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Film Listings, 6/7/18 – 6/14/18 

ACTION POINT

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Stadium 10, Galaxy

Johnny Knoxville stars as D.C., the crackpot owner of a low-rent, out-of-control amusement park where the rides are designed with minimum safety for maximum fun. Just as D.C.'s estranged teenage daughter Boogie comes to visit, a corporate mega-park opens nearby and jeopardizes the future of Action Point. To save his beloved theme park and his relationship with his daughter, D.C. and his loony crew of misfits risk everything to pull out all the stops. (85 min.)

—Paramount Pictures

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth Matinee

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

Pick

Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War and Captain America: The Winter Soldier) direct this new Avengers installment, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The whole freaking universe is at stake, people, so every single character from the Marvel pantheon must join forces to fight the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) before he wipes out half of everything.

Of course, including every single character can get pretty chaotic and leave for a lot of abbreviated storylines, and then there's the matter of excessiveness. Even comic book action adventure stories offer moments of rest and respite, but they come few and far between in this bombastic and overblown tale. It's everything you want in a comic book movie, but turned up to 11. Some will like that, others won't.

The film opens with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) overcome by Thanos, then it hands off to Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who enlists Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to save the universe. Banner has to round up Steve Rogers/Capt. America (Chris Evans). When they're attacked by Thanos' minions, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has to show up and rescue them. Meanwhile the Guardians of the Galaxy (Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Pratt) have to rescue Thor from outer space death. Various superheroes are trying to protect various "infinity stones" that Thanos is trying to acquire so he can kill off half the universe with a literal snap of his fingers. And soon James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Bucky Barnes/White Wolf (Sebastian Stan) all convene at T'Challa/Black Panther's (Chadwick Boseman) hidden kingdom of Wakanda for a final showdown with Thanos. It's exhausting! It's also pretty exhilarating! Its ending, however, is bullshit!

I suspect everyone who's a Marvel fan has already added to the film's $250 million opening weekend, but if you haven't and you plan on going, stop reading here because I'm going to spoil the ending right now: Thanos wins. That's right. He snaps his fingers and half the population of the universe dies, disintegrating into piles dust. Not just a bunch of randos, but our heroes too! Peter Parker, dead! Dr. Strange, dead! Most of the Guardians of the Galaxy, dead! Even Black Panther, dead! That's not how superhero movies are supposed to end, right?

This ending is lame. Most of these actors have multi-film contracts. Are we to assume, for instance, that the upcoming Guardians and Black Panther films—already in the works—are all going to be prequels? Plus there's an Avengers: Infinity War—Part II listed as in "post-production" on imdb.com with the killed-off characters listed in the cast. No, there's going to be some dumb trick that will somehow resurrect these characters, and that pisses me off, which is why I won't give this film full price. Don't play with me, Marvel! I'm not your toy! (149 min.)

—Glen Starkey

BOOK CLUB

click to enlarge CHANGES A group of middle-aged ladies navigate their own romantic relationships while reading 50 Shades of Grey in Book Club. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Pictures
  • CHANGES A group of middle-aged ladies navigate their own romantic relationships while reading 50 Shades of Grey in Book Club.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

Diane (Diane Keaton) is recently widowed after 40 years of marriage. Vivian (Jane Fonda) enjoys her men with no strings attached. Sharon (Candice Bergen) is still working through a decades-old divorce. Carol's (Mary Steenburgen) marriage is in a slump after 35 years. Four lifelong friends' lives are turned upside down to hilarious ends when their book club tackles the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey. From discovering new romance to rekindling old flames, they inspire each other to make their next chapter the best chapter. (104 min.)

—Paramount Pictures

BREAKING IN

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

Gabrielle Union stars as a woman who will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security. No trap, no trick, and especially no man inside can match a mother with a mission when she is determined on Breaking In. (88 min.)

—Universal Pictures

DEADPOOL 2

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

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

Pick

David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) directs this sequel about irreverent former mercenary-turned-mutant superhero Wade "Deadpool" Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who this time around convenes a team of fellow mutants to protect a supernaturally-gifted young boy, Russell "Firefist" Collins (Julian Dennison), from the vengeful, time-traveling mutant Cable (Josh Brolin).

Deadpool 2 makes fun of itself, Superman, the X-Men, the Marvel Universe, Marvel's competitor DC Comics, Batman—you name it. No one and nothing is safe from skewering. Heck, even Barbra Streisand and Yentl get it right in the kisser. Ka-pow! I wouldn't have it any other way. (119 min.)

—Glen Starkey

FIRST REFORMED

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

From writer/director Paul Schrader (Blue Collar, Hardcore), First Reformed stars Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Training Day, Boyhood) as Reverend Ernst Toller, a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reformed church in upstate New York. Toller's church, which was once a stop on the Underground Railroad, functions mainly as a tourist attraction, complete with guided tours and a gift shop. The church's Sunday services cater to a fading congregation, miniscule compared to the crowds that flock to its parent church, Abundant Life, led by Toller's friend and colleague Pastor Jeffers (Cedric Kyles).

But when a pregnant churchgoer, Mary (Amanda Seyfried), asks Toller to counsel her husband Michael (Philip Ettinger), a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into a spiritual re-evaluation of everything he has ever believed about God's forgiveness and the atonement necessary to receive it.

If you go into First Reformed knowing it's from Schrader, the parallels to Taxi Driver (only the first of Schrader's collaborations with Martin Scorsese, before Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead) are hard to miss. The protagonists of both films are military veterans with troubled psyches who use a diary to document their increasingly unstable convictions. Hawke's Toller, just like DeNiro's Bickle, becomes possessed by a newfound purpose in life, a dark path dominated by aspirations of martyrdom. Aside from the story similarities, the film is full of visual callbacks to Taxi Driver as well. One of my favorites is a slow zoom into a glass of whisky as Toller adds some Pepto-Bismol, a clear homage to Bickle dropping the Alka-Seltzer into his water.

Parallels to Taxi Driver aside, First Reformed is absolutely its own thing and probably the most original psychodrama you're likely to see all year. It is a spiritual film, but not in the sense that it's about a church, or even Toller's inner demons. I'm talking about the other kind of spiritual. You know? 2001: A Space Odyssey, that kind of spiritual. There's even a stargate sequence of sorts that begins with Toller and Mary levitating together (that's not a spoiler, it's in the trailer). Hawke's performance as Toller is destined to gain him his fifth Academy Award nomination, and Seyfried is just as deserving. The fact that Schrader, with a career spanning four decades, has never been nominated for a single Oscar is ludicrous, and a zillion times more so if he doesn't get one for this. (113 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

HEREDITARY

What's it rated? R

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

New

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell. (127 min.)

—A24

HOTEL ARTEMIS

click to enlarge UNDERGROUND A nurse (Jodie Foster, right) runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals in Hotel Artemis. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GLOBAL ROAD ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Global Road Entertainment
  • UNDERGROUND A nurse (Jodie Foster, right) runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals in Hotel Artemis.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Hotel Artemis is an original, high-octane action-thriller starring Jodie Foster as The Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only hospital for criminals. Jodie Foster is joined by an all-star cast that includes Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, and Dave Bautista. (97 min.)

—Global Road Entertainment

LIFE OF THE PARTY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Rental

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

From writer/director Ben Falcone (Tammy, The Boss) and his co-writer/wife Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters, Bridesmaids) comes the summer comedy Life of the Party. When her husband, Dan (Matt Walsh, Brigsby Bear, Elf) suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into reset by going back to college ... landing in the same class and school as her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordan, I Am Sam) who's not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock—embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.

I've enjoyed Melissa McCarthy's work ever since she was in Gilmore Girls. That said, I didn't have super high hopes going into The Life of the Party. McCarthy's films have become a bit stale, not bad, but not great, and always leaning heavily on a particular brand of over the top, crude comedy. Don't get me wrong; I loved it in Bridesmaids, but a handful of films later it's started to get a bit stale.

The premise isn't terribly original. After her husband leaves her for another woman, Deanna, who dropped out of college when she got pregnant with their daughter, Maddie, decides to back to school to finally finish her degree ... at the same college her daughter is attending! Shenanigans ensue! Insert awkward mother-daughter walks of shame and 80s themed college parties with way too many shots of cheap tequila. This time around with a PG-13 rating, McCarthy, leaned on a sweeter, awkward brand of mom humor complete with dorky puff paint adorned sweaters and a woke sense of feminism. It was a refreshing change of pace.

Due to the PG-13 rating, you won't actually see any scenes of McCarthy banging the much younger Jack (Luke Benward, Field of Lost Shoes) Maddie's boyfriend Tyler's (Jimmy O. Yang, Patriot's Day) BFF. They do play that May-December relationship as Jack being in love with Deanna, rather than some weird MILF fetish, which is kind of sweet, I think?

Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) is hilarious as Deanna's ultra supportive smack-talking bestie who's always sneaking off to have sex with her husband in public places. Julie Bowen as the realtor, Marcie, who steals Deanna's husband, just comes off as a mean version of her type A mom character from Modern Family. Chris Parnell (Anchorman) is charming as Deanna's pun-cracking archaeology professor. Leonar (Heidi Gardner, Saturday Night Live) is perfect as Deanna's super creepy and weird roomie with an aversion to sunlight. Gillian Jacobs (Don't Think Twice) is Maddie's slightly older sorority sister who was stuck in a comma for eight years and is a minor celebrity on Twitter because of it. She's the first to take a shine to Deanna when they bond over a shared hatred of the mean girl in archaeology class. Gordan as Deanna's daughter is utterly bland and forgettable. McCarthy's character could have had no daughter and simply had a midlife crisis and chosen to go back to college and the film would have been about as funny for all the impact Gordan had on the story.

This film isn't Bridesmaids level great, nor is it worth spending $15 at the movie theater, but had I not already seen it I would perk up a little bit when it came to my local Redbox. (105 min.)

—Ryah Cooley

OCEAN'S 8

click to enlarge THE BIG NIGHT In On Chesil Beach, a young couple about to be married deals with the pressure leading up to their wedding night. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BLEECKER STREET
  • Photo Courtesy Of Bleecker Street
  • THE BIG NIGHT In On Chesil Beach, a young couple about to be married deals with the pressure leading up to their wedding night.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Upon her release from prison, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), the estranged sister of legendary conman Danny Ocean, puts together a team of unstoppable crooks to pull of the heist of the century. Their goal is New York City's annual Met Gala and a necklace worth more than $150 million. (110 min.)

—Warner Bros. Pictures

ON CHESIL BEACH

click to enlarge GIRL SQUAD Sandra Bullock (left) stars as Debbie, estranged sister of conman Dannie Ocean, leading a team of female criminals trying to steal a necklace worth more than $150 million, in Ocean's 8. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros. Pictures
  • GIRL SQUAD Sandra Bullock (left) stars as Debbie, estranged sister of conman Dannie Ocean, leading a team of female criminals trying to steal a necklace worth more than $150 million, in Ocean's 8.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel, the drama centers on a young couple of drastically different backgrounds in the summer of 1962. Following the pair through their idyllic courtship, the film explores sex and the societal pressure that can accompany physical intimacy, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson, and Samuel West. (110 min.)

—Bleecker Street

OVERBOARD

What's it rated?PG-13

What's it worth? Rental

Where's it showing? Stadium 10, Park

Director Rob Greenberg, best known for his television work (How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs), steers this role reversing remake/re-imagining of 1987's Overboard. After falling off his luxury yacht while partying too hard, wealthy playboy Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez, How to Be a Latin Lover) wakes up on the Oregon coast with amnesia. Upon recognizing his face on the news, Kate (Anna Faris, Mom), a single mother and carpet cleaner who was mistreated and unjustly fired by Leo, hatches a scheme—convince the amnesiac he's her husband.

Luckily for Kate, the only person searching for the missing heir is his sister, Magdalena (Cecilia Suarez). But she devises a plan of her own after finding him at the hospital. "Is this your brother?" One of the doctors asks her. "No, I've never seen this man before in my life." She replies and quickly leaves without Leo seeing her. With her brother out of the way, Magdalena is next in line to inherit their deathbed-ridden father's company.

With the rest of his family under the assumption he was eaten by sharks (yep), Leo is free for Kate to take. And she does. Leo knows right off the bat, as Goldie Hawn's character did in the original, that something isn't right. But without a single memory to turn to, Leo is stuck believing Kate's lie, which is backed up by fake documents and her knowledge of a Speedy Gonzales tattoo on his butt.

It took me a little while to get on board (get it?) with this Overboard. I know you're supposed to hate Leo in the beginning, but I found his obnoxiousness overbearing at times (he's a womanizing drunkard as opposed to Hawn's snobby socialite). But once that finally settles down, and Leo becomes more "accustomed" to his new, humble surroundings, the film gets funnier.

The hardest thing for Leo to believe at first, besides having to work for a living, is that he's a father. While the predictable, budding romance between Leo and Kate is fun, the real heart of this story lies with the kids. No matter how ludicrous the circumstances are, he slowly becomes the closest thing to a father figure Kate's three daughters have ever known. And as sappy and improbable as it is, the bond he forms with them won me over. There's one scene near the end that involves a bicycle (that's all I'll say) where I was close to crying. I kid you not; this moment has just as much, if not more, weight to it than anything in Avengers: Infinity War. Then again, the last five minutes of that are funnier than this entire film, so it's all relative. (112 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

RBG

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

RBG is a must-see documentary chronicling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's improbable life and career, superbly highlighting her heroic litigation in the 1970s to overturn laws that discriminated by gender, her tenure on the Supreme Court that's been defined by her scathing dissents, and the ways in which she's inspired a new generation of women, becoming a cultural phenomenon at the ripe age of 85.

Beyond those highlights, RBG offers a poignant portrayal of Ginsburg as a person, her reserved and steely yet sweet temperament, and her genuinely beautiful marriage. Filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen really capture Ginsburg's humanity through interviews with her, her friends, and family members, which add a valuable layer of depth to the documentary.

Ginsburg, a Brooklyn native, entered Harvard Law School in 1956 as one of nine women in a class of 500. She juggled her coursework with caring for both her baby and her husband, who had fallen ill with cancer (but ultimately survived). After graduating, she struggled to find law work as a female professional, despite being at the top of her class. Ginsburg eventually became a professor at Columbia University, where she pioneered a class on gender discrimination.

In the '70s, Ginsburg argued a series of discrimination cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Here, West and Cohen manage to make what could have been a dry rundown of court cases compelling and dramatic. They tracked down the plaintiffs on these cases, who had faced gender-based discrimination ranging from unequal pay to unequal benefits as military service members. RBG weaves original audio from Ginsburg's oral arguments with commentary from Ginsburg and others to drive home the historical significance of those cases. Almost singlehandedly, Ginsburg changed the legal landscape for all women in the country.

RBG begins and ends with exploring her legacy, particularly among the newest generation of Americans. As the Supreme Court turned more and more conservative in the early 2000s, Ginsburg's dissenting opinions became her signature and drew attention from young progressives. At 85 years old today, her spunk and sharp intellect are widely adored. T-shirts labeled "Notorious RBG" have become a hit, and goofy web images with her face imprinted on various superheroes have gone viral on the Internet. You'd be hard pressed to find a more important living American icon than RBG, and this documentary proves it. (97 minutes)

—Peter Johnson

THE RIDER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Writer-director-producer Chloé Zhao recruits several first-time actors for this story about a young rising star cowboy on the rodeo circuit—Brady Blackburn (Brady Jandreau)—who suffers a near-fatal head injury; in fact, the story is based on Jandreau's real life 2016 head injury he received while bronco riding. As he recovers, he struggles to understand where he fits in without his identity as a cowboy. Jandreau's real life father, Tim Jandreau, stars as his film father, Wayne Blackburn, and his real life sister, Lilly, stars as his film sister Lilly Blackburn. The film also features real life rodeo cowboys Cat Clifford and Lane Scott starring as themselves.

Jandreau is the heart of the film. His soulful performance, his quiet introspection, and his natural charisma make me certain we'll see this first-time actor in another role. This is hands down one of the most beautiful films I've seen this year. You can't help but mourn for Brady as he struggles to find something worth living for. (104 min.)

—Glen Starkey

SHOW DOGS

What's it rated?PG

Where's it showing? Park

Show Dogs is a family comedy about the unlikely pairing of a human detective (Will Arnett) and his canine partner (voice of Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), who has to go undercover at the world's most exclusive dog show to solve his biggest case yet. (92 min.)

—Global Road Entertainment

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

click to enlarge SHOOT FIRST Alden Ehreneich takes on the role of Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which depicts Han's early relationships with Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian in the midst of a space adventure. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIO
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Studio
  • SHOOT FIRST Alden Ehreneich takes on the role of Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which depicts Han's early relationships with Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian in the midst of a space adventure.

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Ron Howard (Splash, Cocoon, Backdraft, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code) directs this Han Solo (Alden Ehreneich) origin story, set long before the rebellion, which explores how the cocky pilot met both Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and notorious gambler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). The film also stars Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, a smuggler; Thandie Newton as Tobias' wife Val Beckett; Emilia Clarke as Qi'ra, Han's childhood friend; Paul Bettany as crime lord Dryden Vos; Jon Favreau as alien Rio Durant; and Linda Hunt as the voice of Lady Proxima.

Solo started with two different directors who were fired over "creative differences" before Howard took over, so there's a somewhat disjointed and uneven artistic vision here, but that doesn't stop the film from being a lot of fun.

We meet Han and Qi'ra living in a slum and dreaming of getting out. The opening set piece is a rousing chase and escape in which we see both Han's recklessness and bravado. Things don't quite go as planned, and Han ends up in the imperial army, where his wisecracking nature does him no favors, but that's also where he meets Tobias and Chewy, who team up for a big heist that leads to another big set piece, this one involving a cargo train.

There's plenty of action, lots of one-liners, and showdowns between the good guys and the bad guys, not to mention some double crosses and surprises.

In the same tradition of Episodes IV through VI, Solo offers up a classic space Western. It's not going to win any prizes for originality, but for Star Wars nerds, reverence for the series pays off here as we see the little bits of Han's backstory we've learned from the original films play out. I was wholly entertained.

Frankly, I wasn't sure about Ehreneich as Han. I grew up watching Harrison Ford and I couldn't imagine anyone else in the role. There is a passing resemblance between the young Ford and Ehreneich, but instead of doing an impersonation of Ford as Han, Ehreneich makes the character his own.

Glover, on the other hand, seems intent on channeling Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, but he does it so well, it's a treat to watch. Glover's star is certainly shining brightly right now. He was great as the host of Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, and his music video for "This is America" has people talking.

These two characters are interesting enough and the actors have so much natural chemistry together that I would happily see another film with the pair. The story ends in a way that's begging for a sequel, and I'd love to see Lando and Han meet for another adventure.

Solo is basically a popcorn movie—uncomplicated, emotionally one note, and with little more than entertainment in mind. It's not the kind of film that sticks with you or challenges viewers in any way, but if you're looking for an engaging space romp, I think Solo delivers. Be warned, however; it's one of those rare films with a higher rottentomatoes.com critic rating (71 percent) than audience score (59 percent), so not everyone has liked the film as much a I have.

If you're the rare person who's new to the Star Wars franchise, you'd be better off starting here rather than the joyless Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Solo at least knows how to have fun. (145 min.)

—Glen Starkey

UPGRADE

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Galaxy

New

After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green, Spiderman: Homecoming, Prometheus) is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will "upgrade" his body. The cure—an Artificial Intelligence implant called STEM—gives Grey physical abilities beyond anything experienced and the ability to relentlessly claim vengeance against those who murdered his wife and left him for dead. (95 min.) Δ

—Blumhouse Productions

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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