opening this week
BLACK OR WHITE Kevin Costner plays a man who helped raise his biracial granddaughter from a young age after his daughter died. When the granddaughter’s father, a drug addict, and her paternal grandmother enter the picture, a custody battle ensues that divides both generation and race. Rated PG-13. 121 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
BLACK SEA A submarine captain ( Jude Law) takes a crew of shady misfits into the deep to plunder a sunken Nazi vessel full of gold. Once they get there, some of them realize that the fewer men there are in the crew, the fewer ways the bounty is split. Rated R. 115 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
DOROTHEA LANGE: GRAB A HUNK OF LIGHTNING This documentary about the American photographer, screens as a fundraiser for CCA. Filmmaker Dyanna Taylor, Dorothea Lange’s granddaughter, and Elizabeth Partridge, Lange’s biographer, discuss the film afterward. Not rated. 120 minutes. 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, only. Tickets are $50. Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
THE FOXY MERKINS Lisa Haas and Jackie Monahan co-wrote (with director Madeleine Olnek) and star in this buddy comedy about two lesbian prostitutes who travel the country and get into shenanigans. Not rated. 81 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
HAPPY FAMILY Academy Award - winning director Gabriele Salvatores’ comedy, part of the New Mexico Italian Film & Culture Festival, is a quirky look at the process of writing a screenplay. Ezio (Fabio De Luigi) is trying to finish a story about two families whose paths collide when their children decide to marry. He writes himself into the story, but as his characters come to life, he is faced with a chorus of voices vying for bigger parts in his screenplay and plaguing him with advice. Fans of Wes Anderson will enjoy the visual look and whimsical story, but after a while the commentaries directed at the audience grow thin. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, only. Not rated. 90 minutes. In Italian with subtitles. Jean Cocteau Cinema, Santa Fe. (Michael Abatemarco)
THE LOFT If you feel there aren’t enough movies about rascally, privileged men and severely abused women, then this is the flick for you. A group of dudes go in on a high-rise apartment for their affairs, and when one mistress ends up murdered, it kicks off a whodunit. Karl Urban and James Marsden star. Rated R. 108 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)
LOST HORIZON In 1937, Frank Capra’s film of James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon was the most expensive motion picture ever made. It was released with a running time of 132 minutes, but over the years it was trimmed down to a choppy hour and a half. It has now been restored to its original length, with stills standing in for irretrievable footage. It’s a utopian story of a place free from greed and violence, a place called Shangri-La, a word that’s become part of our language. Back in the 1930s The New York Times hailed Capra’s black-and-white epic as one of the year’s best. Though the film creaks a bit in places, that judgment largely holds up today. Not rated. 132 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See Screen Gems, Page 32.
MATCH Patrick Stewart plays Tobi, a Juilliard dance instructor who is visited by a married couple (Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard). They claim to be interviewing him for a dissertation but have ulterior motives. Writer and director Stephen Belber based the film on his 2004 play, and many tics of the theater remain — some awkwardly so. The story weaves overly predictable moments with genuine surprises. By the end, the biggest surprise might be how moved you feel — mostly thanks to Stewart’s endearing performance. Rated R. 90 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe. (Robert Ker) See review, Page 40.
THE MET LIVE IN HD: LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN Vittorio Grigolo stars in this staging of Jacques Offenbach’s opera, which is broadcast live from the Met. Hibla Gerzmava and Thomas Hampson co-star. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31. Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR The year is 1981, and it’s in the record books as the most violent in New York City’s history. Writer/director J.C. Chandor ( All Is Lost) locates this wintry tale in the NY fuel oil business, where upwardly mobile Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is trying to build his company while hewing as close as the traffic will allow to a code of honor and decency. The challenges are considerable. Among them are a prying district attorney ( Selma’s David Oyelowo), mobbed-up business rivals, and Abel’s sexy, amoral, tough-asnails wife, Anna ( Jessica Chastain), from whose father Abel bought the business. Chandor taps into the vein of Sidney Lumet’s streetwise New York films, and Isaac and Chastain, former classmates at Juilliard, give an acting seminar. This is a classic morality tale with no easy answers but a lot of great questions. Rated R. 125 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
MR. TURNER Mike Leigh’s portrait of J.M.W. Turner is a warts-and-all impression of England’s greatest painter, constructed using the director’s trademark process of endless improvisation, discussions with his actors to
develop a script, and months of rehearsal. The result is a movie that is illuminating, beautifully performed, unimpeachably researched, and shot with an inspired Turneresque beauty by cinematographer Dick Pope. At the head of the class is Timothy Spall, who plays Turner as a shuffling, grunting, inarticulate cockney whose eye and hand are nevertheless touched with divine light. The film is perhaps a little long at two and a half hours, but that’s how long it takes. Rated R. 150 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 38.
PROJECT ALMANAC Some young people build a time machine and decide to make up for all their regrets in life. When that works, they decide to make themselves rich. They apparently didn’t take time to brush up on their sci-fi, however, because if they had, they would know that messing with the time-space continuum births terrible consequences. Oops. Rated PG-13. 106 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)
SONG OF THE SEA In this hand-drawn animated feature by Tomm Moore, little Saoirse grows up picked on by her older brother, Ben, who misses their mother, a mythical selkie who died in childbirth. When Saoirse, who has never spoken, develops an undeniable affinity for the water at age six, her still-grieving but well-intentioned father allows the children’s meddling grandmother to take them from their home in a lighthouse to live in Dublin, and it is up to Ben to lead his sister back to her birthright. Rated PG. 93 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe. ( Jennifer Levin) 2015 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS — ANIMATION This year, the animated short films nominated for Academy Awards are so brief they had to add some extra films to fill out the running time. Fortunately, the best one ( The Dam Keeper) is the longest, at 18 minutes. Disney’s Feast, which ran before Big Hero 6, is another gem, but otherwise it’s a forgettable crop. In English and various other languages with subtitles. Not rated. 82 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Robert Ker)
2015 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS — DOCUMENTARY The slate of short documentaries runs long and looks at death and mortality more this year than in others. They address terminal illness, infant breathing disorders, veteran hotlines, and slaughterhouse workers — but this is typically the strongest of the short-film programs and is always worth a look if you love the format. In English and various other languages with subtitles. Not rated. 155 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed) 2015 OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS — LIVE ACTION This year’s Oscar race includes a satisfying mix of live-action shorts, from the lighthearted ( Boogaloo and Graham, about two Irish boys and their young chicks) to the inventive ( Butter Lamp, which shows a Tibetan photographer’s portrait work through nifty techniques) to the heartbreaking ( The Phone Call, about a call that a woman at a crisis-center hotline receives). The other two, about a young Afghani woman in Switzerland and a quirky Israeli woman, are also thoughtful and skillfully crafted. In English and various other languages with subtitles. Not rated. 114 minutes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Robert Ker)
Do the math: Jude Law in Black Sea, at Regal Stadium 14 in Santa Fe