open­ing this week

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ALVIN AND THE CHIP­MUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL

Ap­par­ently enough of you saw the 2007 live-action adap­ta­tion of Alvin and the Chip­munks that the stu­dio is bring­ing Ja­son Lee and the shrill CGI ro­dents back for more butcher­ing of 2009’s big­gest songs and 1997’s hippest slang. This time, there are fe­male ’munks, too. Let’s hope that the jokes in the movie aren’t as la­bored as the one in the ti­tle. Opens Wed­nes­day, Dec. 23. Rated PG. 92 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Not re­viewed)

AN­I­MAL TREA­SURE IS­LAND

This 1971 an­i­mated film from Ja­pan— which boasts the heavy in­volve­ment of an ear­ly­ca­reer Hayao Miyazaki— loosely trans­lates Robert Louis Steven­son’s tale into a Looney Tunes-style ad­ven­ture star­ring an­i­mals. The movie is the cin­e­matic equiv­a­lent to set­ting sail for the hori­zon with your best bud­dies at your side and a spy­glass in hand. It sets its sights on the tod­dler au­di­ence and should please them. Open­sWed­nes­day, Dec. 23. Not rated. 78 min­utes. Dubbed in English. CCA Cin­e­math­eque, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) See re­view, Page 50.

This may not be the most an­tic­i­pated film of 2009, but it’s close. What’s the oc­ca­sion? Why, it’s only writer and di­rec­tor James Cameron’s first nar­ra­tive film since that lit­tle one about the neck­lace and the ice­berg. This one also fea­tures an un­likely ro­mance, which takes place against the back­drop of sci­ence-fic­tion action and ground­break­ing spe­cial ef­fects. Rated PG-13. 150 min­utes. Screens in dig­i­tal 3-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. Also shows in 2-D at Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos. (Not re­viewed)

AVATAR

Nut, con­spir­acy the­o­rist, or ca­nary in the coal mine? Michael Rup­pert is a for­mer Los An­ge­les cop who tried to blow the whis­tle on CIA drug run­ning and wound up on the out­side, pub­lish­ing a news­let­ter that fore­saw the col­lapse of our de­riv­a­tive-mus­cled econ­omy. He’s pre­dict­ing a lot of worse things to come in film­maker Chris Smith’s in­trigu­ing, Er­rol Mor­ris-like talk­ing­head in­ter­view that cen­ters on the end of oil and its con­se­quences for the hu­man race. You don’t have to buy the whole pack­age to find a lot of con­ver­sa­tion­starters here. Tip: stock­pile or­ganic seeds. Not rated. 80 min­utes. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

COL­LAPSE

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MOR­GANS?

Hugh Grant and Sarah Jes­sica Parker star in this com­edy about a Man­hat­tan cou­ple whose mar­riage is saved when the wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gram sends them to ru­ralWy­oming. Ex­pect the in­evitable fishout-of-wa­ter jokes and rom-com bick­er­ing. Sam El­liott has a sup­port­ing role. Rated PG-13. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Not re­viewed)

LA DANSE: LE BAL­LET DE L’OPÉRA DE PARIS

This doc­u­men­tary by Fred­er­ick­Wise­man shows the huge and some­times dan­ger­ously icy bulk that sup­ports the magic of the Paris Opera Bal­let: dancers re­hears­ing with manic in­ten­sity, tech­ni­cians and cos­tumers at work, ad­min­is­tra­tors ar­gu­ing with union per­son­nel, and the mil­lions of de­tails it takes to make one per­fect mo­ment hap­pen on­stage. The film never lets us see in­side minds and hearts: we are sep­a­rated from the dancers by Wise­man’s ap­proach and con­cept. The re­sult feels al­most sec­ond-hand; the movie is filled with a sort of glo­ri­ous sad­ness amid the tri­umph. Not rated. 159 min­utes. In French and English with sub­ti­tles. CCA Cin­e­math­eque, Santa Fe. (Craig Smith)

Chilean di­rec­tor and co-writer Se­bastián Silva presents a drama about a maid (Catalina Saave­dra) who is a bit too ter­ri­to­rial and vin­dic­tive— par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the new kit­ten, one of the daugh­ters of the fam­ily she serves, and es­pe­cially the younger maid that comes in to as­sist her. Not rated. 95 min­utes. In Span­ish with sub­ti­tles. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe.

THE MAID

Zac Efron — alum­nus of High School Mu­si­cal— plays Richard Sa­muels, a young ac­tor in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent kind of pro­duc­tion: a 1937 stag­ing of Julius Cae­sar by Or­son­Welles (played here by Chris­tian McKay). This movie, di­rected by Richard Lin­klater, is re­ported to be more leg­end than fact; andWelles him­self was larger than life. Claire Danes co-stars. Rated PG-13. 114 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Not re­viewed)

ME & OR­SON WELLES PRE­CIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAP­PHIRE

That’s an im­pres­sively wordy sub­ti­tle, but it could eas­ily have been “pro­duced by OprahWin­frey and Tyler Perry.” The two me­dia giants helped give Pre­cious the push into the main­stream. Al­though with the re­sponse the film got on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit, this story of an obese African Amer­i­can girl (Gabourey Sidibe) who hopes to es­cape her hellish home life didn’t need the help ofWin­frey and Perry. Rated R. 109 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

This many­lay­ered docu­d­rama by film­maker Peter Greenaway ex­am­ines in de­tail the con­tent and con­text of Rem­brandt’s 1642 paint­ing The Night Watch. Part lec­turer and part in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter,

REM­BRANDT’S J’AC­CUSE

Greenaway puts him­self in the film and sifts through the cast of char­ac­ters in Rem­brandt’s paint­ing— who, ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tor, are all sus­pects in a mur­der that the painter al­ludes to in this sem­i­nal work. The film is a fas­ci­nat­ing in­ter­weav­ing of art his­tory, bi­og­ra­phy, 17th-cen­tury Dutch pol­i­tics, and mur­der mys­tery. Not rated. 86 min­utes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Dou­glas Fair­field) See story, Page 42.

Just in time for the hol­i­days, Cor­mac McCarthy’s har­row­ing 2006 novel about a fa­ther and son in post-apoca­lypse Amer­ica is adapted for the screen by John Hill­coat ( The Propo­si­tion). Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee play the pair. Ex­pect more action and ro­mance than the novel con­tains. Rated R. 119 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Not re­viewed)

THE ROAD

Please, put our eyes out: Sarah Jes­sica Parker and Hugh Grant in Did You Hear About the Mor­gans?,

at Dream­Catcher in Es­pañola and Re­gal Sta­dium 14 in Santa Fe

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