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MOVIE TIMES AND LOCATIONS AT CITYWEEKLY.NET

NEW THIS WEEK Information is correct at press time. Film release schedules are subject to change. ALMOST HOLY BB.5 The art of the documentary is an art of editing; no matter how fascinating the subject, the movie might not work if filmmakers can’t shape their footage into something resembling a narrative. Director Steve Hoover has a fascinating subject indeed in Gennadiy Mokhnenko, a Ukranian pastor who runs a youth rehab facility in the town of Mariupol. We see the feisty Mokhnenko in his activities rounding up street kids, removing children from the homes of unfit parents and threatening drug dealers and other predators, his sense of divine purpose rarely hindered by the fact that he’s basically a vigilante, doing the social work the shaky government is unable or unwilling to do. That dynamic alone could have made for a terrific story, but Hoover keeps bouncing back and forth between some of the individuals Mokhnenko is trying to help, then circling back to a speech he’s giving in a women’s prison, then intercutting snippets from a Davey and Goliath-esque Ukranian children’s TV program. By the time the film begins to focus on a violent rebellion against the Russianfriendly Ukranian government, Mokhnenko himself has begun to seem lost in the smoke. Opens June 10 at Tower Theatre. (NR)—Scott Renshaw

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 BB.5 See review p. 78. Opens June 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

SPECIAL SCREENINGS ALIENS At Brewvies, June 13, 10 p.m. (R) FIGHT CLUB At Tower Theater, June 10-11, 11 p.m. & June 12, 12 p.m. (R) JURASSIC PARK At Main Library Plaza, June 10, dusk. (PG-13)

CURRENT RELEASES ME BEFORE YOU B Manic pixie totally-unqualified-to-do-her-job Lou (Emilia Clarke) meets-cute with hot rich young hunk Will (Sam Clafin), who is not adjusting well to life as a quadriplegic, and wants to die. Will she help restore his joie de vivre with her kooky wardrobe and adorableness? Based on Jojo Moyes’ novel, this miscalculated romantic dramedy wants us to pity the formerly athletic, once free-spirited Will, who has only Lou, his doting parents, a physical therapist and an apparently bottomless fortune to get by on. Sure, quadriplegia has its challenges, but no one is in a better position to cope with them than Will. The film is coy about the complex physical and psychological problems that someone in Will’s position might experience, but honest grittiness would interfere with the glossy romance. This couldn’t be more pathetically simplistic about morally complicated issues surrounding assisted suicide. (PG-13)—MaryAnn Johanson

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MAGGIE’S PLAN BB.5 Somewhere lurking in the background of writer/director Rebecca Miller’s movie is a more openly acidic portrait of a certain brand of contemporary New Yorker, but it’s repeatedly smacked down by a whimsical tone. The high-concept premise finds 30-something academic Maggie (Greta Gerwig) making the oh-so-modern decision to have a baby on her own via artificial insemination, which coincides inconveniently with her budding relationship with a married writer (Ethan Hawke). Miller seasons her story with great background details—a girl hula-hooping during a cell phone conversation; a Shakespearean busker in the park— that establishes a world of hyper-literate eccentrics seemingly unaware of how bizarre they would seem to the rest of the world. That might have made for great subtext as the romantic roundelays ensue—including a Teutonically accented Julianne Moore as Hawke’s wife—yet there’s no real attempt to skewer their selfabsorption. And considering how infrequent the actual punch lines are, aside from the too-rare moments featuring Bill Hader as Maggie’s best pal, it’s not funny enough to make up for the fact that Miller seemingly wants us to see them all as charming, rather than kind of pathetic. Opens June 10 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)—SR

WARCRAFT [not yet reviewed] Action fantasy based on the popular video game. Opens June 10 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

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THE CONJURING 2 BBB The sequel to the scariest movie of 2013 covers a lot of the same ground—but it wets a lot of the same pants, too, if you know what I mean. Director James Wan and writers Chad and Carey W. Hayes deliver another smooth, confident, meat-andpotatoes horror film based on the files of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played with surprising tenderness by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. It’s 1977, and an impoverished north London family—divorced Peggy (Frances O’Connor) and her four children—are bedeviled by a malevolent spirit that tears apart their dingy house and possesses 11-year-old Janet (Madison Wolfe). Since we know up-front what kind of movie this is, Wan skips the “maybe there’s another explanation” formalities and gets right to scaring us with unambiguously supernatural events. An expert with the camera, he makes frightening use of the story’s familiar haunted-house tropes, and even finds room for a few nice family moments. Not that the movie world needs more franchises, but the thought of the Warrens’ case files bursting with creepy stories for James Wan to adapt indefinitely is very appealing. Opens June 10 at theaters valleywide. (R)—Eric D. Snider

DHEEPAN BBB Jacques Audiard finds a unique approach to exploring the immigrant refugee experience, yet he almost loses that uniqueness in a narrative that’s both over-stuffed and overly conventional. To escape civil war in Sri Lanka, an ex-rebel soldier named Sivadhasan (Jesuthasan Anthonyhasan) pretends to be a dead man named Dheepan, and recruits strangers to pose as his wife Yalini (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) and 9-year-old daughter Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby) so they can emigrate to France as a “family.” Audiard delivers some subtly emotional moments in the dynamics within the phony family, as they seek some kind of familiarity and stability in the gang-ridden housing project where Dheepan gets a job as custodian. Then the Green Card-esque scenario develops predictable complications, and at times it feels as though Audiard can’t quite decide which of these characters is the center of the story. Great character beats collide with a climax that’s almost baffling in the way that it feels designed for the expectations of an American remake. I’d rather focus on the complexities of assimilation than wonder what it will look like when Dheepan is played by Liam Neeson. Opens June 10 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)—SR

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS B The original ‘80s Turtles were intended as a parody of superhero comics. But this sequel to 2014’s reboot is just one more samey-same blockbuster that apes everything from Ghostbusters to The Avengers, and cannot hope to distinguish itself in such company. It’s too long and confusing for children, yet its plot about an alien that wants to take over Earth plays like it was written by an 8-year-old. Indeed, the creepy anthromophorized turtles—with the minds of doofy adolescents, the bodies of adult bodybuilders and the CGI faces of sluggish reptiles— come across as a child’s idea of what adulthood must be like, namely non-stop pizza parties and hanging out in a cool secret underground clubhouse, when you’re not fighting aliens with faux martial arts. It would be an insult to cartoons to call this cartoonish. (PG-13)—MAJ

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City Weekly June 9, 2016  

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City Weekly June 9, 2016  

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