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Film Listings, 8/1/19 – 8/8/19 

All theater listings are as of Friday, Aug. 2.

ECHO IN THE CANYON

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

In his directorial debut, co-writer Andrew Slater (with co-writer Eric Barrett) helms this documentary examining the 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene and bands such as The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas. Through a mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews, we discover how this seminal time in music history has informed contemporary artists such as Fiona Apple, Beck, Norah Jones, and Jakob Dylan.

Both educational and entertaining, this doc is a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in this fertile moment in rock history, when folk and rock were melded together.

You'll hear some amazing stories and watch some terrific performances, both archival and contemporary as Dylan leads his cohorts in re-creating songs. Poignant moments, laughs, and even a few come-to-Jesus moments work together to create a perceptive walk down memory lane. (82 min.)

—Glen Starkey

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW

click to enlarge TEAM WORK Lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, left) teams up with outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to stop a genetically enhanced villain, in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Universal Pictures
  • TEAM WORK Lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, left) teams up with outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to stop a genetically enhanced villain, in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

What's it rated? R

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

New

David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) directs this new installment into the Fast & Furious franchise. This time around, genetically enhanced villain Brixton (Idris Elba) threatens humanity with a super-virus, leading lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to team-up with outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to stop him. When Shaw's sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), is also drawn into the fray, things get personal. (145 min.)

—Glen

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

click to enlarge HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS Jimmie Falls (Jimmie Falls) reclaims his childhood home, a Victorian house built by his grandfather, in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. - PHOTO COURTESY OF A24
  • Photo Courtesy Of A24
  • HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS Jimmie Falls (Jimmie Falls) reclaims his childhood home, a Victorian house built by his grandfather, in The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Co-writer Joe Talbot directs this story co-written by Ron Richert and the film's protagonist Jimmie Falls, a young black man in San Francisco who reclaims his childhood home, a Fillmore District Victorian house supposedly built by his grandfather.

This charming independent film is a reminder of what's possible outside the big money studio system, and it establishes first-time feature-length director Talbot as someone to watch. Poetic, soulful, and elegiac—it's a lament for what's been lost to gentrification, a poignant examination of race and class, and a swan song to a deeply felt male friendship.

Jimmie and his best friend, Montgomery "Mont" Allen (Jonathan Majors), spend their days moving through San Francisco by bus or skateboard when they're not working their menial jobs—Jimmy as a caregiver in an old folks home and Mont as a fishmonger. They frequently go by Jimmie's childhood home, which his drug-addicted father (Rob Morgan) lost in the '90s. He's deeply attached to the house and its history of being built in 1946 by his grandfather in the Victorian style of a century before.

Jimmie feels like the current owners aren't properly caring for the house, so when they're gone, he sneaks onto the property to paint window trim or pull weeds until the white liberal owners return to shoo him away.

Jimmie and Mont, who share a bedroom in Mont's grandfather's (Danny Glover) home, are rendered in sharp contrast to the young men in Mont's neighborhood, who seem to do little else than stand in the street and argue about who's tougher.

Mont is especially sensitive and is constantly sketching or writing scenes for a play he's working on. He's really the heart of the film, and his loyalty to Jimmie is commendable. What the film doesn't deal in are absolute truths. Instead, this is a story about dreams and possibilities smashing against realities.

There's some breathtaking cinematography by Adam Newport-Berra and arty direction by Talbot, but what really sells this film are Falls and Majors, whose performances are so perfect, so affecting, and so nuanced. Sometimes a mere look is enough to break your heart, and your heart will surely break with the conclusion of this achingly tender story of two men in love with a city that doesn't seem to love them back. (121 min.)

—Glen

THE LION KING

click to enlarge DESTINY Young Simba (voiced by JD McCrary) doesn't yet realize the scope of his responsibilities to come, in The Lion King. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Walt Disney Pictures
  • DESTINY Young Simba (voiced by JD McCrary) doesn't yet realize the scope of his responsibilities to come, in The Lion King.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Rent it

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

Jon Favreau (Elf, Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens, Chef, The Jungle Book (2016)) helms this photorealistic-animated remake of Disney's 1994 animated classic of the same name about lion prince Simba (voiced by JD McCrary as a cub and Donald Glover as an adult), who's driven from his kingdom as a cub after his king father, Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones), is murdered by his jealous brother, Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor).

The film opens strong with baby Simba's majestic unveiling to the animal kingdom, set to "Circle of Life" of course, followed by an intricately designed sequence of a mouse scurrying through its surroundings, before being plucked by Scar. "Life's not fair, is it, my little friend?" asks everyone's favorite fratricidal feline. Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Children of Men) was an inspired choice for Scar, whose original iteration is one of the greatest antagonists in Disney's pantheon. The weight and brutality he brings to the role make it all the more disappointing that the villain's murderous anthem, "Be Prepared," gets butchered down to a mere 20 seconds of talk-singing (one of the few instances the film departs from the original).

Scar of course plots to eliminate his brother, Mufasa, and nephew, Simba, the rightful heir to the throne in the event of his father's death. After Mufasa is murdered during the infamous stampede coup d'état ("long live the king"), Scar convinces Simba it's his fault and advises him to run away. The lion prince then travels to the desert, only to bump into the lovable Timon (voiced by Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (voiced by Seth Rogan), who teach young Simba to embrace a certain carefree philosophy the whole theater is guaranteed to sing along to.

I can't quite put my finger on what got lost in translation, but somehow this highly anticipated remake—almost a shot-for-shot remake I might add—just didn't do it for me. It's both a faithful adaptation of the original and a visually astounding spectacle in its own right—so what else could I have possibly asked for? Maybe my hopes were just too high. I went in ready to love it but left the theater feeling meh. Most of the original's charm just didn't carry over for me.

Don't get me wrong, though; it's far from terrible. Like a loving sitcom parent, I'm not angry with The Lion King, I'm just disappointed. Remember the moment right before Mufasa has a stern talk with young Simba (after he and Nala are rescued from the hyenas)? Simba walks over to Mufasa but pauses when one of his front paws sinks into his father's footprint. In that instance, the lion prince realizes he's got some pretty big shoes to fill someday. For me, the original Lion King is that footprint. But unlike Simba, who grows big enough to fill that print halfway through the film, this remake is confined to cubhood. (118 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

MAIDEN

click to enlarge YES, SHE CAN In the documentary Maiden, we watch as 24-year-old charter boat cook Tracy Edwards assembles a team of female sailors to enter the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW BLACK FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of New Black Films
  • YES, SHE CAN In the documentary Maiden, we watch as 24-year-old charter boat cook Tracy Edwards assembles a team of female sailors to enter the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Alex Holmes (Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story) directs the true story of Tracy Edwards, a young cook on a boat who formed the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

This documentary stands out from the rest as Holmes puts you in the thick of sailing at sea alongside these women rather than just telling you their already compelling story. With every challenge in the water and objection of being told "girls" can't win, let alone make it through the first stretch of the race, the audience is with the women in their triumph.

Edwards wasn't the happiest teenager after her father died suddenly from a heart attack, and her mother remarried an abusive man. The negativity and abuse was enough to make Edwards leave and seek out another life, which led her to become the cook on a charter boat. We don't spend too much time on the past as she races toward making history.

The cooking gig eventually leads Edwards to learn about the Whitbread Round the World Race, now known as the Ocean Race, a literal race around the world on a yacht over the course of several months. Edwards believes it's her calling to be a part of the race, a burning feeling she's never had before. The only thing stopping her is that she's a female or—as many of the skippers and crew members call her—a girl. She's a distraction and definitely not strong enough to tackle the dangerous seas. (If I could roll my eyes to the back of my head I would.)

Edwards doesn't take no for an answer, which seems to be a successful mantra for her throughout her endeavor of handpicking her all-female crew and entering the race with no prior experience as a skipper.

But the team meets plenty of other barriers along the way: not having enough money for a boat, not having any sponsors, being female in a male-dominated sport, and learning how to hone in on everyone's strengths. Nothing stops the women from entering the race in 1989.

The documentary is riddled with old news footage, photos, and home videos of the excursion. It also has interviews with the crew, and it's compelling to hear their take on what it was like to work together and defy all the odds that were thrown at them.

While this is about the females that made the Maiden (their boat) famous and their successes and losses in the water, it also highlighted the blatant misogyny they faced daily. It was maddening but not surprising that the men on other teams doubted the Maiden crew, with the journalists even taking digs at them. It's funny how the newscasters forgot how to do their job and basically asked the Maiden women different and dumbed-down questions.

Overall, it was amazing to ride the waves with these kick-ass women as they challenged the status quo. (97 min.)

—Karen Garcia

ONCE UPON A TIME ... IN HOLLYWOOD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

See Split Screen.

PAVAROTTI

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Filmmaker Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man) directs this documentary that examines the life and career of famed opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The film features never-before-seen footage, concert performances, and intimate interviews with the performer.

Howard clearly has a lot of affection for his subject, and he makes the man as thrilling and interesting as his music. Of course, a man with Pavarotti-sized appetites can't come out looking like an angel, which only serves to humanize a man with god-sized talent. (114 min.)

—Caleb

ROCKETMAN

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill, Sunshine on Leith, Eddie the Eagle) directs "a musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years," with Taron Egerton in the lead role as the singer of "Rocket Man," "Your Song," "Daniel," and dozens of other hits.

It's an impression of Elton's life. It's about his struggle with homosexuality, his estrangement from his parents, his rocky relationships, his handling of fame, and his eventual realization that his lifestyle isn't sustainable. One of his biggest fears is whether or not he'll be as good without the drugs and alcohol, which allowed him to overcome his fears and become a superstar. (121 min.)

—Glen

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Clown) directs this story that follows the events of Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) joins besties Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) on a European vacation, hoping for a little heroics-free rest and relaxation, but when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) comes calling, Peter works to uncover the mystery of otherworldly attacks plaguing Europe.

Maybe I'm suffering from comic book movie overload, but this new Spider-Man installment just didn't "wow" me the way it seems to for most reviewers and audiences. Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 91 percent with critics and 96 percent with audiences. It's entertaining enough, but I don't see what all the hype is about. It's just another big-budget comic book adventure.

Basically, the film is flawed. Its big switcheroo is too obviously projected, Peter is too gullible (where are your "spidey senses," dude?), and the entire affair lacks the coherence of its predecessor. If you've got a couple of hours to waste and need a distraction, hit a matinee. These comic book spectacles are best seen in the theater. Hopefully you'll like it more than I did. (129 min.)

—Glen

STUBER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Michael Dowse (Take Me Home Tonight, Goon) directs this action-comedy/mismatched-buddy film about Vic (Dave Bautista), a detective, who enlists his Uber driver, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) to track down a terrorist. Can Stu survive and maintain his excellent Uber driver rating?

This film will get a few laughs out of you, but also some groans, eye rolls, and a severely strained credulity. Its title—Stuber—is a combination of the driver, Stu, and the company he drives for, Uber, which sort of tells you about the level of sophistication you should expect.

The mismatched buddy flick is a tired formula, and Stuber tries to mix it up with Stu's sensitivity and Vic's toxic masculinity, but its thematic exploration runs shallow. It's more about violence and trying to sell inexplicable plot twists. If you're game for inane shenanigans punctuated by gunfights, try a matinee. Otherwise, a rental feels like a better value. (93 min.)

—Glen

SWORD OF TRUST

click to enlarge ANTIQUES SIDESHOW (Left to right) Cynthia (Jillian Bell), Mary (Michaela Watkins), Mel (Marc Maron), and Nathaniel (Jon Bass) embark on a journey to sell an antique sword that purportedly proves the South won the Civil War, in Sword of Trust. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FORAGER FILMS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Forager Films
  • ANTIQUES SIDESHOW (Left to right) Cynthia (Jillian Bell), Mary (Michaela Watkins), Mel (Marc Maron), and Nathaniel (Jon Bass) embark on a journey to sell an antique sword that purportedly proves the South won the Civil War, in Sword of Trust.

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

In this dramedy co-written and directed by Lynn Shelton (Outside In, Laggies, Touchy Feely, Humpday), Cynthia (Jillian Bell) and her friend Mary (Michaela Watkins) collect an antique sword as Cynthia's inheritance from her deceased grandfather, who believed the sword was proof that the South had won the Civil War. They strike a deal with pawnshop owner Mel (Marc Maron) and his employee Nathaniel (Jon Bass) to sell the sword in the dangerous black market of Confederate Army collectors. (88 min.)

—Glen

TOY STORY 4

What's it rated? G

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

Pick

Josh Cooley directs this fourth feature in the Toy Story franchise. This time around, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) must convince his toy pals to welcome a new addition, Forky (Tony Hale), into their fold, even though Forky is just a spork made into a toy in arts and crafts class by their child, Bonnie. When Bonnie's family goes on a road trip, Forky takes off, so Woody and a few other toys go in search of him.

When I first heard Toy Story 4 was in the works, I felt betrayed and bewildered. Toy Story 3 had such a finality to it, why try to follow a nearly perfect ending to the series? So why keep going? Well, money of course! Little did I know Pixar's more noble intentions for this installment, which surprisingly opens the door to countless more adventures—for some characters more than others.

The final product isn't the petty cash-grab I was expecting, and believe it or not, I actually enjoyed it even more than Toy Story 3. Fight me! Neither film is on par with 1 or 2 in my book, but wow does this one get pretty darn close. There's a really genuine story here, which can't be said of too many fourth entries in a series. (100 min.)

—Caleb

TRIBES ON THE EDGE

click to enlarge IMPENDING GENOCIDE? Director Céline Cousteau (left) will screen her documentary Tribes on the Edge, about the issues facing the indigenous peoples of the Vale do Javari, Brazilian Amazon, on Aug. 3, at the Palm Theatre, followed by a Q&A. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAUSECENTRIC PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Causecentric Productions
  • IMPENDING GENOCIDE? Director Céline Cousteau (left) will screen her documentary Tribes on the Edge, about the issues facing the indigenous peoples of the Vale do Javari, Brazilian Amazon, on Aug. 3, at the Palm Theatre, followed by a Q&A.

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? Saturday, Aug. 3, at The Palm Theatre, 7 p.m.; $14

New

Céline Cousteau directs this documentary that explores issues facing the indigenous peoples of the Vale do Javari, Brazilian Amazon. Cousteau will be in attendance and engage in a Q&A. The doors open at 6 p.m., and advanced tickets are available at my805tix.com/events/SLO-Motion-Presents-Tribes-On-The-Edge-with-guest-Cline-Cousteau-8—3-2019. (100 min.)

—Glen

WILD ROSE

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Tom Harper (War Book, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death) directs Nicole Taylor's screenplay about Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley), an ex-con and single mother who dreams of becoming a country singer in Nashville, though her mother, Marion (Julie Walters), thinks her dream is a waste of time. When Rose takes work as a house cleaner, she finds an ally in the woman of the house. This is definitely a banner year for music-centric films, and this low-budget U.K. charmer brings a hefty emotional wallop along for the ride.

Tattooed on her arm is the phrase "three chords and the truth," her definition of country music. Rose-Lynn has a voice, and she certainly has enough heartache to write 100 country ballads, but the film is also about her finding a way to express her truth and those deep emotions, and that's what makes it all so wonderful. I laughed and cried and would absolutely watch this film again. It's entertaining and moving and ultimately redemptive, just like a great country song. (101 min.)

—Glen

YESTERDAY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later ..., Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) directs this screenplay by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love Actually, War Horse) about Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling musician who awakes after a bicycle accident caused by a worldwide power outage to discover he's the only person who remembers The Beatles' music. Soon he's considered the greatest singer-songwriter in the world, but will his newfound fame be a blessing or a curse?

Yes, Yesterday is basically sitcom-level silliness and essentially a one-joke movie, but it's a good joke, and the film may be just the diversion we need right now. Don't believe all the negative reviews from cynical critics. Instead, believe Rotten Tomatoes' 90 percent audience score. This is a crowd pleaser! (116 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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