OPENING THIS WEEK
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
In 1938, illustrator Charles Addams launched his new cartoon, The Addams Family, in The New Yorker. Over the decades the property, featuring an oddball family who delights in the macabre, has found life in many forms, from a TV series in the 1960s to a pair of popular movies in the 1990s. Now, the family arrives as an animated film, featuring the voicework of Oscar Isaac (Gomez), Charlize Theron (Morticia), Chloë Grace Moretz (Wednesday), Nick Kroll (Uncle Fester), Snoop Dogg (Cousin It), Bette Midler (Grandma), Martin Short (Grandpa), and more. Animated comedy, rated PG, 105 minutes, screens in 3D and 2D at Regal Stadium 14, screens in 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6 and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE
The popular television show Breaking Bad may have ended six years ago, but fans haven’t been able to let the characters go. Showrunner Vince Gilligan obliges by writing and directing this return to the world with a story centered on Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. Following the explosive climax to the show, this movie follows Jesse as he flees his old life, pursued by the law and his own inner demons. El Camino screens for three days only, Friday to Sunday, Oct. 11-13, and will be available to stream Netflix beginning Friday, Oct. 11. Drama, not rated, 122 minutes, The Screen and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
EL DESENCANTO (THE DISENCHANTMENT)
This little-seen 1976 Spanish documentary by Jaime Chávarri tells the story of the Paneros, a brilliant family of writers—particularly the patriarch, poet Leopoldo Panero—who became a phenomenon in Spain the year after Francisco Franco died. It screens as part of an author event with Aaron Shulman, who introduces the film and hosts a Q&A afterward to in support of his book, The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War. 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 only. Documentary, not rated, 97 minutes, Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Not reviewed)
Ang Lee directs this science fiction action film in which an assassin for a CIA-like organization named Henry (Will Smith) is on the cusp of retirement when it’s decided that he knows too much. A military-industrial biotech tycoon named Clay (Clive Owen) has the perfect weapon to send against Henry: a clone of Henry’s younger self (also Smith, using de-aging technology). Soon, Henry is caught up in a cat-and-mouse game with experience — as well as compatriots played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong — on his side. Science fiction, rated PG-13, 117 minutes, screens in 3D and 2D at Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown, screens in 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6. (Not reviewed)
Adam Devine plays Phil, an ordinary tech dude in San Francisco who installs the latest operating system on his phone only to discover its personality, named Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne), completely upends its life. First, it senses his loneliness and forces him to ask out a local woman named Cate (Alexandra Shipp). Then it gets jealous of Cate and tries to sabotage the relationship. Michael Peña and Wanda Sykes also star. Comedy, rated R, 84 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
MEMORY: THE ORIGIN OF ALIEN
In 2017, filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe broke down the murder in Psycho with the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene. Now, he trains his lens on another classic thriller, Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, using the same approach as both fan and expert. In particular, he hones in on the movie’s influences, which include mythology, comics, and the work of artists such as Francis Bacon and H. R. Giger. Documentary, not rated, 95 minutes, Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Not reviewed)
SANTA FE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
At venues throughout town including Center for Contemporary Arts, Jean Cocteau Cinema, Lensic Performing Arts Center, The Screen, and Violet Crown. For a full schedule visit santafeindependentfilmfestival.com.
THE SWEET REQUIEM
Dolkar (Tenzin Dolker) is exiled Tibetan who lives in a refugee colony in Delhi, having long suppressed the memory of fleeing her homeland and her father’s death along the way. When she runs into Gompo (Jampa Kalsang Tamang), the guide who abandoned them during their journey, she is compelled to seek out the truth and closure. Drama, not rated, 91 minutes, in Tibetan with subtitles, Center for Contemporary Arts. (Not reviewed)
NOW IN THEATERS
3 chiles - ABOMINABLE
This is an exceptionally watchable and amiable animated tale written and directed by Jill Culton, about a large four-legged creature with snow-white fur, gorgeous sky-blue eyes, and a goofy grin. The creature, who gets nicknamed Everest (after the place where it wants to return), parks on the roof of a small apartment building in China, from where he can see a billboard of his home. There he is discovered by Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a plucky tween who’s saving money to embark on a journey that her late father had envisioned for his family. Once she establishes a bond with Everest, she learns of the shady interests that had been keeping him caged. Along with her young friends, Yi gets swept up by Everest on an epic, colorful journey home. Animated family film, rated PG, 97 minutes, screens in 3D and 2D at Regal Stadium 14, screens in 2D at Regal Santa Fe 6 and Violet Crown. (Glenn Kenny/The New York Times)
3.5 chiles - AD ASTRA
In a mesmerizing performance, Brad Pitt forms the gravitational center of a film that takes its place in the firmament of science fiction movies by fearlessly quoting classics of the genre. Fans of First Man will appreciate its rattling opening sequence, when Space Command major Roy McBride (Pitt) hurtles through near-space while building the world’s largest antenna. Anyone familiar with Apocalypse Now will recognize the artistic DNA of Roy’s journey when he is assigned to travel to Neptune to retrieve a rogue astronaut (Tommy Lee Jones), who just happens to be his father. Admirers of such mournful meditations as Gravity will understand Roy’s somber reflections on grief and loss as he encounters feelings he has compartmentalized for most of his life. With so many references swirling around its atmosphere, Ad Astra skirts dangerously close to being derivative. But in the capable hands of writer-director James Gray, it becomes its own unflashy example of speculative filmmaking that is less interested in whiz-bang special effects and otherworldly creatures than in enduring philosophical questions about what we take with us — or heedlessly throw away — on the technological and existential journeys we call progress. Science fiction, rated PG-13, 122 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
3 chiles - BECOMING NOBODY
The former Harvard psychologist Richard Alpert, through a series of galvanizing influences beginning with the psilocybin he discovered with Timothy Leary in the early ‘60s, transformed himself into Baba Ram Dass (“Servant of God”): spiritual seeker, Eastern philosopher, and guru. Ram Dass describes our physical equipment as a “spacesuit” into which we’re stuffed at birth, something separate from the inner person that we really are. Toward the end of the film, as he focuses more on the end of life, Ram Dass uses a different metaphor: death, he suggests, is like “taking off a tight shoe.” From birth, he says, we’re subjected to “somebody training” to form our personalities, and it’s as a reaction against this that he is working on “becoming nobody.” It’s a concept that might seem a bit disingenuous from a celebrity lecturer and the subject of a documentary. You don’t have to believe all of his insights, and he probably wouldn’t want you to, but it’s engaging and sometimes inspiring to listen to them. Drama, not rated, 81 minutes, The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)
4 chiles - COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD
In this unsettling, slippery documentary, viewers are led down a path to the mercenary underside of global realpolitiks. The titular protagonist is Dag Hammarskjöld, the secretary-general of the United Nations who died in a plane crash in 1961, in what was then northern Rhodesia. Although it was ruled an accident, several observers noted the suspicious circumstances of his death, including how convenient it was for certain political and corporate factions. Filmmaker Mads Brügger reexamines the episode, returning to the place where the remains of Hammarskjöld’s plane were buried and following an investigator named Göran Björkdahl down a rabbit hole that ends with a pretty convincing case that the U.N. leader was murdered. But Brügger doesn’t stop there: The rabbit hole leads him into even more disturbing areas that have disquieting relevance to modern-day life, from medical epidemics to the equally fatal contagions of white supremacy and militarism. Funny, provocative, and chilling, Cold Case Hammarskjöld draws the viewer into that helix. It’s impossible to emerge from this film without being shaken to your core. Documentary, not rated, 128 minutes, Center for Contemporary Arts. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
3.5 chiles - DOWNTON ABBEY
Set in the 1910s and 1920s at a fictional English estate, the TV show Downton Abbey centered on the esteemed Crawley family and their domestic servants, as they all attempt to keep the massive estate afloat and shipshape in a rapidly modernizing England. Now, the movie arrives as a feature-length coda to the series. The extraordinary ensemble cast — along with the steady hand of creator and writer Julian Fellowes — almost entirely return for the film, which finds the characters in 1927, with the events of the series finale receding into the past. The quotidian life on the estate continues as usual, until the family receives a letter informing them that the Royal family is stopping in for an overnight visit. This news has everyone in a tizzy, although the staffers downstairs are affected far more profoundly than the family upstairs, since they are the ones who must cook, clean, and organize. That is the extent of the central plot, and the movie is well-served by its simplicity; Fellowes devotes himself to sprinkling the story with small moments that are delightful, letting each character warm the hearts of everyone who spent years getting to know them. Drama, rated PG, 122 minutes, Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Robert Ker)
2.5 chiles - FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
A spin-off of the popular action franchise The Fast and the Furious featuring two of its recurring characters — Dwayne Johnson’s lawman Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s mercenary Deckard Shaw — this film is far from prestige fare. It’s also pretty funny and watchable, in just enough measure to counteract its unabashedly far-fetched plot, which pairs Hobbs, a straight-arrow agent on loan to the CIA, with Shaw, a disgraced former member of the British military, to apprehend an MI6 agent (Vanessa Kirby) who is believed to have absconded with a “programmable bioweapon.” This is complicated by the fact that a cybernetically enhanced supervillain (Idris Elba) also wants the weapon. Hobbs & Shaw works best if you don’t just come in blind, but if you lower all your expectations. Action, rated PG-13, 135 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
3 chiles - HUSTLERS
In a year of spectacular comebacks, none is as purely, sensationally pleasurable as Jennifer Lopez’s commanding lead performance in this sexually charged caper flick that bumps, grinds and pays giddy homage to
sisterhood and shameless venality with equally admiring brio. She plays Ramona, a dancer at a Manhattan strip club who in 2007 takes a newbie named Destiny (Constance Wu) under her protective wing. Ramona not only tutors her charge in how to perform a proper pole dance but, eventually, in how to fleece privileged white guys whose impunity and vanity make them as vulnerable as the most naïve rubes from the sticks. Adapted by writer-director Lorene Scafaria from a New York magazine article about a similar scam perpetrated by a group of dancers at the New York club Scores, Hustlers is a funny, naughty, enormously entertaining kick in the pants, promising to be an East Coast Showgirls, only to wind up a girls-rule Goodfellas. Drama, rated R, 109 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
1.5 chiles - IT: CHAPTER TWO
Director Andy Muschietti attempts to honor everyone involved, including Stephen King, author of the 1986 novel It, so the movie is like a game of musical chairs that runs too long. And since Muschietti has few scare tactics at his disposal, the film loses its capacity to frighten. You will recall that in the first film, the Losers Club defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), a demonic spirit that can take many forms but prefers that of a demented clown. Twenty-seven years later, in 2016, only Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) remembers what happened. Like a bad nightmare, the rest of the members barely recall that period in their young lives. But Pennywise is on the prowl again, hunting children and other vulnerable people, and Mike contacts the rest of the Losers and asks them to return to Derry, Maine. Now that they’re older, there are fewer lessons for them to learn, so Chapter Two takes them back to a childlike state. Romantic subplots are indelicate, and shared grief arrives with less gravitas. The cumulative effect is downright maudlin, which is not what you might expect from a film with gallons of blood and other bodily fluids. Horror, rated R, 169 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Alan Zilberman/The Washington Post)
2 chiles - JOKER
In Joker, director Todd Phillips takes a grim, shallow, and distractingly derivative homage to 1970s movies to an even more grisly, nihilistic level, throwing out nods to Martin Scorsese’s filmography. Arthur Fleck is an aspiring stand-up comedian whose day job is working as a clown. Portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix in a florid, Pagliacci-like turn as sad-clown-turned-mad-clown, Fleck is a pathetic man-child who lives with his mother (Frances Conroy) and nursing a deluded ambition to appear on a late-night show hosted by a comic named Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). The fact that Franklin is played by De Niro is just one of many nods to Scorsese, in this case to the brilliant King of Comedy (1982). Joker is so monotonously grandiose and full of its own pretensions that it winds up feeling puny and predictable. Like the antihero at its center, it’s a movie trying so hard to be capital-b Big that it can’t help looking small. Action, rated R, 121 minutes, Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
2.5 chiles - JUDY
In Judy, Renée Zellweger plays a few variations on Judy Garland near the end of her life: worried mother, needy lover, disaster, legend. The woman who remains out of sight, though, is the sadder, scarier Judy who threw a butcher knife at one of her children and threatened to jump out a window in front of another. Even so, Zellweger is solid in a movie that derives its force from its central mythic figure and your own Yellow Brick Road memories. Judy is based on Peter Quilter’s play End of the Rainbow, which had a well-received Broadway run in 2012 and skitters between late-career Judy ripping her heart out in a London hotel and at the theater where she will become the talk of the town. The movie, directed by Rupert Goold, is a gentler, squarer mash note to the Great Woman that’s part maternal melodrama, part martyr story. Zellweger’s performance is credible, with agitated flutters and filigreed touches, though it leans hard on Judy’s tremulous fragility, as if she were a panicked hummingbird. The take is cautious and too comfortable; it never makes you flinch or look away. Biopic, rated PG-13, 118 minutes, Violet Crown. (Manohla Dargis/The New York Times)
3 chiles - LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE
With the recent announcement that Linda Ronstadt would be a 2019 Kennedy Center honoree, this affectionate documentary makes for a timely opportunity to recall why the 73-year-old singer (who retired from performing in 2009 because of Parkinson’s disease) is getting the award, as evidenced by the many performance clips and the expected parade of laudatory reminiscences from the likes of Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, and J.D. Souther. The film also reminds us how outspoken Ronstadt was, and is, about her liberal views. If there’s one drawback to The Sound of My Voice, it’s that Ronstadt herself declined to sit down with the film’s directors, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, for interviews that might have showcased more of such frank talk. Instead, she merely narrates the film, delivering a somewhat unspontaneous sounding, disembodied voice-over that carries us from her childhood in Tucson to her stellar career in Los Angeles. Documentary, rated PG-13, 95 minutes, The Screen and Violet Crown. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
2 chiles - THE LION KING
There is considerable technical prowess at work in this remake of the 1994 animated film The Lion King, which replaces the cartoony visuals of the original with ultra-realistic CGI animation. The visuals are so realistic that it often looks like a nature documentary. Unfortunately, the animals look so real that they struggle to convey any emotion or personality. The story centers on a lion named Simba (voiced by JD McCrary as a cub and Donald Glover as an adult) who must face the evil Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) after Scar kills his father (James Earl Jones) and exiles him. Nearly every beat of the plot replicates the 1994 film; many shots from the original are recreated exactly. Coupled with the less-evocative characters, this makes for a boring experience, if one that’s beautiful to watch. Family movie, rated PG, 118 minutes, screens in 2D only at Regal Stadium 14. (Robert Ker)
2.5 chiles - MONOS
A ragtag group of child soldiers in Colombia alternately inflict punishment and suffer it as they eke out a militaristic living in a remote jungle, where they’re left to their own (violent) devices. Among other tasks, the teens — who answer to names like “Rambo” and “Bigfoot” — must guard an American hostage (Julianne Nicholson) and caretake a cow; they fail at the latter and rip the animal apart in bloody, muscle-tearing detail. Directed by Alejandro Landes, Monos is one of those allegories that is cagey about exactly what it is allegorizing. The teens can’t be said to lose sight of the cause they’re fighting for because they barely knew it to begin with. Drama, rated R, 102 minutes, in English and Spanish with subtitles, Violet Crown. (Glenn Kenny/The New York Times)
2.5 chiles - RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS
This documentary takes a thorough, if traditional, look at the Texas-born, Smith College-educated writer Molly Ivins’ life and career and includes interviews with her siblings, colleagues, friends, and such media celebrities as Dan Rather and Rachel Maddow. But it is when Ivins herself opens her mouth that the film is at its best. Whenever the movie presents archival clips from old interviews and lectures, Ivins, who died in 2007 from breast cancer, comes alive. It’s easy to understand how the politicians she covered, on both sides of the aisle, liked to spend time with her. Those times were often spent drinking, and the film doesn’t shy away from Ivins’ well-known alcoholism, or her belief that there is no such thing as objectivity in journalism, as long as you let the reader know where you stand. It’s not hard to see why we might need to be reminded of a voice like Ivins’ again. With free speech under attack, and truth-telling seemingly in short supply, Raise Hell offers an entertaining and bracing look at one of journalism’s least punch-pulling practitioners. Documentary, not rated, 93 minutes, Center for Contemporary Arts. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
1 chile - RAMBO: LAST BLOOD
Anyone familiar with any of the four previous films in this long-running franchise will barely recognize Rambo in this latest installment. Sylvester Stallone once again plays the Vietnam vet battling emotional, psychological, and political challenges as he maintains his warrior vestige, but this time as an Arizona cowboy who takes on a Mexican crime cartel after they kidnap his niece. (Who knew Rambo had a niece, or even a sibling?) Repulsive action sequences follow with a lot of bad things happening to both bad and good people. It’s grindhouse cinema at its worse, despite the occasional moment of humanity and dark humor. Action, rated R, 89 minutes, Regal Stadium 14. (Robert Nott)
PERFORMANCE AND OTHER SCREENINGS
Jean Cocteau Cinema
▼ Chained for Life.
Lensic Performing Arts Center
▼ 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, with an encore at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17: The Met Live in HD presents Turandot.
Regal Stadium 14
▼ 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13: Metallica S&M 2.
▼ 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15: Being Leonardo Da Vinci.
▼ 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16: National Organization for Women presents Private Violence.
Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery
▼ 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12: For the Love of Craft. Preceded by a panel discussion led by Northern New Mexico brewers.
▼ 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 13: Count Orlov the Musical from the Moscow Operetta Theatre.