opening this week
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)
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)
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.
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,
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)
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