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Film Listings, 4/4/19 – 4/11/19 

THE AFTERMATH

click to enlarge FORBIDDEN In post-World War II Hamburg, German widower Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård) seduces Rachael (Keira Knightley), the wife of a British colonel, in The Aftermath. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • FORBIDDEN In post-World War II Hamburg, German widower Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård) seduces Rachael (Keira Knightley), the wife of a British colonel, in The Aftermath.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Galaxy, The Palm

New

James Kent directs this post-World War II romance about British Col. Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) and his wife, Rachael (Keira Knightley), who are assigned to Hamburg where they share a house with its German former owner, Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård), and his troubled daughter, Freda (Flora Thiemann). When the colonel is called away, Rachael's distrust of Stephen melts away, leading to betrayal. (108 min.)

—Glen Starkey

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.

I remember as a 7-year-old what a momentous occasion this was, and some of the footage herein was material I saw broadcast live on TV, but what's really amazing is the restored film footage captured by NASA cameramen. And yeah, they were mostly men ... women were few and far between, though we see astronauts' wives and kids, not to mention lots of bystanders camped out to watch the launch live. For '60s fashion fans, the film is a cornucopia of mock turtlenecks under V-neck sweaters, floral frocks, and crazy hairdos.

The film opens hours before countdown, and we see the astronauts being fitted in their suits, technicians working on a leaking valve, and monitors lined with men—and a couple women—keeping track of the various systems. Putting a man on the moon was a monumental undertaking, which First Man (2018), starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, did a terrific job of fictionalizing. In Apollo 11, we're watching the real thing, and it's just as gripping.

Director Miller allows the archival footage and newscaster narration to tell the story, but when the voiceover alludes to the psychological baggage each astronaut takes into a dangerous space mission with him, we see photos and home movies of their families and test flights that led up to penetrating space—all that came before and all that could be lost.

The documentary reminds viewers that the Vietnam War was raging and the Chappaquiddick incident occurred during the mission—two things competing for news time in an era of three networks. We were in the midst of the Cold War, and there's no overstating the sense of pride that flooded the nation. The display of elation from both the NASA workers and the throngs of onlookers, for instance a J.C. Penney parking lot full of campers watching the launch and touchdown, is astounding. It's also fun to see some of the celebrities who attended the launch, such as Johnny Carson and George C. Scott.

President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger are both on the U.S.S. Hornet when the astronauts are recovered from the ocean. It was a big deal, and Apollo 11 delivers a gripping chronicle of this incredible American achievement.

It's rated G, but I should warn parents that young children may find the film boring. We had a loud 4-year-old behind us who wouldn't be quiet and thought the best part of the film was anytime there was a countdown so he could show off his counting skills. I know you want your kids to see this, and they should, but wait for the DVD and show it to them at home when you can answer their questions without having to annoy an entire theater. This is too good to be distracted from. (93 min.)

—Glen

THE BEACH BUM

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

Writer-director Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers) helms this middling comedy about Moondog (Matthew McConaughey), a stoner and writer who marches to the beat of his own drummer. The film also stars Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Zac Efron, and Jonah Hill.

Though director Korine has a singular style, it can't overcome the disjointed story and humor that relies more on shock value. Plus, its story of unearned success becomes tedious and borderline infuriating. On the other hand, this is McConaughey's most typecast role ever as a washed-up stoner, who keeps succeeding in spite of himself. (95 min.)

—Glen

THE BEST OF ENEMIES

click to enlarge FIERCE Taraji P. Henson stars as civil rights activist Ann Atwater, who squares off against the local leader of the KKK in her fight for school integration in 1971 Durham, South Carolina, in The Best of Enemies. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ASTUTE FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Astute Films
  • FIERCE Taraji P. Henson stars as civil rights activist Ann Atwater, who squares off against the local leader of the KKK in her fight for school integration in 1971 Durham, South Carolina, in The Best of Enemies.

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

New

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, South Carolina. (95 min.)

—Glen

CAPTAIN MARVEL

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.

The plot is a bit more complicated than what's above. The story opens when Vers, as Carol is known in the Kree capital planet of Hala, is training to become a Kree warrior. Her problem, as her training partner and team leader Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) tells her, is she can't control her emotions when she's in battle. Vers is a bit of hot mess. Women, right?

She suffers from nightmares involving another woman (Annette Bening), and she doesn't remember her past. Much of the film moves back and forth in time as Carol slowly pieces together her life before she became a Kree fighter and member of Starforce, which is at war with the Skrulls, shape-shifting aliens who can disguise themselves as anyone they come in contact with.

I don't want to give too much of the inventive plot away. Part of the film's fun is that viewers are as much in the dark about Carol's past and what's happening between the Kree and the Skrulls as she is.

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

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

See Split Screen.

FIVE FEET APART

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Park, 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

GLORIA BELL

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Galaxy, The Palm

Pick

Co-writer/director Sebastián Lelio (Disobedience, A Fantastic Woman) helms this dramedy-romance about 50-something free spirit Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore), who's looking for love in LA nightclubs.

Divorcée Gloria's days are filled at a straight-lace, boring office, but at night, she's out on the dance floor. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro) and romance blooms, but the unexpected affair also complicates both of their lives, which are entangled with children and ex-spouses. It's an engaging slice of life.

The film is an English-language remake of the director's own 2013 Chilean-Spanish film, Gloria, starring Paulina García. While this new version follows the original almost scene-by-scene, it's new and wonderful thanks to an irresistible and amazing performance by Moore, who's incredible in the role. Her performance alone makes the film worth watching. (102 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? Galaxy, 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

PET SEMATARY

click to enlarge SOMETHING'S IN THE WOODS A new adaptation of Pet Sematary, the Stephen King novel about a supernatural burial ground, explores raising the dead. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALPHAVILLE FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Alphaville Films
  • SOMETHING'S IN THE WOODS A new adaptation of Pet Sematary, the Stephen King novel about a supernatural burial ground, explores raising the dead.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Holidays, Starry Eyes, Absence) co-direct this new adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a supernatural burial ground. When Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife, Rachel (Amy Seimetz), move from Boston to rural Maine with their two children, they soon discover something weird is going on in the forest near their home. (101 min.)

—Glen

SHAZAM!

click to enlarge A NEW HERO Shazam! is the origin story about 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson, who becomes the DC superhero, Shazam (Zachary Levi). - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. AND DC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros. And Dc Entertainment
  • A NEW HERO Shazam! is the origin story about 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson, who becomes the DC superhero, Shazam (Zachary Levi).

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) directs this action-adventure comedy origin story about 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who becomes the DC superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). (132 min.)

—Glen

US

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

On the surface, this is an effective psychological horror thriller, but look a little deeper and Peele has again made an astute sociopolitical commentary on America's haves and the have-nots. More on that later.

This is also an homage to the mid-'80s. The film opens with a commercial for Hands Across America, an actual fundraising effort in 1986 that raised money for homelessness by enlisting 6 million people to join hands across the continental United States. As the camera slowly moves closer to the tube TV screen, we see on a nearby shelf a VHS copy of C.H.U.D., the 1984 B-movie horror film about New Yorkers being snatched by something living in the tunnel system. It'd subtle foreshadowing for what's to come and the bottom-dwelling "tethered," as the doppelgängers are called.

Watching the TV is young Adelaide (Madison Curry), who we later see at the Santa Cruz boardwalk with her squabbling parents. She wanders off to the beach and then into a mirrored funhouse, where she encounters her doppelgänger. Traumatized, she's unable to speak.

Flash forward to the present, and Adelaide, now married with two kids, is traveling with her family to their Santa Cruz vacation home, where they'll meet their somewhat richer friends the Tylers: mother Kitty (Elizabeth Moss), father Josh (Tim Heidecker), and twin girls Becca and Lindsey (Cali and Noelle Sheldon).

Long story short, they're to meet at the beach, but Adelaide, recalling the trauma of her youth, is apprehensive. She reluctantly goes, and once there, her son Jason wanders off. She freaks out, and after he's found and they return to their vacation home, Adelaide confesses to her husband what happened to her as a child.

He's incredulous ... until the family's doppelgängers show up outside the house, all dressed in prison-like red jumpsuits and wielding golden scissors. They stand silent, holding hands (across America?) and staring at the house before the action starts and they invade the Wilsons' house.

There's lots of creep factor, mildly gory but un-gratuitous violence, and unrelenting tension. What are you people, the doppelgängers are asked? "We're Americans," Adelaide's double, Red, replies in a croaking voice. Though not truly terrifying, the film works as a horror thriller, but it's got more important things on its mind than simply shocking viewers.

The U.S.'s duality, divisive politics, income disparities, and dichotomous class, race, and gender dynamics are addressed here through the analogy between the surface dwelling haves and the below dwelling have-nots. It's a bit of a call back to the "sunken place" from Get Out.

When the attacks start, we see bodies littering the streets as their "others" come to claim their doubles' place in the prosperous above ground world. What's interesting is that the Wilsons are up to the challenge and give as good as they get, battling their doubles with ferocity. At one point as they're escaping from their friends' vacation house, they argue over who should get to drive based on how many kills they've made. It's wry, dark humor, but the larger point is that Adelaide, Gabe, Zora, and Jason are capable of violence. In other words, they're just like their doubles except they were born into prosperity while their doubles weren't.

The ending—which I don't want to ruin for you—drives that point home again. The Wilsons are no better than their doubles; they're just luckier for their opportunities. Remember Childish Gambino's surprisingly deep video for "This Is America"? Peele's new film delivers the same sort of humor-laced gut punch.

We're in a bit of a renaissance when it comes to art depicting American race and class inequities. From Get Out to Spike Lee's amazing BlacKkKlansman, we're seeing a calling out of American's original sin, which continues to haunt and demand a reckoning.

"They're us," the Wilsons say about their own tormentors. They are, indeed. (116 min.)

—Glen

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? Downtown Centre, 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

WOMAN AT WAR

click to enlarge WAR SONG An environmental activist (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) battles the Icelandic aluminum industry, in Woman at War. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Magnolia Pictures
  • WAR SONG An environmental activist (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) battles the Icelandic aluminum industry, in Woman at War.

What's it rated? NR

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.)

—Caleb

WONDER PARK

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

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.

Colorful and distracting, Wonder Park will capture your kindergarten's attention for its run time, but you'll be checking your watch and wondering why they couldn't afford writers to craft an actual story. (85 min.) Δ

—Glen

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

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