In March of 1971, eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI field office outside of Philadelphia, Pa. The group, calling itself the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, stole every single file in the office and started mailing them to newsrooms around the country. That action resulted in the revelation of COINTELPRO, J. Edgar Hoover's illegal domestic surveillance program. Finally, the story of how it all went down--and who was behind it--is revealed in director Johanna Hamilton's searing portrait of still timely (hello, Edward Snowden) political rebellion. 79 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 3/29)
This classic postwar parable from 1948 examines the public reaction to a young war orphan who finds safe haven in small-town America--at least until his hair mysteriously turns green. Then, frightened by a change they cannot understand, the townspeople turn against the outsider. Robert Ryan, Pat O'Brien and Dean Stockwell are among the cast. 82 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 3/28)
The John Hughes classic about five high school students, all different stereotypes, who meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought. 97 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 03/31/2015)
UNM's SUB Theater celebrates the 60th anniversary of this dramatic classic. James Dean (in his first major screen role) stars as the son of a California farmer engaged in a Cain and Abel relationship with his older brother. Tensions rise around the farmstead as World War I looms and dad stakes his fortune on a long-haul shipping scheme. Based on the novel by John Steinbeck. 115 minutes Unrated. (Opens Thursday 4/2)
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. (Opens Thursday 3/26)
Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan star in this 1958 musical (and winner of 9 Academy Awards). Caron is a young girl in turn-of-the-century Paris being groomed as a professional courtesan. But when she accompanies a rich family friend (Jourdan) on a vacation, she begins to blossom into a woman. In retrospect, the whole thing is kind of pervy. But it's a feast for the eyes and ears. Chevalier provides the highlight, singing "Thank Heaven For Little Girls." 115 minutes G. (Opens Sunday 3/29)
Comedian/actor David Cross ("Arrested Development") wrote and directed this feature comedy about an anxious municipal worker (Matt Walsh from "Upright Citizens Brigade," "Human Giant" and "Reno 911!") who becomes a viral video sensation. Our unwitting hero's caustic meltdown at a city council meeting becomes a hit on the internet, causing his fame-obsessed daughter to go nuts and a horde of Brooklyn hipsters to rally around him like a cult leader. Wyatt Cenac, Michael Cera, David Koechner, Derek Waters and Amy Sedaris drop by for cameos. 96 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 3/27)
For 60 years legendary actor Hal Holbrook has been portraying writer Mark Twain live on stage in the award-winning one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! This new documentary examines both Holbrook's inspired portrayal of the fabled humorist and the relevance of Twain's work in today's America. Holbrook himself will be appearing at the screening, courtesy of Movies and Meaning: A Dream Space Festival. 95 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 3/28)
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. (Opens Friday 3/27)
The life and career of renowned stage magician and professional skeptic/dubunker of the paranormal James Randi is explored in this twisty and highly entertaining documentary portrait. The fact that Randi came out as gay a few years ago--in his 80s!--shows the old guy still has a trick or two up his sleeve. 90 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 3/29)
In this innovative, flashback-'80s-style horror flick, teenagers who have sex are hunted down by a nameless, faceless and completely unstoppable monster. The only way to fend it off? Pass the curse on to some other poor victim by ... you know, sleeping with them. It sounds outlandish, but writer-director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) has crafted one of the purest, scariest horror films in years with this one. 100 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 3/26)
UNM's SUB Theater celebrates the 20th anniversary of this beloved animated classic from Pixar. The CGI animation looks a bit primitive these days, but cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and spaceman Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) are still as lovable as ever. 81 minutes G. (Opens Thursday 3/26)
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. (Opens Tuesday 3/31)
A young, British army recruit (Jack O'Connell from 300: Rise of an Empire) graduates boot camp only to find himself smack dab in the middle of "The Troubles" in northern Ireland, circa 1971. On his first day out, our protagonist gets ambushed by Catholic nationalists and left behind by his squad. For one tension-filled night, he's got to figure out who his friends are, what his enemies look like and how he's going to stay alive on the riot-torn streets of Belfast. This raw, minimalist thriller ignores political history in favor of brutal, breathless action. FULL REVIEW:Fast-paced British thriller drops viewers into the middle of the Northern Ireland conflict for some bruising action by Devin D. O’Leary (3/19/2015). 99 minutes R.
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 Australia comes this gripping psychological horror thriller. Worn-out single mother Amelia (Essie Davis) is doing her best to raise her troubled young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). One day the kid finds an unusual bedtime storybook about a monstrous intruder named the Babadook. Before long Samuel's imagination goes into overdrive, and he's convinced this literary boogeyman is coming for him. As dark coincidences begin to pile up around the house, mom starts to believe as well. The frights are powerful, but writer-director Jennifer Kent puts real-life emotions ahead of seat-grabbing scares. 93 minutes Unrated.
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.
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.
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.
Every couple of years, the publishing industry spits out an erotic novel to remind housewives that naughty sex is a good thing. From Fanny Hill to Story of O to Fear of Flying to Exit to Eden, these books have been snapped up and hidden in bedside tables for decades. Today, we've got E.L. James' smash hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey. This ripe bit of "mommy porn" started out life as a piece of Twilight fan fic written under the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon." The author changed the character names, got a better nom de plume, and the rest is history. The movie may be slightly more literate, but it's sadistically boring. Nothing happens. At some point nothing stops happening and the credits roll. 125 minutes R.
Will Smith is a big-money con man who hires a new "intern" in the form of sexy but naive Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street). Years later she returns as an accomplished femme fatale to throw a monkey wrench into his best-laid plans. The actors are having fun, but the script gets needlessly bogged down in "clever" twists. 104 minutes R.
In Israel, where there is no such thing as civil marriage or civil divorce, only rabbis can legitimate or dissolve a marriage--and only at the request of a husband. This patriarchal loophole is explored by brother and sister co-directors Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz. Set entirely in the courtroom and waiting rooms of a rabbinical court, the story concerns Viviane Amsalem (Ronit), who spends five years trying to get divorced from a stubborn man who refuses to let her go. It's claustrophobic and talky and hardly anything happens (mirroring the slow march of justice), but the direction is surprisingly cinematic, and the actors are simply mesmerizing. 115 minutes Unrated.
Sean Penn--hungry for some of that sweet, Liam Neeson-style, old-man-running-around-and-kicking-ass money--hires the director of Taken to give him a career boost. Penn stars in this humorless thriller as a mercenary sniper who assassinates a political bigwig in the Congo. Years later, he's a reformed good guy, who suddenly finds himself the target of an international hit squad. Like a wrinkled Jason Bourne, he hops around the globe trying to figure out who's behind it all. 115 minutes R.
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.
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.
A Native American veteran, burdened by survivor's guilt after a disatrous military tour, is forced to search for his missing grandfather after his ancestral land is mysteriously taken over by an "Unknown Federal Organization." Yes, UFOs are involved in this low-budget, shot-in-the-Southwest thriller. In English and Navajo with English subtitles. 85 minutes Unrated.
This Disney-produced "based on the inspirational true story" sports flick is pure formula. But it's a formula that works. Kevin Costner is a high school coach exiled to a dirtwater farming community in California. There, he creates a winning cross country running team with some of the ragtag local migrant worker kids. It's all very familiar, but director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) shows considerable sympathy to the impoverished farm workers depicted here. 129 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 to 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.
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.
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.
Century 14 Downtown Fri-Sun 11:35am, 2:05, 4:30, 7:05, 9:30; Mon-Wed 11:35am, 2:05, 4:30, 7:05; Thu 11:35am, 2:05, 4:30, 7:05 Century Rio Fri-Thu 10:35am, 1:30, 4:20
Julianne Moore gives an Oscar-nominated performance in this straightforward drama about an intellectual college professor learning to cope with early-onset Alzheimer's. Her family reacts in different ways, but it's her estranged daughter (a bohemian wannabe actress played surprisingly well by Kristen Stewart) who conjures up the most empathy for mom's plight. The film is smart, sensitive to its subject and exceedingly small in scope. 101 minutes PG-13.
When Disney took over Marvel, everyone wondered what that mash-up would look like. Now we know. Based (quietly) on the Marvel comic of the same name, this sci-fi cartoon feels like a Disneyfied (in the best sense) take on the superhero genre. Tech-savvy teenager Hiro lives in futuristic San Fransokyo with his brother and aunt. But when his bro is murdered and his greatest invention stolen, Hiro teams up with an inflatable robot named Baymax and a group of self-proclaimed "science nerds" to get revenge on the masked villain responsible. The story is your standard superhero origin tale. But the sci-fi flourishes are well conceived, and the unflappably kindhearted Baymax is easily the most lovable character of the year. 108 minutes PG.
Jennifer Lopez stars in this time-wasting erotic thriller about a divorced teacher who has a torrid affair with the new boy across the street. Things get complicated when he turns up as a student in her high school class and then goes all Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction on her. Oops. 91 minutes R.
At this point mashing up a bunch of fairy tales is nothing new in movies (Shrek) or TV ("Once Upon a Time"). Nonetheless, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's hit Broadway musical does some interesting work finding the "adult" undertones of the old Brothers Grimm tales. Disney has glossed over some of the darker material, and the perpetually moving ensemble cast was probably better suited to stage. Still, actors Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and James Corden are fun to watch as they reinvent Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and the like. 124 minutes PG.
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.
From Mexico comes this lightweight rom-com about an attractive, aspiring actress (popular TV star Aislinn Derbez) who promises to help a friend with a little domestic problem--pretending to flirt with her boyfriend in order to test his fidelity. This leads our heroine to a whole new, lucrative career. As is the nature of these things, she eventually falls in love for real with one of her "marks." In Spanish with English subtitles. 99 minutes
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.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:00am, 1:30, 4:20, 7:00, 9:40 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:45, 10:20
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.
Movies 8 Fri-Thu 11:10am, 12:30, 1:50, 3:10, 4:30, 7:10, 9:50 Movies West Fri-Thu 12:05, 1:45, 2:35, 4:15, 5:05, 7:35, 10:05
This epically troubled fantasy production shed countless cast members, production companies and release dates over the course of its creation. It's based on "The Wardstone Chronicles" books (known in America as "The Last Apprentice") by British fantasy author Joseph Delaney. Ben Barnes (from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) plays a young lad born with the magical ability to see ghosts and fight supernatural creatures. He's soon recruited by a crusty old knight (Jeff Bridges) for a big-ass training montage. Eventually, he gets to fight an evil witch (Julianne Moore). This looks like yet another failed attempt to launch a young adult fantasy series. (Sorry Eragon, Lemony Snicket, City of Ember, The Golden Compass, Inkheart, The Mortal Instruments, The Seeker, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Cirque du Freak, et al.) 102 minutes PG-13.
It really does not pay to be friends or family with ex-government agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). Everybody he knows has been killed or kidnapped by bad guys, whom he is then obliged to stalk and kill using his "particular set of skills." This time around his wife has been killed, and he's framed for murder. Oh, somebody's in for an old man ass-kicking! As before, French action king Luc Besson pens it, and the awesomely named Olivier Megaton directs it. 109 minutes PG-13.
As a director, Angelina Jolie (who previously gave us In the Land of Blood and Honey) appears to like things as dark and depressing as possible. Here, she searches for uplift in the (true life) story of Olympic champ Louis Zamperini, who got shot down over the Pacific during World War II, spent 47 days on a raft and then went straight to a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. The telling is dutiful and appropriately epic, and star Jack O'Connell (300: Rise of an Empire) does understated work. But even with a scripting assist from Joel & Ethan Coen, the film ends up wearing its good intentions on its sleeve a little to prominently. 137 minutes PG-13.
Josh Gad (Frozen) plays a well-meaning, friendless schlub who hires a fake best man (comedian Kevin Hart) in order to impress his fiancée (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) at their wedding. As one does in contrived romantic comedies. 101 minutes R.