now in theaters
Tim Burton’s uninspired foray into Wonderland features some nice character design and choice work by a cast of mostly British actors, but that’s it. As a sequel to the Lewis Carroll books, not an adaptation, it features an older Alice (Mia Wasikowska) and a lame, Lord of the
Rings-style plot. But most surprising, the visual style in 3-D is dim, drab, and muddy— perhaps the looking glass needs some Windex. Rated PG. 108 minutes. Screens in digital 3-D at Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe;
DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. Also screens in 2-D at Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Robert Benziker) See review, Page 44.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
James Cameron’s latest adventure, which won three Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, is about an ex-soldier (SamWorthington) who uses a synthetic body to infiltrate a race of giant blue aliens and help the military tap into their natural resources. The script is stale, and the film is an hour too long. To put it bluntly: now that the 3-D prints are gone from area theaters, it’s not worth seeing. Rated PG-13. 162 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Robert Benziker)
This crowd pleaser recounts the story of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless Memphis teen who, after being taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family, went on to become an NFL draft pick. It’s a feel-good yarn that would be nauseating if it weren’t true, but it scores the extra point for not going long into melodramatic territory. Sandra Bullock won the
THE BLIND SIDE
Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. Rated PG-13. 128 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe;
Storyteller, Taos. (Laurel Gladden)
The title, it seems, is intended ironically. The cops of this Brooklyn precinct are deeply compromised, either by money troubles, divided loyalties, cynicism, or short-timer apathy. Director Antoine Fuqua ( Training
Day) follows the misfortunes of three Brooklyn cops, played with varying success by Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Gere. There is a lot of street language and a high body count, both in shooting victims and in naked hookers. Any movie that ends on a freeze frame of Richard Gere walking stoically away from a crime scene teeming with police cars can’t be all good. Rated R. 125 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Storyteller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)
Director Kevin Smith presents this future cable-TV staple in which Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis do the whole buddy-cop thing. Perhaps the awfulness of the joke in the title isn’t indicative of the film’s quality as a whole, but the trailer suggests that it might actually be the best part. Rated R. 110 minutes.
Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
Being afraid of your neighbor is practically a way of life in America, judging from the slashers and zombies in our horror movies. In this one, the residents of a Midwestern burg begin to mysteriously turn violent. Timothy Olyphant, who has experience as a small-town sheriff ( Deadwood), plays the lawman who tries to keep the situation under control. Rated R. 101 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)
Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, an aging country-music singer now traveling the bumpy downhill road of a washed-up, broken-down career. He finds redemption through a pretty young reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her little boy. Crazy Heart doesn’t have much of a story, and what it has we’ve seen before, but Bridges’ fine performance— which won him the Best Actor Oscar— almost saves it. Rated R. 112 minutes.
Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)
Soldier John (Channing Tatum) is on leave near Charleston when he meets Savannah (Amanda Seyfried). They fall in love, but she has to return to school, he to his post overseas. They vow to keep in touch, but the course of true love never did run smooth. This wartime weepie is gunning for your heartstrings, but undeveloped characters and uninspired dialogue keep it from sweeping anyone
away. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Laurel Gladden)
Lynn Barber, a British journalist with a reputation for the jugular, fell in with a shady older man when she was 16, and 40 years later she wrote a memoir. Carey Mulligan plays the teenage Jenny, Barber’s alter ego, and a star is born. It’s a coming-ofage movie that examines the relative importance of different approaches to an education. Rated PG-13. 95 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
Kathryn Bigelow is one of Hollywood’s best action directors. Here, with a script by journalist Mark Boal, she delivers a taut drama about a trio of Explosive Ordnance Disposal soldiers who are counting down the days until they can ship home in one piece. It was the big winner on Oscar night, taking home six statuettes, including those for Best Picture and Best Director. Rated R. 131 minutes.
DreamCatcher, Española. (Robert Nott)
THE HURT LOCKER
Over the latter part of his life, Leo Tolstoy was known not just for his novels but also for the philosophy of pacifism, egalitarianism, and celibacy to which he gave his name. The movie shows the epic struggle between the writer (Christopher Plummer) and his wife of almost 50 years (Helen Mirren). The third point of the triangle is the calculating Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), who is more Tolstoyan than Tolstoy and wants the copyrights of his work for the public domain. Rated R. 110 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
THE LAST STATION
This documentary about a 79-year-old rice farmer and his 40-year-old ox is the highest-grossing independent film in South Korea’s history and one of the oddest true-life love stories you’ll ever see.
It’s really a romantic triangle, with the farmer’s wife as the third party. It’s sometimes a little slow, but then, how fast can you expect a 40-year-old ox to move? Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14, only. Not rated. 78 minutes. In Korean with subtitles.
CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF
Chris Columbus helms this tepid adaptation of the first book in Rick Riordan’s series about a boy (Logan Lerman) who learns he is the son of Poseidon and sets out to find Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt. The first half is amusing in a soap-opera way, and there is some inspired casting (best of all is Uma Thurman as Medusa), but the script is stretched too thin, and the action is forgettable. Rated PG. 120 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe;
Storyteller, Taos. (Robert Benziker)
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAPPHIRE
Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a poor, illiterate, obese teen who lives in Harlem with her abusive mother (Mo’Nique, who won the Oscar for the role). She’s about to be kicked out of school when her principal tells her about a school where she can pursue her GED. The film also won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Rated R. 110 minutes.
Dream Catcher, Española. (Laurel Gladden)
THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE
A superb performance by Robin Wright Penn illuminates Rebecca Miller’s intelligent and revealing look at a Connecticut matron’s inner wild child. The spot-on supporting cast is anchored by Alan Arkin as Pippa’s ailing but ebullient older husband and includes Blake Lively as her younger self, Maria Bello as her pill-popping mother, Zoe Kazan as her disaffected daughter, and Keanu Reeves as a brooding, Jesus-tattooed neighbor. Rated R. 93 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
The latest expertly crafted collaboration between director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio is also one of the best thrillers in years. Adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane and filmed in the noir-horror tradition of producer Val Lewton, they tell a tale of two U.S. marshals who investigate an escape at an island asylum for the criminally insane and discover that everything there is not as it seems. Rated R. 138 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe;
DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Robert Benziker)
This debut from fashion designer and sometime Santa Fe resident Tom Ford recounts a day in the life of George (Colin Firth), a literature professor mourning the death of his longtime lover (Matthew Goode). As you might expect, the film is meticulously tailored and beautifully styled — sometimes overly so— but it’s also touching and heartbreaking. Rated R. 101 minutes.
CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Laurel Gladden)
A SINGLE MAN
Belgian animators Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar adapt their popular festival shorts and French cult-television show as a stop-motion animated feature, delivering a fun and zany romp through alternate universes filled with talking horses, a cowboy, an Indian, giant waffles, and giggling sea creatures. Fun for adults and kids alike. Saturday and Sunday, March 13 and 14, only. Not rated. 75 minutes. In French with subtitles. The Screen, Santa Fe (Rob DeWalt)
A TOWN CALLED PANIC
Director Jason Reitman Juno) delivers a comic winner with undertones of contemporary angst. Ryan Bingham (an impeccable George Clooney) spends most of his life on planes, happily traveling to the cities where he fires people as a hired gun for downsizing corporations. Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga are brilliant as the two women in Ryan’s life. Rated R. 109 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
UP IN THE AIR
Reed (Ashton Kutcher) proposes to Morley ( Jessica Alba) and then shares the news with Julia ( Jennifer Garner), who is dating a married guy (Patrick Dempsey), much to the chagrin of her BFF ( Jessica Biel), who is a publicist for a football star (Eric Dane). Wait! There’s more— but who cares? Director Garry Marshall stuffs two hours with stale gender and racial stereotypes, tired jokes, romantic clichés, and Hollywood A-listers. Rated PG-13, 125 minutes.
Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Laurel Gladden)
This is a beautifully shot, meditative portrait of what appears to be a pastoral village in 1913-1914 Germany. Since this is a film from Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke ( Caché), life in the burg is anything but idyllic. In his examination of generational conflict and a country on the brink of war, the direrctor doesn’t lament the loss of innocence — he argues that we are never innocent. Rated R. 144 minutes. In German with subtitles. CCA
Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Robert Benziker)
THE WHITE RIBBON
Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is an American actor who ends up playing amateur detective in the case of his brother’s mysterious death on the English moors. It turns out that a werewolf got his bro, and once it puts the bite on Lawrence, he starts eating people as he becomes the title character. The special effects are OK, and there are a few decent action scenes, but the movie is depressing and at times downright boring. Rated R. 125 minutes. Regal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott)
Emily Blunt is lovely and strong-minded as the young Vic, and Rupert Friend is a charming Prince Albert. With a literate script by Julian Fellowes and fluid direction from Jean-Marc Vallée, this biopic is informative, elegant, and lushly romantic. Rated PG. 104 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe;
Storyteller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)
THE YOUNG VICTORIA