.Film, Times & Events: Week of January 8

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CONTINUING EVENT: LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOVIES Film buffs are invited Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. to downtown Santa Cruz, where each week the group discusses a different current release. For our location and discussion topic, go to: https://groups.google.com/group/LTATM.

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THE BIG SHORT Based on the book by the same name, The Big Short follows the players and profiteers of the 2007-2010 financial crisis who bet against collateralized debt obligation and sent the system reeling. Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt represent the real life men and women who called out the bubble burst before it ever happened. We’re sure audiences will feel the satisfaction of “We’re going to make the big banks hurt” in the theater that we never got in real life. Adam McKay directs. (R) 130 minutes.

BROOKLYN From far across the cavernous pond, Eilis is an Irish immigrant who lands in 1950s Brooklyn, New York, only to face crippling homesickness, glaring cultural differences, prejudice, and hardship. When Eilis falls in love with a young Italian boy from a totally different world, she’s forced to choose between her old home and her new life. John Crowley directs. Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson co-star. (PG-13) 111 minutes.

CAROL Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in an illicit love affair against the conventions, expectations and rules of the 1950s? Hello, yes, all the feels. Todd Haynes directs. Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson co-star. (R) 118 minutes.

CONCUSSION Based on the 2009 GQ article, Game Brain, the film follows Dr. Bennet Omalu as he tries to tell the world that repeatedly using your head as a weapon can lead to a lifetime of pain. Peter Landesman directs. Will Smith, Luke Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw co-star. (PG-13) 123 minutes.

CREED Well, Michael B. Jordan has sure changed since his days in The Wire—as in he looks like he ate the other Michael Jordan and gained double the body weight. Not that it’s a bad look, mind you, and it makes his appearance as prodigy boxer Adonis Johnson believable at least. Rocky Balboa is back but this time he’s training the young Adonis (really, with that name?) as he strives to fill his father’s shoes. Ryan Coogler directs. Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson co-star. (PG-13) 132 minutes.

DADDY’S HOME Will Ferrell is the step-dad competing again Mark Wahlberg for the affections of his stepchildren with weird bedtime stories full of innuendo. At least we get to see Ferrell fall a lot. Ugh. Sean Anders directs. Linda Cardellini co-stars. (PG-13) 96 minutes.

THE DANISH GIRL Eddie Redmayne looks positively transcendent as Lily Elbe, one of the first transgender women known to have received sexual reassignment surgery. Based on the true story of the artist during her revolutionary transition, and the love of her wife, Gerda, who fought hard to stay by her side, The Danish Girl opens a beautifully haunting window into a previously unknown story. Tom Hooper directs. (R) 120 minutes. 

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA A bunch of beautiful burly men on a boat fighting to survive the unimaginable enemy of the deep blue sea—based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 National Book Award-winner, this tale picks up where Melville’s Moby Dick left off. Ron Howard directs. Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson co-star. (PG-13) 121 minutes.

JOY Joy shares her house with her divorced parents, her grandmother and her ex, and then she invents something—does anyone actually know what this movie is about? Not that it matters, all we want for Christmas is JLaw. And apparently David O. Russell really loves Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in movies together—like really. Robert De Niro co-stars. (PG-13) 124 minutes.

KRAMPUS You know what happens when you tell your kids Santa Claus isn’t real? A giant, hooved Christmas demon ends up haunting your home. Probably some sort of moral about bad parenting, Krampus looks so bad it might actually be good—in that sort of “Yes, Adam Scott and Toni Collette in a Christmas horror film, this makes sense” (more eggnog, please) kind of way. Michael Dougherty directs. Adam Scott Toni Collette, David Koechner co-star. (PG-13) 98 minutes.

MACBETH Epic cinematic renditions of classic literature seem to be seeing a resurgence this year, with Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy being born anew in Justin Kurzel’s most ambitious work to date. Ambitious, of course, because how could you refashion the beloved play for the screen without pissing off at least a few hundred dramaturgs? The rest of us will simply nod and smile at the sweeping slo-mo shots, gripping music and oh-so pretty cast—because, let’s be honest, we still don’t have a friggin’ clue what they’re saying. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan co-star. (R) 113 minutes.

POINT BREAK Wow, FBI agents are so pretty and that Bureau life is so glamorous—inspired by the 1991 film (really, we’re calling it a classic now?), it’s just art imitating life, obviously. Ericson Core directs. Édgar Ramírez, Luke Bracey, Ray Winstone co-star. 113 minutes.

SISTERS Playing sisters who celebrate one final night in their childhood home, it’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler together, taking their rightful places as as the queens of comedy. There are no words—except, maybe, yes. Jason Moore directs. Maya Rudolph co-stars. (R) 118 minutes.

SPECTRE Beautiful Bond is back again: hello, piercing blue eyes and puckered pout, it’s been too long! Oh yeah—something about a secret organization, M struggling again to secure Bond’s job, and over two hours of bing, bang, boom, kablooey. Also, Christoph Waltz! Sam Mendes directs. Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux co-star. (PG-13) 148 minutes.

SPOTLIGHT In Boston, the church ran everything. When the Spotlight investigative reporting team from the Boston Globe began unpacking the decades-long cover-up of child molestation, they found themselves up against a web of religious, legal, and government cronies. The cover-up was linked to the city’s highest levels and the wave of revelations that followed in its wake rocked not only the Catholic world, but also the entire international communit
y. Tom McCarthy directs. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams co-star. (R) 128 minutes.

STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS Ooh, what a neat looking indie flick! Lots of pew-pew and bang-bang somewhere in the desert, maybe Nevada? And some grumpy old man mumbling about the Dark Side. At least the really tall lady from Game of Thrones is in it, otherwise it’d so be a total flop, right? J.J. Abrams directs. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher co-star. (PG-13) 135 minutes.

TRUMBO  He was on his way to becoming a legend, but when Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted as a member of the Communist party and brought in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, his entire career screeched to a halt. The famous screenwriter was forced out of Hollywood, so he did the unthinkable—he continued to work. Based on the true story of the man behind many of Hollywood’s greatest works, including Roman Holiday which he did not receive credit for until 2011. Jay Roach directs. Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren co-star. (R) 124 minutes.

TRUTH A group of journalists stumble upon the “holy grail” of documents—proof that President George W. Bush lied about his military service. Only, once the story goes national, it turns out the memos haven’t been confirmed and some of them can easily be forged on Microsoft Word. Truth is the story of the 2004 CBS “60 Minutes” report which sank anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes’ career. James Vanderbilt directs. Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid co-star. (R) 121 minutes.

YOUTH Michael Caine plays a retired composer and orchestra conductor on vacation in the Alps with his still-active film director buddy, played by Harvey Keitel. They sit, they muse, they don’t elaborate on the worlds existing in their minds; “Music is all I understand because you don’t need words or experience to understand it, it just is,” sighs Fred (Caine). They’re contentedly peaceful until Fred is invited by Queen Elizabeth herself to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday. (R) 124 minutes.


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