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Film Listings, 8/16/18 – 8/23/18 

ALPHA

click to enlarge ALONE Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young man separated from his clan after a hunting mishap, befriends a wolf, forging a bond that will develop canines into man's best friend, in Alpha. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STUDIO 8
  • Photo Courtesy Of Studio 8
  • ALONE Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young man separated from his clan after a hunting mishap, befriends a wolf, forging a bond that will develop canines into man's best friend, in Alpha.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Albert Hughes (Menace II Society, From Hell, The Book of Eli) helms this adventure story set 20,000 years ago in the last Ice Age, about a young man named Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who, after a Steppe bison hunting expedition with his clan goes awry, finds himself alone and struggling to survive. After he encounters a lone wolf, he begins to forge the bond that will develop canines into man's best friend. (96 min.)

—Glen Starkey

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it rated? Matinee

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Pick

Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man, Ant-Man) directs this next entry into the Marvel universe set after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang and his superhero alter ego Ant-Man. As Scott struggles to balance his crime fighting and home life, he's once again called-on by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to join forces with Scott's one-time love interest (and Pym's daughter) Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to deal with a new threat, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). (118 min.)

—Glen Starkey

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

From director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction, The Kite Runner) comes this live-action adaptation of A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh characters that poses this question: What happens to Christopher Robin after he grows up? After decades of separation, everyone's favorite Pooh bear makes a trek from the mythical Hundred Acre Wood into the real world to find out what's become of his old, lost friend.

In a nutshell, it's Winnie-the-Pooh meets Hook. In fact, the two films' protagonists and their arcs are virtually identical. The adult Christopher (Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!, Big Fish) is an overworked father who alienates himself from his wife (Hayley Atwell, Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael) by spending too much time at the office. In the same way Hook's adult Peter Pan had to return to Neverland to rediscover his long-lost inner child, so must Christopher to the Hundred Acre Wood. (120 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

CRAZY RICH ASIANS

click to enlarge LOVE AND MONEY New York economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, right) travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend, Nick Young's (Henry Golding), ridiculously wealthy family, in Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan's best selling novel. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros.
  • LOVE AND MONEY New York economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, right) travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend, Nick Young's (Henry Golding), ridiculously wealthy family, in Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan's best selling novel.

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

Jon M. Chu directs this rom-com based on Kevin Kwan's best selling novel about native New Yorker and Chinese economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend, Nick Young's (Henry Golding), ridiculously wealthy family. Once there, Rachel realizes Nick's the most eligible bachelor in Asia, and all the single women are out to undermine her. (120 min.)

—Glen Starkey

DAY LONG EDGE FILM FEST

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? The SLO Public Library on Aug. 18

New

HopeDance hosts an all-day film festival at the SLO Public Library, on Saturday, Aug.18, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., featuring In Plain Sight (9 to 10 a.m.); Albatross (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.); Tawai: The Forest People (1 to 3 p.m.); Prosperity (3 to 5 p.m.); Monogamish (5 to 7 p.m.); and Living the Change (7 to 9 p.m.). Learn more about the films at https://bit.ly/2LJRllm. Donations accepted.

—Glen Starkey

DEATH OF A NATION

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it showing? Park

Not since 1860 have the Democrats so fanatically refused to accept the result of a free election. That year, their target was Lincoln. They smeared him. They went to war to defeat him. In the end, they assassinated him. Now the target of the Democrats is President Trump and his supporters. The Left calls them racists, white supremacists, and fascists. These charges are used to justify driving Trump from office and discrediting the right "by any means necessary." Can we come together and save America for the second time? (109 min.)

—Quality Flix

DOG DAYS

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Ken Marino (How to Be a Latin Lover) directs this dramedy about Los Angelinos brought together by their dogs (112 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE EQUALIZER 2

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Pick

Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter, The Magnificent Seven 2016) returns to helm this sequel written by Richard Wenk (The Mechanic 2011, The Expendables 2, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) that's based on the TV series by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. Denzel Washington stars as vigilante Robert McCall, an unassuming man—and retired CIA black ops master—who metes out justice whenever he sees someone being exploited or oppressed. When he learns his old friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) has been murdered, he's determined to find out who did it and why, and bring them to account. (121 min.)

—Glen Starkey

HOTEL TRANSLYVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Join our favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac (voice of Adam Sandler) can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else's vacation at the hotel. It's smooth sailing for Drac's pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis (voice of Selena Gomez) realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka (voice of Kathryn Hahn), who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind. (97 min.)

—Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation

INCREDIBLES 2

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

From writer/director Brad Bird (Ratatouille) comes the sequel Incredibles 2, 14 years after the original film premiered. Everyone's favorite family of superheroes is back in Incredibles 2—but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of normal life. It's a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack's emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again. (118 min.)

—Spencer Cole

LEAVE NO TRACE

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rent it

Where's it showing? The Palm

From director Debra Granik (Down to the Bone, Winter's Bone, Stray Dog) comes a heartbreaking story of a homeless father and daughter struggling to find their place in the world, while the public tries to change them and wall them in.

Thomasin McKenzie (The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies) plays Tom, a teenage girl living in the woods with her father, Will, played by Ben Foster (Hell or High Water, Alpha Dog). They're comfortable where they are, staying hidden from the public and only going into town to get medicine from a veterans' medical center to sell to other people in a camp nearby. They live comfortably and enjoy living in the woods rather than in a home.

One day a hiker spots Tom and calls the police, resulting in both Tom and Will being brought in and evaluated before eventually finding a place for both of them to live on a farm. Will struggles with working there due to the helicopters triggering his posttraumatic stress disorder, and when he decides to leave, Tom begins to question why they must continue to live off the grid.

The movie is moving in its depiction of the somewhat undocumented topics of veteran and familial homelessness, and PTSD causing alienation. The acting is wonderful and amazingly emotional, down to Tom's chin quivering when she begins to cry, while Will's silence and exhaustion speak to his alienation from others—and his PTSD—very well.

However, the movie is repetitive. Will is stuck in a rut and unwilling to change, even for Tom. Each time the two move or camp somewhere else, it doesn't work out and something goes wrong. The behaviors and character traits that you think are going to change, or seem to be changing, don't develop in a positive way and instead deteriorate, and while this is accurate to the struggles shown in the film, it doesn't make for a happy ending or a feel-good movie.

Leave No Trace is stressful and will have you on the edge of your seat, as one bad thing after another befalls the pair. Each comforting or encouraging scene is followed up by a sad or anxious one. And Tom must adapt and become more of an adult than she should have to at such a young age.

The movie is sad but beautiful and accurate; it's worth seeing in order to explore the truth about homelessness and PTSD, and it's a very bittersweet depiction of a family struggle.

—Delany Burk

MAMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

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

Pick

Ol Parker (Now is Good, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) directs returning and new cast members in the sequel to the popular 2008 ABBA-centric musical-turned-movie Mamma Mia! In the first film, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is a bride-to-be who invites three of her mother, Donna's (Meryl Streep) old flames to her wedding in an attempt to discover who her real father is. The sequel switches off between a time before and after the original film, focusing on both Sophie's new life attempting to carry on her late mother's hotel business and her mother's young life around the time of her pregnancy. (114 min.)

—Ashley Ladin

THE MEG

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Stream it

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

Jon Turteltaub (Phenomenon, Instinct, National Treasure) directs Jason Statham as former Naval Capt. Jonas Taylor, whose career and marriage were destroyed after he abandoned part of his crew during a failed exploration of the Mariana Trench in what he claimed was an attack by a 70-foot shark. Five years later, when a sub crew is stranded in what may be an attack by the supposedly long-extinct 70-foot Carcharodon Megalodon, Taylor is recruited to attempt a rescue.

Man, did I want this to be good. Action hero Jason Statham (The Transporter, The Italian Job, Crank) is a badass, Rainn Wilson (The Office, Juno, The Rocker) is usually hilarious, and who doesn't love a humongous shark? Sadly, The Meg is a steaming pile of chum.

Wilson plays Jack Morris, the moneyman behind Mana One, a research center trying to prove that under a freezing cloud of hydrogen sulfide at the bottom of the Mariana Trench lies an even deeper unexplored world. Soon his submersible crew—Taylor's ex-wife, Lori (Jessica McNamee); Toshi (Masi Oka); and The Wall (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson)—are stranded 6 miles below, so after encouragement by head researcher Dr. Minway Zhang (Winston Chao) but against the advice of team physician Dr. Heller (Robert Taylor), Morris travels to Thailand to recruit Taylor, who now spends his days drunk on beer while simultaneously retaining his amazing six-pack abs.

Taylor agrees to attempt the rescue after he learns his ex-wife, Lori, is on board, but he almost immediately falls for Zhang's daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li). Long story short, his rescue opens a hole in the hydrogen sulfide cloud, and up swims a shark so big it can bite a whale in half.

What's not to like, right? Well, first of all, the film's minor attempts at humor fall flat. If this film had approached its story with the sort of campy hilarity of, say, Piranha 3D (2010), it might have been salvaged. Instead, it plays it straight, and another movie—2010's Deep Blue Sea with Thomas Jane—already told a similar story better.

Then there's the CGI shark, which looks really sinister but seems to be of inconsistent size, probably because different teams of CGI programmers were working on different scenes. I'll take the old rubber shark from Jaws (1975) any day over this series of ones and zeros. The Meg has none of the menace and psychological terror of a film like Open Water (2003) or The Shallows (2016), and none of the fun of Sharknado (2013).

And don't even get me started about the science. Wouldn't a giant shark species thought to be extinct for 2 million years but trapped in total darkness at the bottom of the sea evolve into a sightless creature?

A good shark movie should make you afraid to go in the ocean and play on your irrational fears. The Meg just makes me afraid to go back to the multiplex, at least until we get closer to Oscar season. (113 min.)

—Glen Starkey

MILE 22

click to enlarge ELITE James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is an elite CIA operative tasked with transporting an asset with vital information through hostile territory, in Mile 22. - PHOTO COURTESY OF STX ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Stx Entertainment
  • ELITE James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is an elite CIA operative tasked with transporting an asset with vital information through hostile territory, in Mile 22.

What's it rated? R

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

New

Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day) helms this action thriller about James Silva (Mark Wahlberg), an elite CIA operative tasked with extracting Li Noor (Indonesian action star Iko Uwais), an asset with vital information, through 22 miles of hostile territory. The film also stars Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey, and John Malkovich. (95 min.)

—Glen Starkey

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-FALLOUT

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

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

Pick

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun, Jack Reacher, Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation) helms this action-packed sixth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, starring Tom Cruise as super spy Ethan Hunt. The new film ties together narratives and characters from earlier films, including IMF (Impossible Mission Force) team members Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), Hunt's Rogue Nation love interest and fellow spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), and Hunt's ex-wife Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan) from Mission: Impossible III.

In addition to a series of amazing action sequences the film manages to conjure up emotional elements as well, since Hunt must protect both Julia and Ilsa and prove to the powers-that-be, that saving both the one and the many is the real job of the IMF. It also culminates in the mother of all action finales. If you like this series, Fallout is a worthy successor. (147 min.)

—Glen Starkey

SLENDER MAN

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Nothing

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Park

Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard, The Losers) directs this horror story about a tall, thin creature (created by writer Victor Surge) that haunts and steals children (93 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME

click to enlarge REBOUND In The Spy Who Dumped Me, Audrey (Mila Kunis), along with her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) is thrown into an international conspiracy when her ex-boyfriend turns out to be a spy. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LIONSGATE
  • Photo Courtesy Of Lionsgate
  • REBOUND In The Spy Who Dumped Me, Audrey (Mila Kunis), along with her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) is thrown into an international conspiracy when her ex-boyfriend turns out to be a spy.

What's it rated? R

What' it worth? Rent it

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

Co-writer and director Susanna Fogel (Life Partners, Chasing Life TV series) helms action-comedy spy spoof about thirty-year-old besties Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) who find themselves thrown into the world of international espionage after Audrey's ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) shows up, revealing that he's a spy with assassins on his trail. The pair of women throws themselves headfirst into the adventure, which soon takes them to exotic European locales, where they encounter charismatic-but-suspicious British agent Sebastian Henshaw (Sam Heughan).

With a female director and two female leads in a usually male-centric genre, I had high hopes that The Spy Who Dumped Me might offer a sly, satirical take on the macho spy movie. Instead, the film focused more on slapstick and vagina jokes than poking fun at a film type that's usually absurdist, infantile, misogynistic fantasy.

That's not to say The Spy wasn't fun. McKinnon—who does most of the comedic heavy lifting—and Kunis seem to be having a good time as two fish-out-of-water average gals who relish diving headfirst into adventure. As a summer popcorn comedy it fills the bill, but the premise seems somewhat wasted on this lowbrow joke fest. (116 min.)

—Glen Starkey

TAG

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

For one month every year, five highly competitive friends hit the ground running in a no-holds-barred game of tag they've been playing since the first grade—risking their necks, their jobs, and their relationships to take each other down with the battle cry, "You're it!" This year, the game coincides with the wedding of their only undefeated player, which should finally make him an easy target. But he knows they're coming ... and he's ready. (100 min.)

—Warner Bros. Pictures

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

click to enlarge REUNION Three identical triplet brothers separated at birth discover one another at age 19, leading to notoriety, but their joyous reunion is muddled by the circumstances of their separation. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RAW
  • Photo Courtesy Of Raw
  • REUNION Three identical triplet brothers separated at birth discover one another at age 19, leading to notoriety, but their joyous reunion is muddled by the circumstances of their separation.

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

In this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction documentary directed by Tim Wardle, in 1980, three 19-year-old strangers discover they're identical triplets separated at birth. Their unlikely reunion leads to notoriety, but as they learn more about the circumstances of their separation, questions arise involving ethics and human nature. (96 min.)

—Glen Starkey

WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) helms this documentary biopic about beloved cardigan-clad children's TV host Fred Rogers.

It's easy to dismiss Fred Rogers as "just" a children's TV host, and a sappy, low-budget one at that, but this documentary reveals just how deeply he cared about children; how hard he worked at helping children through topical issues such as Robert Kennedy's assassination, divorce, and war; and how seriously he took his role as host of positive children's programming as foil to what he saw as bad role modeling and encouragement of humanity's baser instincts in other kids' programs. (94 min.) Δ

—Glen Starkey

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and others. You can contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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