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Film Listings, 3/15/18 – 3/22/18 

ANNIHILATION

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

Writer-director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) helms this story based on Jeff VanderMeer's novel about a team of soldiers who enter into a mysterious and expanding energy curtain, from which nothing has yet returned, including drones and other soldiers. Only one soldier, Kane (Oscar Isaac), returns, but he's badly injured and near death. His wife, Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist with a military background, agrees to go back in hoping to discover how to save Kane.

Yes, there are moments of violence, gore, and horror, but this is a science-rich, thoughtfully constructed mind-bender of a story. (115 min.)

—Glen Starkey

BLACK PANTHER

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

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

Pick

Co-writer/director Ryan Coogler (Creed) helms this story about T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a newly crowned king of the technologically advanced but isolationist country of Wakanda, who finds his new kinghood challenged by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a vengeful victim of T'Challa's father's past actions.

It's an empowering reimagining of African roots but also—remember—a fantasy. Ultimately, this is a super hero flick that refuses to stay in the genre's rut and that's interested in exploring complicated political and cultural ideas. (134 min.)

—Glen Starkey

DEATH WISH

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rental

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

Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno, Knock Knock) directs this script by Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces, The A-Team, The Grey) based on Brian Garfield's novel and 1974 Wendell Mayes-scripted film of the same name about family man Dr. Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis), a surgeon who turns vigilante after his family—wife Lucy (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter Jordan (Camila Morrone)—are violently attacked in a home invasion robbery.

Willis is at his best playing a cocky and irreverent charmer, but here his Kersey is a downer. Revenge may be a dish best served cold but this feels like a reheated, lukewarm TV dinner. And of course this is simply bad timing. With gun violence in the news again, the film also feels tone deaf. (107 min.)

—Glen Starkey

A FANTASTIC WOMAN

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

Marina and Orlando are in love and planning for the future. Marina is a young waitress and aspiring singer. Orlando is 20 years older than her, and owns a printing company. After celebrating Marina's birthday one evening, Orlando falls seriously ill. Marina rushes him to the emergency room, but he passes away just after arriving at the hospital. Instead of being able to mourn her lover, suddenly Marina is treated with suspicion. (100 min)

—Sony Pictures Classics

GAME NIGHT

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rental

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

Co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Vacation, 2015) helm this Mark Perez (The Country Bears, 2002; Accepted, 2006) black comedy script about a group of friends who meet regularly for game night, but this time around, they encounter a real crime and unwittingly believe it's a murder mystery they're supposed to solve.

Game Night starts with the flashback meet-cute of Max and his now-wife Annie (Rachel McAdams, at her most charming). They gather weekly with their best friends, married couple Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), and single lothario Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and his revolving bimbo du jour.

You certainly don't have to see it on the big screen to appreciate it. If you're a big comedy fan, maybe it's worth it. The costars are great, especially Morris's Denzel Washington impression, but I'd feel a lot better about renting this film for $1.62 at Redbox. (100 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Rental

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

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.

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 more—it could have been grater. (139 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

GRINGO

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Stadium 10, Park

Combining dark comedy with dramatic intrigue, Gringo joyrides across the border into Mexico, where all is not as it seems for mild-mannered American businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo). Crossing the line from citizen to criminal, Harold tangles with duplicitous business partners, Mexican drug lords, international mercenaries, and the DEA. As he attempts to survive in one of the most dangerous places on earth, the question lingers: Is this ordinary man in way over his head, or is he two steps ahead? (110 min.)

—Amazon Studios

THE HURRICANE HEIST

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Park, Galaxy

Under the threat of a hurricane, opportunistic criminals infiltrate a U.S. Mint facility to steal $600 million for the ultimate heist. When the hurricane blows up into a lethal Category 5 storm and their well-made plans go awry, they find themselves needing a vault code known only by one treasury agent (Maggie Grace), a need that turns murderous. (103 min.)

—Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

LIVES WELL LIVED

What's it rated? NR

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

First-time director Sky Bergman helms this documentary that asks older people their secret to a happy and fulfilling life. Mixing one-on-one interviews, her subjects' personal photos and home movies, as well as archival footage of seminal events in their lives, Bergman uncovers wisdom collected from 40 subjects with 3,000 years of collective life experience.

This film is a monument to lives of dignity and honor, of self-sacrifice and generosity. We younger generations could do well by these lessons. I absolutely loved this film. (72 min.)

—Glen Starkey

LOVE, SIMON

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Everyone deserves a great love story. But for 17-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) it's a little more complicated: He's yet to tell his family or friends he's gay, and he doesn't actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying, and life changing. (109 min.)

—20th Century Fox

PETER RABBIT

What's it rated? PG

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

Peter Rabbit (James Corden), the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter's feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). (100 min.)

—Columbia Pictures

RED SPARROW

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rental

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

Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend, Water for Elephants, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) directs Justin Haythe's (The Clearing, Revolutionary Road, The Lone Ranger, The Cure for Wellness) script based on ex-spook Jason Matthews' book about ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence), who's recruited into the Russian "Sparrow School," which trains spies. The target of her first mission, CIA Agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), turns out to be more complicated than she could have imagined.

We're supposed to be rooting for Dominika to find a way out of her mess and take her life back, but instead she digs more deeply into her corrupt world. Soon it feels like her life isn't worth saving—who would want to live a life of lies, torture, and mistrust? There's also a decided lack of chemistry between Lawrence and her costar Edgerton.

I know Lawrence has become a huge star with two big franchises (X-Men and The Hunger Games) under her belt, and I applaud her taking on roles in smaller (Joy) or experimental (Mother!) films, but she seems to shine brightest in roles where she's a vulnerable but independent woman (Winter's Bone and Silver Linings Playbook) who rises above her circumstances. In Red Sparrow, instead of rising above a corrupt world, Lawrence's Dominika simply becomes the most corrupt. (139 min.)

—Glen Starkey

7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE

click to enlarge ON A MISSION Based on true events, 7 Days in Entebbe tells the story of a daring rescue mission. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Focus Features
  • ON A MISSION Based on true events, 7 Days in Entebbe tells the story of a daring rescue mission.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

New

A gripping thriller inspired by the true events of the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris, the film depicts the most daring rescue mission ever attempted. (106 min.)

—Focus Features

THE SHAPE OF WATER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a lonely mute who works as a janitor in a high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. For 10 years she's walked and cleaned the halls of the facility with her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer).

Every day Elisa sticks to her routine: take a shower, polish her shoes, make lunch as well as a meal for her neighbor and friend Giles (Richard Jenkins), and then catch the bus to work.

Her life takes a turn when she and Zelda are called into a room to clean up a bloody mess created by "the asset" (Doug Jones), at least that's what the scientists and government officials are calling it. The asset is a scaled creature from South Africa that now resides in a water tank against its will. Elisa is drawn to the creature, maybe because she too is an outsider in the world that she lives in. She forms a bond with the creature that feels more like love than friendship. But her days of sharing hard-boiled eggs for lunch and listening to her vinyl record player are numbered; the very fate of the creature is on the line.

Writer and director Guillermo Del Toro's (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim) latest offering is visually intriguing as an everyday woman finds her fairy tale—with some bloody scenes mixed in, of course. (123 min.)

—Karen Garcia

THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT

What's it rated? R

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

A family's road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family's every limit as they struggle to survive. (85 min.)

—Aviron Pictures

THOROUGHBREDS

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

Childhood friends Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Lily has turned into a polished, upper-class teenager, with a fancy boarding school on her transcript and a coveted internship on her resume; Amanda has developed a sharp wit and her own particular attitude, but all in the process of becoming a social outcast. Though they initially seem completely at odds, the pair bond over Lily's contempt for her oppressive stepfather, Mark (Paul Sparks), and as their friendship grows, they begin to bring out one another's most destructive tendencies. Their ambitions lead them to hire a local hustler, Tim (Anton Yelchin), and take matters into their own hands to set their lives straight. (90 min.)

—Focus Features

TOMB RAIDER

click to enlarge UNLOCKING THE PAST In Tomb Raider, a young Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) tries to solve the mystery surrounding the death or disappearance of her adventurer father seven years ago. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros Pictures
  • UNLOCKING THE PAST In Tomb Raider, a young Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) tries to solve the mystery surrounding the death or disappearance of her adventurer father seven years ago.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can't understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.(122 min.)

—Warner Bros. Pictures

A WRINKLE IN TIME

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Sunset Drive-In, Fair Oaks, Bay, Galaxy, Park

See Split Screen. Δ

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


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