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Film Listings, 10/17/19 – 10/24/19 

All theater listings are as of Friday, Oct. 18

ABOMINABLE

click to enlarge EVEREST HERE WE COME After discovering a magical Yeti on a rooftop, a group of three friends work together to return him to Mount Everest, in Abominable. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS ANIMATION
  • Photo Courtesy Of Dreamworks Animation
  • EVEREST HERE WE COME After discovering a magical Yeti on a rooftop, a group of three friends work together to return him to Mount Everest, in Abominable.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Park

Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman come together for the first time as a director-duo to make DreamWorks' Abominable.

Chloe Bennet is the voice of Yi, a young girl who goes on an epic adventure across China to take a yeti back to its home on Mt. Everest. It might be charming enough for the kids, but the story idea has been done to death. (97 min.)

—Karen Garcia

AD ASTRA

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Co-writer James Gray (The Lost City of Z, The Immigrant, We Own the Night, The Yards, Little Odessa) directs this sci-fi mystery about astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), who's recruited to venture into space in search of his father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who 30 years earlier underwent a space mission of his own that was thought to have been doomed. Now, bursts of antimatter threaten Earth, which appear to be coming from the senior McBride's Lima Project, last heard from 16 years earlier in orbit around Neptune.

Essentially, Ad Astra is an existentialist quandary. Are we alone in the universe? Can we really make a true connection with anyone or anything? If these questions interest you and if you can settle in to this mesmerizing but often slow and contemplative film, you just might love it. On the other hand, if you're expecting Star Wars or Star Trek, you'll be sorely disappointed. Ad Astra is a meditation on loneliness. (124 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

See Split Screen.

ALADDIN

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-in

Pick

click to enlarge BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR Street urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud, left) discovers a magic genie (Will Smith) in a lamp, in a new-live action remake of Disney's animated classic, Aladdin. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR Street urchin Aladdin (Mena Massoud, left) discovers a magic genie (Will Smith) in a lamp, in a new-live action remake of Disney's animated classic, Aladdin.

Co-writer and director Guy Richie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) helms this live-action remake of Disney's animated 1992 film of the same name. Mena Massoud takes on the title role as a kindhearted street urchin who dreams of winning the heart of Jasmine (Naomi Scott), a princess living a constricted life. Aladdin is ordered by Grand Vizier Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) to bring him a magical lamp, but Aladdin soon discovers the lamp, when rubbed, releases a genie (Will Smith), who grants the lamp bearer's wishes. Can Aladdin use the genie to stop Jafar's evil intentions and win the heart of his love? (128 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

BEETLEJUICE

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Galaxy on Sunday, Oct. 20, at 1 and 6 p.m.

New/Pick

click to enlarge SAY IT THRICE Michael Keaton stars as Betelgeuse, a malicious spirit hired by a recently deceased couple to help them drive an obnoxious family out of their house, in the 1988 Tim Burton horror-comedy classic, Beetlejuice, screening on Oct. 20, in Galaxy Colony Square 10 Theaters. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GEFFEN COMPANY
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Geffen Company
  • SAY IT THRICE Michael Keaton stars as Betelgeuse, a malicious spirit hired by a recently deceased couple to help them drive an obnoxious family out of their house, in the 1988 Tim Burton horror-comedy classic, Beetlejuice, screening on Oct. 20, in Galaxy Colony Square 10 Theaters.

Tim Burton (Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood) directs this 1988 horror-comedy classic about recently deceased couple Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis), whose ghostdom is disturbed by an obnoxious new family that moves into their house. To make things stranger still, the macabre daughter of the family, Lydia (Winona Ryder) can see the ghostly couple. In desperation, they call for Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a malevolent spirit, to help them drive the family away.

Burton's film is a riot, and Keaton is on fire. It's a hilarious, audacious, bizarrely entertaining film. A sequel was also recently announced! (92 min.)

—Glen

DOWNTON ABBEY

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

Pick

The beloved TV series about the ultra rich Crawley family and their servants comes to the big screen under director Michael Engler (Sex and the City, Six Feet Under). (122 min.)

—Glen

FANTASTIC FUNGI

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Louie Schwartzberg directs this documentary about mushrooms, an amazing living thing that's classified apart from plants and that has the ability to feed, heal, regenerate, and expand consciousness. (81 min.)

—Glen

GEMINI MAN

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

Ang Lee (Eat Drink Man Woman, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi) directs this sci-fi actioner about an aging assassin (Will Smith) who's being hunted by a younger clone of himself. If that sounds like fun, head to the theaters. A whopping 84 percent of the Rotten Tomatoes audiences enjoyed it. Sadly, it got a squished 25 percent among critics, who found the film visually impressive but undermined by a weak story. The film also uses the ultra-high-frame-rate technique, which leaves it looking fake and plastic. Ultimately, this is a case of a story that's been languishing around Hollywood too long with too many writers fiddling with it. (117 min.)

—Glen

HUSTLERS

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Writer-director Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Meddler) helms this crime dramedy based on New York magazine reporter Jessica Pressler's articles.

A group of strip club performers, led by Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), exploit their Wall Street clients and extract their riches. Hustlers is definitely a film to take seriously, but it's also simultaneously one of the funniest films of the year. (110 min.)

—Caleb

JEXI

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Don't bother

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

click to enlarge PHONING IT IN Phil's (Adam Devine) new A.I. operating system, Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne), first builds his confidence but then undermines his new relationships, in Jexi, an unnecessary and utterly forgettable waste of time. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CBS FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of CBS Films
  • PHONING IT IN Phil's (Adam Devine) new A.I. operating system, Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne), first builds his confidence but then undermines his new relationships, in Jexi, an unnecessary and utterly forgettable waste of time.

Co-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (21&Over, Bad Moms) tackle issues of smartphone dependency and technology's ever increasing presence in our lives in this romantic comedy about a Siri-like artificial intelligence software that comes to life—kind of.

Wouldn't it be great if someone could make a really fantastic movie or TV show about technology going too far? Maybe something about someone becoming grossly dependent on some kind of artificial intelligence software, or that artificial software becoming too close to human, or, I don't know, maybe something about the weird fake lives we display on social media and the detrimental impacts that can have on our mental health.

OH WAIT. We already have a million really great shows and movies to watch revolving around those very relevant themes, all the way from Blade Runner (1982) to Black Mirror (2011-present).

So why anyone would choose to make Jexi—which is essentially Her (2013) mixed with a little Ingrid Goes West (2017) and a dash of I, Robot (2004), but without any of the good jokes and poignancy—is a total mystery to me.

In this epic example of complete mediocrity, a white guy named Phil (Adam Devine) is sad, lonely, and leading a monotonous and unfulfilling life. I know—it's difficult to imagine any movie starting in such a unique way. What is somewhat unusual about Phil, although it's becoming less unusual every day, is his overt dependence on his phone and all it has to offer: GPS, banking information, social media, movie streaming, and, mainly, ultimate distraction from reality.

He's always looking down at his phone, he's always home alone, and he's never making real human connections or having real experiences.

Then something miraculous happens. Phil bumps into a super hot chick (way too hot for him, of course) named Cate (Alexandra Shipp), and breaks his phone. He gets a new one that's installed with a rogue artificial intelligence software named Jexi (Rose Byrne), who has a wild and almost human personality all her own.

Through an intense and often questionable tough-love approach, Jexi helps Phil make real life friends, score dates with Cate, and secure his dream job, but all goes south when Jexi becomes infatuated with Phil and becomes determined to keep him all to herself.

I don't know if I've ever seen a movie that evokes so little emotion. Watching it was like watching nothing. It wasn't really funny. It wasn't really cute. The phone itself put on a better performance than any of the actors, and it definitely didn't inspire me to put down my phone and "start living," or whatever.

The best outcome the creators of Jexi can hope for is that it's left unwatched by the masses and never remembered, which should be easy, since it was utterly forgettable. (84 min.)

—Kasey Bubnash

JOKER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

Pick

Co-writer Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover, War Dogs) directs this character study and origin story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who after being rejected by society becomes Joker, Batman's future archnemesis.

Like a mirror on contemporary society, Joker reflects our problems back to us—the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, paternalistic politician-"saviors" who believe they know best for the "misguided" underclass, and the dismantling of the social safety net by a government that abandons its marginalized. It's a dark and depressing film, and it reminds me of the old saying, "Society gets the criminal it deserves." (121 min.)

—Glen

JUDY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Bay, Downtown Centre, Fair Oaks, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

Pick

Rupert Gold's (True Story) developing résumé includes a lot of directing films and television series based on true events and people. In the biopic Judy, he's at it again, directing Renée Zellweger as America's sweetheart and tragic figure, Judy Garland.

The film takes a look at Frances Ethel Gumm's—aka Judy Garland's—last months of her life, while showing glimpses of her past encounters with Louis B. Mayer on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio sets as a young actress. These flashbacks are sparse, and I would have loved to see more of the moments that led to her demise via insomnia and drug and alcohol abuse.

When the audience first steps into Garland's life, there's no indication that she's in trouble. Her head is held high, her presence is commanding, and she's dressed to impress in a colorful pantsuit.

She's in the company of her two youngest children, Lorna (Bella Ramsey) and Joey (Lewin Lloyd), who at this time have become part of her stage act of singing and dancing. As they're getting called to the stage, Garland is given an envelope with a couple hundred dollars and an apology that it might not be what she's used to receiving. No matter darling, the show must go on.

After the performance, she and her sleepy children get in a taxi to their hotel only to learn that there's an issue with her bank accounts; the room was released. With nowhere to go, Garland and the children head over to her ex-husband Sidney Luft's (Rufus Sewell) home so the children have a place to sleep.

It's the beginning of the end for Garland who becomes homeless, practically penniless, and basically blacklisted from performing in Los Angeles for being unreliable. She wants to make enough to give her children a stable home, so Garland decides to leave for London to perform at the Talk of the Town, a cabaret-restaurant, and really the only place that wants to pay for her voice.

The film centers on these last few weeks of loneliness and the angst she feels about potentially losing her talent. Her talent is her voice, and she remembers it's the only thing that made her relevant in the industry—that is, according to Louis B. Mayer.

Zellweger did a fine job portraying Garland's fragility, movements on stage, and frantic yet elegant mannerisms. She also belted out all of Garland's greatest hits throughout the film beautifully, but hers lacked the fantasy that Garland's voice possessed.

Judy shows the usual highs and lows of a powerful entertainer broken down by a system dominated by men who controlled women. Like most biopics that don't have the rights to the entirety of a person's life, I feel there was a lot missing from this story. I wanted to know more about how Frances became Judy, what her life was like before becoming an actress, and what she struggled with to ultimately die at age 47 from an accidental overdose. The cause of her death is not mentioned at the end of the film. (118 min.)

—Karen

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman direct this documentary about singer Linda Ronstadt, who in her 20s burst into the '60s folk scene and went on to be one of the biggest music stars of the 20th century. The film features interviews with Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Maria Muldaur, and many more.

Whether you're a longtime fan or one of the uninitiated, you'll find a lot to love here, from Ronstadt's amazing voice to her inspirational life. Deeply moving, the film will have you clamoring for more of her music. (95 min.)

—Glen

click to enlarge EARTHBOUND Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) finds her reality unraveling after she returns to Earth, in Lucy in the Sky. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • EARTHBOUND Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) finds her reality unraveling after she returns to Earth, in Lucy in the Sky.

LUCY IN THE SKY

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

New

Noah Hawley directs this sci-fi drama about astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman), who returns to Earth after venturing into space and finds the world seems too small after her transcendent experience. Soon her earthly reality begins to unravel. (124 min.)

—Glen

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10, Sunset Drive-In

New

click to enlarge WHO'S EVIL? In Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Angelina Jolie reprises her title role, but is she truly evil or just misunderstood? - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • WHO'S EVIL? In Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Angelina Jolie reprises her title role, but is she truly evil or just misunderstood?

Joachim Rønning (Kon-Tiki, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) directs this family fantasy sequel about Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), who's been raising her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning). Set five years after the first film, Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) proposes to Aurora, but unbeknownst to the couple, Phillip's mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), plans to use the wedding to divide the human and fairy worlds forever, creating a war that puts Maleficent and her beloved Aurora on opposite sides. (118 min.)

—Glen

QT8: THE FIRST EIGHT

What's it rated? TV-MA

Where's it showing? Galaxy on Monday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. (21-and-older)

New

click to enlarge MR. BROWN Auteur Quentin Tarantino's first eight films are explored in QT8: The First Eight, a documentary that interviews his frequent collaborators, screening on Oct. 21, in Galaxy Colony Square 10 Theaters. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WOOD ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Wood Entertainment
  • MR. BROWN Auteur Quentin Tarantino's first eight films are explored in QT8: The First Eight, a documentary that interviews his frequent collaborators, screening on Oct. 21, in Galaxy Colony Square 10 Theaters.

Writer-director Tara Wood (21 Years: Richard Linklater) helms this documentary about auteur Quentin Tarantino's first eight films, in which his frequent collaborators are interviewed. (120 min.)

—Glen

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

What's it rated? Not rated

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

click to enlarge A TALL DRINK OF WATER Corruption-busting media firebrand Molly Ivins is celebrated in Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GUNSLINGER PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Gunslinger Productions
  • A TALL DRINK OF WATER Corruption-busting media firebrand Molly Ivins is celebrated in Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

Janice Engel documents the life and work of a rambunctious Texas journalist and political columnist who outspokenly told it like it was. Through six-years of research and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, Engel lays out Molly Ivins' unabashed approach to reporting the truth.

It is evident that Engel spent an immense amount of time getting to know who Ivins was and what compelled the columnist to point out the deficiencies in Texas politicians. In an interview with NPR, Engel said she was told to work on a documentary about Ivins—an individual she'd never heard of. She quickly discovered Ivins' life and history was archived at the University of Texas and she needed to share her findings.

Born Mary Tyler Ivins to a prominent right-wing oil and gas executive, Ivins was the complete opposite of what her father wanted her to be. She called it her "teenage rebellion that lasted 35 years."

Ivins attended Smith College but instead of going the conventional female route of becoming a nurse, a wife, or a typist—this is the mid '60s, after all—she decided to become a journalist. She wasn't a small woman. Ivins was tall, big boned, and carried herself as such, but she was more than her frame. She wasn't afraid to command attention to an event or a person with her writing. Being a liberal in Texas, she almost had to have bite to her work in order to be taken seriously.

Her résumé was extensive—from being the first female police reporter at the Minneapolis Tribune to her short stint at The New York Times. Through interviews, her friends and colleagues said Ivins was hired because of her writing style, but the Times wanted to change her voice to match theirs. Her time at the prestigious publication didn't last long, but that didn't stop Ivins. Her career soared when she was hired to co-edit Austin's Texas Observer.

She had a knack for calling out the faults in Texas politicians with her pen, drinking enough beer to hang with the boys, and believing in democracy.

Ivins wrote political columns, authored books, and gave talks until the end of her battle with cancer in 2007—she was 62.

This documentary doesn't have a political stance, agenda, or message. It's just a true story of a liberal political columnist pointing out the blemishes in a red state. Ivins actually puts it very well when she describes her outlook on journalism—there's no such thing as objectivity.

"How you see the world depends on where you stand and who you are, there's nothing any of us can do about that. So my solution has been to let my readers know where I stand, and they can take that with a grain of salt or a pound of salt, depending on their preferences," she said in the film.

I will say your political views might have you snorting with laughter or huffing with distaste at Ivins' statements. Either way, Engel did an amazing job at showing us Ivins' professional life and impact on political coverage. It left me wondering what she would say about today's many buffoons in politics. (93 min.)

—Karen

RAM DASS: BECOMING NOBODY

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

click to enlarge EAST-WEST BRIDGE The life and teaching of former Harvard psychologist Dr. Richard Alpert, who became American spiritual teacher and author Ram Dass, are explored in the documentary Ram Dass: Becoming Nobody, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BECOMING NOBODY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Becoming Nobody
  • EAST-WEST BRIDGE The life and teaching of former Harvard psychologist Dr. Richard Alpert, who became American spiritual teacher and author Ram Dass, are explored in the documentary Ram Dass: Becoming Nobody, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

The life and teaching of former Harvard psychologist Dr. Richard Alpert, who became American spiritual teacher and author Ram Dass, are explored in Jamie Catto's new documentary. (81 min.)

—Glen

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Adrian Grunberg (Get the Gringo) directs this fifth installment in the Rambo franchise that started in 1982 with Rambo: First Blood, about traumatized Vietnam vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), who's drawn into combat with local police after being unfairly arrested. This time around, Rambo travels to Mexico to save his kidnapped niece from a drug gang. (89 min.)

—Glen

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

New

click to enlarge THEY'RE BACK! Dysfunctional quasi-family and zombie apocalypse survivors (left to right) Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and Wichita (Emma Stone) return in Zombieland: Double Tap. - PHOTO COURTESY OF COLUMBIA PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Columbia Pictures
  • THEY'RE BACK! Dysfunctional quasi-family and zombie apocalypse survivors (left to right) Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and Wichita (Emma Stone) return in Zombieland: Double Tap.

Ruben Fleischer (Venom, Gangster Squad) directs this sequel to his 2009 comedy horror film, Zombieland, about four survivors—Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin)—navigating a zombie apocalypse wasteland. Along the way, they slay a whole lot of zombies and encounter other survivors such as Madison (Zoey Deutch), Nevada (Rosario Dawson), Berkeley (Avan Jogia), Albuquerque (Luke Wilson), and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch). Somehow, Bill Murray—slain in the original—returns to play himself, and Dan Aykroyd shows up as himself too. (99 min.) Δ

—Glen

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey. Contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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