opening this week
This 1963 film is suspense master Alfred Hitchcock’s only real foray into creature features, with the creatures in this case being ordinary birds. The premise is silly, but it’s occasionally unsettling as well. Full of iconic moments like the crows on the jungle gym and classic horror tropes such as the heroine running upstairs for no reason, it’s a jolly good time. Screens on DVD as part of the Big Screen Classics series. 7 p.m. Friday, May 28, only. Lensic Performing
Arts Center, Santa Fe. (Robert Benziker)
CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY
Hollywood producer and D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff was a world-class con man. This fast-paced documentary by Alex Gibney ( Enron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room) makes it clear that Abramoff wasn’t just massively corrupt, he also torpedoed the careers of congressmen, dallied with the mob, sank Indian gaming casinos, and toyed with the lives of downtrodden Asian garment workers — all in order to transform his life into something resembling the pulp spy movies he devoured as a teenager. Rated R. 118 minutes. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Casey Sanchez) See review, Page 44.
Sam Wainwright Douglas’ biography of the late architect Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee is more about building cool, affordable buildings for people who need them than it is about glitzy architecture. Mockbee founded and directed a design-build program at Auburn University known as the Rural Studio. Dozens of interviews, including with Mockbee, Rural Studio students and clients, and other architects illuminate a practice based on compassion and social responsibility. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, only. Discussion follows screening. Not rated. 57 minutes. CCA Cinematheque (Paul Weideman) See review, Page 46.
A romantic triangle unfolds at a literary festival on the coast of Ireland. It involves a lovely British writer of ghost stories (Danish actress Iben Hjejle), an obnoxious American writer of bestsellers (Aidan Quinn), and a grieving Irish widower (Ciarán Hinds)
who is a volunteer driver for the visiting luminaries. It also involves a few ghosts and a smattering of horror seeded in counterpoint to the otherwise thoughtful, character-driven proceedings. It’s the work of acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson ( The Seafarer, The Weir), who is proving adept at film as well. Rated R. 88 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 46.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
Based on the video-game series, this silly summer crowd-pleaser has something for everyone — The Mummy meets Gladiator Lite, with a little Indiana Jones thrown in for good measure. Adopted Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) teams up with sassy Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to keep a magic dagger out of the wrong hands — namely those of the king’s jealous brother, Nizam (a kohl-eyed Ben Kingsley). It’s reasonably fun, though the fighting, video-game-style rooftop bounding and jokes about the size of a man’s “sword” wear thin. Thank goodness for Alfred Molina, who brings a welcome dose of humor. Rated PG-13. 116 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe;
DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Laurel Gladden)
Quantum of bodice: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time at Regal Stadium 14 in Santa Fe and DreamCatcher in Española