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Film Listings, 10/24/19 – 10/31/19 

All theater listings are as of Friday, Oct. 25

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

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

click to enlarge CREEPY AND KOOKY Morticia (voiced by Charlize Theron) and her husband, Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac), find their lives unraveling when they move their peculiar family to New Jersey, in the new animated film The Addams Family. - PHOTO COURTESY OF METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER
  • Photo Courtesy Of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
  • CREEPY AND KOOKY Morticia (voiced by Charlize Theron) and her husband, Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac), find their lives unraveling when they move their peculiar family to New Jersey, in the new animated film The Addams Family.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Stream it

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

Co-directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon helm this animated comedy about a peculiar and macabre family.

Since cartoonist Charles Addams debuted his comic in The New Yorker in 1938, his macabre family of eccentrics has found its way into a beloved TV series (1964 to 1966), an animated TV series (1973 and again from 1992-'93), a couple popular films—The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993)—a direct-to-video film (1998) that spawned another TV series (1998-'99), and a musical (2010).

Now we have this animated film that seems to be aimed squarely as the nostalgia center of parents who may have seen reruns of the '60s TV series or the '90s films starring Angelica Huston as Morticia and Raul Julia as Gomez. If you're that parent, feel free to haul your tykes into the theater but don't be surprised if you find yourself napping. This is pretty pedestrian stuff—a paint-by-numbers story about being yourself even if you're different.

It opens in "the old country," where the Addams' neighbors are finally fed up with their weirdness. Soon they're run off and head to a place where they hope they can raise their children, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), in peace. They go to a place "no one would be caught dead in": New Jersey.

The plan is working perfectly as they've lived in peace for 13 years. Pugsley is about to have his coming-of-age sword ceremony, the Mazurka. The various members of their extended family are due to arrive. Then the fog around their abandoned asylum/home lifts, and the townsfolk below can see the dilapidated structure, and worries about declining property values bring the Addams in contact with their neighbors, including obnoxious reality TV host Margaux Needler (Allison Janney), who's trying to create the perfect community. Predictability follows.

Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester is certainly a highlight. He really channels Jackie Coogan, who played the character on the '60s TV show. In fact, the entire cast has talent galore. Bette Midler plays Grandma, Martin Short is Grandpa Frump and Catherine O'Hara as Grandma Frump. Snoop Dog is in a throwaway roll as the voice of It, but it's still fun casting. I imagine he was high as a kite during his minimal voice work.

Despite the talent, the story is too blah to elicit much interest. You know what's going to happen from the outset, that Wednesday and Needler's daughter, Parker (Elsie Fisher), will find a way to get along and triumph over the mean girls in public school.

The animation is pretty good and the characters really harken back to the original comic strip. The problem is the film's one-note feel. Lines like these—"Are you unhappy darling?" "Terribly!" or "Come in. Make yourself uncomfortable"—grow stale quickly. I laughed out loud a few times, but I dosed off more often than I laughed.

Maybe your kids will be amused, and it's thankfully a brief 87 minutes, but if you're longing to revisit the TV series, some episodes are available online, or you can rent the '90s films. I would have been perfectly happy to have skipped this one. (105 min.)

—Glen Starkey

BLACK AND BLUE

click to enlarge IN OVER HER HEAD Rookie cop Alicia West (Naomie Harris), with the help of Milo 'Mouse' Jackson (Tyrese Gibson), must navigate a dangerous world filled with criminals and corrupt cops, in Black and Blue. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Sony Pictures
  • IN OVER HER HEAD Rookie cop Alicia West (Naomie Harris), with the help of Milo 'Mouse' Jackson (Tyrese Gibson), must navigate a dangerous world filled with criminals and corrupt cops, in Black and Blue.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks, Traffik, The Intruder) directs this crime drama about rookie police officer Alicia West (Naomie Harris), who captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. When she realizes the perpetrators were corrupt cops, she has to escape the criminals out for vengeance as well as the cops who want the incriminating video. (108 min.)

—Glen

COUNTDOWN

click to enlarge TIME TO DIE Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) downloads an app that purports to tell users the exact time of their death, and she's only got three days left, in the horror-thriller Countdown. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WRIGLEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Wrigley Pictures
  • TIME TO DIE Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) downloads an app that purports to tell users the exact time of their death, and she's only got three days left, in the horror-thriller Countdown.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Writer-director Justin Dec (Rolling) helms this horror-thriller about Quinn (Elizabeth Lail), a nurse who downloads an app that tells users the precise moment of their deaths. She's got three days to live and a mysterious figure haunting her. Can she run out the clock and escape her fate? (90 min.)

—Glen

THE CURRENT WAR: DIRECTOR'S CUT

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) has recut and rereleased his 2017 film about the race between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and partners George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), and their battle between alternating current or direct current technologies to power the world. (107 min.)

—Glen

DRACULA (1931)

click to enlarge I VANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD Bela Lugosi stars as the legendary vampire, Count Dracula, who heads to England to prey upon Mina (Helen Chandler), in the 1931 classic, Dracula, screening on Oct. 27, in the SLO Brew Rock Event Center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Universal Pictures
  • I VANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD Bela Lugosi stars as the legendary vampire, Count Dracula, who heads to England to prey upon Mina (Helen Chandler), in the 1931 classic, Dracula, screening on Oct. 27, in the SLO Brew Rock Event Center.

What's it rated? Not rated

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? SLO Brew Rock Event Center on Sunday, Oct. 27 (7 p.m.; all ages; $15)

Pick

Tod Browning (and an uncredited Karl Freund) direct this classic 1931 horror film based on Bram Stoker's novel about Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), a vampire who with the help of his manservant Renfield (Dwight Frye) travels to England and preys upon virtuous Mina (Helen Chandler). Can John Harker (David Manners) and Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) save her from the bloodsucking fiend?

The event is sponsored by the SLO International Film Festival, Vitalant Blood Services, and the Coastal Awakening. The film will be screened with Philip Glass' modern score recorded in 1999 by Kronos Quartet. Vampire costumes encouraged! Tickets are $15 general and $12 for students at eventbrite.com. (75 min.)

—Glen

FANTASTIC FUNGI

What's it rated? Not rated

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

In this time-lapse filled nature doc, director Louie Schwartzberg (Mysteries of the Unseen World, Wings of Life) dives into the world of mushrooms and all the potential held by our favorite fungal friends to regenerate, treat disease, and sustain life.

Paul Stamets suffered from a socially crippling stutter until he ate a bag of magic mushrooms and tripped his face off in a forest during a thunderstorm. He claims to have come out of the psychedelic experience with the diction of an acclaimed public speaker. Years later, when Stamets' then 84-year-old mother was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer, an experimental treatment that included several daily doses of turkey tail mushrooms saved her life and threw her into a full remission.

Those are just a few of the mind-bending fungal miracles you'll hear about in Fantastic Fungi, which follows the work of doctors and mycologists (aka fungus researchers) like Stamets as they research the potential benefits mushrooms could have on human and environmental health.

"There's a feeling, the pulse of eternal knowledge," narrates actress Brie Larson, who for some reason narrates the film as if she is in fact a mushroom. "When you sense the oneness, you are with us. We brought life to Earth. You can't see us, but we flourish all around you, everywhere, in everything, and even inside you."

Who knew fungi were so deep?

OK, so that part of the movie is annoying, especially because all the fungus poetry is overplayed with incessant time lapses of clouds moving and mushrooms sprouting and animals decaying. Get it? The circle of life? And I love Brie Larson, but she's simply not David Attenborough, and if you can't get Attenborough, why even try?

But anyway, even without Attenborough, this documentary is still fascinating and poignant, as researchers throughout argue that many mushrooms are not only edible and delicious, they could play a crucial role in fighting climate change. Fungi—which is apparently pronounced "fun-jee"—store carbon deep underground, which is of course useful knowledge when it comes to our carbon-cutting goals; some strains have proven in studies to be more than adept at soaking up and basically eating oil spills, and then regenerating damaged ecosystems after; and other strains are being used for their immunity benefits to save the bees. How fun(gi)?!

And because we humans only really care about ourselves, the film also delves into all the ways in which mushrooms are being used to improve human health. That includes research into the use of psilocybin mushrooms, aka magic mushrooms, aka shrooms, aka yes, finally! This is why we all came to this movie.

Psilocybin are proving to be effective in reducing end-of-life anxieties in terminally ill patients, according to the film, in regenerating damaged brain cells, and are thought to help fight symptoms caused by Alzheimer's. Some theorists even think magic mushrooms could have partially caused the rapid evolution of the human brain in prehistoric times. That's right. We were all just stoned apes once.

So even though I can't get over the fact that Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson pretended to be a mushroom for this film and that I've been pronouncing fungi incorrectly for 24 years, Fantastic Fungi proves that fungi really are just that: fantastic. (81 min.)

—Kasey Bubnash

GEMINI MAN

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? 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

click to enlarge HUSTLE SISTERS Ramona (Jennifer Lopez, left) and Destiny (Constance Wu, right) were at the height of their dancing success, but they hadn't figured out the hustle until the 2008 economic crash. - PHOTOS COURTESY OF GLORIA SANCHEZ PRODUCTIONS
  • Photos Courtesy Of Gloria Sanchez Productions
  • HUSTLE SISTERS Ramona (Jennifer Lopez, left) and Destiny (Constance Wu, right) were at the height of their dancing success, but they hadn't figured out the hustle until the 2008 economic crash.

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 Wiseblood

JOKER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Bay, Downtown Centre, Fair Oaks, 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 arch nemesis.

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? Park

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.

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.

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

THE LIGHTHOUSE

click to enlarge MAD WORLD Two men—Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe, left) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson)—find themselves trapped on a remote island together in the hallucinatory black and white horror fantasy, The Lighthouse, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF A24
  • Photo Courtesy Of A24
  • MAD WORLD Two men—Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe, left) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson)—find themselves trapped on a remote island together in the hallucinatory black and white horror fantasy, The Lighthouse, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Co-writers and Robert and Max Eggers, with Robert (The Witch) directing, have created a psychological fantasy-horror film about two lighthouse keepers—Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) and Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson)—stuck together on a remote New England island as they slowly descend into madness (black and white; 109 min.)

—Glen

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

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL

click to enlarge WHO'S THE EVILEST OF THEM ALL? Angelina Jolie reprises her titular role in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, where maybe she's not the most evil after all. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • WHO'S THE EVILEST OF THEM ALL? Angelina Jolie reprises her titular role in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, where maybe she's not the most evil after all.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Disney's reimagined black-horned villainess, potentially gone soft, has graced the big screens once again with the direction of Joachim Rønning (co-director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) to tell the story of how pending nuptials could tear not only Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and her goddaughter Aurora's (Elle Fanning) life apart but the human and magical world as well.

The first Maleficent (2014) live-action take on the classic Sleeping Beauty (1959) focused on Maleficent's origin story and how she cared for Aurora. This time around, Aurora's love interest, Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), has asked for her hand in marriage and an overall intention for peace between the two worlds, but other forces are at work to sever that.

The story itself is interesting enough, but the delivery falls a little flat. There's just too much going on between the human world and magical world, and then we're introduced to a whole other world of creatures that look just like Maleficent. It's a little tough to keep up with as an adult, let alone for a child.

After being crowned as queen of the moors, a forest where the magical creatures live, Aurora is busy keeping order and peace in her land. A little chaos comes into the mix when Prince Phillip asks her to marry him and to have dinner with his parents at the castle to celebrate. The catch—because there's always a catch—Phillip's mother insists that Maleficent joins in on the celebration as well, to which Maleficent replies something along the lines of, "Yeah right, why would I go hang with those jerks?" but obliges anyway.

If only Maleficent had heeded her own instincts, but then there would be no story. Turns out Phillip's mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), like all crazy mothers-in-law, is a psycho and basically accuses Maleficent of being evil. Maleficent doesn't stand for any nonsense she's spewing and uses her magic in self-defense from the guards. In that moment of hysterics, Phillip's dad, King John (Robert Lindsay), falls to the ground and Queen Ingrith is quick to blame Maleficent for casting a spell on him. Maleficent has had about enough of her bull-crap and tells Aurora its time to go home, but Aurora chooses to stay.

A hurt Maleficent soars into the sky but a castle worker shoots a metal bead at Maleficent, injuring her. As she falls from the sky and into the water, a creature with horns and wings similar to hers dives into the water, saves her, and carries her back into the sky.

Are you keeping up with me or did I lose you? That was merely the first 30 minutes, but maybe I could be exaggerating. Then the movie dives right into a showing certain someone is actually evil, there's a whole other world of creature-humans, and humans basically suck because they believe they have the right to do whatever they want.

While the film as a whole was entertaining, it just lacked a flow in the story. Not to mention the fact that it's predictable. There were too many side stories that of course somehow come together in the end. But I don't blame Jolie for a second; her portrayal of the character—down to the deep villainous voice she uses—is amazing. She was ruling the screen and the other characters were peasants in comparison.

I would also mention that there was a lot of subtle violence for a PG-rated film. So if you're a parent who doesn't want their child to see people with wings being shot down by basically BB guns, maybe skip this one. (118 min.)

—Karen

ONCE UPON A TIME ... IN HOLLYWOOD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

Pick

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight) helms this story set in 1969 Hollywood about fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to remain relevant in the changing entertainment industry. Tarantino's ninth film features an ensemble cast and multiple storylines. (161 min.)

—Glen

RAM DASS: BECOMING NOBODY

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? The Palm

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

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Oct. 30 to 31, at SLO Brew Rock, at 9 p.m.; 18-and-older; $15 at ticketweb.com; also Oct. 30 to 31 at Downtown Centre Cinemas at 8 p.m. and Nov. 1 at 10:30 p.m.; 17-and-older or accompanied by an adult; $10.50 at themovieexperience.com

click to enlarge DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry, center), his groupie Columbia (Nell Campbell, left), and his domestic Magenta (Patricia Quinn) have a mad, sexy time in the cult classick, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, screening at the SLO Brew Rock Event Center and Downtown Centre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • Photo Courtesy Of Twentieth Century Fox
  • DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry, center), his groupie Columbia (Nell Campbell, left), and his domestic Magenta (Patricia Quinn) have a mad, sexy time in the cult classick, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, screening at the SLO Brew Rock Event Center and Downtown Centre.

New/Pick

It's Halloween, so naturally the 1975 cult classic musical comedy The Rocky Horror Picture Show is back! You know the story! Newly engaged pure-as-the-driven-snow couple Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) have car trouble but happen upon a spooky estate owned by "scientist" Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), who invites the couple to stay ... and then things get real weird real fast!

At the SLO Brew Rock Event Center, The SLOQueerdos will lead the audience participation tradition by re-enacting the musical numbers in front of a 19-by-9-foot movie screen.

"Audience participation is strictly MANDATORY," according to the organizers, which means bust out your fishnet stockings, lipstick, corset, and all the props (confetti, a newspaper, a squirt gun, a flashlight, rubber gloves, a noise maker, toilet paper, toast, a party hat, a bell, and playing cards).

There are three screenings at SLO Brew Rock, so make sure you buy tickets (at ticketweb.com) to the correct screening. Screenings at Downtown Centre Cinemas are available on their website.

—Glen

WESTERN STARS

click to enlarge THE BOSS Western Stars features Bruce Springsteen in concert, performing songs from his Western Stars album. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW LINE CINEMA
  • Photo Courtesy Of New Line Cinema
  • THE BOSS Western Stars features Bruce Springsteen in concert, performing songs from his Western Stars album.

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

New

Bruce Springsteen and his co-director Thom Zimny helm this concert film of Springsteen playing songs from his Western Stars album. (83 min.)

—Glen

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

See Split Screen. Δ

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

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