opening this week
BLACK SWAN Darren Aronofsky ( The Wrestler) turns his brutal vision on the world of ballet in this story of a young dancer driven to madness by artistic ambition. Rising ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman) must get in touch with her dark side to play the Black Swan while maintaining her virginal goodness for the White Swan in a famous ballet. The movie has lots of pain, blood, eroticism, and conspicuous excess. Vincent Cassel is excellent as the impresario who challenges Nina to this trip into schizophrenia. Portman delivers the character, but she’s no prima ballerina. Rated R. 110 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 60. Leo as the brassy, controlling mother. Amy Adams is the tough but tender girlfriend who helps steer Micky on the right path. The movie is as much about family as it is about boxing; battling his way clear of his family may have been Ward’s toughest fight. Rated R. 115 minutes. Regal DeVargas and Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Storyteller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 64.
HOW DO YOU KNOW?
Writer and director James L. Brooks offers up his first movie since 2004’s Spanglish and no doubt hopes his cast (Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, and Owen Wilson) can find the Oscar success that their co-star Jack Nicholson — who has twice won Academy Awards for roles in Brooks’ films — has enjoyed. This dramedy about a love triangle between a woman (Witherspoon), a dimwit athlete (Wilson), and a stressed-out businessman (Rudd) looks a bit too wishy-washy for Academy affection, so working with Nicholson may be as good as it gets for them. Rated PG-13. 116 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)
JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR: A MONK’S VOW TO CHILDREN
What some parents will do to see that their kids get a proper education. In Frederick Marx’s documentary, two dedicated Buddhist monks lead 14 children (ages 4 to 11) across a treacherous mountain pass on a 180-mile trek to ensure that they get Buddhist and Western schooling. You might question the notion of taking children from their homes (their parents won’t see them for a good 10 years), but the interplay between the parents and their offspring is inspiring and heartbreaking. There are the expected thrills (a rock slide) and some comic relief (a mischief-making boy) as the group works to overcome adversity along the way. It’s a bit too long and not always great movie-making, but it’s a terrific story all the same. 90 minutes. Not rated.
The Screen, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott)
You usually know that a television sit-com has run its course when the producer bring in some cute kids to shake things up. You can tell from the painful title just what happens in this second sequel to Meet the Parents. Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, and Owen Wilson all return to pick up their paychecks. Opens Wednesday, Dec. 22. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes.
Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE
Finnish screenwriter/director Jalmari Helander expands on his two previous short films to deliver a bizarre, sometimes-incoherent, beautifully photographed tale that casts Christmas in a decidedly grim light. Partly based on Scandinavian folklore but set in modern-day Finland, the film finds pre-teen Pietari (Onni Tommila) and Rauno, his hardedged father ( Jorma Tommila), struggling to cope after the loss of mom. When Pietari stumbles upon an evil, bloodthirsty Santa, the race is on to destroy him and his inexplicably cannibalistic, geriatric, and naked elves. Yes, you read that correctly. Rated R. 80 minutes. In English and Finnish with subtitles.
CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Rob DeWalt)
See review, Page 64.
As with its predecessor, the best things about this sequel to the 1982 cult classic TRON are computergenerated. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) hasn’t seen his computer-genius father (Jeff Bridges) since 1989. One night, Sam revisits dad’s old hangout and gets zapped into a digital world called the Grid, where he finds both his father and dad’s evil doppelgänger. Sound crazy? Relax — you’ll have more fun if you let the details slide and just enjoy the dazzling digital ride. Rated PG-13. 126 minutes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. Screens in 3-D only at DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos. Screens in 2-D only at Storyteller, Taos. (Laurel Gladden) See review, Page 70.
The Coen Brothers won Oscars the last time they filmed in New Mexico ( No Country for
Old Men). Jeff Bridges won an Oscar the last time he filmed in New Mexico ( Crazy Heart). With True Grit, THE FIGHTER Director David O. Russell ( Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees) returns to the screen after a six-year absence with a terrific boxing story based on the career of “Irish” Micky Ward, a tough brawler from Lowell, Massachusetts. The cast is great, with Mark Wahlberg portraying the stolid Ward, Christian Bale as his flaky, drug-addict half-brother Dicky Eklund (a former fighter who helps train Micky), and Melissa
Yogi Bear, at Regal Stadium 14 in Santa Fe and DreamCatcher in Española