New This Week
RIDE ALONG 2 Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are back as “The Brothers-In-Law” with the next installment of the Ride Along adventures. This time Ben (Hart) volunteers to join James (Cube) in pursuit of a powerful Miami drug dealer—and mayhem, of course, ensues. Between saving getting flung across the room by a ceiling fan, fending off alligator attacks, and rocking flower-printed pants with a Miami fedora, it’s bound to be as silly (and amusing, maybe) as the first installment. Tim Story directs. Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter co-star. (Pg-13) 101 minutes.
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.
THE BIG SHORT Based on the book of 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 co-star. Adam McKay directs. (R) 130 minutes.
BROOKLYN From far across the cavernous pond, Eilis is an Irish immigrant who lands in 1950s Brooklyn 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 Reviewed this issue. (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.
THE FOREST Aokigahara Forest is a real place at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, and it’s where people go to commit suicide—so often that authorities put a sign at the entrance of the main trail urging visitors to think of their families and contact suicide prevention associations. So that’s the true history. Now go watch Natalie Dormer run around the forest, chased by paranormal forces, in search of her twin sister: how are movies like this rated PG-13 when even we have to watch the trailers on mute, with all the lights on? Jason Zada directs. Natalie Dormer, Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt co-star. (PG-13)
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.
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.
NORM OF THE NORTH Here’s a film with everything we love in animation: a polar bear! Adorable fuzzy sidekicks! Rob Schneider! OK, not so much the last thing. But still. (PG) 86 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.
THE REVENANT Leonardo DiCaprio fighting, grunting, running, shooting—a bear, among other things—and seeking revenge for the death of his son. From the director of Birdman and Babel, it’s the rugged frontier in the 1820s snow and ice, every man for himself: chills, just chills. Alejandro González Iñárritu directs. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter co-star. (R) 156 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 the queens of comedy. There are no words—except, maybe, yes. Jason Moore directs. Maya Rudolph co-stars. (R) 118 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 m
umbling 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.
13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI No, it’s not a biopic about Hillary Clinton’s congressional hearings (thank goodness). Instead, it’s “the true story you were never told” about six men who defied orders to defend the American diplomatic compound in September 2012. Based on the 2013 book of the same name, the film follows the true story of the compound’s security team who returned to fight for those left behind. Michael Bay directs. Toby Stephens, John Krasinski, Freddie Stroma co-star. (R)
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.