opening this week
Before the Monkey Trial, before Intelligent Design and Pat Robertson and the Bush Administration, there was a face-off between God and Science in the household of Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany). His wife, Emma ( Jennifer Connelly), was a devout Christian who believed that her husband’s theories on evolution put his immortal soul in jeopardy. In Jon Amiel’s movie, Darwin’s seminal proposal is proffered as the backdrop of a family drama steeped in romance, despair, joy, guilt, and pathos. Some fine acting and cinematography are watered down in a tepid yawner that moves with the speed of natural selection but without its sense of purpose. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes.
CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold writes and directs this tense and subtly melancholy film, which is focused on a young teenager and hopeful hip-hop dancer struggling to escape her troubled family and life of poverty in Essex, England. Exploring themes of burgeoning female sexuality and teen alienation while artfully tackling some rather
uncomfortable subjects (statutory rape, for one), Arnold also introduces audiences to a brilliant nonactor— 17-year-old Katie Jarvis in the lead role. Not rated. 124 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Rob DeWalt) See review, Page 44.
FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES: THE STORY OF AMERICAN FILM CRITICISM
Film critic Gerald Peary’s documentary looks at the history of film criticism and questions its future. The talking heads, including Roger Ebert, Molly Haskell, and Harry Knowles, offer insightful and witty comments on criticism, and the question “What qualifies you to be a critic?” is answered with disarming honesty. Not rated. 80 minutes. 1 p.m. Saturday, March 13 only. CCA
Cinematheque, Santa Fe; 9 p.m. Sunday, March 14, only. Taos Community Auditorium, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575-758-2052. The director appears at both screenings. (Robert Nott) See “The Big Picture,” Page 38.
In director Roman Polanski’s newest thriller, Ewan McGregor plays a ghost writer who takes on a former British Prime Minister’s memoirs, only to find that some of the chapters are much darker than he expected. Soon enough, his life is in jeopardy. Pierce Brosnan, Tom Wilkinson, and Kim Cattrall star. Rated PG-13. 128 minutes. Regal
DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
Director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon, who teamed up on the last two Bourne movies, return with an un-Bourne movie about international espionage. Expect hand-held camerawork, beige tones, and “you have no idea who you’re dealing with here” dialogue. Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, and Amy Ryan co-star. Rated R. 115 minutes. Regal
Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
OUR FAMILY WEDDING
Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia play men whose children are getting married. Although the fathers initially hate each other, they eventually learn that African Americans and Mexican Americans both think love is peachy and that it’s most amusing when dignified-looking people fall into swimming pools. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes.
Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)
Robert Pattinson is so dreamy. Here, he takes out his Twilight fangs to play a cute, gifted, and emotionally wounded rebel— part James Dean, part puppy dog— who just needs the right girl to clean him up, teach him to love, and help him realize his true potential. Any takers? Emilie de Ravin ( Lost’s Claire) plays the gal who lands this catch. Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan play the daddies of these two crazy kids. Rated PG-13. 128 minutes.
Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE
Finally, here’s a comedy that celebrates the phenomenon of men who date women who are much more attractive than them. Wait, isn’t that every romantic comedy? Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz. Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. Dudley Moore and any of his female leads. She’s Out of My
League is apparently different because it tackles the material directly and is raunchier about it. Rated R. 104 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe;
DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)
Dogs are just plain cool. But how do you bring that across to members of the general public who regard dogs as, well, just dogs? Filmmakers Barry Stone and Kim Webster think they have the answer with Sniff— The Dog Movie. They wrap a serious “dogumentary” around a comedic story line about two out-of-work British actors who discover that dogs are not just wonderful critters, they can also save lives and make things easier for so many. The heartwarming real-life dog stories help the film go beyond the rather weak subplot. Not rated. 90 minutes. 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18, only. Q&A with Stone and Webster follow the screenings. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Ben Swan)
SNIFF — THE DOG MOVIE
WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE
Emily and Sarah Kunstler, the daughters of radical lawyer William Kunstler, take on the controversial legacy of their father. Using home movies, archival footage, and interviews, they piece together a fairly unsentimental portrait of a man who defended Freedom Riders, the Chicago Seven, and inmates involved in the Attica Prison riots but who also won highly contentious acquittals for known terrorists and assassins in the 1980s. Kunstler’s life was lived at the intersection of many of the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, making this a dazzling portrait of a bygone era. Not rated. 86 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Casey Sanchez) See review, Page 44.
Olé! Olé! Harrison Sansostri, Jennifer Connelly, and Paul Bettany in Creation, at CCA Cinematheque in Santa Fe