All theater listings are as of Friday, Aug. 9.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

What’s it rated? PG

Where’s it showing? Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

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A DOG'S BEST FRIEND Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) learns from his aspiring Formula One race car driver/owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia, right) that racetrack techniques can also successfully guide us through life, in The Art of Racing the Rain. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX 2000 PICTURES

  • Photo Courtesy Of Fox 2000 Pictures
  • A DOG’S BEST FRIEND Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) learns from his aspiring Formula One race car driver/owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia, right) that racetrack techniques can also successfully guide us through life, in The Art of Racing the Rain.

Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn, Woman in Gold, Goodbye Christopher Robin) directs this screenplay by Mark Bomback based on Garth Stein’s novel about a dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner), who learns from his aspiring Formula One race car driver/owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia) that racetrack techniques can also successfully guide us through life. (109 min.)

—Glen Starkey

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD

What’s it rated? PG

Where’s it showing? Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

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TREASURE HUNT When her parents disappear, Dora (Isabela Moner) leads her friends on search for them, in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PARAMOUNT PLAYERS

  • Photo Courtesy Of Paramount Players
  • TREASURE HUNT When her parents disappear, Dora (Isabela Moner) leads her friends on search for them, in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

James Bobin (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Muppets Most Wanted, Muppets) directs this film based on Chris Gifford’s book series about the titular teenage explorer (Isabela Moner), who leads her friends on a mission to rescue her parents and discover the mystery behind a lost Incan civilization. (102 min.)

—Glen

ECHO IN THE CANYON

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? The Palm

Pick

In his directorial debut, co-writer Andrew Slater (with co-writer Eric Barrett) helms this documentary examining the 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene and bands such as The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas. Through a mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews, we discover how this seminal time in music history has informed contemporary artists such as Fiona Apple, Beck, Norah Jones, and Jakob Dylan.

Both educational and entertaining, this doc is a must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in this fertile moment in rock history, when folk and rock were melded together.

You’ll hear some amazing stories and watch some terrific performances, both archival and contemporary, as Dylan leads his cohorts in re-creating songs. Poignant moments, laughs, and even a few come-to-Jesus moments work together to create a perceptive walk down memory lane. (82 min.)

—Glen

THE FAREWELL

What’s it rated? PG

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre, The Palm

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WEDDING/FUNERAL Chinese-American Billi (Awkwafina, center) returns to China when her grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, in The Farewell. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BIG BEACH FILMS

  • Photo Courtesy Of Big Beach Films
  • WEDDING/FUNERAL Chinese-American Billi (Awkwafina, center) returns to China when her grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, in The Farewell.

Writer-director Lulu Wang (Posthumous) helms this dramedy about a Chinese family that discovers its matriarch has a terminal illness, so they decide to withhold her diagnosis and stage a wedding as a way to bring the family together before she dies. (100 min.)

—Glen

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW

What’s it rated? R

What’s it worth? Matinee

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

See Split Screen.

HELLO, DOLLY!

What’s it rated? G

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Sunday, Aug. 11 (1 p.m.) and Wednesday, Aug. 14 (7 p.m.) in the Downtown Centre Cinemas

New/Pick

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HAPPY 50TH! Barbra Streisand stars in the 1969 classic, Hello, Dolly!, screening on Aug. 11 and 14, in the Downtown Centre Cinemas. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX

  • Photo Courtesy Of Twentieth Century Fox
  • HAPPY 50TH! Barbra Streisand stars in the 1969 classic, Hello, Dolly!, screening on Aug. 11 and 14, in the Downtown Centre Cinemas.

Gene Kelly directs this 1969 musical comedy about matchmaker Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand), who in 1890 travels to New York to find a wife for grumpy “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau), but is she really trying to find him a match or hoping to marry him herself? (145 min.)

—Glen

THE KITCHEN

What’s it rated? R

Where’s it showing? Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

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TAKE CHARGE In 1970s New York, three gangsters' wives—(left to right) Claire (Elizabeth Moss), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish), and Kathy (Melissa McCarthy)—decide to continue running their Hell's Kitchen rackets after the men are imprisoned, in The Kitchen. - PHOTO COURTESY OF BRON STUDIOS

  • Photo Courtesy Of Bron Studios
  • TAKE CHARGE In 1970s New York, three gangsters’ wives—(left to right) Claire (Elizabeth Moss), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish), and Kathy (Melissa McCarthy)—decide to continue running their Hell’s Kitchen rackets after the men are imprisoned, in The Kitchen.

Andrea Berloff directs this film based on the comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle about the wives (Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish) of 1970s Hell’s Kitchen gangsters who continue to run their husbands’ rackets after the men go to prison. (102 min.)

—Glen

THE LION KING

What’s it rated? PG

What’s it worth? Rent it

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10, Sunset Drive-In

Jon Favreau (Elf, Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens, Chef, The Jungle Book (2016)) helms this photorealistic-animated remake of Disney’s 1994 animated classic of the same name about lion prince Simba (voiced by JD McCrary as a cub and Donald Glover as an adult), who’s driven from his kingdom as a cub after his king father, Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones), is murdered by his jealous brother, Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor).

The film opens strong with baby Simba’s majestic unveiling to the animal kingdom, set to “Circle of Life” of course, followed by an intricately designed sequence of a mouse scurrying through its surroundings, before being plucked by Scar. “Life’s not fair, is it, my little friend?” asks everyone’s favorite fratricidal feline. Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Children of Men) was an inspired choice for Scar, whose original iteration is one of the greatest antagonists in Disney’s pantheon. The weight and brutality he brings to the role make it all the more disappointing that the villain’s murderous anthem, “Be Prepared,” gets butchered down to a mere 20 seconds of talk-singing (one of the few instances the film departs from the original).

Scar of course plots to eliminate his brother, Mufasa, and nephew, Simba, the rightful heir to the throne in the event of his father’s death. After Mufasa is murdered during the infamous stampede coup d’état (“long live the king”), Scar convinces Simba it’s his fault and advises him to run away. The lion prince then travels to the desert, only to bump into the lovable Timon (voiced by Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (voiced by Seth Rogan), who teach young Simba to embrace a certain carefree philosophy the whole theater is guaranteed to sing along to.

I can’t quite put my finger on what got lost in translation, but somehow this highly anticipated remake—almost a shot-for-shot remake I might add—just didn’t do it for me. It’s both a faithful adaptation of the original and a visually astounding spectacle in its own right—so what else could I have possibly asked for? Maybe my hopes were just too high. I went in ready to love it but left the theater feeling meh. Most of the original’s charm just didn’t carry over for me.

Don’t get me wrong, though; it’s far from terrible. Like a loving sitcom parent, I’m not angry with The Lion King, I’m just disappointed. Remember the moment right before Mufasa has a stern talk with young Simba (after he and Nala are rescued from the hyenas)? Simba walks over to Mufasa but pauses when one of his front paws sinks into his father’s footprint. In that instance, the lion prince realizes he’s got some pretty big shoes to fill someday. For me, the original Lion King is that footprint. But unlike Simba, who grows big enough to fill that print halfway through the film, this remake is confined to cubhood. (118 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood

MAIDEN

What’s it rated? PG

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? The Palm

Alex Holmes (Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story) directs the true story of Tracy Edwards, a young cook on a boat who formed the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

This documentary stands out from the rest as Holmes puts you in the thick of sailing at sea alongside these women rather than just telling you their already compelling story. With every challenge in the water and objection of being told “girls” can’t win, let alone make it through the first stretch of the race, the audience is with the women in their triumph.

Edwards wasn’t the happiest teenager after her father died suddenly from a heart attack, and her mother remarried an abusive man. The negativity and abuse was enough to make Edwards leave and seek out another life, which led her to become the cook on a charter boat. We don’t spend too much time on the past as she races toward making history.

The cooking gig eventually leads Edwards to learn about the Whitbread Round the World Race, now known as the Ocean Race, a literal race around the world on a yacht over the course of several months. Edwards believes it’s her calling to be a part of the race, a burning feeling she’s never had before. The only thing stopping her is that she’s a female or—as many of the skippers and crewmembers call her—a girl. She’s a distraction and definitely not strong enough to tackle the dangerous seas. (If I could roll my eyes to the back of my head I would.)

Edwards doesn’t take no for an answer, which seems to be a successful mantra for her throughout her endeavor of handpicking her all-female crew and entering the race with no prior experience as a skipper.

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YES, SHE CAN In the documentary Maiden, we watch as 24-year-old charter boat cook Tracy Edwards assembles a team of female sailors to enter the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW BLACK FILMS

  • Photo Courtesy Of New Black Films
  • YES, SHE CAN In the documentary Maiden, we watch as 24-year-old charter boat cook Tracy Edwards assembles a team of female sailors to enter the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

But the team meets plenty of other barriers along the way: not having enough money for a boat, not having any sponsors, being female in a male-dominated sport, and learning how to hone in on everyone’s strengths. Nothing stops the women from entering the race in 1989.

The documentary is riddled with old news footage, photos, and home videos of the excursion. It also has interviews with the crew, and it’s compelling to hear their take on what it was like to work together and defy all the odds that were thrown at them.

While this is about the females that made the Maiden (their boat) famous and their successes and losses in the water, it also highlighted the blatant misogyny they faced daily. It was maddening but not surprising that the men on other teams doubted the Maiden crew, with the journalists even taking digs at them. It’s funny how the newscasters forgot how to do their job and basically asked the Maiden women different and dumbed-down questions.

Overall, it was amazing to ride the waves with these kick-ass women as they challenged the status quo. (97 min.)

—Karen Garcia

MIKE WALLACE IS HERE

What’s it rated? PG-13

Where’s it showing? The Palm

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REAL NEWS The life and career of 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace is explored in Mike Wallace Is Here, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DELIRIO FILMS

  • Photo Courtesy Of Delirio Films
  • REAL NEWS The life and career of 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace is explored in Mike Wallace Is Here, screening exclusively at The Palm Theatre.

Avi Belkin directs this biographical documentary about 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace, who for more than 50 years was a fearsome interviewer of many of the 20th century’s most influential figures. Composed of archival footage, it examines Wallace’s troubled personal life and how broadcast journalism evolved into its current state. (90 min.)

—Glen

ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD

What’s it rated? R

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Bay, Downtown Centre, Fair Oaks, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

Pick

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight) helms this story set in 1969 Hollywood about fading TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they struggle to remain relevant in the changing entertainment industry. Tarantino’s ninth film features an ensemble cast and multiple storylines.

Tarantino takes us on an entertaining albeit meandering ride through 1969 Hollywood, where he’s mixed real life characters like Charlie Manson (Damon Herriman) and his “family,” rising starlet Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and her director husband Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucher), martial arts star Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), and actor Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis), with fictional ones like our protagonists Rick and Cliff.

Some of the facts of the film are true, for instance that the Manson family lived on George Spahn’s (Bruce Dern) Spahn Movie Ranch, but like Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s got some historical revisions in mind.

Knowing the real history behind the Manson murders sets up viewers for the twists and turns to come, and even at two hours and 41 minutes, the film doesn’t feel slow; however, it also doesn’t seem like it’s in much of a rush to reach its conclusion. Instead, this is a film to be savored for its attention to detail and remarkable performances.

The film’s mise-en-scène is incredible. Tarantino had vintage Hollywood marquees and landmarks restored to their 1969 glory or made use of landmarks that have changed little, such as Musso & Frank Grill and the Playboy Mansion and its famed grotto. The costumes are also amazing—from the Manson family’s hippy garb to Rick’s swank mock turtlenecks to unctuous Hollywood mover and shaker Marvin Schwarzs’ (Al Pacino) double-breasted power suit. Some enterprising entrepreneur should start silk screening Champion Spark Plug T-shirts like the one Cliff’s wearing. They’ll make a mint! And the cars! Holy moly! You’ll feel transported to the era.

As for the acting, Pitt’s fantastic here, taking on a speech pattern that’s as memorable as the one he used as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds. Cliff is the character most comfortable in his own skin. The laconic stuntman is perfectly happy being Rick’s gopher, and he’s the biggest badass in Hollywood though he keeps it low key.

DiCaprio has a more complex job to do playing an actor who we see acting. That’s some meta-level work. Rick’s confidence is waning, and his interactions with Schwarzs and a child actor (not “actress,” which she finds demeaning) named Trudi (a truly remarkable Julia Butters) are highlights of a highlights-filled film. Trudi’s character also offers Tarantino a chance to comment on Method Acting. She’s so much more together and mature than Rick, and that’s hilarious. Tarantino lets his actors shine bright.

There’s so much more I could discuss here, like Tarantino’s obvious foot fetish, how he characterizes Sharon Tate and whether he’s guilty of using her as mere window dressing, how he simultaneously romanticizes and tears down his heroes like Bruce Lee.

Tarantino has repeatedly said he wants to make the kinds of films he wants to watch. Choosing to examine the societal disruption caused by the rise of the counterculture manifested in the extreme as Manson’s family, using Spaghetti Westerns and B-movies as a backdrop, exploring masculinity and misogyny through Rick and Cliff’s friendship—it’s all very ambitious, and the film bears repeated viewings. It’s classic excessive Tarantino, so if you like his filmmaking, you’ll love this. I did. (161 min.)

—Glen

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK

What’s it rated? PG-13

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

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CREEP SHOW A group of teens discover a book written by a young girl with horrible secrets, and the book unleashes the terrors within, in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. - PHOTO COURTESY OF 1212 ENTERTAINMENT

  • Photo Courtesy Of 1212 Entertainment
  • CREEP SHOW A group of teens discover a book written by a young girl with horrible secrets, and the book unleashes the terrors within, in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

André Øvredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy of Jane Doe) directs this horror mystery set in 1968 about a group of teens that discover a book written by a young girl with horrible secrets. When the teens read the tome, they inadvertently unleash the terrors within. (111 min.)

—Glen

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Matinee

Where’s it showing? Downtown Centre, Galaxy, Park, Stadium 10

Pick

Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Clown) directs this story that follows the events of Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) joins besties Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) on a European vacation, hoping for a little heroics-free rest and relaxation, but when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) comes calling, Peter works to uncover the mystery of otherworldly attacks plaguing Europe.

Maybe I’m suffering from comic book movie overload, but this new Spider-Man installment just didn’t “wow” me the way it seems to for most reviewers and audiences. Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 91 percent with critics and 96 percent with audiences. It’s entertaining enough, but I don’t see what all the hype is about. It’s just another big-budget comic book adventure.

Basically, the film is flawed. Its big switcheroo is too obviously projected, Peter is too gullible (where are your “spidey senses,” dude?), and the entire affair lacks the coherence of its predecessor. If you’ve got a couple of hours to waste and need a distraction, hit a matinee. These comic book spectacles are best seen in the theater. Hopefully you’ll like it more than I did. (129 min.)

—Glen

SWORD OF TRUST

What’s it rated? R

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? The Palm

Pick

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WHO DO YOU TRUST? (Left to right) Mary (Michaela Watkins), Cynthia (Jillian Bell), Nathaniel (Jon Bass), and Mel (Marc Maron) embark on a journey to sell an antique sword that purportedly proves the South won the Civil War, in Sword of Trust. - PHOTO COURTESY OF FORAGER FILMS

  • Photo Courtesy Of Forager Films
  • WHO DO YOU TRUST? (Left to right) Mary (Michaela Watkins), Cynthia (Jillian Bell), Nathaniel (Jon Bass), and Mel (Marc Maron) embark on a journey to sell an antique sword that purportedly proves the South won the Civil War, in Sword of Trust.

In this dramedy co-written and directed by Lynn Shelton (Outside In, Laggies, Touchy Feely, Humpday), Cynthia (Jillian Bell) and her friend Mary (Michaela Watkins) collect an antique sword as Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, who believed the sword was proof that the South had won the Civil War. They strike a deal with pawnshop owner Mel (Marc Maron) and his employee Nathaniel (Jon Bass) to sell the sword in the dangerous black market of Confederate Army collectors.

Full of humanity and deftly rendered characters, this funny road movie feels like it’s filled with improvisation. All four principal actors have perfect comic timing. Maron’s Mel, a sad and cynical man, is especially good at playing off the other actors, delivering biting comebacks and jaundiced observations.

It’s Southern-fried fun, a genial comedy for our post-truth age. With a mix of sociopolitical commentary and an exploration of what it means to trust, it offers a novel ride that manages to surprise you as soon as you get comfortable. It’ll remind cinephiles of micro-budget indie films like Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Sideways (2004), and Juno (2007). (88 min.)

—Glen

TOY STORY 4

What’s it rated? G

Where’s it showing? Galaxy, Stadium 10, Sunset Drive-In

Pick

Josh Cooley directs this fourth feature in the Toy Story franchise. This time around, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) must convince his toy pals to welcome a new addition, Forky (Tony Hale), into their fold, even though Forky is just a spork made into a toy in arts and crafts class by their child, Bonnie. When Bonnie’s family goes on a road trip, Forky takes off, so Woody and a few other toys go in search of him.

When I first heard Toy Story 4 was in the works, I felt betrayed and bewildered. Toy Story 3 had such a finality to it, why try to follow a nearly perfect ending to the series? So why keep going? Well, money of course! Little did I know Pixar’s more noble intentions for this installment, which surprisingly opens the door to countless more adventures—for some characters more than others.

The final product isn’t the petty cash-grab I was expecting, and believe it or not, I actually enjoyed it even more than Toy Story 3. Fight me! Neither film is on par with 1 or 2 in my book, but wow does this one get pretty darn close. There’s a really genuine story here, which can’t be said of too many fourth entries in a series. (100 min.)

—Caleb

YESTERDAY

What’s it rated? PG-13

What’s it worth? Full price

Where’s it showing? Galaxy

Pick

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HEY DUDE Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (right) plays himself opposite Himesh Patel's Jack Malik (left), who awakes from an accident to discover he's the only person in the world who knows The Beatles' songs. - PHOTOS COURTESY OF WORKING TITLE FILMS

  • Photos Courtesy Of Working Title Films
  • HEY DUDE Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (right) plays himself opposite Himesh Patel’s Jack Malik (left), who awakes from an accident to discover he’s the only person in the world who knows The Beatles’ songs.

Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later …, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) directs this screenplay by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love Actually, War Horse) about Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling musician who awakes after a bicycle accident caused by a worldwide power outage to discover he’s the only person who remembers The Beatles’ music. Soon he’s considered the greatest singer-songwriter in the world, but will his newfound fame be a blessing or a curse?

Yes, Yesterday is basically sitcom-level silliness and essentially a one-joke movie, but it’s a good joke, and the film may be just the diversion we need right now. Don’t believe all the negative reviews from cynical critics. Instead, believe Rotten Tomatoes’ 90 percent audience score. This is a crowd pleaser! (116 min.) Δ

—Glen

New Times movie reviews were compiled by Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey. Contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.



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