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Film Listings, 9/19/19 – 9/26/19 

AD ASTRA

What's it rated? PG-13

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

New

click to enlarge INTO THE ETHER In Ad Astra, Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, who ventures into space in search of his father, whose own space mission failed ... or did it? - PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW REGENCY PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of New Regency Pictures
  • INTO THE ETHER In Ad Astra, Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, who ventures into space in search of his father, whose own space mission failed ... or did it?

Co-writer James Gray (The Lost City of Z, The Immigrant, Two Lovers, We Own the Night, The Yards, Little Odessa) directs this sci-fi mystery about astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), who's recruited to venture into space in search of his father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who 30 years earlier underwent a space mission of his own that was thought to have been doomed but that may now threaten the survival of Earth and its inhabitants. (124 min.)

—Glen Starkey

ANGEL HAS FALLEN

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Stream it

Where's it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10

This is the third offering of the Fallen franchise that started in 2013 with Olympus Has Fallen and was followed in 2016 with London Has Fallen. In this newest iteration directed by Ric Roman Waugh (Felon, Snitch, Shot Caller), after being framed for attempting to assassinate the president, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler, the star of all three Fallen films) must evade the FBI and his own agency as he works to clear his name and find the true culprit, who aims to take out President Thumbull (Morgan Freeman). (120 min.)

—Glen

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Sunset Drive-In

Pick

Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn, Woman in Gold, Goodbye Christopher Robin) directs this screenplay by Mark Bomback based on Garth Stein's novel about a dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner), who learns from his aspiring Formula One race car driver/owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia) that racetrack techniques can also successfully guide us through life.

Yes, it's overly sentimental. Yes, it's contrived. But it's about the loyalty and companionship of a good dog! Cynics steer clear, but dog lovers, don't miss this one! (109 min.)

—Glen

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Fair Oaks

Pick

Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) directs Viveik Kalra as Javed, a British teen of Pakistani descent living in a working-class town in 1987 during difficult racial and economic times. Javed turns to poetry to make sense of his life, but then a classmate introduces him to Bruce Springsteen's music, which seems to offer parallels to his life and shows Javed another outlet for his pent-up dreams.

Like much of The Boss's music, Blinded by the Light is a life-affirming rock anthem. You'll cheer its conclusion and love the ride along the way. (96 min.)

—Glen

BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

Pick

Hard-partying Brittany (Jillian Bell, Workaholics) receives a startling wake-up call when a visit to the doctor reveals how unhealthy she is. Determined to lose weight, Brittany takes up running to help her prepare for a new goal: to compete in the New York City Marathon. First-time writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo helms this drama-comedy.

Both earnest and hilarious, this film works in large part because Bell is willing to take her character to raw and uncomfortable places. She really carries the film through its unexpected twists and turns. Don't be surprised if you leave the theater inspired. (103 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy

Pick

click to enlarge SAVE THEM! When her parents Elena (Eva Longoria, left) and Cole (Michael Peña, right) disappear, Dora (Isabela Moner, center) leads her friends on a search for them, in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PLAYERS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PLAYERS
  • SAVE THEM! When her parents Elena (Eva Longoria, left) and Cole (Michael Peña, right) disappear, Dora (Isabela Moner, center) leads her friends on a search for them, in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

James Bobin (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Muppets Most Wanted, Muppets) directs this film based on Chris Gifford's book series about the titular teenage explorer (Isabela Moner), who leads her friends on a mission to rescue her parents and discover the mystery behind a lost Incan civilization. (102 min.)

—Glen

DOWNTON ABBEY

What's it rated? PG

Where's it showing? Bay, Galaxy, The Palm, Park, Stadium 10, Fair Oaks

New

click to enlarge GOOD TO BE RICH Violet Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) and Earl of Grantham Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) take a spin across the dance floor in Downton Abbey, based on the TV series of the same name. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CARNIVAL FILM & TELEVISION
  • Photo Courtesy Of Carnival Film & Television
  • GOOD TO BE RICH Violet Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) and Earl of Grantham Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) take a spin across the dance floor in Downton Abbey, based on the TV series of the same name.

The beloved TV series about the Crawley family and their servants comes to the big screen under director Michael Engler (Sex and the City, Six Feet Under). (122 min.)

—Glen

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Pick

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 GOLDFINCH

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Rent it

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

John Crowley (Brooklyn) directs Peter Straughan's screenplay based on Donna Tartt's novel about Theodore Decker (Oakes Fegley as young Theo and Ansel Barnard as adult Theo), who witnesses his mother's death in a bombing of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. During the melee, he steals a small but priceless painting, which sustains him as he navigates a motherless existence.

Though audiences have responded well to the film, critics have panned it for being inert and all surface and no depth, flattening a complex narrative into a bland retelling. One critic called it "textureless and flavorless," another complained it "grows more florid and dramatic as it unfolds, and more disjointed." Approach this one with caution, or better yet, read the book! (149 min.)

—Glen

GOOD BOYS

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Matinee

Where's it showing? Park, Stadium 10

Pick

Co-writer Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teacher, The Office) directs this buddy adventure comedy, in which an invitation to a party with cool kids leads a group of goody-good sixth graders—Lucas (Keith L. Williams), Thor (Brady Noon), and Max (Jacob Tremblay)—to skip school, buy drugs, and sip beers.

It's a tried-and-true comedy formula, and as much as I want to be annoyed that Good Boys is just the little boy version of Booksmart, and that Booksmart is just the girl version of Superbad, I loved it. I loved them all, OK?! Sue me! (Just kidding, please don't.) (89 min.)

—Kasey Bubnash

HUSTLERS

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

See Split Screen.

IT: CHAPTER 2

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Andy Muscietti (Mama, It) directs this two-part film based on Stephen King's 1986 horror novel about an evil subterranean-dwelling clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) who preys on the children of Derry, Maine, by exploiting their fears and phobias.

In the first part (2017), we're introduced to The Losers Club, a group of seven adolescent misfits who band together for protection from the town's bullies, but more importantly from Pennywise, who abducts and murders children. The kids apparently defeat Pennywise in the first part, but in Chapter 2, 27 years after the first episode, Pennywise returns, and Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) begins to call the other members of The Losers Club to remind them of their blood pact to return to Derry and band together to defeat Pennywise if he ever returns.

Soon, Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), and Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) are drawn back to the Pennywise mystery, and through flashback we revisit their younger selves (Chosen Jacobs as Mike; Jaeden Martell as Bill; Sophia Lillis as Beverly; Finn Wolfhard as Richie; Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben; Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie; and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley).

Oh man, this film is fun! It's the sort of nostalgic, over-the-top horror of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), with crazy special effects, jump scares, and laughs. Ultimately, the story is about the enduring bonds of friendship, teamwork, and trust. (102 min.)

—Glen

LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman direct this documentary about singer Linda Ronstadt, who in her 20s burst into the '60s folk scene and went on to be one of the biggest music stars of the 20th century. The film, features interviews with Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Maria Muldaur, and many more.

Whether you're a longtime fan or one of the uninitiated, you'll find a lot to love here, from Ronstadt's amazing voice to her inspirational life. Deeply moving, the film will have you clamoring for more of her music. (95 min.)

—Glen

THE MANHATTAN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? SLO County Libraries, Sept. 26 through Oct. 6

New

click to enlarge SHORT BUT MIGHTY SLO County Libraries host the Manhattan Short Film Festival, Sept. 26 through Oct. 6, screening 10 short films, such as Nefta Football Club. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MANHATTAN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Manhattan Short Film Festival
  • SHORT BUT MIGHTY SLO County Libraries host the Manhattan Short Film Festival, Sept. 26 through Oct. 6, screening 10 short films, such as Nefta Football Club.

SLO Libraries will be among more than 400 venues worldwide participating in the 22nd annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, Sept. 26 through Oct. 6. Attendees of this free event will view 10 short films and then have the chance to vote for Best Film and Best Actor. The winners will be announced on Oct. 7.

The festival received 1,250 entries from 70 countries before selecting the 10 finalists. The featured filmmakers hail from seven countries: Iran, Canada, Germany, Finland, the USA, and the United Kingdom. All final 10 short films will become Oscar-qualified, meaning they will become automatically eligible for an Academy Award nomination. The Manhattan Short Film Festival will take place at the following branches: SLO Library, Sept. 26 and 27, at 1 p.m.; Atascadero Library, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m.; Los Osos Library, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m.; Morro Bay Library, Oct. 3, at 1 p.m.; and Nipomo Library, Oct. 5, at 1:30 p.m.

—Rebecca Juretic

OFFICIAL SECRETS

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? The Palm

Pick

Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky, Ender's Game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Rendition) directs this biopic/drama about British whistleblower Katharine Gun (Keira Knightly), who in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion leaked information to the press about an illegal spy operation by the U.S. and U.K. of U.N. Security Council members, designed to blackmail smaller undecided states into voting for the war.

The storytelling style is straightforward and familiar, as is the message, but Knight's powerful performance helps sustain the film. More importantly, it lifts the veil on the dark and ugly machinations of a corrupt government hell-bent on war. Be warned: It might infuriate you. (111 min.)

—Glen

ONCE UPON A TIME ... IN HOLLYWOOD

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre

Pick

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight) helms this story set in 1969 Hollywood about fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to remain relevant in the changing entertainment industry. Tarantino's ninth film features an ensemble cast and multiple storylines. (161 min.)

—Glen

OVERCOMER

What's it rated? PG

What's it worth? Full price (if you're a Christian)

Where's it showing? Stadium 10

Former basketball coach John Harrison (Alex Kendrick, who also co-writes and directs) takes on the challenge of his life when he coaches determined underdog cross-country runner Hannah Scott (Aryn Wright-Thompson), in this faith-based film.

Non-believers will find this a boring teen movie that morphs into a boring sermon on the power of prayer. Believers will revel in its feel-good story of finding the faith to persevere. (119 min.)

—Glen

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

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

Pick

Writers-directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz helm this adventure dramedy about Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. With the help of small-time outlaw Tyler (Shia LeBeouf), and kind nursing home employee, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), the trio embarks on a Mark Twain-like odyssey.

This sweet crowd pleaser hits all the right notes and is enriched by a stellar cast. It opens with 22-year-old Zak, a ward of the state, stuck in a nursing home because the state "has nowhere else to put him." The nursing home residents love him because he's a sweet young man, but he doesn't belong there. He's roommate is Carl (an excellent Bruce Dern), who's exceedingly tired of watching Zak's old wrestling tapes of his favorite pro wrestler The Salt Water Redneck, aka Clint (an equally excellent Thomas Haden Church), who runs a small wrestling school. Long story short, Zak eventually slips out of the home and is on the road.

Meanwhile, we meet Tyler, who's stealing crabs out of crab pots. Through flashbacks, we learn he had a brother, Mark (Jon Bernthal), with whom he fished but who has since passed away. Tyler's just trying to get by, put the crab pot owners—Duncan (John Hawkes) and Ratboy (Yelawolf)—are now out to get him, forcing him to run. Tyler at first reluctantly but later joyfully promises to get Zak to the Salt Water Redneck's wrestling school, and off they go Huck Finn style.

This is a small film with a big heart. I loved it. (97 min.)

—Glen

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

What's it rated? R

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

New

click to enlarge DON'T MESS WITH RAMBO Traumatized Vietnam vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) must put this deadly combat skills to the test once more, in Rambo: Last Blood. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BALBOA PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Balboa Productions
  • DON'T MESS WITH RAMBO Traumatized Vietnam vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) must put this deadly combat skills to the test once more, in Rambo: Last Blood.

Adrian Grunberg (Get the Gringo) directs this fifth installment in the Rambo franchise that started in 1982 with Rambo: First Blood, about traumatized Vietnam vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), who's drawn into combat with local police after being unfairly arrested. Over the series, which includes Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), and Rambo (2008), Rambo has fought corrupt police, enemy troops, and drug cartels. This time around, Rambo travels to Mexico to save his kidnapped niece from a drug gang. (89 min.)

—Glen

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

What's it rated? R

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Downtown Centre on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m.,; Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m.; and Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m.

New/Pick

click to enlarge FRIENDSHIP The Shawshank Redemption (1994), starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, celebrates its 25th anniversary with screenings on Sept. 22, 24, and 25, at Downtown Centre Cinemas. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Castle Rock Entertainment
  • FRIENDSHIP The Shawshank Redemption (1994), starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, celebrates its 25th anniversary with screenings on Sept. 22, 24, and 25, at Downtown Centre Cinemas.

Screenwriter Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Mist) directs this 1994 classic based on Stephen King's novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, about Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), two imprisoned men who over many years bond, finding solace in small acts of decency.

There's an element of Christian mysticism in the story as Defresne is cast as a Christ-like figure, and several of the plot points can be considered biblical allegories, but the film can be enjoyed simply as a story about a deeply developed friendship and redemption. It's also an inspirational drama about overcoming authority, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Cool Hand Luke.

If you've never seen it on the big screen, go! The cinematography by Roger Deakins is stunning! (142 min.)

—Glen

TOY STORY 4

What's it rated? PG-13

What's it worth? Full price

Where's it showing? Park

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. (100 min.)

—Caleb

THE WEDDING YEAR

What's it rated? R

Where's it showing? Galaxy

New

click to enlarge LOVE AND MARRIAGE Committment-phobe Mara Hickey (Sarah Hyland, right) finds her relationship with boyfriend Jake Riddick (Tyler James Williams) tested when they're invited to multiple weddings over the course of a year, in The Wedding Year. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LAKESHORE ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of Lakeshore Entertainment
  • LOVE AND MARRIAGE Committment-phobe Mara Hickey (Sarah Hyland, right) finds her relationship with boyfriend Jake Riddick (Tyler James Williams) tested when they're invited to multiple weddings over the course of a year, in The Wedding Year.

Robert Luketic directs this rom-com about photographer Mara Hickey (Sarah Hyland), a committment-phobe whose relationship with her boyfriend Jake Riddick (Tyler James Williams) is tested when they're invited to multiple weddings over the course of a year. (90 min.)

—Glen

WILD AND SCENIC FILM FESTIVAL

What's it rated? Not rated

Where's it showing? Various

New

The Central Coast State Parks Association presents the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, which features a number of short films focused on nature. A complete listing of events and locations is available at centralcoastparks.org/filmfest. Read more about it in New Times' Arts section next week. Δ

—Glen

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

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