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|April 24-30, 2008
A successful, single businesswoman hires a low-brow working girl to be her surrogate mother. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
The Band’s Visit
A band of Egyptian police get lost in Israel on their way to an Arab Arts ceremony. Rated PG-13. At Colony Square.
A romantic comedy in which five Lebanese women living in Beirut explore the facets of their varying love lives. Rated PG. At Chez Artiste.
On December 8, 1980 — a date with destiny that will forever be etched on the tragic history of music — Mark David Chapman (Jared Leto) shot John Lennon five times outside The Dakota, the New York apartment Lennon shared with wife Yoko Ono. Why did he do it? What compelled this apparently normal married man to assassinate a music legend and icon of the ’60s peace and love movement? Writer/director J.P. Schaefer delves into Chapman’s deteriorating mental state in the weekend leading up to the inevitable tragedy. Did his attachment to the classic novel The Catcher in the Rye finally cause him to lose his grip on reality and carry out the infamous murder? Lindsay Lohan co-stars. Rated R. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
This film is based on the true story of the largest counterfeit operation in recorded history. In 1936, a skilled counterfeiter in Berlin, Saloman Sorowitsch, is thrown into the Nazi concentration camps. While in the camps, his amazing counterfeiting capabilities are discovered by guards, and he is put to work for the government’s Operation Berhard, a fake currency program. Sorowitsch faces moral dilemmas as his actions might ultimately prolong the war and damage the lives of his fellow prisoners. Rated R. At Chez Artiste.
After being introduced to an underground sex club, an accountant becomes a suspect in the disappearance of a woman. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Sqaure and Twin Peaks.
A dork squad (Tory Gentile, Nate Hartley, David Dorfman) anticipates a year of torment by a school bully (Alex Frost), but then a homeless Army deserter with a sunny attitude (Owen Wilson) comes to the rescue. This movie drags us back to harshly delineated cliques and fierce, hollow calculation, reminiscent of the well-liked 1980s John Hughes films. But something about the nerds-versus-bully premise is off from the beginning. Rated PG-13 (crude sexual references throughout, strong bullying, language, drug references and partial nudity). At Flatiron. — Michael Phillips
The preposterous 88 Minutes is a serial-killer movie starring Al Pacino as a forensic psychiatrist chasing a copycat psycho around Seattle, as one blood-drenched female victim after another is discovered hanging upside down from some sort of pulley contraption, like a Cirque du Soleil act gone awry. The movie throws so much awkward back story at you, so late in the game, it’s as if it’s out to kill you with exposition. Rated R (disturbing violent content, brief nudity and language). At Century, Twin Peaks and Flatiron. — Michael Phillips
Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo
In the spring of 2005, a graduate filmmaker from UCLA set forth to make a documentary reflecting an element of contemporary music culture that had yet to be fully examined. The notion was to capture something raw and original. He searched for something unpretentious and genuine, yearning to make a film that would stand out from other music documentaries and potentially redefine the genre. Who he found was the band Electric Apricot, what he achieved was enlightenment. Unexpectedly while searching for enlightenment the duality of existence was unveiled. Electric Apricot: Quest For Festeroo marks the feature directorial debut by renowned songwriter/musician, Les Claypool. Not rated. At Boulder Theater. — Denver Film Society
First Saturday in May
A documentary that follows jockeys as they compete for a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Not rated. At Chez Artiste.
This film marks Jet Li and Jackie Chan’s long-anticipated first onscreen pairing, which unfortunately comes late in their careers. Once the film finally puts these justly revered figures in their element, with Li and Chan battling for supremacy in a crumbling shrine, the film becomes magical. Unfortunately, it’s a long, eye-rolling haul to get there, hampered by lurching exposition and hammy setup. Rated PG-13 (martial-arts violence). At Century, Flatiron, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Tasha Robinson
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
See full screen review on page 55. Rated R. At Century, Flatiron, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay
Harold and Kumar are back, and running from the law. Suspected of being terrorists when trying to sneak a bong on their flight to Amsterdam, the two must evade the law, one joint at a time. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
Horton Hears A Who
This moderately pleasant animated feature, taken from a 1954 Dr. Seuss book, features Jim Carrey as the voice of Horton the elephant and Steve Carell as the mayor of Who-ville. The film is easier to take than recent live-action Seuss clunkers (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Cat in the Hat), but when will Hollywood make a Seuss feature that’s even half as nifty as the source material? Rated G. At Century, Flatiron, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
A manic-depressive hit man (Colin Farrell) and his older, calmer partner (Brendan Gleeson) are sent by their boss (Ralph Fiennes) to Bruges, Belgium, for an enforced vacation after a job goes horribly wrong. Writer-director Martin McDonagh writes sharp dialogue and lets his killers go on, amusingly, as the banter is very much the thing here. Rated R (strong bloody violence, pervasive language, and some drug use). At Starz. — Michael Phillips
Irina Palm is not unlike Vera Drake, which centers on an ordinary woman compelled to take extraordinary measures in the name of altruism — and at the risk of otracism. It gets its title from the pseudonym Maggie— a rather simple, kindly grandmother — adopts upon undertaking the world’s oldest profession. Though nothing in her staid suburban life as a widowed homemaker has prepared her for this, Maggie is so desperate to pay her sick grandson Olly’s medical bills that she finds herself answering a help-wanted ad for a hostess hung in the window of a local sex club. As her naiveté about the job’s requirements dissolves, her newfound alter ego evolves under the influence of her boss, Miki. Weathering the gossip of her neighbors and the suspicions of her son and daughter-in-law, Maggie matures from a meek, helpless widow into a tough, capable heroine — one who even finds romance in this most improbable of settings. Rated R. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
Kiss the Bride
When Matt receives an invitation to high school best friend Ryan’s wedding he’s surprised — especially that Ryan is marrying a woman! Matt plans to rescue his former love from whatever “she-devil” has trapped him into this huge mistake. On the other hand, Ryan’s perky fiancé Alex takes quite the liking to Matt. Is she very cunning, disarmingly ditzy, completely adorable — or all three? As Matt tries to rekindle the old flame, Ryan is intent on putting out any sparks. Ryan dismisses their old romance as just a high school thing, but Matt realizes Ryan may still be the love of his life. All the while, Matt must deal with “his new best friend” Alex, the two families, and a hometown he thought he’d left entirely in the past. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
In this film set in 1925, George Clooney (who also directs) plays Dodge Connolly, ringleader of the scrappy, financially challenged Duluth Bulldogs football team. John Krasinski (The Office) plays a college football star recruited to legitimize the flailing franchise. It’s a promising setup, and for a while Leatherheads coasts on atmosphere and Clooney’s artful mugging, but Clooney’s third directorial effort is ultimately sidelined by a script that plays like an imitation of another era’s artifacts. PG-13 (brief strong language). At Flatiron, Century and Colony Square. — Michael Phillips
In this emotionally taut narrative, Li Qi Ming travels from his small village to the city of Wuhan, determined to fulfill his wife's last wish of seeing her son. But instead of finding his son, he discovers his daughter working as a karaoke bar escort, forcing him to come to terms with their long-estranged relationship and the tenuous future of his family. Director Wang Chao uses Li Qi Ming to represent the painful reality of thousands of parents who have lost contact with their children through rural exodus and political upheaval in China. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
This film is structured like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, but the positive comparisons to Hitchcock films end there. The year is 1949, and Harry (Chris Cooper) tells Richard (Pierce Brosnan) that he’s leaving his wife for his mistress, but he decides that murder would be less upsetting to his spouse than the truth. This film seems carefully calibrated to shock viewers out of a familiar frame of reference, but its pleasures are all coldly intellectual. Rated PG-13 (suggested sexuality and adult themes). At Mayan. — Tasha Robinson
My Blueberry Nights
The first English-language film from Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai features singer and not-quite-actress Norah Jones as a lovelorn New York woman traveling west. The director’s neon-drenched imagery is suffocatingly lovely; unfortunately, this fable refuses to coalesce. With Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz. Rated PG-13 (mature thematic material including violence, drinking and smoking). At Mayan. — Michael Phillips
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) plays Nim, an independent 11-year-old living with her microbiologist dad on an uncharted island. When dad is lost at sea, Nim looks to her favorite Indiana Jones-type adventure writer for help, only to find an agoraphobic author (Jodie Foster). It’s a fun story with a playful, creative sense of the relationship between fiction and reality. But clunky, overwrought performances make the film’s “real world” less compelling than its fantasy side. Rated PG (mild adventure action and language). At Flatiron, Twin Peaks and Century. — Tasha Robinson
Breakdancing didn’t die in the ’80s, or at least that’s what Planet B-Boy is out to prove. This documentary takes a look at the b-boy culture which, along with emcees and graffiti, helped define America’s hip-hop culture. Not rated. At Starz.
A high-school senior’s prom night turns into chaos as a former stalker hunts her down. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron and Twin Peaks.
Shine A Light
Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones concert picture does not capture a historic farewell as did The Last Waltz, his great 1978 tribute to The Band. And while Scorsese’s latest certainly does not aspire to anything comprehensive or risky, Shine a Light is akin to paying for a very good seat at a Stones concert. Rated PG-13 (brief strong language, drug references and smoking). At Century. — Michael Phillips
Dennis Quad is a widower professor whose book cannot find a willing publisher. His daughter (Ellen Page of Juno) is threatened by her father’s romance with one of his old students (Sarah Jessica Parker). Director Noam Burro segments everything into neat little seriocomic passages, letting an emotionally over-explanatory soundtrack do the heavy lifting. This is an effortful attempt at the sort of trenchant comedy a film such as Sideways managed without breaking a sweat. Rated R (language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, and for some sexuality). Rated R. At Flatiron and Century. — Michael Phillips
Yet another spoof parody flick, this time focusing on the action superhero movies from Batman Begins to the Fantastic Four. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron.
Jim Sturgess plays a working-class MIT student lured into a blackjack card-counting ring run by a professor played by Kevin Spacey. Sturgess is good, and so is Spacey, who optioned the nonfiction best-seller Bringing Down the House upon which the film is based. So is Laurence Fishburne, playing a Las Vegas security expert who smells rats when the blackjack phenoms start winning big. Everything else, not so good. In trying to whip up a melodramatic morality tale, the film becomes an increasingly flabby slog. Rated PG-13 (some violence and sexual content including partial nudity). At Century, Flatiron, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
Under the Same Moon
A woman (Kate del Castillo) travels from Mexico to America to find work and leaves her 9-year-old son (Adrian Alonso) with his grandmother. When the grandmother dies, the boy heads north to find his mother. This film does a lot of little things on the cheap, emotionally speaking, but it does one big thing right: Through the eyes of its hardy 9-year-old protagonist, it relays an immigration story heightening the experience of countless subterranean immigration stories written each year in America. Rated PG-13 (some mature thematic elements). At Esquire and Colony Square. — Michael Phillips
This movie treats the specter of presidential assassination as a mechanical puzzle to be solved, one piece at a time. The information sorting and gathering required by the screenplay feels like night school as opposed to a great night out at the movies. Leading up to a climactic car chase (nothing revolutionary but exciting nonetheless), the film fusses around with so many flashbacks that you yearn for some literal forward motion. With Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver. Rated PG-13 (sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language). At Flatiron. — Michael Phillips
Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?
See full screen review on page 55. Rated PG. At Mayan.
The Year My Parents Went On Vacation
During the 1970 World Cup, a 10-year-old boy is left alone in a Jewish neighborhood in Sao Paulo. Rated PG. At Chez Artiste.
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