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Today - Wednesday April 23, 2014

1:00pm

Movies for Mommies

The Lego Movie 3D

2014, USA/Australia/Denmark, 100 MINS, G

Dir: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie

When "The Lego Movie" starts, we're deeply entrenched in the Lego Universe. We're introduced to Emmet (Chris Pratt), who looks like a typical Lego mini-figure and is, of course, a construction worker, steadily working on building projects around his blandly upbeat city. As chipper as Emmet appears to be, he is also quite lonely. You see, Emmet might work in construction, but he's not a very good builder and coworkers and neighbors routinely ignore him. All of this changes, of course, when he happens upon a mysterious woman named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who is poking around his construction site, and who is responsible for discovering The Missing Piece—a mythic object that could save the Lego Universe from imminent destruction at the hands of the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell).

"The Lego Movie" is an absolute blast—a whip-smart, surprisingly emotional family film where the toy property is seen less as a concrete template than a tool for seemingly limitless potential.  Drew Taylor, The Playlist

7:00pm

Le Week-End

2014, UK, 93 MINS, 14A

Dir: Roger Michell
Starring: Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Broadbent

On their weekend in Paris Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent), minor academics from Birmingham, each lug enormous suitcases, first struggling up the narrow spiral stairs of the once-romantic hotel where they spent their honeymoon, then in a harrumph down again when Meg finds it unacceptably down at its heels. The baggage barely fits it into the cramped taxi that delivers them to a far more picturesque (and expensive) one with Eiffel Tower views. The bags are then whisked away by porters and up to their suite, where the couple proceed to unpack the baggage of several decades of marriage.

Even if the hotel had still been perfectly charming, Meg would have found fault in Nick’s planning. Finely attuned to her unhappiness, she is a reluctant companion on their 30th wedding anniversary. The getaway only intensifies the discord, dissatisfaction and disillusionment of their longtime relationship.

Nathalie Atkinson, National Post 

9:00pm

Tim's Vermeer

2014, USA, 80 MINS, PG

Dir: Teller
Starring: Tim Jenison, Penn Jillette, Colin Blakemore

Tim's Vermeer is an exquisitely fun documentary that hits on a profound aesthetic question, one first posed in 2001 by David Hockney: Did the 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer use optical devices to achieve his visual poetics of light? Tim Jenison, a San Antonio video engineer, grows obsessed with knowing the answer. And so, in Penn and Teller's sly magic act of a movie (Penn narrates, Teller directs), Jenison attempts to re-create Vermeer's 1662 masterpiece The Music Lesson. He builds, by hand, almost every object in the painting (floor tile, carved harpsichord), and that's before he gets to the herculean task of using a homemade camera obscura and mirror to fill in what is basically the ultimate paint-by-numbers diagram. (How madly meticulous is the work? Jenison paints the stitching of the tablecloth.) And damned if he doesn't reveal the secret science of how Vermeer pulled it off. But does all this render Vermeer's art inferior to what we thought it was? On the contrary: Unmasking art history's greatest trick only adds to its wonder. Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Thursday April 24, 2014

7:00pm

Tim's Vermeer

2014, USA, 80 MINS, PG

Dir: Teller
Starring: Tim Jenison, Penn Jillette, Colin Blakemore

Tim's Vermeer is an exquisitely fun documentary that hits on a profound aesthetic question, one first posed in 2001 by David Hockney: Did the 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer use optical devices to achieve his visual poetics of light? Tim Jenison, a San Antonio video engineer, grows obsessed with knowing the answer. And so, in Penn and Teller's sly magic act of a movie (Penn narrates, Teller directs), Jenison attempts to re-create Vermeer's 1662 masterpiece The Music Lesson. He builds, by hand, almost every object in the painting (floor tile, carved harpsichord), and that's before he gets to the herculean task of using a homemade camera obscura and mirror to fill in what is basically the ultimate paint-by-numbers diagram. (How madly meticulous is the work? Jenison paints the stitching of the tablecloth.) And damned if he doesn't reveal the secret science of how Vermeer pulled it off. But does all this render Vermeer's art inferior to what we thought it was? On the contrary: Unmasking art history's greatest trick only adds to its wonder. Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

9:00pm

Le Week-End

2014, UK, 93 MINS, 14A

Dir: Roger Michell
Starring: Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Broadbent

On their weekend in Paris Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbent), minor academics from Birmingham, each lug enormous suitcases, first struggling up the narrow spiral stairs of the once-romantic hotel where they spent their honeymoon, then in a harrumph down again when Meg finds it unacceptably down at its heels. The baggage barely fits it into the cramped taxi that delivers them to a far more picturesque (and expensive) one with Eiffel Tower views. The bags are then whisked away by porters and up to their suite, where the couple proceed to unpack the baggage of several decades of marriage.

Even if the hotel had still been perfectly charming, Meg would have found fault in Nick’s planning. Finely attuned to her unhappiness, she is a reluctant companion on their 30th wedding anniversary. The getaway only intensifies the discord, dissatisfaction and disillusionment of their longtime relationship.

Nathalie Atkinson, National Post 

Friday April 25, 2014

6:45pm

The Great Beauty

2013, France/Italy, 142 MINS, 14A

Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo

This is the story of Jep Gambardella (an outstanding Toni Servillo, of 2008's "Il Divo"), who wrote a masterpiece of a novel in his youth but has been unable to repeat the success. He's become a journalist and bon vivant, living in an incredible apartment overlooking the Colosseum. He's popular in his circle but jaded, and, having just turned 65, is starting to look at the big picture.

When news arrives of an old girlfriend's death, he continues to make the rounds of high-end gatherings and nightspots in the Eternal City, but in a "what's it all mean" frame of mind. It's an extraordinary portrait of a great city where the crushing weight of history seems to bring out the worst in many. But the film also has a bit of sympathy for its world-weary sybarites, and a goodly amount for Jep, a preening dandy who, by the film's end, has glimpsed something essential.  Walter Addiego/SF Gate



9:30pm

Monuments Men

2014, USA/Germany, 118 MINS, PG

Dir: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman

In the last three years of World War II, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, a small group of soldiers, historians and academics joined forces, under the approval and guidance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to locate, rescue and return to their rightful owners the European art treasures of the world, artifacts stolen from museums, churches and private collectors by the Third Reich. These unheralded heroes were called the Monuments Men. This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.   Rex Reed, New York Observer

Saturday April 26, 2014

2:00pm

Mr. Peabody and Sherman 3-D

2014, USA, 92 MINS, G

Dir: Rob Minkoff
Starring: Ty Burrell, Stephen Colbert

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an agreeably brisk and word-happy piece of entertainment. The plot has Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and Sherman's mean-girl antagonist at school, Penny (Ariel Winter), skipping around in time and landing in three major historical epochs: ancient Egypt, where Penny becomes the beau of King Tut; the Italian Renaissance, where our gang helps Leonardo Da Vinci put the smile on the Mona Lisa and then takes a perilous action ride in Da Vinci's fabulous flying machine and the Trojan War, with burly, goofy soldiers who might have stepped out of a standard DreamWorks cartoon. Mr. Peabody & Sherman has a zesty time mixing and matching historical figures, from Marie Antoinette to George Washington.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly  

4:00pm

Monuments Men

2014, USA/Germany, 118 MINS, PG

Dir: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman

In the last three years of World War II, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, a small group of soldiers, historians and academics joined forces, under the approval and guidance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to locate, rescue and return to their rightful owners the European art treasures of the world, artifacts stolen from museums, churches and private collectors by the Third Reich. These unheralded heroes were called the Monuments Men. This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.   Rex Reed, New York Observer

6:45pm

The Great Beauty

2013, France/Italy, 142 MINS, 14A

Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo

This is the story of Jep Gambardella (an outstanding Toni Servillo, of 2008's "Il Divo"), who wrote a masterpiece of a novel in his youth but has been unable to repeat the success. He's become a journalist and bon vivant, living in an incredible apartment overlooking the Colosseum. He's popular in his circle but jaded, and, having just turned 65, is starting to look at the big picture.

When news arrives of an old girlfriend's death, he continues to make the rounds of high-end gatherings and nightspots in the Eternal City, but in a "what's it all mean" frame of mind. It's an extraordinary portrait of a great city where the crushing weight of history seems to bring out the worst in many. But the film also has a bit of sympathy for its world-weary sybarites, and a goodly amount for Jep, a preening dandy who, by the film's end, has glimpsed something essential.  Walter Addiego/SF Gate



9:30pm

Monuments Men

2014, USA/Germany, 118 MINS, PG

Dir: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman

In the last three years of World War II, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, a small group of soldiers, historians and academics joined forces, under the approval and guidance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to locate, rescue and return to their rightful owners the European art treasures of the world, artifacts stolen from museums, churches and private collectors by the Third Reich. These unheralded heroes were called the Monuments Men. This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.   Rex Reed, New York Observer

Sunday April 27, 2014

2:00pm

Mr. Peabody and Sherman 3-D

2014, USA, 92 MINS, G

Dir: Rob Minkoff
Starring: Ty Burrell, Stephen Colbert

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an agreeably brisk and word-happy piece of entertainment. The plot has Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and Sherman's mean-girl antagonist at school, Penny (Ariel Winter), skipping around in time and landing in three major historical epochs: ancient Egypt, where Penny becomes the beau of King Tut; the Italian Renaissance, where our gang helps Leonardo Da Vinci put the smile on the Mona Lisa and then takes a perilous action ride in Da Vinci's fabulous flying machine and the Trojan War, with burly, goofy soldiers who might have stepped out of a standard DreamWorks cartoon. Mr. Peabody & Sherman has a zesty time mixing and matching historical figures, from Marie Antoinette to George Washington.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly  

4:00pm

Monuments Men

2014, USA/Germany, 118 MINS, PG

Dir: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman

In the last three years of World War II, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, a small group of soldiers, historians and academics joined forces, under the approval and guidance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to locate, rescue and return to their rightful owners the European art treasures of the world, artifacts stolen from museums, churches and private collectors by the Third Reich. These unheralded heroes were called the Monuments Men. This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.   Rex Reed, New York Observer

6:45pm

The Great Beauty

2013, France/Italy, 142 MINS, 14A

Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo

This is the story of Jep Gambardella (an outstanding Toni Servillo, of 2008's "Il Divo"), who wrote a masterpiece of a novel in his youth but has been unable to repeat the success. He's become a journalist and bon vivant, living in an incredible apartment overlooking the Colosseum. He's popular in his circle but jaded, and, having just turned 65, is starting to look at the big picture.

When news arrives of an old girlfriend's death, he continues to make the rounds of high-end gatherings and nightspots in the Eternal City, but in a "what's it all mean" frame of mind. It's an extraordinary portrait of a great city where the crushing weight of history seems to bring out the worst in many. But the film also has a bit of sympathy for its world-weary sybarites, and a goodly amount for Jep, a preening dandy who, by the film's end, has glimpsed something essential.  Walter Addiego/SF Gate



9:30pm

Monuments Men

2014, USA/Germany, 118 MINS, PG

Dir: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman

In the last three years of World War II, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, a small group of soldiers, historians and academics joined forces, under the approval and guidance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to locate, rescue and return to their rightful owners the European art treasures of the world, artifacts stolen from museums, churches and private collectors by the Third Reich. These unheralded heroes were called the Monuments Men. This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.   Rex Reed, New York Observer

Monday April 28, 2014

6:45pm

The Great Beauty

2013, France/Italy, 142 MINS, 14A

Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo

This is the story of Jep Gambardella (an outstanding Toni Servillo, of 2008's "Il Divo"), who wrote a masterpiece of a novel in his youth but has been unable to repeat the success. He's become a journalist and bon vivant, living in an incredible apartment overlooking the Colosseum. He's popular in his circle but jaded, and, having just turned 65, is starting to look at the big picture.

When news arrives of an old girlfriend's death, he continues to make the rounds of high-end gatherings and nightspots in the Eternal City, but in a "what's it all mean" frame of mind. It's an extraordinary portrait of a great city where the crushing weight of history seems to bring out the worst in many. But the film also has a bit of sympathy for its world-weary sybarites, and a goodly amount for Jep, a preening dandy who, by the film's end, has glimpsed something essential.  Walter Addiego/SF Gate



9:30pm

The Wind Rises

2014, Japan, 126 MINS, PG

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt

Atypical of Miyazaki’s more fantastical outings, this film is a fictionalized account of a real person, Jiro Horikoshi, a young boy entranced by the idea of flight who grew up to be the man who invented the A6M Zero fighter plane, which would go on to become the Imperial Japanese Navy’s most infamous weapon against the Allies in World War II. As depicted by Miyazaki, Horikoshi is a dreamer and idealist, whose fantasies of soaring high above the clouds in machines of the utmost serenity are, in the end, perverted by the cold, hard reality of war.

Throughout it all, The Wind Rises is crammed to bursting with arresting imagery, youthful idealism, and a sense of impending, elegiac loss of the Japan of Horikoshi’s youth to the unyielding tides of soon-to-be bloodstained history. Buoyed by a marvelously evocative score by Joe Hisaishi, Miyazaki’s swan song can be seen as a summation of all that has come before. Based on historical fact, it nonetheless has a fairy-tale quality that outshines anything Disney has done in ages. It speaks to both the head and the heart, and it is, in myriad ways, some of the best work the legendary animator has ever created.  - Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

Tuesday April 29, 2014

6:45pm

The Wind Rises

2014, Japan, 126 MINS, PG

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt

Atypical of Miyazaki’s more fantastical outings, this film is a fictionalized account of a real person, Jiro Horikoshi, a young boy entranced by the idea of flight who grew up to be the man who invented the A6M Zero fighter plane, which would go on to become the Imperial Japanese Navy’s most infamous weapon against the Allies in World War II. As depicted by Miyazaki, Horikoshi is a dreamer and idealist, whose fantasies of soaring high above the clouds in machines of the utmost serenity are, in the end, perverted by the cold, hard reality of war.

Throughout it all, The Wind Rises is crammed to bursting with arresting imagery, youthful idealism, and a sense of impending, elegiac loss of the Japan of Horikoshi’s youth to the unyielding tides of soon-to-be bloodstained history. Buoyed by a marvelously evocative score by Joe Hisaishi, Miyazaki’s swan song can be seen as a summation of all that has come before. Based on historical fact, it nonetheless has a fairy-tale quality that outshines anything Disney has done in ages. It speaks to both the head and the heart, and it is, in myriad ways, some of the best work the legendary animator has ever created.  - Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

9:15pm

The Great Beauty

2013, France/Italy, 142 MINS, 14A

Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo

This is the story of Jep Gambardella (an outstanding Toni Servillo, of 2008's "Il Divo"), who wrote a masterpiece of a novel in his youth but has been unable to repeat the success. He's become a journalist and bon vivant, living in an incredible apartment overlooking the Colosseum. He's popular in his circle but jaded, and, having just turned 65, is starting to look at the big picture.

When news arrives of an old girlfriend's death, he continues to make the rounds of high-end gatherings and nightspots in the Eternal City, but in a "what's it all mean" frame of mind. It's an extraordinary portrait of a great city where the crushing weight of history seems to bring out the worst in many. But the film also has a bit of sympathy for its world-weary sybarites, and a goodly amount for Jep, a preening dandy who, by the film's end, has glimpsed something essential.  Walter Addiego/SF Gate



Wednesday April 30, 2014

6:45pm

The Wind Rises

2014, Japan, 126 MINS, PG

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt

Atypical of Miyazaki’s more fantastical outings, this film is a fictionalized account of a real person, Jiro Horikoshi, a young boy entranced by the idea of flight who grew up to be the man who invented the A6M Zero fighter plane, which would go on to become the Imperial Japanese Navy’s most infamous weapon against the Allies in World War II. As depicted by Miyazaki, Horikoshi is a dreamer and idealist, whose fantasies of soaring high above the clouds in machines of the utmost serenity are, in the end, perverted by the cold, hard reality of war.

Throughout it all, The Wind Rises is crammed to bursting with arresting imagery, youthful idealism, and a sense of impending, elegiac loss of the Japan of Horikoshi’s youth to the unyielding tides of soon-to-be bloodstained history. Buoyed by a marvelously evocative score by Joe Hisaishi, Miyazaki’s swan song can be seen as a summation of all that has come before. Based on historical fact, it nonetheless has a fairy-tale quality that outshines anything Disney has done in ages. It speaks to both the head and the heart, and it is, in myriad ways, some of the best work the legendary animator has ever created.  - Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

9:15pm

The Great Beauty

2013, France/Italy, 142 MINS, 14A

Dir: Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo

This is the story of Jep Gambardella (an outstanding Toni Servillo, of 2008's "Il Divo"), who wrote a masterpiece of a novel in his youth but has been unable to repeat the success. He's become a journalist and bon vivant, living in an incredible apartment overlooking the Colosseum. He's popular in his circle but jaded, and, having just turned 65, is starting to look at the big picture.

When news arrives of an old girlfriend's death, he continues to make the rounds of high-end gatherings and nightspots in the Eternal City, but in a "what's it all mean" frame of mind. It's an extraordinary portrait of a great city where the crushing weight of history seems to bring out the worst in many. But the film also has a bit of sympathy for its world-weary sybarites, and a goodly amount for Jep, a preening dandy who, by the film's end, has glimpsed something essential.  Walter Addiego/SF Gate



April 2014

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