That puzzle game the kids used to play obsessively on your laptop back in 2010 is now a feature-length animated movie. To refresh your memory, the game was about flinging birds out of a slingshot to knock down rickety towers full of green pigs. And that's pretty much what the movie is about. With voices by Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage and two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn (who plays one of the birds, not one of the pigs). 97 minutes PG. (Opens Thursday 5/19)
A young man (Mahesh Babu) learns the value of family when he goes on a journey exploring his family's heritage. Don't worry, it's Indian, so there's plenty of romance and singing as well. In Telegu with English subtitles. 156 minutes Unrated. (Opens Thursday 5/19)
Legendary local drag troupe The Dolls are hosting a screening of this 1966 British comedy as a fundraiser for their upcoming live production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The film is part of the "Carry On ..." series of films, which produced some 31 ribald comedies from 1958 to 1992. This 1966 offfering is one of the most well-regarded, a spoofy send-up of the classic Hammer and Universal horror films. The Dolls will perform a short skit prior to the film. 92 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 5/20)
Eva Hesse was one of America's foremost postwar artists. Before she died of a brain tumor at age 34, her pioneering sculptures--using latex, fiberglass and plastic--helped establish the post-minimalist movement. Using the artist's journals, her correspondence with close friend and mentor Sol LeWitt and interviews both modern and archival, director Marcie Begleiter creates a vibrant portrait of the short-lived creator. Begleiter will be at the theater for a talk and discussion on the opening night 8pm screening. 108 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 5/20)
Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne star in this comedy/drama about an aging widow from New York City who follows her screenwriter daughter out to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away. With her busy daughter unable to adjust to the 24/7 TLC, our protagonist turns her attention to other random people (including J.K. Simmons as a Harley-riding possible love interest). 100 minutes PG-13. (Opens Friday 5/20)
Having successfully excised the hard-partying fraternity next door, husband and wife Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne find a hard-partying sorority taking up residence next. ... I'm thinking maybe a hard-partying youth hostel for Neighbors 3. 92 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 5/19)
Ryan Gosling is a down-on-his luck single father/private eye and Russell Crowe is the muscleman-for-hire who teams up with him (reluctantly, of course) to solve the murder of a porn star in 1970s Los Angeles. The setting is evocative, and writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, Iron Man 3) knows his way around buddy action comedies. It's painfully funny and brutally violent at times. Gosling and Crowe are clearly having a ball. But the Chinatown-esque plot is so convoluted (something about porn films, catalytic converters and the Department of Justice) that it's hard to completely swallow. R. (Opens Thursday 5/19)
The film documents the stories of immigrant mothers who came to the United States and were pushed into sterilizations while giving birth at the Los Angeles County--USC Medical Center during the 1960s and '70s. Led by an intrepid 26-year-old Chicana lawyer and a whistle-blowing doctor, the women filed suit against the doctors, the state and the US government. Young Women United presents this special screenings and will bring in several guest speakers to talk after the film. 80 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 5/21)
The 1986 action romance starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer (and Kelly McGillis, sorta) returns to theaters for its 30th anniversary. Do you feel the need? The need for speed? 110 minutes PG. (Opens Sunday 5/22)
This winner of Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara Film Festival covers the life and times of German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, who caused an uproar in the 1960s by coining the subversive concept of the "Banality of Evil." A wealth of archival footage shows off the places this influential 20th century thinker lived, worked, loved and was betrayed. In English, German and Hebrew with English subtitles. 132 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 5/20)
The gang (Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, Eve, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jazsmin Lewis) is all back in this fourth film in the Barbershop series (if you count 2005's Beauty Shop). This time around the shop is co-ed, and everybody's fighting against neighborhood violence. But it's pretty much just people standing around a barber shop bagging on one another. 112 minutes PG-13.
Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly," Bridesmaids) stars as a famed business mogul/financial guru who is sent to prison after she's caught for insider trading. When she gets out of prison, she's forced to work off her community service by helping a Girl Scouts-esque organization with their annual baked goods-based fundraiser. Naturally, she seizes on the opportunity to rebuild her financial empire and get revenge on everyone who screwed her over--one brownie at a time. 99 minutes R.
Marvel steps in to show DC how superhero conflict is done. This smartly written action flick bristles with contemporary moral quandaries. And yet it's fast, fun and light on its feet. Seems that the near disastrous events of the last Avengers movie have made many question the whole idea of superpowered heroics. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), for example, thinks heroes should now be regulated by the U.N. Captain America (Chris Evans), on the other hand, thinks otherwise. What follows is a head-to-head battle that forces a lot of familiar faces (and a few new ones) to choose sides. 146 minutes PG-13.
A family (including Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell and David Mazouz) returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, haunted by an ancient supernatural entity they unknowingly awakened. ... Wait. Wasn't that the plot to an episode of "The Brady Bunch"? 92 minutes PG-13.
Col. Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren), a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare. Alan Rickman and Aaron Paul costar in this tense suspense drama about the morality of military drones. South African Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ender's Game) directs. 102 minutes R.
Tom Hanks stars in this odd comedy-drama about a failed American businessman who tries to recoup his financial losses by traveling to Saudi Arabia and securing a massive IT contract from a wealthy monarch. There, he's assisted in his quest by a beautiful doctor (Sarita Choudhury from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay) and a wisecracking taxi driver (first-timer Alexander Black). German filmmaker Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) writes and directs from the novel by Dave Eggers. 97 minutes R.
This sequel to 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman dumps lead princess Kristen Stewart and replaces her with most of the plot from Disney's Frozen (or Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," if you're a traditionalist). Seems that jealousy-prone queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her icy exiled sister Freya (Emily Blunt) are at war. Naturally, Chris Hemsworth's hunky huntsman is caught in the middle. As in the previous outing, the costumes and sets are visually stunning, but the convoluted fairy tale mash-up of a storyline is better suited for ABC's corny "Once Upon a Time." 114 minutes PG-13.
Unlike Disney's recent live-action Cinderella , Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz revamps, this family fantasy sticks pretty close to the original cartoon version. John Favreau (Elf, Iron Man) does an admirable job directing one kid and a whole bunch of CGI animals. Star Neel Sethi is a ball of energy, leaping and tumbling his way from one action sequence to the next. A string of celebrity voices (Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken) take on the familiar characters. The action is a bit intense at times for the littlest of tykes. The decision to include two of the songs from the original Disney cartoon is odd, but doesn't upset the overall balance of the adventurous film. FULL REVIEW:Fancy computer animation brings Kipling classic to life by Devin D. O’Leary (4/21/2016). 105 minutes PG.
Sketch comedy kings Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele star in this manic action comedy about a brokenhearted guy (Peele) who adopts the world's cutest kitten in the wake of an ugly breakup. But when the titular feline is kidnapped by a group of violent gang-bangers, our protagonist teams up with his nerdy best bud (Key) to pose as drug dealers in order to rescue the beloved pet. 98 minutes R.
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) stars in this biopic about Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught Indian mathematics genius who became a pioneer in mathematical theories in 1913 after forming a bond with his mentor, Trinity College professor G.H. Hardy (played here by Jeremy Irons). I'm sure he was a smart dude, but you really have to be impressed with numbers to follow this dutiful "Great Man" biopic. 109 minutes PG-13.
Ben Affleck's estranged wife Jennifer Garner stars in this faith-based "true story" about a little girl with a rare digestive disorder who fell out of a tree and subsequently--according to the book her mother wrote, anyway--went to Heaven and met Jesus. Also, she was cured of her disease. If you paid to see that other "kid meets Jesus" film Heaven Is For Real, the producers of this one want your money as well. 99 minutes PG.
Jodie Foster directs this hot-button thriller about a distraught investor (Jack O'Connell from Angelina Jolie's Unbroken) who hijacks a financial TV show at gunpoint in order to get back at the host (George Clooney) whose flawed advice drove him into bankruptcy. Unfortunately for all involved, he ends up accidentally uncovering a conspiracy in the process. 98 minutes R.
Good news, fans of Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve: The creators of those low-effort ensemble romantic comedies have located another holiday! Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Roberts, Hector Elizondo, Kate Hudson, Aasif Mandvi, Sarah Chalke and Jason Sudeikis are among the goo-goo-eyed cast. 118 minutes PG-13.
Having had success with 2002's super sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and 2003's TV spin-off "My Big Fat Greek Life" and ... honestly, not much else, Nia Vardalos goes back to the well for some romantic comedy cash. This time around it's her meddling parents (who, it turns out, were never properly married) getting hitched. Ethnic stereotype-based hijinks ensue. 94 minutes PG-13.
From the makers of Once comes another charming, Irish musical. A teen growing up in Dublin during the 1980s tries to impress a girl he likes by telling her he's in a band. Unfortunately, he isn't--so he scrambles to assemble one and finds his passion in the process. A joyful, funny tear-jerker in the vein of The Commitments. 106 minutes PG-13.
A plucky country rabbit (Ginnifer Goodwin) dreams of becoming a tough-as-nails cop in the teeming city of Zootopia. Unfortunately, the place is run by predators, who relegate the barrier-busting bunny to meter maid duty. But when a series of mysterious disappearances rocks the city, she teams with a self-serving con man of a fox (Jason Bateman) to crack the case. This funny animal take on sun-dappled L.A. noir manages to tackle some hot-button issues (racism, sexism) while still being a colorful, entertaining Disney romp. FULL REVIEW:Disney turns an animal utopia on its ear in this savvy, sociological crime caper by Devin D. O’Leary (3/3/2016). 108 minutes PG.
This low-budget horror-mystery is a "secret" spin-off of the J.J. Abrams-produced giant monster movie Cloverfield. John Goodman plays a survivalist who rescues a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and stashes her away in his underground bunker. But is the world really coming to an end, or is he just a crazy dude? (Given that this is a sequel to Cloverfield, the surprise ending probably isn't much of a surprise.) 105 minutes PG-13.
In this low-budget Mexican action comedy, a former cop (Omar Chaparro from "Sexo y Otras Secretos") seeks revenge on the crime lord who framed him by teaming up with a tubby young computer hacker (Joey Morgan) who stole $10 million from the bad guys. Writer-director Erique Begne (Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer) is responsible. Athough this American-style buddy comedy was shot in Mexico, it's in English. 101 minutes Unrated.
In this preposterous ,'90s-era action movie throwback, a CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) dies in the line of duty, leaving a dangerous computer hacker unapprehended. Naturally, the government recruits a death row murderer (Kevin Costner) and uses an experimental medical procedure to "inject" their agent's memories directly into his brain. Of course the confused guinea pig escapes from jail and wanders around wondering if he should kill people or save the world. Stuff blows up a lot, and you can probably guess which direction our protagonist decides to go. 113 minutes R.
Ryan Reynolds single-handedly tries to rescue his cult superhero for the horribly botched 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He succeeds beyond the wildest dreams of most comic book fans. In this self-mocking parody, he stars as a brain-addled mercenary who gains incredible healing powers but loses his good looks thanks to a little mad science. Boil it down and the film is your basic "get revenge on the bad guy and rescue the girlfriend" plot. But the third-wall-breaking humor, raunchy sex and over-the-top violence make this a shockingly fun "adult" action comedy. FULL REVIEW:Comic books get comic in R-rated superhero parody by Devin D. O’Leary (2/11/2016). 108 minutes R.
The third film in the Divergent trilogy shows up, and--par for the course--it's part one of two. Following the "Earth shattering" revelations of Insurgent (their words, not mine), pouty but special rebel girl Tris (Shailene Woodley) must lead her futuristic millenials in a rebellion against the evil totalitarian government. Fans know what they're in for. 121 minutes PG-13.
Egyptian mythology gets the CGI-heavy, Clash of the Titans-esque treatment in this epically overdesigned action flick by Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City). Scottish actor Gerard Butler plays Set, the ancient Egyptian god of the darkness, which should tell you where this is going. 127 minutes PG-13.
There's a surprising amount of life and laughter left in this lovable series. Jack Black is back as the roly-poly panda with the mad martial arts skills. This time around he's stuck between his adoptive father (James Hong as a gruff but loving goose) and his biological dad (Bryan Cranston, in fuzzy panda mode). Can he figure out who he is in time to defeat an evil yak turning kung fu masters into stone-faced slaves? FULL REVIEW:Family feud grounds martial arts fantasy in unexpected emotional reality by Devin D. O’Leary (1/28/2016). 95 minutes PG.
Having saved the American president (Aaron Eckhart) from evil terrorists attacking the White House in 2013's Olympus Has Fallen, tough-guy Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is prevailed upon to save him once again again from a slightly different bunch of evil terrorists. This time the action takes place in London--so, you know, change of scenery. 99 minutes R.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are a couple of suburban parents who find out their new neighbors are a bunch of drunken frat boys. Oddly enough no one else in the neighborhood seems to notice the all-night parties and the lawn full of beer cans. That leaves our unhappy couple to feud it out with the frat boys. There are some epically raunchy jokes here, but none of the characters are very sympathetic, and the plot is merely an excuse for a string of mean-spirited pranks. 96 minutes R.
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart continue to do their best to remake 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Rush Hour--basically every buddy cop comedy since 1982. Here cop Cube and annoying future brother-in-law Hart head to Miami to bust an evil drug dealer because ... premise. 101 minutes PG-13.