opening this week
BARNEY’S VERSION Written by Michael Konyves, Barney’s Version is based on Canadian writer and journalist Mordecai Richler’s memory novel of the same title. It is an unpredictable movie, which is very much in its favor, but it’s also a film in need of tighter editing and stronger writing. Paul Giamatti is quite good in the title role (and recently won a Golden Globe for it), and the rest of the cast (including Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, and Rosamund Pike) provide lively support. At times it’s subversively funny, but it’s darkly disturbing at other moments. Rated R. 132 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott) See review, Page 44. BENTO BOX FILM FEST This weekend, Warehouse 21 and local Asian-language film distributor Tidepoint Pictures co-present a showcase of Japanese short and full-length films that range from the wacky and weird to the downright macabre. 2007’s Genius Party celebrates the work of seven animators. Based on a novella by Novala Takemoto, the live-action, fulllength Kamikaze Girls tells the story of Momoko, a girl with a rococo-design fetish who gets tangled up with a biker chick named Ichigo. Director Go Shibata’s
Late Bloomer — which sports a thrilling punk and electro-noize soundtrack by Japanese act World’s End Girlfriend — follows a disabled man’s descent into murderous madness. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 19 and 20, only. Ratings and times vary. In Japanese with subtitles. Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta, 989-4423, www.warehouse21.org. (Rob DeWalt)
BIG MOMMAS: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON There’s something about African American men dressing up like elderly women that Hollywood seems to love. Comedians Eddie Murphy, Tyler Perry, and Martin Lawrence have earned riches from donning floral-print dresses and gray wigs. Lawrence returns to the role of FBI agent Malcolm Turner 11 years after the hit Big Momma’s House, this time going undercover in an all-girls school. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher,
Española; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
I AM NUMBER FOUR John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from dangerous enemies and a mysterious past. He has strange powers not unlike those of a superhero. Three people like him have already been killed. When he falls in love, it’s time to stop running and start fighting. D.J. Caruso
( Disturbia) directs. Rated PG-13. 110 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
IP MAN 2: LEGEND OF THE
GRANDMASTER This Hong Kong thriller delivers epic, tightly choreographed scenes of the martial art of Wing Chun. Very loosely based on the life of Yip Man, Bruce Lee’s instructor and the first person to openly teach Wing Chun, this film is a delightful, if schlocky, romp around colonial Hong Kong. The screenwriting is minimal but comic and well-timed. The British colonialist villains are absurd caricatures, but who cares? It’s the acrobatic kicks, punches, and blocks that make this movie deliver. (Shows as a double feature with the 2008 film Ip Man at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, only, and on its own throughout the week) Rated R. 108 minutes. In Cantonese, Mandarin, and English with subtitles. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Casey Sanchez) See review, Page 46.
OUTSIDE THE LAW Algerian-born French director Rachid Bouchareb follows his Oscar-nominated Days of Glory (2006) with another Oscar nod for this epic tale of three brothers involved in the struggle for Algerian independence. Excellent acting and a compelling theme of the demands and excesses of revolutionary commitment is undermined by a derivative gangster-flick approach and a too-heavy reliance on cliché. Not rated. 138 minutes. In French with subtitles. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 46.
PERFORMANCE AT THE SCREEN The series of high-definition screenings of performances from afar continues with Verdi’s Rigoletto, taped live in the streets and palaces of Mantua. Plácido Domingo stars in the title role. 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 20, only.
The Screen, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
UNKNOWN Liam Neeson has always been a respected actor, but he also established himself as a bankable action hero with 2008’s Taken. In Unknown, he plays a man who wakes from a coma in Berlin to discover that his identity has been stolen. He quickly learns that there’s a greater plot against him and fights back. Frank Langella costars, and you can probably bet that his character is up to no good. Rated PG-13. 113 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe;
DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
Coma chameleon: Liam Neeson in Unknown, at Regal Stadium 14 in Santa Fe and DreamCatcher in Española