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Film listings 9/14/17 through 9/21/17 

AMERICAN ASSASSIN

What's it rated? R

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

New

American Assassin follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East. (111 min.)

—Lionsgate Films

ANNABELLE: CREATION

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Streaming

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) directs Annabelle (2014) screenwriter Gary Dauberman's prequel script about a possessed doll. After doll maker Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto), lose their daughter in an accident, they believe she's returned by embodying one of Samuel's dolls. When they realize the doll is actually possessed by evil, they lock it away, but 12 years later the couple invite nun Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and a group of six girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, and the evil doll begins to call out to one girl in particular, Janice (Talitha Bateman), reigniting the evil. (109 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE BIG SICK

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Director Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name is Doris) directs this semi-autographical screenplay by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani about a Pakistani stand-up comic named Kumail (Nanjiani) who falls for a white woman named Emily (Zoe Kazan) who heckles him during a performance. Their budding relationship is strained when Emily discovers Kumail has a stash of photos of Pakistani women his parents have been trying to set him up with in an arranged marriage, so she breaks things off. Later, she's taken to the hospital and put into an induced coma due to an infection, and Kumail realizes he made a mistake letting her go, but now it may be too late. (120 min.)

—Glen Starkey

CARS 3

What's it rated? G

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet (voice of Paul Newman), and a few unexpected turns. (109 min.)

—Walt Disney Pictures

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Galaxy

Catch a viewing of the 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, on its 40th anniversary. After an encounter with UFOs, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen. (137 min.)

—Sony Pictures

DESCONSTRUCTING THE BEATLES SGT. PEPPER ALBUM

What's it rated? NR

Where's it showing? The Palm

New

Composer, musician, and Beatles expert Scott Freiman looks at Sgt. Pepper from multiple angles, exploring the history behind the music. Freiman conducts an educational journey into the creative process of The Beatles' performances and recording sessions. You are guaranteed to leave amazed at The Beatles' innovation in the studio and have a newfound appreciation for the talents of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. (95 min.)

—Abramorama

DUNKIRK

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar) helms this historical drama about the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk, when allied forces from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France were surrounded by the German army between May 26 to June 4, 1940. Civilians in fishing, merchant marine, and pleasure boats valiantly came to their rescue. (106 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE EMOJI MOVIE

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Park

This animated comedy takes place in Textopolis, a world inside a smartphone that's inhabited by various emojis. There, an emoji named Gene (voiced by T.J. Miller) is ashamed that he has multiple facial expressions while his colleagues only have one each, and he embarks on a quest to be like everyone else. (86 min.)

—Sony Pictures Animation

THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD

What's it rated? R

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

The world's top protection agent (Ryan Reynolds) is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world's most notorious hit men (Samuel L. Jackson). (111 min.)

—Summit Entertainment

HOME AGAIN

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it up? Matinee

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

Pick

Reese Witherspoon stars as Alice Kinney, a recently separated single mom and interior designer relocating from New York to her late legendary filmmaker father's estate in Hollywood, in the somewhat entertaining and interesting, but ultimately ungrounded and directionless rom-com that is Home Again.

After 15 years of marriage, Alice decides to jump ship from her preoccupied music executive husband, Austen (Michael Sheen), and moves with her two young girls to Los Angeles. The story picks up with Alice sobbing in her childhood bathroom on her 40th birthday, interrupted by her kids Isabel and Rosie (Lola Flanery and Eden Grace) who have their first day of school in LA.

Simultaneously, we meet a trio of aspiring filmmaker white dudes (unrelated to Alice) in their mid-20s: Harry (Pico Alexander), George (Jon Rudnitsky), and Teddy (Nat Wolff). A director, writer, and actor, respectively, they're scrapping and crawling to get one of their scripts picked up by a production company.

Alice goes out drinking on her birthday night and makes acquaintances with the three youngsters at a bar, taking Harry back to the house for a sloppy make-out. It turns out all three of the guys crashed at Alice's house, and the next morning they realize she's the daughter of John Kinney, a filmmaker they all respect. Alice's mom (Candice Bergen) comes over and takes to the trio, convincing Alice to let them stay in their guesthouse while they try to get their movie picked up.

At its very core, Home Again is about two things: the often-absurd chase to achieve the Hollywood dream, and the struggle of an extremely privileged white woman to find herself and her confidence amid a failing marriage. While this premise likely doomed the movie from being good from the start, for some reason I found myself pretty engaged and entertained by it. The characters are funny and thought-out and have good chemistry. If you're from LA or have spent time there, you'll recognize the culture and appreciate the portrayal and satire.

The main problem I have with Home Again is that the main character Alice really takes a backseat to the three young male filmmakers as the movie progresses. We lose a sense of her character arc and what her purpose is. That's strange to see with Witherspoon as the lead, given her chops and usually strong presence. Home Again gets off to a good start before it kind of deteriorates into wishy-washy ridiculousness by the end. But I still thought the overall performances were kind of charming and original. (97 min.)

—Peter Johnson

LEAP!

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

In this animated film, 11-year-old orphan, Félicie (Elle Fanning) has one dream—to go to Paris and become a dancer. Her best friend Victor (Nat Wolff), an imaginative but exhausting boy with a passion for creating, has a dream of his own—to become a famous inventor. In a leap of faith, Victor and Félicie leave their orphanage in pursuit of their passions. (86 min.)

—The Weinstein Company

LOGAN LUCKY

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Stadium 10, Galaxy

Pick

Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, and Videotape; Out of Sight; Erin Brockovich; Traffic; Ocean's Eleven (2001); Magic Mike) directs this crime comedy about two brothers—Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver)—and their attempt to rob a North Carolina NASCAR track.

Once it gets cooking, this Southern fried heist flick is a hoot! The set-up is simple. Jimmy Logan gets unjustly fired from his heavy machine-operating job at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he's been helping to repair sinkholes, and which gives him inside knowledge of the heist target. He's a doting albeit estranged dad to Sadie Logan (Farrah Mackenzie), who lives with her surly remarried mother Bobbie Jo Chapman (Katie Holmes). Broke and feeling cheated out of his job; he enlists his bartender brother Clyde and hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough) to rob the racetrack. Things get complicated after that.

They need a demolition expert to get to the cash, which is shuffled from concession areas via pneumatic tubes. The only guy they know is Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who's got five more months on his sentence, but Jimmy and Clyde claim they have a plan to break him out and back into jail if he agrees to help, which he does provided his brothers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam Bang (Brian Gleeson) can get in on the job.

What makes it all so comical is the Logan family curse of bad luck and the general perception that the Logans are a bunch of redneck idiots. What follows is a Rube Goldberg-level complicated plan with layers upon layers of intrigue, and a lot of funny moments.

The whole premise plays on the idea of misperception of Jimmy Logan as well as knowing the various players' weaknesses. For instance, for the jailbreak to work, Jimmy has to know that Warden Burns' (Dwight Yoakam) pride will delay him reporting a jail riot. Likewise, the Logans have to understand that their plan will leave the speedway unable to track the amount of money stolen and realize that they'll be interested in closing the investigation as soon as their insurance is willing to pay out.

Of course, all of this is further complicated by Special Agent Sarah Grayson (Hilary Swank), who unlike the racetrack owners and her superiors, doesn't want to drop the investigation.

Between the difficulties we don't see coming, the close familial relationships that add emotional resonance to the proceedings, and the hugely entertaining and wildly colorful cast of characters—including Seth MacFarlane as pompous Brit Max Chilblain, a rich energy drink maven and race car sponsor—Logan Lucky is a blast! Funny, engaging, and surprising, it's a slick, clever, rollicking crackerjack of a heist film. Think of it as breezy Deep South Oceans 7-Eleven. (119 min.)

—Glen Starkey

MOTHER!

What's it rated? R

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

New

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), Mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion, and sacrifice. (115 min.)

—Paramount Pictures

RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD

What's it rated? NR

Where's it showing? The Palm

When recalling Link Wray's shivering guitar classic, "Rumble," Martin Scorsese marvels, "It is the sound of that guitar ... the aggression." Wray was the first to deploy thumping power chords and hone distortion, carving out a new guitar sound that influenced rock 'n' roll forever. But as a Native American, Wray's music was a threat—and it was treated as such. Blues pioneer Charlie Patton, cherished jazz singer Mildred Bailey, and metaphysical wizard Jimi Hendrix are among the many music greats who have Native American heritage and have created their distinctive music amid the attempted cleansing of indigenous culture from the country. Their music was not even meant to exist. Using playful re-creations and little-known stories, alongside concert footage, audio archives, and interviews with living legends, this deeply insightful film cements how some of our most treasured artists and songs found their inspiration in ancient, native melodies and harmonies that were infused with a desire to resist. (103 min.)

—Rezolution Pictures

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

This new Spider-Man film picks up a few months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, which chronicled the rift between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). This time around, Tony Stark (A.K.A. Iron Man) and the federal government create the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), which inadvertently drives Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) out of business, leading him to become the villain Vulture. Meanwhile Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns to his studies after Stark tells him he's not ready to be an Avenger, but that doesn't stop Peter from pursuing his crime fighting endeavors. (133 min.)

—Glen Starkey

THE TRIP TO SPAIN

What's it rated? NR

Where's it showing? The Palm

After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip. This time around, the guys head to Spain to sample the best of the country's gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter. Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchanges barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age. (111 min.)

—IFC Films

TULIP FEVER

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full Price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

From director Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) and writer Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love) comes Tulip Fever, set in 17th century Amsterdam. While the film is being hailed by many as a "sexy thriller," to me it reads more like a dark comedy. In terms of visual aesthetics (which are stunning) and humor, it reminded me a lot of a Wes Anderson film. Sophia (Vikander) is presented as the story's protagonist when as a teen orphan, living at a nunnery with little options, she's essentially sold to be the wife of the wealthy and much older merchant Cornelius (Waltz). The film is narrated by Maria (Holliday Grainger), Sophia's servant, for reasons that become clear later in the film. Cornelis essentially rescued Sophia from poverty and married her so she would give him a child. Three years later, with no baby still, he nonchalantly speaks to a friend about possibly "letting her go" in another six months.

We go a good chunk of time into the film before even hearing Sophia really say much of anything, which is disheartening since most of the action seems to revolve around things happening to her. Things get interesting when Cornelius commissions their portraits and Sophia finds herself engaged in a passionate love affair with the artist, Jan (Dane DeHaan). Her mirror opposite is Maria, who, while unmarried and poor, is relentlessly cheerful and hopelessly in love with William (Jack O'Connell), the fishmonger. In order to save enough money to get married and live well, William decides to take his savings and gamble in Amsterdam's chaotic and insane tulip market. Think Wall Street, but with no computers and deeds to tulips (that have yet to even sprout out of the ground) being awarded to the highest bidder, with lots of drunken brawls thrown in for good measure.

Things really get complicated when Maria discovers she's pregnant and threatens to tell Cornelius about Sophia's affair if her condition is revealed. The lies only continue to take more twists and turns from there. With Tulip Fever, you're really getting a Shakespearean comedy and tragedy all in one. The ridiculous manipulations and ruses that escalate would be purely comical if the consequences weren't so dire. It's safe to say that while everyone doesn't necessarily get a happy ending here, each of the characters evolve in their own way. We see a softening of Cornelis, and, through this, he finds the life and relationships he's always sought. Jan's work, in standard tortured artist fashion, is made truly great by his greatest personal tragedy. Sophia, for once, gets to choose her own path. Marie is perhaps the only character who ends just as she started: truly happy.

The main cast members all deliver solid performances and we also get some delightful little appearances from actors like Zach Galifianakis as Jan's hilarious drunkard of a friend, Cara Delevingneas the cunning harlot who steals William's money, Tom Hollander as the pervy doctor who helps the scheming ladies, and dame Judy Dench as the shrewd abbess who has a hand in the tulip market. (107 min.)

—Ryah Cooley

WIND RIVER

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Stadium 10

Wind River is a chilling thriller that follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death. (111 min.) Δ

—The Weinstein Company

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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