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Film listings 12/28/17 – 1/4/18 


click to enlarge LOVE AND MONEY In All the Money in the world, a mother tries to convince her son's billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer, pictured) to pay his grandson's ransom when he's kidnapped. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TRISTAR PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Tristar Pictures
  • LOVE AND MONEY In All the Money in the world, a mother tries to convince her son's billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer, pictured) to pay his grandson's ransom when he's kidnapped.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Park, Galaxy


All the Money in the World follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer) to pay the ransom. When Getty Sr. refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son's captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. With her son's life in the balance, Gail and Getty's advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money. (132 min.)

—TriStar Pictures


What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full Price

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


Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina co-direct this animated adventure-comedy written by the directors and Jason Katz and Matthew Aldrich, about Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), an aspiring musician from a family in which music is banned. Miguel is swept into the Land of the Dead and meets his forebears in this film that explores the Mexican tradition of el Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

Coco really is a love letter to the Mexican culture. I won't be one bit surprised if this wins Best Animated Feature at next year's Academy Awards. It deserves it! (109 min.)

—Glen Starkey


click to enlarge WAR Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, center) struggles with negotiating with or fighting against Hitler's Nazi Germany in Darkest Hour. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Focus Features
  • WAR Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman, center) struggles with negotiating with or fighting against Hitler's Nazi Germany in Darkest Hour.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? The Palm

During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman). While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds. Directed by Joe Wright, Darkest Hour is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill's courage to lead changed the course of world history. (125 min.)

—Focus Features


What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy


James Franco stars and directs this biopic about filmmaker Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), who in an acting class meets Greg Sestero (Dave Franco). The two form a friendship and head to Hollywood to make a film called The Room. The screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber is based on the book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell.

The Disaster Artist is the story of an earnest, quirky dreamer—a real oddball but also a free spirit. It's about testing the limits of this dreamer's philosophy and can-do spirit. It's also about the limits of friendship, commitment to one's art, and the danger of mixing dreams with unlimited funding.

Greg Sestero is a 19-year-old pretty boy who wants to become an actor. Tommy Wiseau is a charismatic weirdo who's long on confidence but short on talent. He's a mystery to Greg, who wishes he had Tommy's fierce belief in himself.

The first third of the film develops their burgeoning friendship as they attempt to get a foothold in Hollywood. Tommy may be confident on the outside, but he's also emotionally needy, and he becomes possessive of Greg. When it becomes clear that Hollywood isn't interested in Tommy and only mildly interested in Greg, they hatch their plan to make their own movie, mysteriously financed by Tommy himself.

The Disaster Artist accentuates the mystery behind Tommy, who claims to be Greg's age (though he's clearly much older) and whose Eastern European accent he claims comes from his New Orleans upbringing. Tommy is a liar and deeply protective of his lies, telling Greg he's not allowed to talk about him to anyone.

It's all very strange, and though you might think watching a film about the making of a terrible film would also be terrible, it's in fact awesome! Tommy is deeply interesting, and though he's a talentless actor, director, writer, and producer, he committed to his "art." That's admirable.

According to IMDB, Wiseau was born on Oct. 3, 1955, in Poznan Poland, but who knows? Rumors said the money came from organized crime. All I know is that he and Sestero (born July 15, 1978, in Walnut Creek) are still friends and still act together. Sestero wrote a film that he and Wiseau starred in called Best F(r)iends, about a homeless man who befriends a mortician, and they go into business together, leading to paranoia. There's also a sequel. These guys are both committed dreamers, making it happen!

Aside from the humor, what I most enjoyed about The Disaster Artist was watching Tommy and Greg's friendship evolve, devolve, and evolve again. The Franco brothers do a great job slipping into these two characters, James especially, adopting Wiseau's affectations without it feeling like mere mimicry.

At the end of the film, after the credits begin, scenes from The Room and those same scene recreations from The Disaster Artist are played on split screen, so you can see them simultaneously. Wow. Just, wow! It's hard to believe The Room exists and still has a life out there.

James Franco has paid homage to Wiseau and his terrible movie, and in what can only be described as perverse irony, I bet The Disaster Artist ends up getting some Oscar nods. I'm sure Wiseau will feel like he deserves the credit. (103 min.)

—Glen Starkey


click to enlarge GET SMALL In Downsizing, Paul (Matt Damon, left) tries to get more out of life by being shrunk down to just five inches tall. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
  • GET SMALL In Downsizing, Paul (Matt Damon, left) tries to get more out of life by being shrunk down to just five inches tall.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm, Stadium 10, Park, Galaxy

When scientists discover how to shrink humans to 5 inches tall as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community—a choice that triggers life-changing adventures. (135 min.)

—Paramount Pictures


What's it rated? R

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

Two brothers (Owen Wilson and Ed Helms) hit the road to find their long-lost dad after they learn that their mom (Glenn Close) has been lying to them about his death. Lawrence Sher directed this comedy. (113 min.)

—Warner Bros. Pictures


What's it rated? PG

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

Ferdinand tells the story of a giant bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, Ferdinand (John Cena) is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can't judge a bull by its cover. (107 min.)

—Blue Sky Studio/20th Century Fox


What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Rental

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

First-time director Michael Gracey helms The Greatest Showman, an original, straight-to-screen musical inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum (played here by Hugh Jackman) and the formation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. The film never claims to be wholly factual and only uses the aspects of Barnum's life that fit into its desired rags-to-riches structure.

But it doesn't gloss over everything either. Jackson's Barnum is shown foremost as a loving husband and father, although we get glimpses of an egomaniacal side as well. He justifies his lust for fame and fortune with Walter White-esque lines like "I'm doing all of this for you and the family" to his wife, Charity (Michelle Williams). But even after he's made enough to provide for her and their two children (Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely) for more than a few lifetimes, Barnum seems more discontent than everprimarily because the circus has made him more infamous than famous.

But, like most of the problems in The Greatest Showman, this internal conflict of self-worth vs. reputation is solved speedily in a single song and never addressed againwhich I inherently have nothing against. This is the kind of thing musicals are meant for (some of the best have told entire arcs within even shorter songs). Unfortunately The Greatest Showman never quite deserves that liberty, as it feels more like a collection of big budget music videos than a cohesive piece. Having said that, some of these "videos" are quite lavish and visually arresting.

One of the most memorable musical numbers is "Rewrite the Stars," performed by SLO County native Zac Efron (as Phillip Carlyle, Barnum's business partner) and Zendaya (as Anne Wheeler, one of Barnum's acrobats). Watching these two swing around each other on the trapeze ropes is way more entertaining than the onslaught of CGI so prevalent in other sections of the film. The song's lyrics are pretty cut-and-dried (they're in love, but they're also so different from each other, yada yada yada), but the tune is pretty catchy.

"This is Me," performed by Keala Settle (as Lettie Lutz, Barnum's bearded lady), is equally memorable. Its sequence follows Lutz and the rest of Barnum's gang of "freaks" as they crash a high society party.

Those are probably the only two songs I'm able to hum from memory. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty underwhelming, but it's even more disappointing if you go in knowing Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the lyricists behind La La Land) are the composers responsible.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is a mixed bag full of flawed and fun moments alike. It's hard to tell how serious it takes itself at times, but the best parts are the unashamedly cheesy ones. And I really wish it embraced that cheesiness moreit could have been grater. (139 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood


What's it rated? PG-13

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

When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they've never heard of, Jumanji, they are immediately drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) "the top 2 feet of his body" and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don't just play Jumanji—you must survive it. (112 min.)

—Columbia Pictures


What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre


Writer-director Greta Gerwig helms this coming of age story about high schooler Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) over the 2002-03 school year in Sacramento, exploring her difficult relationship with her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and others in her life. (93 min.)

—Glen Starkey


What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

A small but brave donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun) yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (Aidy Bryant), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock, and Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told—the first Christmas. (86 min.)

—Sony Pictures Animation


What's it rated? PG-13

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

Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the series. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time. (94 min.)

—Universal Pictures


click to enlarge HUMAN? Government worker Elisa (Sally Hawkins) develops a strong connection with the subject of an experiment in The Shape of Water. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • HUMAN? Government worker Elisa (Sally Hawkins) develops a strong connection with the subject of an experiment in The Shape of Water.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm, Stadium 10

From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes The Shape of Water, an otherworldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America, circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, and Michael Stuhlbarg. (119)

—Fox Searchlight Pictures


What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one shape-shifter of a movie. Is it a comedy, tragedy, or quest for vengeance, redemption, and catharsis? Director/writer Martin McDonagh (The Guard) manages to convince you it's all of the above at different twists and turns in the story.

We're dropped late into the aftermath of mother Mildred Hayes' (Frances McDormand, Hail, Caesar!, Moonrise Kingdom) grief and pain. Months have gone by since her daughter Angela (Kathryn Newton) was viciously raped and murdered while walking home one night in their small town. Still, local law enforcement has made no arrests and doesn't even have any suspects. While driving down a forgotten road just outside Ebbing, Mildred gets and idea and proceeds to march into town and pay for three billboards in a row painted red with big black letters that say "Raped while dying," "And still no arrests?" and "How come, Chief Willoughby?"

It's a move that instantly sets the town aflutter, leading the viewer down several storylines. There's police chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson, The Glass Castle, Nanking), who feels targeted by the billboards while he's simultaneously dealing with life-threatening cancer. And we can't forget Willoughby's ne'er-do-well deputy Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell, Frost/Nixon, In The Soup), who has a history of allegedly torturing black people but somehow still has the trust of his boss. And there's the squirmy ad salesman Red (Caleb Landry Jones, Get Out, The Social Network), who surprisingly shows enough gumption to put the billboards up even though he gets flak being (we think) one of the few gay people in town. Meanwhile, the doe-eyed used car salesman James (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones) makes not so subtle passes at Mildred after she gives an interview on TV.

At home, not everyone is on board with Mildred's bold move. Her teen son, Robbie (Lucas Hedges, Manchester By The Sea), is thrown further into depression by the memories the billboards drag up of his sister. And things get downright violent between Mildred and her abusive ex-husband, Charlie (John Hawkes, Lincoln).

The writing is impeccably sharp, with searing lines thrown in at the most emotionally potent moments, and yet, there are so many laugh-out-loud moments, too, in this film that deals rather heavily in anger and sorrow. The acting is superb, particularly performances from McDormand, who plays Mildred as hardened and determined to find justice, and Harrelson as the seemingly hick police chief creates so much nuance and depth for his character. And yet, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri requires being OK with swallowing a hefty dose of imaginative realism. We're dealing with very real problems, but this is a world where the consequences for, say, throwing someone out a window or committing arson don't really line up with reality at all. (115 min.) Δ

—Ryah Cooley

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Arts Editor Ryah Cooley and others. You can contact her at


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