minutes R.
It's come to this, has it, Nicolas Cage? Starring in a reboot of the 2000 Kirk Cameron born-again Christian shocker of the same name? Yeesh. Cage plays an airline pilot who gets left on Earth after The Rapture. Even renowned Jesus-lover Kirk Cameron only managed to make three of these things before flaming out. With Cage's star power, will we finally get cinematic versions of all 16 of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins' Left Behind books? Probably not. A criminally restrained Cage spends the entire film trying to land a plane, while everybody else takes 90 minutes to figure out The Rapture has happened. 110 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.
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.
Who are Mormons and what are they all about? I'm sure this documentary--produced by, written by, directed by and starring Mormons--will give you a fair and balanced look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints and its adherents. It is, however, a perfect film for Mormons who want to see a film about how awesome Mormons are. 78 minutes PG.
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.
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.
From director John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don't Live Here Anymore) comes this primal, meditative drama (based on a true story) about a woman (Mia Wasikowska from Alice in Wonderland) who goes on a life-changing journey across the Australian outback accompanied by her dog and four camels. Occasionally she bumps into a National Geographic photographer (Adam Driver from "Girls"). As you might expect, it's got breathtaking cinematography and not a lot of dialogue. 110 minutes PG-13.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:10am, 1:40, 4:20, 6:50, 9:30 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:15, 2:40, 5:05, 7:30, 10:00
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.
Pierce Brosnan stars as an ex-CIA operative who is brought back from retirement (of course he is) and pitted against a former protégé (Luke Bracey, who played Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation) in one of those deadly games of cat-and-mouse that spies/assassins love to play on screen. There's some decent action, but you've seen it all before. Based on the seventh book in the "November Man" series by author Bill Granger. 106 minutes R.
Universal scored a surprise hit with last year's horror thriller/political satire The Purge. The near-future, right-wing libertarian fantasy continues as Uncle Sam gets out of our hair and suspends all laws for another 24 hours. Wouldn't you know it, some nice family runs out of gas on the streets of Los Angeles, just as the murder-filled lawlessness begins? 103 minutes R.
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.
Thanks to legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur, De La Salle High School's football team went undefeated for 12 years--an unprecedented 151-game winning streak. Eventually, of course, the streak had to come to an end. This inspirational, based-on-a-true-story drama looks at what happened next. The script is incredibly sincere, and star Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) does stoic and soft-spoken quite well. But the film is produced by Sony offshoot Affirm Films and is aimed squarely at evangelical Christians. If you like your formulaic sports movies laced with a minimum of Bible quotes, this is not the film for you. 115 minutes PG.