opening this week
DANNY COLLINS Al Pacino plays the title character, an aging rock star who has been coasting by on his old material for years. When his manager (Christopher Plummer) discovers a never-seen letter of encouragement from John Lennon to Collins, the singer is inspired to write his own songs and tend to his personal life once more. Annette Bening co-stars. Inspired by folk singer Steve Tilston’s story. Rated R. 106 minutes. Regal DeVargas , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
JAUJA The latest film from Argentine director Lisandro Alonso ( Liverpool )is a dreamlike Western that follows a man (Viggo Mortensen) through the Patagonian wilderness on a quest to find his missing daughter. Shot in the 4x3 aspect ratio of pre-widescreen cinema and with vibrant colors that pop from the screen, this is one unusual, fantastic-looking film. The plot may confound viewers through its absurdist twists, but it’s a contemplative work of cinema that is hard to forget. Not rated. 109 minutes. In Spanish and Danish with subtitles. The Screen , Santa Fe. (Robert Ker) See review, Page 41.
KING JOHN The Stratford HD series, consisting of live stage productions of Shakespeare plays from Ontario’s Stratford Festival filmed with the techniques of movie directors, began six weeks ago with a stunning broadcast of King Lear . The goal is to film all of Shakespeare’s plays over the course of a decade. The season’s second broadcast veers to one of the Bard’s least-encountered works, King John , directed by Tim Carroll (a specialist in period theatrical practices) and starring Tom McCamus in the title role and Seana McKenna as Constance, his sister-in-law. It’s a tense drama about political intrigue in 13th-century France and England, replete with rebellion, assassination, excommunication, and an order that the king’s little-boy nephew be blinded (happily averted). You might be wise to read a plot summary in advance, but Carroll can usually be depended on for clear direction. Indeed, the production was enthusiastically cheered at Stratford last season, to the point where two extra performances had to be added. 11:45 a.m. Sunday, April 12, only. The Screen , Santa Fe. ( James M. Keller)
KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER Kumiko, a solitary dreamer, believing the stash of money Steve Buscemi’s character buries in the movie Fargo really exists, sets off on an adventure from her home in Tokyo to Minnesota to seek it out — but money troubles and language barriers threaten to disrupt her plans. Wrapped in a stolen blanket and armed only with her treasure map, compass, and a copy of Fargo , she braves the harsh winter snows on her quest. Loosely based on an urban legend surrounding Takako Konishi, a Tokyo office worker who committed suicide in 2001, David and Nathan Zellner’s fable is full of humor and laced with fantasy, a moving story about chasing one’s dreams. Not rated. 105 minutes. In English and Japanese with subtitles. Jean Cocteau Cinema , Santa Fe. (Michael Abatemarco) See review, Page 40.
THE LONGEST RIDE The latest romance based on a Nicholas Sparks book ( The Notebook ) is this weepie that intertwines two tales of potentially doomed love. Britt Robertson plays a young woman who, just before moving to New York, meets a strapping bull rider (Scott Eastwood) who teaches her how to buck a bronco (in scenes more suggestive than anything in
Fifty Shades of Grey ). They’re inspired by an old-timer (Alan Alda) who shares his own story of romance. Rated PG-13. 139 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT Robert Kenner’s absurdly entertaining and deeply troubling documentary exposes some of the techniques used by polluting industries to con the public into believing that science is hokum, climate change is an opinion, and up is down. Pioneered by Big Tobacco, these tools of misdirection and misinformation are now used by corporate interests to create public doubt in the cynical calculation that every day regulatory legislation can be stalled is another day to fatten the bottom line. Merchants of Doubt is loaded with devastating material, but it also manages to keep its style and its mood entertaining. PG-13. 96 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 38.
REVENGE OF THE MEKONS This is the story of how the Mekons, the ultimate cult band and critics’ darling — came together as students in Leeds in 1977 and how they’ve kept going through the years, remaining true to their vision and consistently producing inspiring work. Mekons fans will appreciate the interviews with various members past and present and the stage footage through the decades — including some extremely rare clips of early shows. Fans of the band should bring a friend or two to try to expand the cult following just a little. Skype interview with Jon Langford, a founder member of the band, follows the 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, screening. Not rated. 96 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. (Steve Terrell). See Terrell’s Tune-Up , Page 22.
SPRING After his mother dies and he loses his job, the troubled Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) travels to southern Italy to recalibrate, striking up an affair with beautiful and enigmatic biology student Louise (Nadia Hilker), a woman harboring a monstrous, ancient secret. The directorial team of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson pull off a tender, character-driven, genrebending tale of romance-cum-horror. Imagine Under the Tuscan Sun by way of H.P. Lovecraft. Spring — funny, sexy, exotic, scary, and original — has a science-based premise that elevates it above the usual supernatural fare. You won’t see where this one is headed. Not rated. 109 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema , Santa Fe. (Michael Abatemarco)
TAKE ME TO THE RIVER Music and Memphis are inseparably entwined in Martin Shore’s documentary, which brings together legends from the past with newer voices to record an album paying tribute to the city’s rich musical history. The idea of a record being made in order to be filmed seems like it might lead to overproduced results. This is partly the case, but the players’ positivity buoys most dips in musical quality and narrative, especially that of the older musicians — some of whom are recording their final takes. Rated PG. 95 minutes. The Screen , Santa Fe. (Loren Bienvenu) See review, Page 39.
WHILE WE’RE YOUNG Ben Stiller and filmmaker Noah Baumbach, who collaborated so memorably on 2010’s Greenberg , re-team to explore the bittersweet complexity of middle age once more. This time, Stiller and Naomi Watts play a married couple whose lives are shaken up when they befriend a couple in their midtwenties (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried). Rated R. 97 minutes. Regal DeVargas , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
WOMAN IN GOLD Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann in this art-based thriller, based on true events. More than 50 years after a 1907 portrait of Altmann’s aunt is taken from her husband by the Nazis during World War II, their niece teams up with an American lawyer (Ryan Reynolds) to fight the Austrian government for her inheritance. The painting in question is Gustav Klimt’s iconic Portrait
of Adele Bloch-Bauer I . Rated PG-13. 109 minutes. Regal DeVargas , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
now in theaters
CINDERELLA Director Kenneth Branagh tackles the famed fairy tale, shooting it as an all-ages costume drama devoid of singing mice. Lily James plays the title character, Richard Madden is Prince Charming, Cate Blanchett plays the wicked stepmother, and Helena Bonham Carter is the fairy godmother. Rated PG. 112 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
DO YOU BELIEVE? The latest Christian-based drama looks at a wide cross-section of people and shows us how God has had an impact on their lives. Everyone from a white doctor (Sean Astin) to an African-American criminal (Senyo Amoaku, playing a character who is actually named Kriminal) is covered. Mira Sorvino also stars. Not rated. 115 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
EFFIE GRAY This psychosexual historical drama about British 19th-century superstar art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride issues from the pen of Emma Thompson, but she seems to be as dismayed with the outcome as the rest of us, especially after a couple of plagiarism lawsuits. She has skipped premieres and dodged interviews.
Effie Gray is a beautiful but dreary, heavy-handed work that only truly comes to life in the few scenes in which Thompson herself appears. As the title character who married Ruskin only to be spurned sexually and emotionally, Dakota Fanning is appealing, but almost as ill-served by Laxton as Effie was by Ruskin. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema , Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
FURIOUS 7 This long-running franchise began with fairly simple street racing as The Fast and the Furious and now includes a star-studded cast that travels the globe using wildly implausible methods to combat terrorists, shadow armies, elaborate hacking schemes, and more. The formula works, as each film seems more successful than the last. This entry is the first for Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, and Jason Statham (discounting an uncredited cameo), but the last for Paul Walker, who died during filming and is given a touching send-off. The film is more of the same — revenge, family, bad jokes, and vroom vroom — but bigger than ever. It runs a bit long, and the series has always had third-act struggles (How do you go over the top of over the top?), but, as ever, fans get their money’s worth. Rated PG-13. 137 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Robert Ker)
GET HARD One of the hottest comics of the 2000s (Will Ferrell) teams up with one of the hottest comics of the 2010s (Kevin Hart) for this prison film. Ferrell plays a white-collar criminal who finds himself in the big house, where he forms an unlikely friendship with an inmate (Hart) who helps him get by, with often-wacky results. Rated R. 100 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
THE GUNMAN Sean Penn typically shies away from action pics, but here he seems to be going for the late-career resurgence that Liam Neeson has enjoyed in the Taken franchise — even working with that film’s director, Pierre Morel. Penn plays a former sniper who is forced back into a life of violence in order to take out a bad guy ( Javier Bardem), with whom he shares a past. Rated R. 115 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
HOME An alien named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) arrives on Earth and meets a human named Tip (Rihanna). He turns her set of wheels into a hover car, and they go on a road trip around the world. This comedy from DreamWorks Animation looks vaguely like Lilo & Stitch , only with fart jokes and Steve Martin as an alien who delivers lines like “Give daddy some sugar.” Rated PG. 94 minutes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
AN HONEST LIAR This documentary looks at James Randi, the world-famous magician and escape artist who devoted himself to exposing people who claimed to be faith healers and psychics. Not rated. 90 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
INSURGENT The 2014 sci-fi film Divergent was a modest success, but it has enough fans for this sequel, released almost one year later. To the uninitiated, the plot may seem like nonsense, but admirers of the first film and the book series on which it is based will get it. Rated PG-13. 119 minutes. Screens in 2-D only at Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe; DreamCatcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
IT FOLLOWS Director David Robert Mitchell’s creep-fest is an unnerving film that plays its cards too soon and loses tension just when it should be amping up. Set to a 1980s-style synth soundtrack à la John Carpenter, it tells the story of Jay (Maika Monroe), a young, attractive student who sleeps with Hugh (Jake Weary) on their first date and subsequently becomes the victim of a supernatural stalker that follows her — on foot — wherever she goes. If “It” catches her, she’s dead, unless she can pass the creature to another person by having sex with them. While its role as a morality lesson is questionable, the film works better when it explores the nature of death, despite having a relatively low body count for the genre. Rated R. 100 minutes. DreamCatcher , Española. (Michael Abatemarco)
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE The spy movie shifts away from the gritty realism of Jason Bourne and Daniel Craig’s James Bond and back to the spirit of the 1960s secret-agent men in this colorful, overthe-top caper by director Matthew Vaughn. Taron Egerton plays an aimless kid who is recruited into an elite spy organization by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and soon finds himself trying to stop a harebrained scheme by billionaire mastermind Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). This is a satisfying, energetic, irreverent romp that is full of ideas. The MVP award goes to costume designer Arianne Phillips. Rated R. 129 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 , Santa Fe. (Robert Ker)
MCFARLAND, USA Kevin Costner, who knows his way around an inspirational sports movie, plays a cross-country running coach in this film, which is based on true events. It’s 1987, and the coach finds himself working in a Latino community full of kids who have never been given a chance. He gets them to believe in themselves, overcome a variety of hurdles, and win a championship. Rated PG. 128 minutes. Regal DeVargas , Santa Fe; Dream Catcher , Española. (Not reviewed)
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL The whole gang is back — most notably Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy — for another stay in the hotel for retired Brits in India. This time, Richard Gere brings an American twist to the proceedings, getting a few of the women all atwitter. Rated PG. 122 minutes. Regal DeVargas , Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION A chance meeting with the remarkable musician Seymour Bernstein inspired actor Ethan Hawke to direct this intimate and beguiling documentary. Bernstein withdrew from a serious career as a concert pianist when he decided that touring did not make him happy, and devoted himself instead to teaching, contemplating, and loving music. He strews nuggets of wisdom without being self-conscious or pompous about it. Bernstein is the sort of elder sage anyone would benefit from spending time with, and viewers cannot help but derive inspiration from their exposure to this kind, sensitive, compassionate soul. No music lover should miss the opportunity — nor should anyone else. Rated PG. 84 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. ( James M. Keller)
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS This mockumentary features the daily lives of vampires living together in Wellington, New Zealand. Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav ( Jemaine Clement) argue over the standard of cleanliness in their vampire den and go out for nights on the town. At about 85 minutes, the film is nearly too long, but it maintains its appeal through absurdity and sheer charm. Written and directed by Waititi and Clement (the HBO series Flight of the Conchords ), Shadows presents vampires bumbling along and doing their best. Not rated. 86 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe. (Adele Oliveira)
WILD TALES Writer/director Damián Szifron dissects and cauterizes modern Argentine society with this Oscarnominated black comedy anthology of six stories connected by a common theme: revenge. Some of the episodes make their point with economy and an almost surgical precision. Others drag on. The tales grow increasingly darker in mood, until sometimes it’s hard to see the comedy through the pessimism, and some of the material is not for the faint of heart. Cinematic revenge, served cold or hot, is always satisfying, and Szifron takes us through a wild assortment of flavors and seasonings. Rated R. 122 minutes. In Spanish with subtitles. Regal DeVargas , Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
THE WRECKING CREW Denny Tedesco’s doc pays homage to his father and the other members of the Wrecking Crew — a group of session musicians who recorded on many of the biggest hits of the 1960s and ’70s. In addition to giving these players their due, the film allows them to revisit the parts they made famous. Though the narrative drags at times, the film incorporates humor and history alongside the hits to satisfy music nerds and laypeople alike. Rated PG. 98 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema , Santa Fe. (Loren Bienvenu)
Keeping it true: Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer in Danny Collins , at Regal DeVargas in Santa Fe
Woman in Gold