New This Week
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP Short-term memory loss was played as romantic comedy in 50 First Dates. Now it’s the basis of this thriller about a woman (Nicole Kidman) who faces each new day with no memory, trying to figure out if her doctor (Mark Strong) and her husband (Colin Firth) are who they say they are. Adapted from the S.J. Watson bestseller and directed by Rowan Joffe. (R) 92 minutes. Starts Friday.
BIRDMAN or THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE Michael Keaton is inspired casting for this black comedy about a movie actor once famed for playing an onscreen superhero trying to reinvent his career and himself by mounting a Broadway play. Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts co-star for director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Babel; Biutiful). (R) 119 minutes. Starts Friday.
HORNS Daniel Radcliffe gets his demon on as the misfit protagonist of this thriller, a man briefly suspected of the brutal murder of his girlfriend who wakes one day with horns sprouting from his head, superhuman strength, and an intense urge to find the real killer. Juno Temple, Max Minghella, and Joe Anderson co-star for director Alexandre Aja. Based on the horror novel by Joe Hill. (R) 120 minutes. Starts Friday.
NIGHTCRAWLER Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this thriller as a guy trying to survive in Los Angeles who gets sucked into the underworld of freelance crime journalism, chasing stories of car wrecks, fires, murder and mayhem while the city sleeps. Rene Russo, Bill; Paxton, and Riz Ahmed co-star for director Dan Gilroy. (R) 117 minutes. Starts Friday.
REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS Executive producer Martin Scorsese puts his stamp of approval on this urban crime thriller about a pair of Chinese immigrant brothers in 1980s New York City, the local gang that recruits them, and the brother who swears revenge against his former mentors. Justin Chon and Kevin Wu star. Andrew Wei-keung Lau and Andrew Loo co-direct. (R) 94 minutes. Starts Friday.
CONTINUING SERIES: MIDNIGHTS @ THE DEL MAR Eclectic movies for wild and crazy tastes, plus great prizes and buckets of fun for only $6.50. This week: THE SHINING “He-e-e-ere’s Johnny!” cackles Jack Nicholson as he slices an axe through a door to terrorize wife Shelley Duvall in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psycho-horror thriller based on the Stephen King novel. As a blocked writer snowbound in an empty resort hotel, caretaker Nicholson is driven nuts by evil forces—but with Nicholson, who can tell the difference? Still, a classic for Nicholson fans. (R) 146 minutes. (**1/2)—Lisa Jensen. Fri-Sat midnight only. At the Del Mar.
CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES This informal movie discussion group meets at the Del Mar mezzanine in downtown Santa Cruz. Movie junkies are invited to join in on Wednesday nights to pursue the elusive and ineffable meanings of cinema. This week (Oct. 29): THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA Discussion begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free. For more information visit groups.google.com/group/LTATM.
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BIRD PEOPLE A Silicon Valley engineer who decides to chuck it all and hole up in an airport hotel outside of Paris and a young French maid have an unexpected date with destiny in this romantic drama-fantasy from French filmmaker Pascale Ferran. Josh Charles and Anais Demoustier star. (Not rated) 128 minutes.
THE BLUE ROOM (LA CHAMBRE BLEUE) Mathieu Amalric directed this twisty French thriller in which he also stars as a middle-aged, married salesman involved in an affair with a married woman who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a police investigation for a crime he doesn’t understand or remember. Based on a Georges Simenon novel. (Not rated) 76 minutes. In French with English subtitles.
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE Four black students at an Ivy League college find themselves in the middle of a controversy when a white fraternity stages an African-American theme party in this cross-cultural satire written and directed by Justin Simien. Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, and Brandon P Bell head the cast. (R) 100 minutes.
JOHN WICK Keanu Reeves stars in a new incarnation of that classic Hollywood action protagonist, the ex-hit man who comes out of retirement to take revenge on the evildoers who done him wrong. Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, and Adrianne Palicki co-star for co-directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. (R) 96 minutes.
OUIJA The mystical party game spells terror for a group of friends who inadvertently unleash an ancient evil in this date-night horror thriller. Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, and Daren Kagasoff star; Stiles White directs. (PG-13)
ST. VINCENT Reviewed this issue. (PG-13) 102 minutes. (**1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA This new offering from Studio Ghibli, directed by co-founder Isao Takahata, features beautiful hand-drawn animation in adapting an ancient Japanese folktale. The story concerns a tiny baby girl born out of a bamboo stalk growing into a beautiful and mysterious young woman who turns out to be an exile from the Kingdom of the Moon. Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, and Lucy Liu head the voice cast. (PG) 137 minutes.