reel to reel | Week of Jan. 05, 2012


The Adventures of Tintin

Based on the popular comic books, this motion-capture animation feature by Steven Spielberg can’t seem to shake the limits of its mo-cap technology. Tintin (Jamie Bell), and his dog Snowy, come into possession of a model sailing ship, which contains a clue to the whereabouts of a vast treasure. Our boy-man hero then becomes the pawn in an age-old duel between the alcoholic Capt. Haddock (Andy Serkis) and the sinister Sakharine (Daniel Craig). It’s all a dramatic, drawn out chase scene, and the mo-cap just feels fake. Rated PG. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips/TMS

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

The chipmunks’ third digitally animated turn on the big screen parks the guys, their three Chipette counterparts and their human family on a deserted island. The return of Jason Lee as Dave, the rodent wrangler who keeps our pop-singing ground squirrels in line, gives the picture a hint of the heart that made the original film work, at least for its intended audience. Parents shouldn’t expect much, but most kids will enjoy the show. Rated G. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Roger Moore/TMS

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas is not a perfect gift, but it does feature enough holiday cheer and silly fun to make it more entertaining than 10 lords a-leaping. Rated PG. At Century and Colony Square. — Rick Bentley/MCT

The Artist

Hollywood 1927. Silent movie matinee idol George Valentin is enjoying the good life, although he seems fonder of his faithful dog than of his trophy wife. He meets funny, sexy young extra Peppy Miller, a dancer set for a big break, and sparks fly. With the advent of the talkies George’s career nosedives, while Peppy’s takes off. At Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres

Crazy Wisdom

Raised and trained in the rigorous Tibetan monastic tradition, Trungpa came to the West and shattered preconceived notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave. He openly smoked, drank and had intimate relations with students — yet his teachings are recognized as authentic, vast and influential. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater

A Dangerous Method

Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method takes a glimpse into the turbulent relationships among fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. At Esquire. — Landmark Theatres

The Darkest Hour

Five young people stranded in Moscow fight to survive in the wake of a devastating alien attack. Rated PG-13. At Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT

The Descendants

From Alexander Payne, creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, comes The Descendants, a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney), a distracted husband and back-up parent to two girls who is forced to reexamine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a life-threatening boating accident off of Waikiki. At Century and Esquire. — Landmark Theatres

The Devil Inside

Twenty years after her mother confessed to three brutal murders, a woman travels to Italy and recruits two young exorcists to find out what really happened and set things right. Rated R. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and his unlikely colleague, the heavily pierced bisexual fantasy pin-up Lisbeth (Rooney Mara), go about nailing a killer of women. All roads lead to a rich family led by Henrik Vanger

(Christopher Plummer), whose relatives have a lot to hide. Director David Fincher is a true talent working with an exceptional cast, so if you needed another version of Stieg Larsson’s combo of prurience and payoff, here you go. Rated R. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips/TMS

Good Morning

As Japan finally begins to rise from the devastation of World War II, two boys grow petulant because their parents refuse to buy them a TV. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society


To write off this dreamy, overwhelmingly beautiful movie as mere kids’ stuff would be an injustice. This adaptation of Brian Selznick’s illustrated children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret (John Logan wrote the screenplay) is as much of a personal Martin Scorsese picture as Raging Bull or Taxi Driver. Rated PG. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Rene Rodriguez/MCT

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is an intense tale of sex, ambition, loyalty, betrayal and revenge. The film takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling of Drive and Blue Valentine) falls prey to backroom politics, the treacherous manipulations of veteran operatives and seduction by a young intern. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

In a Better World

In a Better World treats difficult issues of how we deal with injustice and revenge as children and adults. Part of the “How to Watch a Movie Series,” the 7 p.m. show will include a talk back with Jill Clatemen, director of Old Town Cinema’s Film in Education programs. Her talk will focus on how to watch a movie with your kids. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater


Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) are celebrating their marriage at a sumptuous party in the home of her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and brother-in-law John (Kiefer Sutherland). Despite Claire’s best efforts, the wedding is a fiasco, with family tensions mounting and relationships fraying. Meanwhile, a planet called Melancholia is heading directly towards Earth. At Mayan and Boedecker Theater. — Landmark Theatres

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris, a new romantic comedy from writer/director Woody Allen, tells the story of a family that travels to the picturesque French capital on business. Rated PG-13. At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Long-time Pixar director Brad Bird debuts in live action with the latest in the “M:I” franchise. It begins with a Moscow prison break, proceeds to a terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, skedaddles off to Dubai and the world’s tallest building, and then heads to Mumbai, chasing nuclear madmen, goons and Mrs. Patton’s cleavage. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips/TMS


Moneyball is based on the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) — once a would-be baseball superstar who turned his fiercely competitive nature to management. Heading into the 2002 season, Billy faces a dismal situation: his small-market Oakland A’s have lost their star players (again) to big market clubs (and their enormous salaries) and he is left to rebuild his team and compete with a third of their payroll. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

The Muppets The oddest, sweetest movie you’re likely to see this season is The Muppets, a quirky little musical fantasy about plush frogs, diva pigs, friendship and dreams. Those who fondly remember The Muppet Show will get a kick out of seeing old friends again; those who don’t just might realize what they missed. Rated PG. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Moira Macdonald/MCT

My Week With Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe, at the height of her pin-up popularity, is making a movie in London with master actor Laurence Olivier. Behind the scenes she is a complete mess — doped up, paranoid and suffocating in insecurities. Monroe finds solace in one of Olivier’s young assistants, Colin Clark (the film is based on his memoir). Rated R. At Mayan. — Tom Horgen/MCT

New Year’s Eve

A bloated cast of stars interconnect through eight narratives, which are all set in New York City on Dec. 31. Hilary Swank (Claire) oversees the ball drop. Robert De Niro (Stan) is dying in a hospital, hoping to see the ball drop one last time. Halle Berry (Aimee) is his nurse. Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele are stuck on an elevator. You get the picture. You could do worse, but director Garry Marshall has a knack for pitting his actors against their own material.

Rated PG-13. At Century and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips/TMS

Opera: Queen of Spades-Liceu

Music historian Richard Taruskin calls The Queen of Spades “the first and possibly the greatest masterpiece of musical surrealism.” The composer himself, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, was shocked by how well the opera was received. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater


In a ruthless battle for power, several yakuza clans vie for the favor of their head family in the Japanese underworld. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Race to Nowhere

Are the young people of today prepared to step fully and productively into their future? We hear from students who feel they are being pushed to the brink, educators who worry students aren’t learning anything substantive, and business leaders concerned that their incoming employees lack the skills needed to succeed in the business world: passion, creativity and internal motivation. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater

Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion

Two not-too-bright party girls (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow) reinvent themselves for their high school reunion, armed with a borrowed Jaguar, new clothes and the story of their success as the inventors of Post-it notes. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society


Brandon is a New Yorker who shuns intimacy with women but feeds his desires with a compulsive addiction to sex. When his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, stirring memories of their shared painful past, Brandon’s insular life spirals out of control. At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

See full review Page 39. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.

The Soft Skin

A haunting score by Georges Delerue enhances the mood in The Soft Skin, François Truffaut’s dark and suspenseful follow-up to Jules and Jim. While on a business trip, married literary critic Pierre Lachenay (Jean Desailly) meets a beautiful airline hostess (Françoise Dorleac) and begins an affair. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the long-awaited feature film version of John le Carré’s classic bestselling thriller. The time is 1973. The Cold War of the mid-20th century continues to threaten international relations.

Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) is striving to keep pace with other countries’ espionage efforts. At Chez Artiste and Century. — Landmark Theatres

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

In the first half of the conclusion to the Twilight series, human Bella and vampire Edward wed and conceive a child, with dangerous unforeseen consequences. Rated PG-13. At Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT

War Horse

Steven Spielberg’s enthusiasm and excitement glows in every single frame of War Horse. There isn’t a moment in the movie where you don’t feel Spielberg’s passion for this simple story, and this time, the film is worthy of his enthusiasm. It’s a knockout. The story is based on Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel about the bond between a boy and his horse during World War I. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT

We Bought a Zoo

Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is a widower with two children who quits his job and, searching for a fresh start for his preteen daughter, played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones, along with his grieving son, played by Colin Ford, finds exactly what he wasn’t looking for: a zoo on the skids. Scarlett Johansson plays the head zookeeper, conveniently single. Snakes and grizzlies get out of their cages, and the corn falls from the Cameron Crowe-directed sky. Damon deftly stays true and above the corn. Parts of this are enjoyable, but it’s pretty weak overall. Rated PG. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips/TMS

The Whale

When Luna, a baby orca, gets separated from his pod and unexpectedly starts making contact with people along a scenic fjord in British Columbia, no one can quite believe it. As word spreads about Luna, people become torn between their love for the lonely young whale and fears that human contact might harm him. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater

Young Adult

When a YA writer returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and reunite with her now-married high school sweetheart, things don’t go quite as she’d planned. Rated R. At Century. — Los Angeles Times/MCT