In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|December 4-10, 2008
A Christmas Tale
This lovely, vinegary holiday film from French writer-director Arnaud Desplechin is a simple picture about complicated people, the members of the extended Vuillard family. Taking place over a few days around Christmastime, the film’s narrative may be more conventional than Desplechin’s earlier work (Kings and Queen, My Sex Life ... or How I Got Into an Argument), but it’s as juicy and tonally unpredictable as anything he has made. Catherine Deneuve heads a fine cast. No MPAA rating (parents cautioned for language and sexual themes). Not rated. At Chez Artiste. — Michael Phillips
Director Yair Hochner gives us a wacky comedy that ignores politics altogether while focusing on its characters’ domestic and romantic problems. And no one has more problems than gay siblings Shirley and Omer. Omer is almost 30 and still hasn’t found himself — or the man of his dreams. A series of disastrous blind dates hasn’t helped. Shirley is a little younger and has already nabbed her dream woman, Michal, owner of the hippest café in town (and Shirley’s boss). But the thought of settling down scares Shirley, who wonders if she’s ready to give up her long-held plan of traveling to Antarctica. As the siblings sort through their feelings and prepare for adulthood, friends and relatives chime in with their advice and problems of their own. No one has more of either than their “Jewish mother from hell,” Shoshanna, played, in what Hochner describes as a tribute to both the films of John Waters and the late great Divine, by Yoam Huberman, one of Israel’s most talented drag artists. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
En route to love, and to save his ranch from the clutches of a rival, a cattleman known as “The Drover” (Hugh Jackman) guides a prim Englishwoman (Nicole Kidman), a crew of mixed-race outcasts and 1,500 head of cattle across thousands of miles of Australia during World War II. The second half of director Baz Luhrmann’s first project since Moulin Rouge! develops some momentum. But you have to pass through the first half to get to the second, by which time you may find yourself drowning in high-fructose Aussie corn syrup. Rated PG-13 (a scene of sensuality, brief strong language and some violence). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
In the cold winter light of a rural Mississippi Delta township, a man’s suicide radically transforms three characters’ lives and throws off-balance what has long been a static arrangement among them. Marlee is a single mother struggling to scratch a living for herself and James, her 12-year-old son, who has begun to stumble under drug and violence pressures. So when the opportunity to seek safe harbor at a new home arises, she grabs it, though the property is shared by Lawrence, a man with whom Marlee has feuded bitterly since James’ birth. With circumstances thrusting them into proximity, a subtle interdependence and common purpose emerge for Marlee and Lawrence as they navigate grief, test new waters, and tentatively move forward. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
Voiced by John Travolta, the chief asset in a bland ensemble struggling with its material, Bolt is a canine who headlines a TV show co-starring his longtime owner, Penny (Miley Cyrus). Bolt has never been told that his life-or-death adventures are fake, so he’s the star of his own depressing version of The Truman Show. Complications separate Bolt from Penny, sending him to New York City, where his superpowers, which he believes to be real, are useless. This animated Disney feature is stingy on wit, charm, jokes and narrative satisfactions. Rated PG (some mild action and peril). At Flatiron, Century, Twin Peaks and Colony Square. — Michael Phillips
Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Set during the horrors of WWII, Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a film presented through the eyes of an 8-year-old boy whose father is an SS officer at a concentration camp. He maintains a secret relationship with a Jewish boy inside the camp, with unexpected consequences. Rated PG-13. At Colony Square, Century and Chez Artiste.
This film follows the rise of Chess Records and some of its more prominent musical acts, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry. Rated R. At Century.
Christmas on Mars
Christmas on Mars is the long-awaited full-length feature from the Oklahoma-based weirdout rockers, The Flaming Lips. The plot is something along the lines of this: It’s the future, and a group of humans live on Mars with few resources and a sense of impending doom. It’s Christmastime, and a strange outerworld and non-speaking creature (played, of course, by Wayne Coyne) makes his presence with the colony. Also, there are marching bands whose members have vaginas for heads, and a Messianic incubator baby cared for by a half-dressed woman. It’s exactly what you would expect from The Flaming Lips — silly, somewhat brilliant, and weird as hell. Not rated. At Boulder Theater.
See full screen review on page 53. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
High School Musical 3
The High School Musical series isn’t aimed at high schoolers, who presumably know by now that grades 9-12 aren’t a candy-coated wonderland. It’s aimed at preteens willing to bet high school will be the best thing ever. The first two HSM movies, made for TV’s Disney Channel, broke cable viewership records, and the first film’s soundtrack was 2006’s top-selling record. HSM 3 may be shallow, but what it lacks in narrative ambition, it makes up for in dazzling choreography that’s certain to leave its target audience transfixed. Consider it is harmlessly fluffy fun. Rated G. At Flatiron. — Tasha Robinson
I’ve Loved You So Long
Kristin Scott Thomas may be a more subtle and expressive performer in French than in English, and in this absorbing if schematic French-language drama, she’s superb as a doctor recently released from a 15-year prison sentence. The particulars of her crime, and her uneasy adjustment to a new life, form the basis of writer-director Philippe Claudet’s debut feature. Expect an Oscar nomination for Thomas. Rated PG-13 (thematic material and smoking). At Chez Artiste. — Michael Phillips
Let the Right One In
Fragile and anxious, 12-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates. The lonely boy’s wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), also 12, who moves in next door to him. A pale, serious young girl, she only comes out at night and doesn’t seem affected by the freezing temperatures. Coinciding with Eli’s arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders. One man is found tied to a tree, another frozen in the lake, a woman bitten in the neck. Blood seems to be the common denominator — and for an introverted boy like Oskar, it doesn’t take long before he figures out that Eli is a vampire. But by now a subtle romance has blossomed between them, and she gives him the strength to fight back against his aggressors. Director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist weave friendship, rejection and loyalty into a disturbing and darkly atmospheric, yet poetic and unexpectedly tender tableau of adolescence. Rated R. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
The animated Madagascar (2005) made a mint, but this sequel is a better film — less manic, more easygoing. Marooned on Madagascar, Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the hypochondriac giraffe (David Schwimmer) and hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) yearn for home in the Central Park Zoo. The penguins rig up an old, busted plane and zing the quartet (plus stowaways) not to Manhattan, but to Africa. Rated PG (some mild crude humor). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
See full screen review on page 53. At Mayan.
The 9 Ball Diaries
The 9 Ball Diaries stars U.S. Cyclocross National Champion Tim Johnson. Ride along with road racing’s golden boy, Tim Johnson, as he wraps up his day job and makes the transition to compete in his true love: Cyclocross. Follow Tim as he tackles the North American cyclocross circuit, kicking it all off under the lights in Las Vegas. Then watch as he battles through the rain and mud of the greuling USGP series, eventually claiming the National Championship title on a brutal, frozen course in Kansas City. Not rated. At Boulder Theater.
Punisher: War Zone
The Punisher, aka Frank Castle, who has sought out and killed many violent criminals must now face his foe, Jigsaw. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
Quantum of Solace
Chilly-eyed Daniel Craig is the right man for the James Bond franchise, and his second outing confirms it. The trouble is, Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) demonstrates that not every director is well-suited to Bondland. There’s plenty of action, but half the time it’s visually incoherent. The tale picks up minutes after the end of 2006’s Casino Royale. Bond is after the shadowy Quantum organization for killing his lady friend. Rated PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott mentor a medieval-fantasy-prone teenager (the invaluable Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who played “McLovin” in Superbad) and a trash-talking preteen (Bobb’e J. Thompson) in this sloppy but diverting comedy. The last 20 minutes, climaxing with a Dungeons & Dragons-type battle re-enactment, redeems much of what comes before. Rated R (pervasive language, and sexual content including nudity). At Flatiron and Century. — Michael Phillips
Slumdog Millionaire is a ruthlessly effective paean to destiny, leaving nothing to chance. It also has a good shot at winning this year’s Academy Award for best picture, if the pundits have anything to say about it. Every arrow plucked from director Danny Boyle’s quiver takes aim at the same objective: to leave you exhausted but wowed. An 18-year-old (Dev Patel) in the former Bombay, India, is suspected of cheating his way to national fame on the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Rated R (some violence, disturbing images and some language). At Esquire. — Michael Phillips
Syndedoche, New York
This fascinating brain-bender comes from writer-director Charlie Kaufman, whose earlier scripts (such as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) don’t prepare you for the conundrums here. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a theater director who dedicates his fraught life to an autobiographical performance piece he never seems to finish. Is it a dream? A death wish? It’s a movie worth seeing, even though a solid percentage of any audience will hate it. Rated R (language and some sexual content/nudity). At Century and Mayan. — Michael Phillips
They Killed Sister Dorothy
They Killed Sister Dorothy chronicles the legal proceedings that followed the execution-style murder of Sister Dorothy Stang. At 73, the Catholic nun and activist had lived in Brazil for 30 years, collaborating with the government to establish sustainable development in a remote corner of the Amazon. But along the way, she had made enemies among the ranchers who stood to benefit from the exploitation of the rainforest and its natural resources. In 2005, she was shot six times at point-blank range. Two men were arrested for the killing, but it quickly became clear that her death was part of a much greater conspiracy. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
Overnight-delivery specialist Frank Martin (Jason Statham) must once again move dangerous cargo. His wrist is strapped with a bracelet that explodes if he strays 75 feet from his car, which holds the package. The best sequences involve Frank’s inventive ability to stay close to his vehicle, but otherwise, it’s Frank’s charismatic, unruffled dexterity in the face of impossible odds that rivets. Rated PG-13 (sequences of intense action and violence, some sexual content and drug material). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
This highly anticipated, surprisingly low-key vampire movie is a film of intelligent strengths and avoidable weaknesses, a modest adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s publishing phenomenon. It’s faithful to its source material, and it’s better written than Meyer’s frothy book. Teen Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) relocates from Arizona to Washington, where she falls for tortured, sensitive vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Director Catherine Hardwicke was right to concentrate on getting the smoldering down between her stars, but her film lacks visual magic. Rated PG-13 (some violence, and a scene of sensuality). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
Back to Top