Bucket List, The: Jack Nicholson, I expect this kind of thing from. But Morgan Freeman? In this schmalty-sounding flick about two new friends trying to cram all the adventures of a lifetime into a considerably shorter amount of time? Oh, Rob Reiner. Once upon a time, you made a good movie or two. PG13. 97 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
First Sunday: Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan star as hapless criminals trying to come up with a chunk of cash in order to keep one’s son from being taken. So they decide to rob a church. Do you think all goes well? PG13. 98 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
In the Name of the King: Let us not forget that in 2006, director Uwe Boll (Bloodrayne) challenged his harshest critics to boxing matches. What boxing ability has to do with movie appreciation, I couldn’t tell you — but it’s funny. Boll’s new film involves a good man (Jason Statham) who takes on a sorcerer (Ray Liotta!) after the sorcerer captures his wife (Claire Forlani). PG13. 150 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Kite Runner, The: Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) directs this adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel about a writer who is drawn back to the Afghanistan of his youth in order to help an old friend’s son. In flashback, Forster draws wonderful performances from two young actors, but the adult Amir’s storyline hinges too heavily on coincidence. PG13. 127 min. Bijou. Cinemark.
Lars and the Real Girl: The remarkable Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) stars as Lars, who meets and brings home Bianca, a life-sized doll he treats as if she were a person. The film’s “daring and delicate blend of apparent irreconcilables will sweep you off your feet if you’re not careful,” said Los Angeles Times. PG13. 106 min. Bijou. (11/1)
OpenLens Film Festival: The fourth annual event features competitive films from SW Oregon filmmakers along with the premiere of the documentary Monster Camp, workshops, the Youth Visions video festival and more. Hosted by Portland producer/director Aaron Kirk Douglas. Jan. 11-13, DIVA. For full schedule, visit diva.proscenia.net
Orphanage, The: This debut film from director Juan Antonio Bayona involves secrets and the supernatural in the story of an orphanage that was the childhood home of a girl, now grown, who wants to go back to it. But things changed after she left. “An unexpectedly poignant ghost story,” said The Los Angeles Times. R. 100 min. Cinemark.
Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, The: Those talking side dishes return in the latest Veggie Tales movie, in which three veggie pals set sail into the 17th century and learn what it means to be heroes. G. Cinemark.
Thirty Days of Night: Thirty days of darkness in small-town Alaska make the place a haven for things that like the dark in this film, based on the graphic novel of the same name. Starring Josh Hartnett and — ooh! — Danny Huston, who raises the level of anything he’s in. But can he do it here? R. 113 min. Movies 12.
Twenty-seven Dresses: Current It Girl Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) stars in this always a bridesmaid, never a bride story of Jane, whose sister gets the guy Jane’s in love with. But with James Marsden (Enchanted) around, you’ve got to assume Jane’s not going to have a totally unhappy ending. PG. Sneak preview 2:30 pm Jan. 13 at VRC Stadium 15.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted. See archived reviews at www.eugeneweekly.com
Across the Universe: Julie Taymor (Titus, Broadway’s The Lion King) puts her ambitious but unsatisfying spin on a love story built around Beatles songs, following a young man (Jim Sturgess) and the girl he falls for (Evan Rachel Wood) amid the tumult of the 1960s. PG13. 131 min. Movies 12. (10/18)
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem: Honest to goodness, I didn’t even know they were making another AVP until I saw an ad last week. Directors Colin and Greg Strause did visual effects work on 300, which ought to be enough to get a certain audience into theaters to watch the nasty monsters fight. R. 86 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: What’s next? A live-action Care Bears movie starring Jason Lee? (He’s in this and Underdog, for those not keeping track.) Those wacky little creatures with the high-pitched voices will surely cause him some trouble in this newest bit of family fare. With, um, David Cross. Now I’m confused. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
American Gangster: Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe face off in the story of 1970s driver turned drug lord Frank Lucas (Washington) and the cop investigating Lucas and his unexpected rise to power. Directed by Ridley Scott. R. 157 min. Movies 12. (11/8)
Atonement: Finally, Joe Wright’s adaptation of Ian McEwan’s exceptional — and exceptionally difficult to summarize — novel comes to town. Atonement takes place across years, as the actions of young Briony (Saoirse Ronan) have lengthy, unimagined consequences to the futures of her sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and their housekeeper’s son, Robbie (James McAvoy). R. 123 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
Bee Movie: Not much looks all that sweet about this animated comedy, in which Jerry Seinfeld voices a recent bee college graduate who learns, to his shock, that humans have been stealing bees’ honey for ages and ages. With the voices of Renee Zellweger and Matthew Broderick. PG. 90 min. Movies 12.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut: Ridley Scott used archival footage in this new version of the classic, influential sci-fi film, making the story of replicant hunter Deckard (Harrison Ford) darker yet again (following the previous director’s cut). Not rated. 138 min. Bijou.
Charlie Wilson’s War: Mike Nichols directs from an Aaron Sorkin script this political … drama? comedy? … about a congressman (Tom Hanks) who combined forces with a CIA agent (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and a rich socialite (Julia Roberts) to direct a massive covert operation during the Cold War era. R. 97 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (1/3)
Dan in Real Life: Poor Dan (Steve Carrell) is an advice columnist with a passel of daughters whose life is further complicated when he falls for his brother’s girlfriend (Juliette Binoche). Also, the brother is played by Dane Cook. PG13. 99 min. Movies 12.
Eagle vs. Shark: “Napoleon Dynamite in New Zealand” is both too glib a description and not that far off for this overly quirky film about two peculiar characters who sort of fall in love — when one’s not “training” to defeat his high school nemesis in single combat. Still, it’s not without its charms. R. 87 min. Bijou LateNite. (12/20)
Fred Claus: So what if Santa had a brother? Who happened to be the opposite of the saintly gift-giver: a repo man? That’s the basic premise of this film, but the reason people will see it, I suspect, is for Paul Giamatti in a Santa suit getting in a fight with Vince Vaughn. PG. 116 min. Movies 12.
Game Plan, The: The Rock stretches his dramatic skills as a football player faced with a strange challenge: a little girl who claims to be his daughter. PG. Movies 12.
Golden Compass, The: An only slightly above average film — mostly on account of the fantastic casting — based on Philip Pullman’s utterly brilliant novel. In a world much like our own, everyone has an animal companion who’s part of themselves, and one little girl (newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) is the key to saving not just her own world, but countless others as well. With Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliott and Eva Green. PG13. 113 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/13)
Great Debaters, The: Denzel Washington (who also directs) stars in the (based-on-a-true) story of a debate coach in the segregated South who leads his Texas college team to a face-off with Harvard. PG13. 123 min. VRC Stadium 15.
Hitman: Timothy Olyphant, go back to Deadwood! No, kidding, kidding. But honestly, I’m not sure this videogame-based film about a professional assassin trying to find out who set him up (wait, does this remind anyone of Jason Bourne?) is the best place for you. R. 100 min. Movies 12.
I Am Legend: Will Smith does the all-by-his-lonesome thing in a New York City left not exactly empty after a manmade virus devastates the globe. During the day, he tries to find other survivors; at night, he tries to survive the creatures that are what’s left of humanity. PG13. 100 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/20)
Juno: Director Jason Reitman’s turned out another buzzworthy movie, this time with a screenplay by newcomer Diablo Cody. Ellen Page (Hard Candy) plays a pregnant teenager dealing with herself, her future, her parents, the best friend who fathered the kid and the couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) who wants to adopt it. PG13. 96 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: This story about a magical toy store, its owner (Dustin Hoffman) and the young shop employee who might inherit it (Natalie Portman) is written and directed by Zach Helm, who also wrote last year’s Stranger Than Fiction. G. 94 min. Movies 12.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets: Nicolas Cage returns for more adventure and hijinks — something to do with the president’s secret book (hey, this sounds like Crooked Little Vein!) and clearing his family’s name; did great-great grandpa have something to do with Lincoln’s assassination? With Helen Mirren. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
No Country for Old Men: The latest from the Coen brothers is a near-masterpiece, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel, and it’s earning plenty of acclaim itself. The story involves a small-town sherriff, a deadly drug deal and a psychopathic killer (Javier Bardem). The reviewers say “intense,” “searing,” “an evil delight.” R. 122 min. VRC Stadium 15. (11/29)
One Missed Call: Cell phones are scary, especially when they, um, play voicemails for you? That are of your own death? Who thinks this stuff up? Didn’t electronics-as-nightmare-devices already fail with Pulse? Ah well. Starring Shannyn Sossamon and Edward Burns. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
P.S. I Love You: Holly (Hilary Swank) must go on without the love of her life, Gerry (Gerard Butler) when illness strikes. But for her 30th birthday, she gets a letter and a tape from Gerry, telling her how to make the most of her life. Sorry, have to end this there; I feel a bit queasy from all the sweetness. PG13. 126 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Resident Evil: Extinction: Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still trying to get rid of that pesky zombie-making virus. For this third film in the series, Alice gets new friends (we suspect they replace those zombified last time out) including Heroes‘ Ali Larter and singer Ashanti. R. 95 min. Movies 12.
Sweeney Todd: Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (and Alan Rickman!) star in Tim Burton’s take on the Broadway musical about a murderous barber who’s sworn revenge for what happened to his wife and daughter. “Depp is simply stupendous,” says Rolling Stone. R. 117 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/27)
3:10 to Yuma: Russell Crowe and Christian Bale costar in this solid Western from director James Mangold (Walk the Line). Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard that was made into a film in 1957, the film follows a vicious outlaw (Crowe) and the Civil War vet (Bale) who’s volunteered to get the thief to the train that’ll take him to trial. R. 117 min. Movies 12. (9/13)
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep: It’s nice to see Ben Chaplin (The Truth About Cats and Dogs) again, even if it’s in this too-cute-but-still-charming children’s film about a boy who finds a mysterious eggs that turns into a mythical creature. Directed by Jay Russell (My Dog Skip). PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Bijou Art Cinemas
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
VRC Stadium 15 342-6536 | Valley River Center
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall