Pin It
Favorite

Film Listings, 4/11/19 – 4/18/19 

Editor's note: Films are subject to change on Wednesday, April 17. Please check with local theaters for films and show times.

APOLLO 11

What's it rated? G

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) directs this documentary about the historic 1969 mission to land on the moon. Using archival footage, you'll witness Cmdr. Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their amazing eight-day mission to the moon and back. (93 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE BEST OF ENEMIES

click to enlarge GETTING TO KNOW YOU Klan leader C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell, left) and civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson, right) learn to respect one another when they participate in a community meeting about school integration led by Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay, center), in The Best of Enemies. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ASTUTE FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Astute Films
  • GETTING TO KNOW YOU Klan leader C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell, left) and civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson, right) learn to respect one another when they participate in a community meeting about school integration led by Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay, center), in The Best of Enemies.

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

Pick

Writer-director Robin Bissell adapts Osha Gray Davidson's biographical book about civil rights activist Ann Atwater's (Taraji P. Henson) fight with KKK leader C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell) over school integration in 1971 Durham, North Carolina. The two are enlisted to participate in a multi-racial charrette, a meeting in which all stakeholders try to resolve conflicts and map solutions, to decide on integration of local public schools—something the black community demands but that many in the white community vehemently oppose.

The film's big message is that ignorance breeds distrust, and ignorance can't be overcome by segregation and the lack of interaction it causes. Charrette leader Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay) knows this, which is why he elects Atwater and Ellis co-chairs, forcing them to sit together and talk. Likewise, during lunch breaks, Riddick creates assigned seating in the cafeteria, interspersing black and white participants and telling them they're not to talk about the focus of the charrette during lunch. Instead, they simply need to get to know one another.

This emotionally overwrought tearjerker is undeniably appealing, but it's also a bit too easy, and it's so busy making us sympathize with KKK leader Ellis that you almost forget the black community is the aggrieved party here. One night, we witness Ellis and his two closest Klan stooges—Floyd Kelly (Wes Bentley) and Wiley Yates (Nicholas Logan)—shoot out the windows of the home of a white woman dating a black man; the next day, we see him visiting his developmentally disabled adult son, Larry (Kevin Iannucci). Hey look, he has a heart!

We discover that Ellis, poor and uneducated, found a home in the Klan. It made him feel like he was a part of something bigger, that he had a purpose. That racists prey on the ignorant and insecure is no secret, but their irrational hatred of blacks and Jews is nearly whitewashed over in service to this feel-good story.

There are enough side plots to keep the film interesting. One white liberal member of the charrette is local hardware store owner Lee Trombley (John Gallagher Jr.), who has an all-black staff. His progressive thinking is anathema to Ellis, but when Ellis learns Trombley is a Vietnam War vet and that his black store manager served with him, he softens his stance.

Both Rockwell and Henson are terrific in their roles. If you saw Rockwell as the racist deputy Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), you know how subtly he can balance racism and humanism. Henson plays Atwater with a maternal fierceness. She won't stand for injustice. This is based on a true story, and during the closing credits we even get archival footage of the principal players talking about their experiences in the charrette and the lifelong friendship that followed.

Yes, the story's whitewashed and aimed at a white liberal audience, so some cynical reviewers are panning the film for being too obvious, but ignore them. This is an entertaining story and a reminder that hatred can be reversed. (95 min.)

—Glen

BREAKTHROUGH

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Starts April 17 at Bay, Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, and Stadium 10

New

Roxann Dawson directs this biographical drama about Guatemalan teenager John Smith (Marcel Ruiz), who in early 2015, while playing with friends, fell through the ice on Lake St. Louis, drowned, and was rescued by first responder Tommy Shine (Mike Colter), and CPR was performed for 27 minutes. On the brink of death and in a coma, John's religiously devout parents, Joyce (Chrissy Metz) and Brian (Josh Lucas), along with local pastor Jason Noble (Topher Grace), pray for the boy's recovery. (116 min.)

—Glen

CAPTAIN MARVEL

click to enlarge STARFORCE Vers (Brie Larson, center) struggles to recall her past as she's being trained as a Kree fighter to battle Skrulls, a shape-shifting alien race. - PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARVEL STUDIOS
  • Photos Courtesy Of Marvel Studios
  • STARFORCE Vers (Brie Larson, center) struggles to recall her past as she's being trained as a Kree fighter to battle Skrulls, a shape-shifting alien race.

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Co-writers and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind) helm this new installation in the Marvel Universe. In 1995, former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes the superhero Captain Marvel, joining an intergalactic cohort called Starforce before returning home to discover Earth is caught in a war between two alien species.

Overall, it's an entertaining origin story of Captain Marvel as well as a rousing feminist saga as Carol discovers who she is and what she's capable of. With lots of great action sequences, solid special effects, and a classic tee-up for future sequels, Captain Marvel manages to entertain and inspire without resorting to didactic lecture, but viewers will certainly be reminded of the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." (124 min.)

—Glen

DUMBO

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Bay (ends April 16), Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10, Sunset Drive-in

Pick

This remake of the Disney animated film centers on a struggling circus led by Max Medici (Danny DeVito), who hires former circus star but now wounded war veteran Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) to take care of Dumbo, a small elephant with giant ears that make it a laughingstock. Holt's children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), discover little Dumbo can fly, and soon ruthless entrepreneur V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) swoops in to make Dumbo a star with the help of French trapeze artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green).

Darn you, Dumbo, trying to tug on my heartstrings when all I want to do is nitpick about your imperfections (the movie's, not the elephant's!). It's hard to hold back tears when the song "Baby Mine" starts playing, as baby Dumbo extends his trunk to reach the barred window of his mother's cage. The separation of the titular elephant and his mother is at the heart of both the 1941 animated original and this live-action remake from appropriate director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, Alice in Wonderland).

Unlike the original, however, this story centers on brand-new human characters rather than anthropomorphized animals. So don't expect to see anything on all fours talking, contrary to other recent Disney remakes like The Jungle Book and the upcoming Lion King. Timothy Q. Mouse still makes a fun cameo appearance, but his role as Dumbo's friend and protector gets transferred over to two human children, Milly and her brother, Joe. The siblings try to convince their father, Holt, that Dumbo has the ability to fly.

Of course, he scoffs at the fantastical notion, but can we really blame him? He is a dad in a Disney movie, after all. And as every good Disney parent knows, the first rule of parenting is: Never believe your children, especially when it comes to the supernatural. Second rule: Apologize to them later for not believing after the big "I told you so" moment.

Hiring one of the screenwriters behind three consecutive Transformers movies, Ehren Kruger, to adapt a cartoon about a baby elephant was a bold move. I'd love to have seen this CGI version of Dumbo take down some Decepticons. It's a really mixed bag, but I still feel like it's worth seeing on the big screen. There's enough visual majesty to warrant a theater viewing, despite a thin screenplay.

I'll probably check out the Blu-ray, too, when it comes out, just in case there's a deleted scene of Dumbo transforming into a Fiat convertible before duking it out with Megatron and Starscream. Move over Optimus Prime, there's an elephant in the room, and his name is Dumbo. (112 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

FIVE FEET APART

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

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.

Teens may enjoy this YA romance, but between the sick-teens-in-love clichés and mawkish tone, it does nothing to raise the subgenre. Richardson deserves praise for gamely selling this melodramatic pabulum, but most viewers will leave the theater with a shrug and a "meh." (116 min.)

—Glen

HELLBOY

click to enlarge REBOOT Well-meaning half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) battles an undead sorceress bent on destroying the world, in Hellboy, a new reboot of the two-film franchise. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Summit Entertainment
  • REBOOT Well-meaning half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) battles an undead sorceress bent on destroying the world, in Hellboy, a new reboot of the two-film franchise.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday) directs this R-rated franchise reboot based on Mike Mignola's graphic novels about well-meaning half-demon, Hellboy (David Harbour), who this time around battles an undead sorceress (Milla Jovovich) bent on destroying the world. This third live-action Hellboy film feature Mignola and Andrew Cosby writing the script. The first two films—Hellboy (2004; PG-13) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008; PG-13)—featured Guillermo del Toro as writer-director, who wasn't offered full creative control on this new film so he didn't participate, and Ron Perlman as Hellboy, who refused to come back without del Toro. (120 min.)

—Glen

LITTLE

click to enlarge NOT BIG When ruthless tech mogul Jordan Saunders is transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin), she has to find a way to revert to adulthood, in Little, in this reversal of the plot of Tom Hanks' Big. - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Universal Pictures
  • NOT BIG When ruthless tech mogul Jordan Saunders is transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin), she has to find a way to revert to adulthood, in Little, in this reversal of the plot of Tom Hanks' Big.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Co-writer/director Tina Gordon Chism (Peeples) helms this story about ruthless tech mogul Jordan Saunders (Regina Hall), who under tremendous life pressures is magically transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin). With the help of her dedicated assistant, April (Issa Rae), Jordan hopes to find a way to revert back. (109 min.)

—Glen

MISSING LINK

click to enlarge PEEKABOO Zach Galifianakis voices Mr. Link, a mythical creature that two explorers search for, in Missing Link. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LAIKA ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Laika Entertainment
  • PEEKABOO Zach Galifianakis voices Mr. Link, a mythical creature that two explorers search for, in Missing Link.

What's it rated? PG

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

New

Writer-director Chris Butler (ParaNorman) helms this stop-motion animated adventure about Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), who heads to the Pacific Northwest with free-spirited adventurer Adelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana), in search of the legendary creature, Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). (95 min.)

—Glen

THE MUSTANG

click to enlarge EQUINE THERAPY Violent convict Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is given a shot at rehabilitation via a therapy program involving wild mustangs, in The Mustang, based on an actual rehabilitation program in Carson City, Nevada. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CANAL+
  • Photo Courtesy Of Canal+
  • EQUINE THERAPY Violent convict Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is given a shot at rehabilitation via a therapy program involving wild mustangs, in The Mustang, based on an actual rehabilitation program in Carson City, Nevada.

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Galaxy, The Palm

New/Pick

Co-writer/director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre helms this drama about violent convict Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts), who's given a shot at rehabilitation via a therapy program involving wild mustangs.

Twelve years ago, Roman left his domestic partner brain damaged in an attack. He's well aware of his shortcomings and doesn't believe he's fit for reintegration into society, but that changes when he's placed in a rehabilitation program run by Myles (Bruce Dern), a rancher who assigns prisoners a specific wild mustang to train.

Predictably, things don't go well initially, but soon, another inmate with a way with horses, Henry (Jason Mitchell ), helps Roman, who learns as much from his horse as the horse learns from him.

There are some unexpected twists in turns in this well-worn redemption genre, and terrific performances by Schoenaerts and Dern breathe fresh life into it. It also features and ending you won't see coming and won't soon forget. (96 min.)

—Glen

PET SEMATARY

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rent it

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

See Split Screen.

THE PUBLIC

click to enlarge DISOBEY Writer-director-actor Emilio Estevez helms The Public, a drama about homeless people who take over the Cincinnati public library, screening exclusively at The Palm. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HAMMERSTONE STUDIOS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Hammerstone Studios
  • DISOBEY Writer-director-actor Emilio Estevez helms The Public, a drama about homeless people who take over the Cincinnati public library, screening exclusively at The Palm.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Writer-director-actor Emilio Estevez (The Way, Bobby) helms this drama about homeless people who take over the Cincinnati public library in an act of civil disobedience as they seek shelter from the cold, leading to a police standoff. The film also stars Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, and Gabrielle Union. (119 min.)

—Glen

SHAZAM!

click to enlarge SUPER Newly minted DC superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi, right) tests out his new powers with his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), in Shazam! - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. AND DC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros. And DC Entertainment
  • SUPER Newly minted DC superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi, right) tests out his new powers with his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), in Shazam!

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Horror director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) successfully steps out of his comfort zone to helm this superhero fantasy about 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is chosen to inherit magical powers from a dying wizard (Djimon Hounsou). All Batson needs to do is say the magic wordthe wizard's name, Shazam!to transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) with super strength, flight, and other abilities.

Still a kid at heart, the heroor "champion" as the wizard refers to himrevels in his new powers, testing them out with his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), the first person Batson trusts with his secret. Meanwhile, the insidious Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), a mad scientist who dedicated his life to finding the original Shazam, seeks to hunt down Batson in order to extract his powers and adopt them himself.

From the trailers, the film looks like Deadpool for kids, but after seeing the final product, I think a more appropriate description would be a cross between Harry Potter and Big for superhero fans. The film opens with an origin for Sivana, cleverly devised to mirror Batson's origin later; he's chosen by the same dying wizard as a child decades before. Unfortunately, Sivana fails the wizard's test when he is tempted by "the Seven Deadly Sins." The sins are literally represented as physical demonic monsters that play an intricateand quite terrifyingrole in Sivana's destiny.

Sivana is devastated by the wizard's rejection, who tells him he'll never be worthy enough to inherit his powers. I won't spoil all the details, but the following scene is quite brutal for a kids' movie and includes the darkest use of Bing Crosby's "Do You Hear What I Hear?" I've ever seen put on film. I'm not always a fan of cheerful music juxtaposed with dark material for the sake of irony, but this one works so perfectly. The lyrics proclaiming the birth of the messiah really set the stage for Sivana's future role as an antichrist figure.

It's a lot to take in, but wow. Believe the hype! The film's universal acclaim since its release is well-deserved. Like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, Shazam! builds its own world and mythology while still retaining the features of a shared universe (there are plenty of references to other DC heroes throughout the film to make that point clear). Overall, Shazam! works on so many levels: an intriguing fantasy, a moving family drama, and a brilliant comedy. Drop whatever you're doing and go see it rightShazam! (132 min.)

—Caleb

UNPLANNED

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price (if you're pro-life); Don't bother (if you're pro-choice)

Where's it showing? Park, Stadium 10

Co-directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon steer this drama based on the memoir of the same name. A life-changing experience turns Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher), the youngest clinic director in the history of Planned Parenthood, into an anti-abortion activist.

A study in polemicist filmmaking, Unplanned will do little to persuade people on either side of this controversial issue. (110 min.)

—Caleb

US

click to enlarge HANDS ACROSS AMERICA Evil doppelgängers menace a family in writer-director Jordan Peele's new film Us, but like his debut Get Out, this film has more on its mind than mere horror. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MONKEYPAW PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Monkeypaw Productions
  • HANDS ACROSS AMERICA Evil doppelgängers menace a family in writer-director Jordan Peele's new film Us, but like his debut Get Out, this film has more on its mind than mere horror.

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Writer-director Jordan Peele (Get Out) helms this new horror thriller about a family—father Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke), mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and son Jason (Evan Alex)—terrorized by evil doppelgängers. (116 min.)

—Glen

WOMAN AT WAR

What's it rated? Not rated

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Benedikt Erlingsson directs, co-writes, and co-produces this comedic thriller about an environmental activist (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) crusading against the Icelandic aluminum industry. But her life changes when her long-forgotten application to adopt an orphan child from Ukraine finally gets approved.

The film uses a light touch to explore the issues of environmentalism—eco-terrorism never seemed so droll—but it will leave an impact. Plus, it's a lot more fun to watch than An Inconvenient Truth! (in Icelandic, English, Ukrainian, and Spanish; 101 min.) Δ

—Caleb

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

Tags:

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Trending in the Alternative Press

Search, Find, Enjoy

Submit an event

Trending Now

© 2019 New Times San Luis Obispo
Powered by Foundation