ArchaeologyFest Film Series: Best of 2009: Selections from the festival, which took place earlier this year, play over two weekends. 7:30 pm Aug. 14, 15, 21 & 22, DIVA. $6. See full schedule at divacenter.org
Bandslam: High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens costars in this story of rival high school bands hoping to face off at a battle of the bands. PG. 111 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Chéri: Michelle Pfeiffer leads the cast of Stephen Frears’ adaptation of the Colette story about an aging French courtesen and the much younger man (Rupert Friend) she loves. Kathy Bates co-stars. R. Bijou. See review this issue.
Departures: An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Yojiro Takita’s film follows a cellist who loses his job, moves back to his hometown and finds himself working preparing bodies for funerals — a job everyone else hates, but he takes quite seriously. “Uncommonly absorbing,” said Roger Ebert. Not rated. Bijou.
District 9: Producer Peter Jackson gets top billing, but this sci-fi film about aliens taking refuge in South Africa is actually the feature-film debut of director Neill Blomkamp. The buzz is beyond good; Blomkamp is already being dubbed one to watch. R. 112 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Goods, The: Live Hard, Sell Hard: The underrated Jeremy Piven stars in this flick about … honestly, I can’t really tell what it’s about. But Piven’s character finds love while trying to save a car dealership from bankruptcy. Whatever. It’s Jeremy Piven. He’s funny. R. 90 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
I Love You, Man: Some people are calling this one a dick flick: Paul Rudd proposes to his girlfriend (Rashida Jones), but then desperately needs to find a male best friend to be his best man. So he goes on a bunch of “man-dates.” With Andy Samberg and the delightful Jason Segel. R. David Minor Theater. (3/26)
Ponyo: This loose adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” in which an eager goldfish dreams of becoming human, is directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away). Honestly, you shouldn’t need to know anything else. OK, the voice actors include Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas, and apparently those last two are just fine. Just go, already! G. 100 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Time Traveler’s Wife, The: Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana star in this adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s bestselling book about a man cursed with a genetic anomaly that sends him skipping, uncontrollably, through time — and the woman who loves him despite that. PG13.107 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Triplets of Belleville, The: Sylvain Chomet’s animated tale features the writer-director’s whimsical, skewed architecture looming over the bizarre figures, who populate his strange and wonderful story. A don’t-miss gem from 2003, the film’s Academy Award noms include Best Animated Film and original song. PG-13. David Minor Theater.
URFest: Nationally touring festival of documentary films about urban renewal is intended to “start community dialogues about urban revitalization.” Probably we all ought to go, then. 7 pm Thursday, Aug. 20, DIVA. Donations.
Visioneers: Actor Zach Galifianakis’ new film, a dystopian story about a future in which feelings are tightly controlled, is being released online (www.visioneersthemovie.com) and shown at screenings all over the place. (The night before this one, Wandering Goat also hosts a Galifianakis lookalike contest. No joke.) 9 pm Saturday, Aug. 15, Wandering Goat. 21+. Donations. See review this issue.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted.
Angels and Demons: It’s a big Ron Howard-directed, Tom Hanks-starring movie based on a book by the Da Vinci Code guy. Am I wrong in thinking you’re already going, or you probably don’t care? PG13. Movies 12.
Brüno: Sacha Baron Cohen follows up Borat with this tale of an Austrian model in America. “Baron Cohen is a geniune comic guerilla, charging right to the front lines of the war against prejudice and sanctimony,” says New York magazine. R. Movies 12. (7/16)
Casablanca: If you haven’t seen it, just go. If you haven’t seen it for some time, you should probably still go. The classic Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman WWII film-slash-lost-love-story is too packed with things to praise for any brief summary to do it justice. David Minor Theater.
Coraline: Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) adapts Neil Gaiman’s creepy, fantastic story into a creepy, fantastic movie about a girl who finds, behind a door in the wall, a fantatic parallel world — complete with her Other Mother, who has buttons for eyes. PG. David Minor Theater.
(500) Days of Summer: Oh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If only this movie were as good as you are in it. A quirky sorta-romance with a carefully created indie aesthetic, Marc Webb’s feature debut has a lot of charming offerings, but suffers from an ill-defined female character, played as if from a distance by Zooey Deschanel. PG-13. 95 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (8/6)
Food, Inc.: Even if you’re tired of the glut of information — which seemingly goes ignored by so many — about the problems with our food industry, this new documentary about the flaws in the system, which pulls together all the big guns (Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin), is worth your time. Bijou. (7/23)
Funny People: Judd Apatow’s latest stars Adam Sandler as a comedian who’s received a dispiriting diagnosis: he’s dying. Enter Seth Rogen as a younger funny guy Sandler’s character takes under his crumped wing as part protégé, part employee. With Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman and Erica Bana. R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
G.I. Joe: Oh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, why are you in this movie? It’s based on toys, not screened for critics, and the trailers make people laugh. I think some stuff blows up, too. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
G-Force: Talking guinea pigs save the world! Or whatever. Is this just an entire film capitalizing on the animation used to create that creepy-eyed creature in the godawful Bedtime Stories? PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Hangover, The: This summer’s dirty-fun buzz movie stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis and Ed Helms as three guys who have no idea what happened at the bachelor party last night. Where’d that guy’s tooth go? Where’d the baby come from? It’s a really good time finding out. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (6/11)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Opens Wednesday, July 15. The penultimate Potter tale is a touch complicated: Voldemort is at work in the wizarding and Muggle worlds. Dumbledore needs Harry’s help in many things, including recruiting a new professor to Hogwarts. Students are being attacked, and an old book is full of unexpected information. I so hope this is better than the last one. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (7/16)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: The scrappy critters from Ice Age return: two are having a baby, one might be losing his edge and another needs to be rescued. And then there’s that troubling flying squirrel from the preview… PG13. Movies 12.
Julie & Julia: Julie Powell’s book about cooking her way through Julia Child’s masterpiece comes to screens as a two-part story: One part follows Powell in her Queens apartment, the other Child in France. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
Land of the Lost: This adaptation of the odd ’70s TV series stars Will Ferrell as an oft-mocked scientist who, with his assistant (Anna Friel) and a survivalist (Danny McBride) gets transported to a strange, strange land. Movies 12.
Monsters Vs. Aliens: When aliens attack, an unlikely gaggle of monsters — a blob (Seth Rogen), a giant woman (Reese Witherspoon), a genius cockroach (Hugh Laurie) and “The Missing Link” (Will Arnett) — have to save the world. In 3D. PG. 94 min. Movies 12. (4/2)
Moon: Duncan Jones’ feature film debut stars Sam Rockwell as the lone worker on a lunar mining outpost. As his three-year contract draws to a close, things start to get very strange. Intimate in scope but with larger themes under the surface, Moon is a science fiction film that’s not been crossbred with the horror or action genres; it’s a modest delight, but absolutely worth seeing. Bijou. (7/9)
Night at the Museum 2: Battle for the Smithsonian: Ben Stiller returns to the museum in which everything — Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), tiny statues, Lincoln — comes alive at night. PG13. Movies 12.
Perfect Getaway, The: An adventurous couple (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) finds that their secluded Hawaiian vacation is a little more deadly than expected. R. 97 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Proposal, The: “High-powered” publishing exec Sandra Bullock makes her put-upon assistant (Ryan Reynolds) get engaged to her so she can stay in the U.S. As much as I’m starting to like Reynolds, this is too much ick — and contrived nonsense — for one film. PG13. VRC Stadium 15.
Public Enemies: In the new film from Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider), Johnny Depp and Christian Bale face off as (respectively) gangster John Dillinger and the CIA agent on his case. With the wonderful Marion Cotillard. R. Movies 12.
Star Trek: Even the most crotchety critics are loving J.J. Abrams’ take on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise — and the rivalry-turned-friendship of young James Tiberius Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). With Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, John Cho and Eric Bana. PG13. 126 min. Movies 12. (5/14)
Taking of Pelham 123, The: Denzel Washington is a New York subway dispatcher whose day gets a little weird when John Travolta hijacks a train and threatens to kill passengers if he doesn’t get a hefty sum. R. Movies 12.
Terminator: Salvation: Christian Bale takes on the role of John Connor, the hopeful savior of humankind. Sam Worthington is Marcus Wright, whose memories don’t match up with his body; Bryce Dallas Howard and Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin also costar. PG13. 115 min. Movies 12. No stars (5/28)
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen: A selection of comments: Roger Ebert: “a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments.” Detroit News: “A great grinding garbage disposal of a movie.” Dark Horizons: “The male teenage cinematic equivalent of snorting cocaine off a hooker’s ass.” Chicago Tribune: “like listening to rocks in a clothes dryer for 2 1/2 hours.” I think you get the point. PG13. 149 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Ugly Truth, The: Any theories about why Katherine Heigl is once again playing a TV show employee? This charmer pairs her with Gerard Butler as a bad-boy TV personality who thinks he knows everything about the difference between men and woman. You got that “charmer” was being used sarcastically, right? R. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine: My efforts to will this movie into not sucking proved mostly fruitless. Sure, Jackman is fine, Schreiber makes a good Sabretooth (if one utterly unlike the one in earlier films), and for about 10 minutes, Ryan Reynolds is a fantastic Deadpool, but the poor effects, silly plot and shallow writing don’t give me much else to care about. PG13. 107 min. Movies 12.
Year One: Michael Cera and Jack Black are a couple of hunter-gatherers who go on an epic (totally, man) journey that involves (based on the preview) women, stonings, swords and cameos from David Cross and Paul Rudd. PG13. Movies 12.
Bijou Art Cinemas
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
David Minor Theater
David Minor Theater and Pub 762-1700 | 180 E. 5th
VRC Stadium 15 342-6536 | Valley River Center
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall