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Film Listings, 3/7/19 – 3/14/19 

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Matinee

Where’s it showing? Galaxy

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

click to enlarge ALONE Mads Mikkelsen stars as Overgård, who survives a plane crash in the arctic and must find a way to survive, in Arctic. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARMORY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Armory Pictures
  • ALONE Mads Mikkelsen stars as Overgård, who survives a plane crash in the arctic and must find a way to survive, in Arctic.

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Galaxy, The Palm

Pick

Newcomer Joe Penna directs Mad 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.

We’re first introduced to Overgård as he’s shoveling snow and instantly we know something is wrong because he’s using a makeshift shovel and he looks weathered. The alarm on his watch goes off and he turns it off, collects his things, and walks over to a plane that he uses as his camp. The next shot is an aerial view, which shows that he’s shoveled out the letters “SOS” in the hopes of flagging down a plane.

Overgård’s backstory is unknown. Why is he out there, how did his plane crash, and how long has he been stranded? I can guess a good chunk of time, as he’s missing some toes due to frostbite—creepy. What’s certain is how prepared he is for survival. He has a pretty rigid schedule and is held accountable by his watch. He shovels fresh powder out of his distressed signal; he tends to his waterhole and catches fish; and he climbs a high peak to crank his radio system in the hopes of catching a signal—grim clockwork.

In the middle of winding up the radio, he catches a signal and—holy crap there it is!—a helicopter emerges. Unfortunately, the helicopter decides to be the hero in the middle of a blizzard and bluntly crashes into the snow right before Overgård’s eyes. Instead of falling into despair, Overgård takes in the moment and moves on, racing to the helicopter to save any survivors.

The pilot is dead but his second in command, a woman (Maria Thelma Smáradóttir), is conscious with a large gash on her stomach. Overgård takes her and some supplies he finds back (packages of ramen and a burner among other things, score!) to his plane and tends to her wound, but the woman is in a coma.

He studies a map that he found in the helicopter and discovers there’s a seasonal station in the area but it’s a more than three-day trek. Overgård knows neither he nor the woman will survive if he stays put and waits for help, so with the few supplies he has, he straps her onto a sled and pulls her through the perils of the arctic.

The film really does an amazing job at keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and feeling really guilty about complaining about the cold weather—ridiculous Californians. The silent vow that Overgård has made to keep this woman alive and the subtle moments of human interaction he has with her are really what makes this film so captivating. Mikkelsen delivered a strong performance as an isolated man that hasn’t lost his wit or his ability to feel compassion even though he’s lost it all. (98 min.)

—Karen


BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? The Palm

Pick

In her directorial and writing debut, Dava Whisenant helms this documentary-comedy about Steve Young, a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, who discovers a cache of vintage recordings marked “internal use only” that contain a Broadway-style show about major corporations such as General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, DuPont, and Xerox. Young goes in search of the composers and performers, opening up a new world of comedy and entertainment.

It’s a remarkable find: actual musicals commissioned by ruthlessly efficient corporations to entertain, inspire, and (maybe hilariously) indoctrinate their employees. At times weird and almost always entertaining, this is the documentary you didn’t know you needed! (98 min.)

—Glen Starkey


BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, Superman Returns) directs this biopic about Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and Queen, chronicling the band’s rise to super stardom, Mercury’s solo career and AIDS diagnosis, and their triumphant reunion and spellbinding performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert.

The film won four Academy Awards: Best Actor (Malek), Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Film Editing. (134 min.)

—Glen 


BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

click to enlarge OUTLAWS Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman), Sundance (Robert Redford), and Etta (Katharine Ross) star in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, screening March 12, at the Fremont Theater. Ross will perform with the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra prior to the screening. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • OUTLAWS Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman), Sundance (Robert Redford), and Etta (Katharine Ross) star in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, screening March 12, at the Fremont Theater. Ross will perform with the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra prior to the screening.

What’s it rated? PG

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Tuesday, March 12, 7 p.m., in the Fremont Theater ($25 general or $15 for students at slofilfest.org; $50 for the film event and a 5 p.m. pre-party at Luna Red)

New/Pick

click to enlarge PARTY WITH THE STAR Katharine Ross will attend a 5 p.m. meet-and-greet pre-party with music and appetizers at Luna Red prior to her 7 p.m. spoken word performance with the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra. After the performance, she’ll talk about the making of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHARINE ROSS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHARINE ROSS
  • PARTY WITH THE STAR Katharine Ross will attend a 5 p.m. meet-and-greet pre-party with music and appetizers at Luna Red prior to her 7 p.m. spoken word performance with the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra. After the performance, she’ll talk about the making of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Director George Roy Hill (The Sting) and screenwriter William Goldman’s (All the President’s Men, The Princess Bride) 1969 classic Western biopic tells the “true” tale of outlaws Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford), who lead a band of robbers called the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang in Wyoming in the early 1900s. As it becomes increasingly difficult for them to evade the law, they head for Bolivia.

Newman and Redford are perfect in the roles of the two anti-heroes, and Katharine Ross stars as Sundance’s love interest, Etta Place. Funny, poignant, and full of unforgettable cinematic moments (The leap off the cliff? The bike ride to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”?), it’s one of the greatest films ever made.

At a special opening night event at 7 p.m., Ross, appearing live and in person, will perform the story “Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express” with the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra. After a short intermission, she’ll talk about her work on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

According to organizers, “There will be an opportunity to meet Katharine Ross at the Opening Night Party hosted by Luna Red, just a few blocks from the Fremont Theatre at Mission Plaza [starting at 5 p.m.]. Live music, cocktails, and appetizers will kick off the 25th Anniversary Festival in style!”

—Glen


CAPTAIN MARVEL

click to enlarge DUTY CALLS When Earth is caught in a war between two alien species, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes the titular superhero, in Captain Marvel. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS
  • DUTY CALLS When Earth is caught in a war between two alien species, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes the titular superhero, in Captain Marvel.

What’s it rated? PG-13

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

New

In 1995, former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes the titular superhero in Captain Marvel, joining an intergalactic cohort of heroes, called Starforce, before returning home to discover Earth is caught in a war between two alien species. (124 min.)

—Glen


EVERYBODY KNOWS

click to enlarge SECRETS REVEALED Laura (Penélope Cruz) and Paco (Javier Bardem) share stressful moments, in the crime mystery Everybody Knows, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MEMENTO FILM PRODUCTION
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF MEMENTO FILM PRODUCTION
  • SECRETS REVEALED Laura (Penélope Cruz) and Paco (Javier Bardem) share stressful moments, in the crime mystery Everybody Knows, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

What’s it rated? R

Where’s it showing? The Palm

New

 Writer-director Asghar Farhadi helms this mystery about Laura (Penélope Cruz), a Spaniard living in Buenos Aires. When she and her two children return home to near Madrid for her sister’s wedding, unexpected developments reveal old secrets. The film also stars Javier Bardem as Paco and Ricardo Darín as Alejandro. (133 min.; in Spanish, English, and Catalan)

—Glen


FACING FASCISM FILM SERIES

click to enlarge FIGHT FASCISM! Paul Schrader’s 1985 masterpiece, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, screens on March 13 as part of the SLO International Film Festival’s Facing Fascism Film Series. The festival runs from March 12 to March 17. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • FIGHT FASCISM! Paul Schrader’s 1985 masterpiece, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, screens on March 13 as part of the SLO International Film Festival’s Facing Fascism Film Series. The festival runs from March 12 to March 17.

What’s it rated? Various

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Wednesday, March 13, in The Palm Theatre

Nonprofit community arts organization The Coastal Awakening, in conjunction with the SLO International Film Festival, presents three films on March 13, beginning at 1 p.m. with director Gregory La Cava’s 1933 fantasy-drama Gabriel Over the White House (86 min.; B&W), about a low-level political operative who becomes president and—after a near-fatal accident—evolves into an incorruptible statesman.

Paul Schrader’s 1985 masterpiece, Mishima: A Life in Four Parts, screens at 3 p.m. (rated R; 120 minutes). This fictionalized account of the life of Japanese monarchist and militarist author Yukio Mishima (Ken Ogata) will be followed by an interactive talk about author Henry Miller’s response to the film, led by Robert “Larry” Inchausti (author of Hard to Be a Saint in the City).

The award-winning animated short film, Trump Bites, will be followed by director Jen Senko’s 2016 documentary, The Brainwashing of My Dad, at 7 p.m., about a man turned sour by right-wing media. (90 min.)

—Glen


THE FAVOURITE

What’s it rated? R

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre

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 Award, and Colman won for Best Actress. (119 min.)

—Glen


FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Galaxy

Pick

Writer-director Stephen Merchant helms this biopic dramedy about pro wrestler Saraya “Paige” Bevis (Florence Pugh), who grew up in a wrestling family that made its living from wrestling in small venues across Britain, with father Patrick “Rowdy Ricky Knight” Bevis (Nick Frost) and mother Julia “Sweet Saraya” Bevis (Lena Headey). Paige and her brother, Zak “Zodiac” Bevis (Jack Lowden), dream of joining WWE, but when she earns a spot and he doesn’t, it strains family ties. The film also stars Dwayne Johnson and Vince Vaughn. 

The film opens with 13-year-old Saraya (Tori Ellen Ross), who’s reluctantly talked into wrestling in one of her family’s exhibition matches. When she hears the roar of the crowd, she’s hooked. Fast-forward five years and her family gets the call they’ve been dreaming of. The WWE reviewed the wrestling tape the family sent, and Saraya (now played by Pugh) and her brother Zak are offered a tryout.

When it’s all said and done, Coach Morgan only takes Saraya, and what follows is her trip to LA where she’s groomed to become one of the wrestling divas of the WWE. She discovers that the other girls she’s competing with—taller, better looking, and in Saraya’s mind unworthy—are former models and cheerleaders, not actual wrestlers.

While Saraya starts to doubt herself and her ability to make it into the WWE, her brother Zak is stuck back in England with his girlfriend and a new baby. Meanwhile, her parents are beaming with pride and don’t realize she’s on the verge of quitting. It’s a classic sports underdog story.

These kind of feel-good stories can easily slide into corniness and predictability, but Merchant—who in addition to co-writing and directing plays Zak’s girlfriend’s uptight father, Hugh—keeps the tale fresh. It’s also pretty amazing this is based on a real family, and in the closing credits we get to see footage of the actual Bevin family as well as Paige wrestling in the WWE. 

No doubt about it, this film surprised the heck out of me. I loved it! (108 min.)

—Glen


GREEN BOOK

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre, 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 


GRETA

What’s it rated? R

What’s it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

See Split Screen.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

click to enlarge FAST FRIENDS Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his Night Fury dragon, Toothless, learn there are other dragons like Toothless, in the poignant and worthwhile How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS ANIMATION
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS ANIMATION
  • FAST FRIENDS Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his Night Fury dragon, Toothless, learn there are other dragons like Toothless, in the poignant and worthwhile 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, Fair Oaks, 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


ISN’T IT ROMANTIC

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Matinee

Where’s it showing? Park, Stadium 10

Pick

Todd Struass-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, The Final Girls) directs this fantasy-comedy about Natalie (Rebel Wilson), a woman disenchanted by romance who finds herself living in a romantic comedy. This lightweight but funny rom-com manages to pull off a neat trick: It mocks and celebrates its genre simultaneously.

If you’re looking for a light-as-a-feather farce that allows you to enjoy the rom-com genre while also smugly dismissing it, this is the film for you. (88 min.)

—Glen


THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

click to enlarge LEGO FACIAL STUBBLE?!? Rex Dangervest (Chris Pratt) comes to the rescue after Lego Duplo invaders from space attack, in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ANIMAL LOGIC
  • Photo Courtesy Of Animal Logic
  • LEGO FACIAL STUBBLE?!? Rex Dangervest (Chris Pratt) comes to the rescue after Lego Duplo invaders from space attack, in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.

What’s it rated? PG

What’s it worth? Matinee

Where’s it showing? Galaxy, Park, 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? Don’t bother

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


RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2

click to enlarge WRECK-IT Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly, right) and Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) follow a Wi-Fi router in their arcade to a new adventure, in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • WRECK-IT Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly, right) and Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) follow a Wi-Fi router in their arcade to a new adventure, in Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Sunset Drive-In

Pick

Co-directors Phil Johnson and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia) helm this animated sequel in which Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) follow a wifi router in their home arcade, Litwak’s Family Fun Center, to explore a strange new world: the internet. (112 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood


RUN THE RACE

click to enlarge BROTHERS High school runner David (Evan Hofer, left) and his football-playing brother, Zach Truett (Tanner Stine), must persevere through the death of their mother and the abandonment of their father, in the faith-based film, Run the Race, screening exclusively at Downtown Centre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RESERVE ENTERTAINMENT
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF RESERVE ENTERTAINMENT
  • BROTHERS High school runner David (Evan Hofer, left) and his football-playing brother, Zach Truett (Tanner Stine), must persevere through the death of their mother and the abandonment of their father, in the faith-based film, Run the Race, screening exclusively at Downtown Centre.

What’s it rated? PG

What’s it worth? Matinee (for Christians)

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Chris Dowling directs this faith-based sports drama about brothers Zach (Tanner Stone) and David (Evan Hofer), who are abandoned by their father and grieving the death of their mother in a small Southern town. The film features Tim Tebow as himself.

If you want to bring your Christian teens and adolescents to this film, they’ll find plenty of wisdom bombs and lessons to be learned. The real question is, will this film appeal to non-Christian audiences? No, probably not. The story’s too earnest and corny, and most cynical and jaded teens will be more likely to mock the film than learn from it. (101 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) starts Tuesday, March 12, and 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&A sessions after the screening of their films.”

—Glen


SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

What’s it rated? PG

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman co-direct this animated action-adventure co-written by Phil Lord and co-produced by Christopher Miller (the duo best known for directing The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street). Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) becomes the Spider-Man of his version of reality, then crosses into a parallel universe where he teams with other realities’ Spider-Men and a Spider-Woman to stop a an evil that threatens all realities.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse does for Marvel what Teen Titans Go! To The Movies did for DC earlier this year: It takes these characters places that live action couldn’t possibly allow (I could be eating these words in a year or so). Despite the comparison to a quite sillier film, Spider-Verse is surprisingly just as earnest as it is humorous. No matter how many one-liners, knee-slappers, and instances of breaking the fourth wall there are, the stakes feel real. (117 min.)

—Caleb


THE UPSIDE

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Matinee

Where’s it showing? Stadium 10

Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless, Divergent) directs this American remake of the wonderful 2011 film, Les Intouchables, about Phillip (Bryan Cranston), a wealthy quadriplegic who hires Dell (Kevin Hart), a man with a criminal record, to help him with his day-to-day needs.

Score this as another one of those audience-pleasing films that critics find cliché and cloying. True, it’s not as good as its French progenitor, but as a feel-good story of redemption, it works, and there’s no denying Cranston and Hart’s chemistry. (125 min.) ∆

—Glen


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

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