Trail mix isn't for everyone, but the right blend and proportions of ingredients can provide a satisfying home even for nuts and fruits of dubious value. From the local movie houses to the nearby stadium ***image2***seating multiplexes and the aging corporate screens, summer holds diverse fare in store for Santa Fe's movie-mad populace. It's true that the impending blockbusters (Batman Begins, War of the Worlds and Fantastic Four) all indicate either a need for major escapism on the part of Americans or a government conspiracy to keep us distracted, but there's plenty of grounded, quirky, earthy and even intelligent films on the horizon. Thus that most elusive of gorp factors and cosmic elements-balance.
KIDS FIRST! Film Club
Santa Fe Film Center, various ratings and runtimes
Beginning in June, the Santa Fe Film Center will feature a free movie to children 12 and under (accompanied by an adult) every Saturday, featuring one show in English and one in Spanish (when available). This year-round series will feature kids' movies both new and old, including a sneak preview of the Morgan Freeman-narrated March of the Penguins, a nature documentary in the vein of the much-loved Winged Migration that follows the adventures of a penguin couple for an entire year. This series offers a welcome alternative to youngsters suffocating in the wasteland that Saturday morning seems to have become.
Santa Fe Film Center, various ratings and runtimes
Part of the Film Center's "Revolving Door" series that features continually rotating cinematic subjects, "Jazz Legends" will feature documentaries and concert films covering subjects from the intergalactic luminary Sun Ra to more traditional fare like Count Basie. This series, developed in cooperation with the Santa Fe Jazz Festival, runs from June 4 to the end of July and coinciding with the Festival dates of July 15-31.
Directed by Christopher Nolan. Written by David S Goyer, based on the character created by Bob Kane. With Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy and Gary Oldman. PG-13, 140 min.
The last time a Bat-film graced theaters, George Clooney wore the famous cape and cowl and sported a body suit that featured the unlikely, unnecessary and unmilkable addition of Bat-nipples. Now, with Memento director Christopher Nolan at the helm and former Bat-director Joel Schumacher making 'macheries of Andrew Lloyd Webber's work, fans can once again hold their heads high when walking into the movie plex. Holding their heads high after is another issue, but the inspired casting of Christian Bale (not to mention Michael Caine as Alfred) and the focus on Bruce Wayne's motivation for dressing like a bat is enough to give even the most jaded fanboys hope.
Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Pride Weekend Showcase CCA, various ratings and runtimes
Albuquerque's SWGLFF travels north to Santa Fe to preview its September film extravaganza with the proceeds going directly to support the festival. The weekends offerings are D.E.B.S, a campy comedy about a secret team of lesbian crime fighters sworn to save the world; The Truth or Consequences of Delmas Howe, a documentary about a gay-themed art exhibit opening in Howe's hometown of T or C; and Tying the Knot, a documentary about the ongoing battle for gay marriage with insight from gay couples down in the trenches and insights into the history of the cause.
War of the Worlds
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by David Koepp, based on the novel by HG Wells. With Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Miranda Otto and Justin Chatwin. Rating TBA, runtime TBA
It seems unlikely the mass hysteria caused by ***image8***Orson Welles' 1938 broadcast of HG Wells' sci-fi classic could be recreated in this 24-hour information-saturated culture of ours, but that doesn't mean Steven Spielberg can't turn it into a decent alien invasion flick worthy of a large tub of popcorn. Spielberg re-teams with Minority Report star Tom Cruise just in time for a full-scale Martian invasion of Earth. Cruise plays a less than stellar father who finds himself back in the good graces of his kids (played by Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin) after Mars attacks.
Directed by Bradley Beesley. With the Flaming Lips. CCA, NR, 100 min.
Oklahoma's weirdest sons get the documentary treatment in this film from director Bradley Beesley (a collaborator on the Lips' long-in-the-works holiday movie Christmas on Mars). Beesley, the band's defacto cinematic biographer, has combined 400 hours of home movies, live footage and music videos to create this film about the Lips' lengthy and psychotic career. The film features interviews with band members past and present as well as a look into the band's eclectic road to success, including a stop at the Long John Silver's singer Wayne Coyne managed during the band's lean years. Freaks also includes interviews with fans and fellow musicians like Juliette Lewis, Beck, Jack White and Liz Phair.
Directed by Tim Story. Written by Michael France and Mark Frost, based on characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. With Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis. PG, 123 min.
Odds are the studio bigwigs wanted to open this puppy on July 4, but since it falls on a Monday they settled for the following Friday. This is actually the second movie to feature Marvel comics' long-running superhero team, though this one looks to beat the shelved, no-budget fiasco that was its predecessor into the pavement with top notch special effects and the current money-making appeal of superheroes. The film follows a group of astronauts who, after being bombarded by cosmic rays, gain extraordinary powers. The film features Fantastic Four arch nemesis Dr. Doom, an olive-garbed tyrant with a metal mask and a bad attitude.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Directed by Tim Burton. Written by John August, based on the novel by Roald Dahl. With Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee and Freddie Highmore. PG, 106 min.
Burton has visited the realm of "re-imagining" before, making a hairy fiasco out of 2001's Planet of the Apes, but if any film deserves his twisted treatment it's this one. Depp plays everyone's favorite psychotic candy man, Willy Wonka, in this adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's classic. Said to be closer in tone to Dahl's book than the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder, Charlie appears to be the kind of multicolored nightmare that Burton specializes in, with Depp interpreting Wonka as a sniveling and ghostly sociopath with a sweet tooth. Christopher Lee steps into the fatherly shoes of Dr. Wonka and Finding Neverland's precocious Freddie Highmore can be expected to nail the role of Charlie amid a dizzying array of digital Oompa Loompas.
Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch. With Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, Julie Delpy and Chloe Sevigny. Rating TBA, 105 min.***image3***
Physically and emotionally drained after his recent performances in Lost in Translation and The Life Aquatic, Murray is reportedly taking some time off from acting for a while, preferring to read and spend time with his family rather than mug for the camera. To get your Murray fix, check out this Jim Jarmusch film about a terminally single man who criss-crosses the country visiting ex-girlfriends to discover if he does or doesn't have a long lost son.
The Forty Year-Old Virgin
Directed by Judd Apatow. Written by Steve Carell and Judd Apatow. With Steve Carell, Catherine Keener and Paul Rudd. Rating TBA, runtime TBA
Vying with the Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy Wedding Crashers for the dubious honor of being ***image1***"This Year's Dodgeball," Judd Apatow's comedy stars Steve Carell of The Office as Andy Stitzer, the title character who, heading into middle age, has yet to know a woman (or a man) in the biblical sense. Focusing his attentions on sexual deflectors like comic books and action figures, Andy works at an electronics superstore and lives a coitus-free life until his friends from work decide he needs to get laid. Immediately. This absolutely ridiculous premise comes to us courtesy of Carell and co-writer/director Apatow, a former writer for The Ben Stiller Show and creator of the cult TV hit Undeclared.