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Film Listings, 3/14/19 – 3/21/19 

ABOVE THE CLOUDS

click to enlarge ROAD TRIP Charlie (Naomi Morris, right), an 18-year-old with a provisional driver's license, taps Oz (Andrew Murton), a homeless man from her town, to accompany her on a trip to find her "real" dad, in Above the Clouds, screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival (slofilmfest.com). - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
  • Photo Courtesy Of The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
  • ROAD TRIP Charlie (Naomi Morris, right), an 18-year-old with a provisional driver's license, taps Oz (Andrew Murton), a homeless man from her town, to accompany her on a trip to find her "real" dad, in Above the Clouds, screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival (slofilmfest.com).

What's it rated? Not rated

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre (3/14, at 4 p.m.; 3/15, at 10:30 a.m.; and 3/16, at 4:15 p.m.)

New/Pick

UK director Leon Chambers helms this charming coming-of-age comedy that centers on Charlie (Naomi Morris), an artistic and headstrong just-turned 18-year-old facing the realities of growing up and forging her own path in life. When her parents take off on holiday, Charlie's snooping leads her to an unopened card with her name on it, and inside it holds a mystery. Signed "Love, Dad" the handwriting is completely different from Leo's, the man she's grown up believing to be her father.

She soon figures out the mystery man's name and with the car she was given for her birthday and a credit card "for emergencies," she's hatched a plan to go find her father in the mountains of Scotland. The one thing standing in her way is her provisional license—she needs a responsible adult along for the ride. She sets her sights on Oz (Andrew Murton), a homeless and harmless man that Charlie has gotten to know at the local art museum, albeit barely. He reluctantly agrees to the trip to get him out of town and away from some bad dudes, just as long as Charlie does all of the driving.

Their roadside adventure is the bulk of the film, and the bonding between characters grows as their layers are slowly peeled away. Oz has some pretty complicated circumstances that led him to where he is in life, as well as a tendency toward overwhelming panic attacks when put in a situation he can't handle. Charlie is desperate to find her footing in a world turned unexpectedly upside down. The two, with the help of a handful of quirky characters they meet along the way, finally realize that this journey is about a lot more than finding a long-lost dad, but a chance to find themselves along the winding roads to Scotland.

It's a fun twist on the old buddy pic, full of lighthearted laughter and tinged with tenderness. Director Chambers knows how to keep the heavier parts bubbly and uses a clever map full of miniature tracks along their journey in adorable interludes. If you are looking for a feel-good flick that doesn't stray too far out of the realities of real life, Above the Clouds is a sweeping, whimsical adventure with some truly loveable fast friends.

The film is screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival in the Downtown Centre on March 14 through 16. (87 min.)

—Anna Starkey

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Sunset Drive-In

Pick

Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Spy Kids, Sin City, Planet Terror) directs Rosa Salazar as Alita, a half-human, half-advanced cyborg who finds vengeance for the people of the post-apocalyptic world, Iron City, while finding out about her past. The movie is a live-action film adaptation of Gunnm, the Japanese cyberpunk manga series by Yukito Kishiro, also known as Battle Angle Alita in its English translated versions.

Alita is filled with action sequences that make us all feel good about sticking it to the man, or literally slicing the bad guys in half, but the plot's delivery falls short. (122 min.)

—Karen Garcia

ARCTIC

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Newcomer Joe Penna directs Mads Mikkelsen as Overgård, a man stranded in the arctic and faced with the decision to leave the safety of his camp and embark on a deadly journey to save himself and another survivor.

What this film lacks in dialogue is abundant in emotion and action. The film really focuses on telling a story by the characters' reaction to this white, deserted land, rather than having the characters give us the play-by-play. (98 min.)

—Karen

CAPTAIN MARVEL

What's it rated? PG-13

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

See Split Screen.

CAPTIVE STATE

click to enlarge FIGHT OR FLIGHT Ten years into an alien occupation, Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) must decide if he wants to join the resistance or stay a human slave to the aliens, in Captive State. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Dreamworks
  • FIGHT OR FLIGHT Ten years into an alien occupation, Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) must decide if he wants to join the resistance or stay a human slave to the aliens, in Captive State.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Co-writer and director Rupert Myatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) helms this sci-fi thriller about an alien invasion of Earth 10 years into the hostile occupation. Under the pretense of peaceful unity, the human race is enslaved, with some humans collaborating with the alien race and others engaging in violent dissent. Set in a Chicago neighborhood, the story revolves around Officer Mulligan (John Goodman), who tries to recruit Gabriel (Ashton Sanders) to fight the aliens. (109 min.)

—Glen Starkey

EVERYBODY KNOWS

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Galaxy, The Palm

Pick

Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman, A Separation) directs Penélope Cruz as Laura, a woman who returns to her hometown in Madrid to attend her sister's wedding only to be led through a flurry of emotions when her daughter is kidnapped. This whirlwind drama is Iranian writer-director Farhadi's first film with a script in Spanish.

This film is less concerned with quickly getting to the dramatic point of the film and instead lets the audience really learn about the characters and their habitual routines. We have time to figure what role each character has in the story that's about to unfold.

After not visiting for years, Laura and her two children are returning to her roots in Madrid. She currently lives in Argentina with her husband, who suspiciously was not able to attend the family affair. We're instantly thrown into the scene of a very expressive and happy family that owns and runs a hotel where the festivities will take place. The camera first focuses largely on Laura's daughter, Irene (Carla Campra), a free-spirited young girl who flirts with a neighboring boy, Felipe (Sergio Castellanos).

We're also introduced to Paco (Javier Bardem), Laura's former love interest, who lives with his wife, Bea, on a vineyard that they work on the outskirts of town. The vineyard is the cause of an underlying rift between Paco and the family, as he purchased the land from Laura some years ago. He attends the wedding with his wife, but the repressed feelings between him and Laura are there.

One minute we're sucked into the laughter, music, and dance of the ceremonial festivities; the next we're on the edge of our seats as Laura has discovered her daughter was taken from her bedroom. Laura's first instinct is to ask Paco for help. The kidnappers are asking for a ransom and instruct the family to not alert the authorities or else they'll hurt Irene. Not only does Paco leave the police out of this, he suspiciously doesn't tell anyone outside of the family what's going on.

As the story thickens and as, in small-town fashion, everyone starts talking about the incident, the chatter turns to speculating that maybe the kidnapper is Laura's husband. The gossip also turns to questioning Paco's motive for being so heavily involved in the search for Irene.

Farhadi does a stellar job of lingering on these characters and pushing their emotions to the limit with the disappearance of a child. While I do appreciate the time Farhadi took to develop the story, I think it was a half-hour too long. It's smartly written, has an amazing cast, and leaves the audience to second-guess whodunit.

I will say there are many twists within the story that the audience doesn't really see coming, but in the end we all know. (133 min.; in Spanish, English, and Catalan).

—Karen

THE FAVOURITE

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Fair Oaks

Pick

Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Killing of a Scared Deer) directs this early 18th century period piece about two warring women seeking favor from the ailing, prickly Queen Anne (Olivia Colman).

Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is the queen's longtime companion who essentially runs the country during a time of war. Newcomer Abigail (Emma Stone), a new servant to the queen, uses her charms to gain power of her own as she attempts to return to her aristocratic roots.

The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and Colman won for Best Actress. (119 min.)

—Glen

FIVE FEET APART

click to enlarge KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Two teenagers with cystic fibrosis—Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse)—fall in love in a hospital but must stay 6 feet apart to avoid cross-infection, in the young adult romance-drama, Five Feet Apart. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CBS FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of CBS Films
  • KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Two teenagers with cystic fibrosis—Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse)—fall in love in a hospital but must stay 6 feet apart to avoid cross-infection, in the young adult romance-drama, Five Feet Apart.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Justin Baldoni directs this romantic drama about two teenagers—Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse)—who both suffer from cystic fibrosis and fall in love in the hospital. Because of weakened immune systems and the danger of spreading germs, the title refers to a "6-foot rule" to avoid cross-infection. (116 min.)

—Glen

GENERAL MAGIC

click to enlarge VISIONARIES The General Magic documentary, screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival (slofilmlest.com), explores the amazing vision but epic failure of a Silicon Valley company. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
  • Photo Courtesy Of The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
  • VISIONARIES The General Magic documentary, screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival (slofilmlest.com), explores the amazing vision but epic failure of a Silicon Valley company.

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm (3/14, at 10 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.; 3/16, at 4:15 p.m.)

New/Pick

What on first impression seems like a nostalgic, glossy origin story about a forgotten company that "invented the iPhone before the iPhone" turns out to be a much deeper exploration of tech, creativity, and failure, in General Magic, screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival on March 14 and 16.

Directors Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude helm this doc chronicling the rise and fall of short-lived tech upstart General Magic. Formed in 1989 by a team of ex-Apple employees, General Magic envisioned a world in which everyone carried tiny personal computer/phones around in their pockets (sound familiar?). They obsessed over making this product a reality, pouring all their time, energy, and resources into its creation. Unfortunately, the world wasn't ready. The tech wasn't there yet, the consumer appetite wasn't there yet, and the company got blindsided by the advent of the internet, which knocked it out of business altogether a decade later.

This film provides a great snapshot of the idealism, enthusiasm, and big-picture thinking that coursed through Silicon Valley in the '80s and '90s. There's plenty of footage of the General Magic offices and employees that captures the excitement and inventive thinking that was taking place. These were people literally brimming with creativity and idealism—to the point of naiveté. The company's principals became so enamored by and immersed in their imagined product that they lost track of the developments in the industry around them. This ultimately killed General Magic, but nevertheless, the earliest mock-ups of the handheld device look chillingly similar to the smartphones we own today. In its early days, founder and CEO Marc Porat even uses the term "smart phone," and talks with incredible precision about the future, even predicting smart watches.

General Magic shows us how true innovation is incremental and how sometimes credit isn't given where it's due. It lays bare the disappointment that comes with just missing your moment, of watching your small window of opportunity slam shut. The best descriptor of this came in the form of a surfing metaphor: General Magic tried to paddle into a wave that was too far away; by the time it arrived, they were too exhausted to ride it.

This doc is thought-provoking and worth the ride. (92 min.)

—Peter Johnson

GREEN BOOK

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Co-writer Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary) directs this biopic about African-American pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who hires working-class Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as his driver on a music tour of the 1960s American South. Though they're very different people, they develop a warm and enduring friendship. This is one of those classic feel-good movies only a true cynic could reject. Both lead characters come out of the other side of the story improved.

The film won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ali), and Best Original Screenplay. (130 min.)

—Glen

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Writer-director Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch) helms this third installment in the franchise about Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his Night Fury dragon, Toothless, who it turns out isn't the only Night Fury dragon after all. When Hiccup discovers there's a clandestine Dragon utopia, he and Toothless rush to find it before bad guy Grimmel (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) finds it first.

This closer to this trilogy hits the mark perfectly, continuing the series' visual delights and bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion. Sure, you can find a few nits to pick, but if you and your family liked the first two, this one's sure to please. (104 min.)

—Glen

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

click to enlarge EVERYTHING'S NOT AWESOME Citizens of Lego Land face a new threat: LEGO DUPLO invaders from space, in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ANIMAL LOGIC
  • Photo Courtesy Of Animal Logic
  • EVERYTHING'S NOT AWESOME Citizens of Lego Land face a new threat: LEGO DUPLO invaders from space, in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

Chris Pratt stars as the voice of Emmet Brickowski, a construction worker Lego who must save his friends from alien invaders and discover who he really is. This second film was released about five years after the first, The Lego Movie, with the same writers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, but a new director, Mike Mitchell (Trolls, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Sky High).

Like many sequels, this film falls short of presenting a unique storyline; it's your average coming-of-age story told while flying through other dimensions peppered with catchy (and annoying!) sing-along numbers. There's a lot of singing, but this time everything's not awesome, and a song could quite possibly get stuck in your head. (106 min.)

—Karen

A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Nothing

Where's it showing? Park, Stadium 10

Writer-director and star Tyler Perry returns with another Madea film. This time around, Madea and her crew travel to rural Georgia where family secrets come to the surface as they plan an unexpected funeral.

Consider this dead horse well beaten. This is Perry's 11th in his cross-dressing saga about a wise but caustic matriarch and her hapless relatives who Madea has to berate into compliance. Predictable, contrived, and with nothing new left to say, A Madea Family Funeral is hopefully the series' final nail in its coffin. (102 min.)

—Glen

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

click to enlarge MEN TROUBLE As Mary Stuart (Saoise Ronan, center right), Queen of Scots, seeks to overthrow England's Queen Elizabeth I, she must be wary of male treachery, in Mary Queen of Scots. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Focus Features
  • MEN TROUBLE As Mary Stuart (Saoise Ronan, center right), Queen of Scots, seeks to overthrow England's Queen Elizabeth I, she must be wary of male treachery, in Mary Queen of Scots.

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Fair Oaks

Pick

Josie Rourke makes her directorial debut with Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth l. The story focuses on Mary's attempts at overthrowing her cousin, Elizabeth, for England's throne. It's a period piece that shows the limits of what a woman could do—even a woman in power.

Throughout the film, the two women fight over who is the rightful Queen of England, but the main issue is the men that surround them—the men on their councils, the men they had relationships with (sexual or not), and the men who are their subjects. There wasn't a single man the women could trust. In one way or another, men were tired of listening to and being commanded by women. While their two reigns were fiercely driven apart, the only mutual understanding they had was taking a stand against men. (124 min.)

—Karen

MEN OF VISION

click to enlarge INVENTIVE In the short film Men of Vision, two inventors—Walter Belvue (Bryan Burton, left) and Hubert Moss (Aaron Serotsky)—critique one another's ideas. The film is screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival (slofilmlest.com). - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
  • Photo Courtesy Of The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
  • INVENTIVE In the short film Men of Vision, two inventors—Walter Belvue (Bryan Burton, left) and Hubert Moss (Aaron Serotsky)—critique one another's ideas. The film is screening as part of the SLO International Film Festival (slofilmlest.com).

What's it rated? Not rated

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm (3/16, at 1 p.m.; 3/17, at 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.)

Pick

Writer/director Frank Todaro helms this short period piece set during the turn of the 20th century. Swaggering inventor Hubert Moss (Aaron Serotsky of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Good Wife, Homeland) is in the midst of a creative dry spell that threatens to ruin him. Just when all hope is lost, an enthusiastic, aspiring inventor, Walter Belvue (Bryan Burton of The Post, Money Monster), approaches Moss in hopes of renting some working space in his office. Could the young man be Moss' salvation?

Minus the opening prologue scene featuring three other actors, the film works perfectly as an engaging, conversational two-man show that could easily be adapted into a stage play. Moss, cocky and oblivious, and Belvue, humble and reserved, play off one another perfectly. Serotsky and Burton are experts of comedic timing in their respective roles.

The way Moss initially scoffs at Belvue's innovative prototypes for Velcro, cotton swabs, the zipper, and the rubber band is especially hilarious. After confidently explaining the uselessness of each invention, Moss proceeds to boast about his own latest creations, including a radium water-drinking dispenser intended for perpetual good health and a candelabra rip-off he calls "the illuminatra."

Aside from the superb acting, the film is also beautifully shot in the famed Bradbury Building in Los Angeles (Blade Runner, anyone?). The vintage elevators and ornate ironwork of the building compliment the film's cog-driven atmosphere quite well.

The SLO International Film Festival hosts the North American premiere of Men of Vision and two additional screenings on March 16 and 17, all at the Palm Theater. Todaro and Serotsky will be in attendance both days. (19 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

NO MANCHES FRIDA 2

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? Park

NewNacho G. Velilla directs this Spanish-language sequel about ex-con Zequi (Omar Chaparro), whose wedding day jitters threaten his upcoming marriage to Lucy (Martha Higareda). (102 min.)

—Glen

THE SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

What's it rated? Various

Where's it showing? Bay Theater Morro Bay, Downtown Centre SLO, Fremont Theater SLO, Park Theater Paso Robles, Palm Theatre SLO, SLO Brew Rock Event Center

New

The SLO International Film Festival (SLOIFF) runs through Sunday, March 17, with various films and events in various locations. A schedule of events as well as tickets are available at slofilmfest.org.

According to organizers, "Variety is the spice of life, and the SLOIFF is proud to embrace that philosophy in its programming. From cutting-edge documentaries to tried-and-true cinema classics, the SLOIFF celebrates film on the 'big screen' by offering something for everyone. Experience Hollywood & Vines Events that pair excellent local wines with film classics. Or the Red Carpet Events, where we welcome celebrities from Hollywood filmmakers to action sports legends.

"Enjoy premieres of Independent Films—films that you may not have a chance to see anywhere else. Filmmakers from all over the world attend the Festival and offer informative Q-and-A sessions after the screening of their films."

—Glen

THE WEDDING GUEST

click to enlarge MAN ON A MISSION Dev Patel stars as Jay, a mysterious British Muslim man journeying across Pakistan and India, in writer-director Michael Winterbottom's The Wedding Guest, screening exclusively at The Palm. - PHOTO COURTESY OF INDIA TAKE ONE PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of India Take One Productions
  • MAN ON A MISSION Dev Patel stars as Jay, a mysterious British Muslim man journeying across Pakistan and India, in writer-director Michael Winterbottom's The Wedding Guest, screening exclusively at The Palm.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Writer-director Michael Winterbottom (A Summer in Genoa, The Killer Inside Me) helms this story about a British Muslim man named Jay (Dev Patel), who's journeying across Pakistan and India. (97 min.)

—Glen

WONDER PARK

click to enlarge BELIEVE June (voiced by Brianna Denski), who lost her mother and her imagination, discovers an amusement park she invented as a little girl and realizes it's in danger of being destroyed, in the animated family adventure, Wonder Park. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ILION ANIMATION STUDIOS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Ilion Animation Studios
  • BELIEVE June (voiced by Brianna Denski), who lost her mother and her imagination, discovers an amusement park she invented as a little girl and realizes it's in danger of being destroyed, in the animated family adventure, Wonder Park.

What's it rated? PG

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

New

In this animated family adventure, a 10-year-old girl named June (voiced by Sofia Mali as young June and Brianna Denski as older June) used her imagination to create a magnificent amusement park with her mother (voiced by Jennifer Garner). After her mother dies, and as she grows older, she loses her wildly imaginative creativity, until one day at math camp she stumbles upon the manifestation of her childhood fantasy. June learns that she must team up with the park's talking animals to save it from the Chimpanzombies seeking to destroy it. (85 min.) Δ

—Glen

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

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