NOW IN THEATERS
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Divisive director Zack Snyder returns for what could be considered the sequel to his 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel but is, more accurately, a prequel to 2017’s
The Justice League Part One. As such, he crams in a lot of set-up, introducing Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) to Batman (Ben Affleck), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in a world that is trying to figure out what to do when a being of Superman’s capabilities touches down. This is all too much plot for the style-over-story filmmaker to bear, and the movie collapses before the heroes come to blows in the finale. There’s much to like: Gadot steals the show, Affleck is the best Batman yet, the score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL offers wonders, and the effects and action are all top-notch. It doesn’t fully come together, however, and the dour tone will serve as many viewers’ Kryptonite. Rated PG-13. 153 minutes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Regal Stadium 14; DreamCatcher. Screens in 2-D only at Violet Crown. (Robert Ker)
THE BIG SHORT
Adam McKay’s movie is by turns funny, frightening, suspenseful, informative, and tragic. It examines the 2008 near-collapse of the world financial system from the perspectives of four analysts, or teams, who had the vision to recognize what nobody else saw coming: the rottenness of the system, the worthlessness of the packaged mortgages on which the economy was gliding, and the inevitable devastating crash when the bubble burst. They bet against the economy. They bet big. And they won. That McKay is able to explain the financial collapse that cost so many people their homes and savings — and make it entertaining — is a remarkable achievement. Terrific performances come from a cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Christian Bale.
Rated R. 130 minutes. Regal DeVargas. (Jonathan Richards)
This spinoff of the X-Men franchise thumbs its nose at superhero tropes right from the opening credits, which include a list of stereotypes (a British villain, a hot chick) in lieu of the characters’ names. From there, the indestructible super-antihero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) breaks the fourth wall and makes crude and self-referential gags while en route to killing the British villain (Ed Skrein) who disfigured him and winning back his hot chick (Morena Baccarin) with the help of some D-listers from the X-Men. The film doesn’t avoid the clichés it lampoons, particularly in telling the character’s origin story — which is like every superhero backstory, only with more cancer and torture — but the jokes often work, even if they can be overly puerile.
Deadpool provides an irreverent new angle on the spandex genre, but it’s never quite as madcap as it thinks it is. Rated R.
108 minutes. Violet Crown. (Robert Ker)
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT PART 1
The Divergent film series, based on Veronica Roth’s book trilogy, hasn’t been a massive success, but it’s done well enough that the final book is split into two films, much like the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games adaptations were. In the first of the two parts, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) must use their special gifts to escape the walls that surround Chicago and save humanity. Rated PG-13. 121 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s film is a mesmerizing tale set in the Amazon rainforest, with outstanding black-and-white cinematography by David Gallego. The story follows two narratives, one set in the early 1900s and the other in the 1940s, and moves back and forth between them to follow the adventures of two men on parallel journeys, each searching for the rare yakruna, a flower with valuable healing properties. Through the movie’s nonlinear structure, we see imperialism’s lasting effects on the rainforest, and how the rise of industry has led to loss of habitat and violence due to the rubber trade. Embrace of the
Serpent calls attention to the tremendous loss of knowledge and culture in the Amazon but does so without being didactic. Not rated. 125 minutes. In Spanish, German, Catalan, and Portuguese with subtitles. Center for Contemporary Arts (Michael Abatemarco)
EYE IN THE SKY
Helen Mirren plays Katherine Powell, an army colonel leading a drone mission against a terrorist cell in Kenya. When an innocent nine-year-old girl enters the target area, she must make a difficult decision about whether to proceed or not. Alan Rickman co-stars in one of his final roles. Rated R. 102 minutes.
Regal DeVargas. (Not reviewed)
GOD’S NOT DEAD 2
In the two years since the breakout hit God’s Not Dead, God still hasn’t died. To prove it, a community stands up for a teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) who lands in hot water when she expresses her faith to a classroom. Robin Givens and Ernie Hudson co-star, and Christian rock band Newsboys perform. Rated PG. 121 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS
The spunky, capable Sally Field lifts this by-thenumbers romantic comedy with a May-November twist. Doris (Field) is an eccentric sixty-something office worker who is smitten with her company’s new young art director, the handsome if slightly dorky John (Max Greenfield). Inspired by a self-help guru (Peter Gallagher) by the notion that “impossible” can be read as “I’m possible,” she sheds her mousy ways and blossoms into a music hipster, with internet advice from the teenage daughter of her best friend Roz (the great Tyne Daly). Director Michael Showalter puts us through some excruciating bits of comic awkwardness, and gives a nod to the survival of the sex drive in the social security-generation. Sometimes it’s very funny, sometimes it’s moving, but ultimately the movie plays it safe along the generation gap. Rated R. 95 minutes.
Regal DeVargas. (Jonathan Richards)
I SAW THE LIGHT
We now have our Hank Williams biopic for this generation. And it is dead in the back seat. The brunt of the telling by writer/director Marc Abraham gets bogged down in dreary scenes of alcoholism, bickering, partying, womanizing, divorce papers, and contractual squabbles. None of it feels like much fun. True, Williams (Tom Hiddleston) sang a lot about heartbreak, but he also showed a joy in performing that connected him with his audiences, and that joy seldom makes itself felt on screen. Instead, there seems to be an increasing contempt for audiences, colleagues, concerts, and the music itself as Williams sinks deeper into alcohol and drugs. Williams’ life flamed out early, when he was found dead of heart failure in the back seat of his powder-blue 1952 Cadillac on the way to a New Year’s Day concert in Canton, Ohio. He was twenty-nine years old. Rated R. 123 minutes. Regal DeVargas. (Jonathan Richards)
LONDON HAS FALLEN
This sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen takes the action from the White House to the United Kingdom. Gerard Butler is once more Secret Service agent Mike Banning, in London for the funeral of the prime minister. When Banning discovers a shadowy plot to kill all of the world leaders at the funeral, it’s up to him to save the day. Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Aaron Eckhart are among the returning cast members. Rated R.
99 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
MEET THE BLACKS
The 2013 horror film The Purge has another sequel coming later in the year, but if you can’t wait that long, then this parody could tide you over. Mike Epps plays Carl Black, a father who moves his African-American family to Beverly Hills. When “the purge” comes around — the one night a year when all crimes are legal — his racist neighbors try to break into his house and kill everyone, to many laughs. Mike Tyson and George Lopez co-star. Rated R. 90 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN
This adaptation of the faith-based memoir by Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner) examines an event in the life of Christy’s daughter, Anna (Kylie Rogers). Anna suffers from a digestive disorder that forces her to use feeding tubes. When she falls down the hollow of a cottonwood tree and survives a near-death experience, the disorder disappears from her body. Rated PG. 109 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2
It’s been years since Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) tied the knot in the indie smash My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Their marriage is on the rocks, as their daughter (Elena Kampouris) prepares for college. Meanwhile, Toula’s parents (Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine) discover they’ve never legally been hitched, leading to another big fat Greek wedding. Rated PG-13. 94 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
Two brothers in a sheep-raising community — the film is set in Baroardalur, Iceland — have nurtured a frigid silence for 40 years, despite being neighbors. The bucolic lifestyle of the villagers is shattered when a veterinarian determines that a dreaded disease has infected some sheep and all of their herds must be destroyed. The catastrophe intensifies the enmity of the brothers, but before the end they must cooperate to survive ... but do they?
Rated R. 93 minutes. The Screen. (Paul Weideman)
The adventures of Hugh Glass, one of the legendary mountain men of the American frontier, make for spellbinding storytelling. Whether they make a spellbinding movie is most likely in the eye of the beholder. The facts of this tale are grisly, and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu hews closely
to them. Mauled by a bear and left to die by his companions, Glass incredibly survived, made it back over hundreds of miles of wilderness to civilization, and sought revenge on the men who had abandoned him. A man being attacked by a bear is riveting cinema; a man dragging himself over hundreds of miles of frozen landscape is not. The true story of Hugh Glass is a testament to man’s capacity for endurance. For better or for worse, so is the movie. Rated R. 158 minutes. In English, French, Pawnee, and Arikara with some subtitles. Regal Stadium 14. (Jonathan Richards)
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
This follow-up to the giant-monster film Cloverfield may confound anyone expecting a sequel. The movies are like two long episodes of The Twilight Zone, both shepherded by producer J.J. Abrams, sharing a supernatural slant — and that’s it. This time, a woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up from a car accident in a cellar. The strange man with her (John Goodman) insists that an apocalyptic event has occurred outside and that he is keeping her safe, but she’s not so sure. It mostly plays out as a claustrophobic horror film, and Goodman is menacing in one of his darker roles, but it’s hard to stay invested in the basement drama with the lingering mystery above. When that mystery is finally revealed, it’s too silly to truly satisfy. Rated PG-13. 105 minutes. Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
In this good-hearted documentary of ideas, Michael Moore sets off for Europe to see what other countries have that we don’t, and he claims what he can for the Stars and Stripes. He invades Italy first, then France, and cuts a swath through other European countries, with a side trip to North Africa. In each place he focuses on an aspect of the culture — political, economic, or educational — that he can bring home as booty. On one level, this movie might seem to smack of wide-eyed naiveté. But Moore’s thrust is subversively canny. He hasn’t invaded Europe to expose its rotten underbelly; he’s there to capture the best of its ideas. In doing so, he provides for all of us — whether we’re liberal, conservative, libertarian, or marching to the drummer of our choosing — a smorgasbord of ideas to chew on. Rated R.
110 minutes. Regal DeVargas. (Jonathan Richards)
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
The wonderful Tina Fey has accumulated a lot of goodwill for her witty television work, but she has trouble shedding that image when she takes to film and tries to disappear into a character. This messy vehicle isn’t much help. As Kim Baker (shortened by an “r” from the real-life model, Kim Barker), a desk jockey at a New York news station who volunteers for on-camera reporter duty in Afghanistan in 2003, she plunges into a chaotic war-zone frenzy of action and partying. It’s at least an hour before you care what’s going on. It’s nominally a comedy, but the laughs are rare enough to remember them individually. New Mexico stands in for Afghanistan, and does well. There are good actors on hand, but all of them, including the ones playing Afghans, are Anglos (Alfred Molina, Christopher Abbott) with facial hair and accents. The title is from the military phonetic alphabet for WTF, a sentiment that applies here. Rated R. 112 minutes. Regal DeVargas.
Disney’s latest animated comedy takes place in the town of its title — an impressively realized and visually clever city full of talking animals. It is here that a rabbit police officer (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), fresh from the country on her first day on the job, learns that certain animals are disappearing. She forms an unlikely alliance with a fox (Jason Bateman), a small-time con man, to blow the lid off the conspiracy. The trail perhaps takes them on one plot turn too many, adding to a slightly bloated running time. However, the mystery is satisfying, the animation is extraordinary, the jokes are cute and funny, and the moral — about trust, understanding, and not judging others or letting yourself be judged based on race (in
this case, animal species) — is touching and timely. Rated PG. 108 minutes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Regal Stadium 14. Screens in 2-D only at Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)
Center for Contemporary Arts, 505-982-1338 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10: A Midsummer
Night’s Dream, a BBC production (1971). No charge.
Jean Cocteau Cinema, 505-466-5528 1 p.m. Sunday, April 10: Great American Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
The Screen, 505-473-6494 11:15 a.m. Sunday, April 10: A repertoire of work choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine from the Paris Opera Ballet.
Jean Cocteau Cinema, 505-466-5528 7 p.m. Monday, April 11: Game of Thrones season 5, episodes 7 and 8.
La Tienda Performance Space 7 Caliente Road off Avenida Vista Grande in Eldorado; call 505-466-1634 for information. 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14: Reel New Mexico presents
The Grey Fox (1982).
Read movie reviews online at santafenewmexican.com/pasatiempo
The Boss, at Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown, and DreamCatcher
Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in Concerto: A Beethoven Journey, at The Screen