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Now Showing: Weekend films

Daily Staff Report

Now showing at Crossroads CinemaTHE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESSCast: Will Smith, Thandie Newton.A down-on-his-luck salesman (Will Smith) assumes custody of his 5-year-old son (Smith’s real-life son, Jaden) and must struggle with hardship, including homelessness, in the hopes of securing a better life in their future. With Thandie Newton. Written by Steven Conrad. Directed by Gabriele Muccino. PG-13 for some language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceVOLVERRaimunda lives in Madrid with her daughter Paula and her husband Paco, who is always drunk. Her sister, Sole, is separated and works clandestinely as a hairstylist for women. The two sisters lost their parents in a fire in La Mancha, their birth village, years ago. Their aunt, Paula, still lives in the village and continues to speak about her sister Irene, mother of the two sisters, as if she were still alive. When the old aunt dies the situation changes and the past returns (volver) in a twist of mystery and suspense. R for some sexual content and language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceNow showing at Cascade TheatrePAN’S LABYRINTHWriter-director Guillermo del Toro is the most accomplished fantasist in contemporary cinema, a master creator of images, atmosphere and mood who uses his visionary’s gifts to do what others cannot: make imaginary worlds seem more real than reality itself. With this film, del Toro has made his most accomplished film to date, a work set in two parallel worlds, the cold, brutal one of Spain in 1944 and an equally disturbing alternative universe that a serious 10-year-old girl named Ofelia stumbles upon behind an old mill. This dark and disturbing fairy tale for adults has been thought out to the nth degree and resonates with the irresistible inevitability of a timeless myth. With Mirabel Verdu, Sergi Lopez, Ivana Baquero and Doug Jones. In Spanish with English subtitles. (1:52) R for graphic violence and some language. – L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceTHE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND Based on the 1998 novel by Giles Foden, it’s the story of a young Scottish doctor who in 1971 signs up with the British Ministry of Health to work in a remote Ugandan village and winds up living the high life in Kampala, clutched to the turbulent bosom of Gen. Idi Amin. Forest Whitaker plunges deep into the psychology of the role, portraying Amin as an erratic personality whose charisma and sociability – first-rate survival mechanisms – mask a deep-seated insecurity, searing resentment of foreigners and a galloping paranoia. (2:01) R for some strong violence and gruesome images, sexual content and language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceNow showing at Riverwalk Theatre BECAUSE I SAID SODiane Keaton and Mandy Moore star as a mother and daughter bound by a mutual dependence so neurotically obsessive it makes the affair in “Last Tango in Paris” look breezy. Fearing young Millie’s (Moore) imminent spinsterhood, Daphne (Keaton) places a personal ad and interviews the candidates herself. This, more or less, is how Millie ends up dating a handsome musician (Gabriel Macht) of whom her mother disapproves and a smug architect (Tom Everett Scott) she’s vicariously crazy about. Directed by Michael Lehmann, “Because I Said So” rejects recognizable (and therefore funny) human behavior for a formula so trite it became self-parodic long ago. (1:42) PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, some mature thematic material and partial nudity.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceDREAMGIRLS As directed by Bill Condon, who also wrote the adaptation of the multiple Tony Award-winning play, this film tells a familiar story of the rags-to-riches rising of a Supremes-like girl group with conviction and pizazz. It’s a smartly entertaining example of updated traditionalism, of using modern energy and techniques to galvanize a story that was old-fashioned when director Michael Bennett dazzled Broadway with it in 1981. It’s a love song two times over, a tribute to a vibrant period of American popular music as well as a style of filmmaking we don’t get to see enough of, the big-budget Hollywood musical. PG-13 for language, some sexuality and drug content.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceBLOOD DIAMONDThis ambitious film, viewable as either half empty or half full, attempts something difficult. Set in Sierra Leone and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, it wants to be an action thriller with serious political overtones, to be as much a position paper as “Zulu Dawn.” It can be pulled apart or appreciated, depending on your mood, but it should be recognized that movies like this have become as rare as the stone that sets its plot in motion. (2:19) R for strong violence and language.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES Voices: Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Madonna, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg.While trying to save his family’s home from real estate developers, a young boy stumbles into a fantasy world of people so small they are considered invisible, where he must help a princess stop an evil wizard in this live-action and CGI adventure from director Luc Besson. With Mia Farrow, Freddie Highmore and the voices of Madonna, David Bowie and Snoop Dogg. Screenplay by Besson, based on his children’s book.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceSMOKIN’ACES It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world of hit men, hookers and assorted crazies that writer-director Joe Carnahan has compiled in this willfully incoherent action-comedy. The filmmaker spins a violent, cartoonish tale about a Vegas illusionist moonlighting in organized crime, an aging Mafioso who wants him dead, the FBI agents investigating them and the swarm of hired killers and bounty hunters who descend like locusts on his Reno hideout in pursuit of $1 million. There are nuggets of humor and flashes of hilariously choreographed brutality among the splatter patterns, but his reluctance to develop any of the ideas beyond the vignette level makes for an unsatisfying whole. With Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia and Alicia Keys. (1:47) R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceNow showing at Capitol Theatre CATCH AND RELEASECast: Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Juliette Lewis, Kevin Smith.After the death of her fiance, a woman (Jennifer Garner) seeks comfort in his circle of friends – the goofball (Kevin Smith), the responsible one (Sam Jaeger) and the playboy (Timothy Olyphant), whom she finds herself attracted to despite her better judgment. With Fiona Shaw and Juliette Lewis. Written and directed by Susannah Grant. PG-13 for sexual content, language and some drug use. – L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceBABEL Cast: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal.In “Babel,” a tragic incident involving an American couple in Morocco sparks a chain of events for four families in different countries throughout the world. In the struggle to overcome isolation, fear and displacement, each character discovers that it is family that ultimately provides solace. In the remote sands of the Moroccan desert, a rifle shot rings out — detonating a chain of events that will link an American tourist couple’s frantic struggle to survive, a nanny illegally crossing into Mexico with two American children and a Japanese teen rebel whose father is sought by the police in Tokyo. Separated by clashing cultures and sprawling distances, these four disparate groups of people are nevertheless hurtling toward a shared destiny of isolation and grief. Rated R (for violence, some graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use).- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceHAPPILY N’EVER AFTERAn animated comedy in which an alliance of evil-doers looks to take over Fairy Tale Land but a young woman rebels against her stepmother to lead the resistance. With the voices of Sigourney Weaver, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. and George Carlin. Directed by Paul J. Bolger. PG for some mild action and rude humor.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceCHILDREN OF MEN Cast: Clive Owen, Jullianne Moore, Michael Caine.The best science fiction talks about the future to talk about the now, and this Alfonso Cuaron-directed film starring Clive Owen very much belongs in that class. Made with palpable energy, intensity and excitement, it compellingly creates a world gone mad that is uncomfortably close to the one we live in. It is a “Blade Runner” for the 21st century, a worthy successor to that epic of dystopian decay. It brings so much urgency to the possibility of the world ending that we feel the kind of terror we would if the scenario were taking place tomorrow instead of 20 years in the future. A cynical government employee (Owen) must become a protector when he discovers that the life of the world’s last pregnant woman (newcomer Clare-Hope Ashitey) is at risk. R for strong violence, language, some drug use and brief nudity.- L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceTHE QUEEN Cast: Helen Mirren, James Cromwell.”The Queen” is an intimate behind the scenes glimpse at the interaction between HM Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle, following the death of Princess Diana, to reach a compromise bwtwenn what was a private tragedy for the Royal family and the public’s demand for an overt display of mourning. Rated PG-13 (for brief strong language).- L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service


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