reel to reel | Week of July 21, 2011


Bad Teacher

Cameron Diaz gets in touch with her bad self as the world’s worst teacher, an alcoholic, drugusing party animal who tries to seduce a wealthy new substitute (Justin Timberlake). Rated R. At Century, Flatiron and Twin Peaks — Rene Rodriguez


Beginners imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion and surprises of love. Oliver meets the irreverent and unpredictable Anna only months after his father, Hal, has passed away. This new love floods Oliver with memories of his father, who — following 44 years of marriage — came out of the closet at age 75 to live a full, energized and wonderfully tumultuous gay life. At Chez Artiste and Century Boulder. — Landmark Theatres

A Better Life

Carlos is a gardener living in East L.A. who performs landscaping work for wealthy clients across town. As he tries to make ends meet, he struggles to keep his son Luis away from gangs and immigration agents. At Mayan and Century Boulder. — Landmark Theatres


Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback, travels the country for nine months a year helping horses with people problems. Buck follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. At Century and Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Airheaded cheerleader Buffy (Kristy Swanson) is the “chosen one” of her generation — earmarked to kill vampires infesting our streets and towns. This precursor to the popular series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar lacks the TV version’s dark tone, but features plenty of campy fun. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Captain America: The First Avenger

Steve Rogers is a scrawny guy who is transformed into a World War II super-soldier in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the latest comic book adaptation to invade theaters. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Detroit Free Press/ MCT

Care Bears II

This animated adventure goes back in time to the Care Bears’ first-ever Caring Mission, when True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse touch down on Earth to boost the spirits of some unhappy kids at summer camp. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Cars 2

Anthropomorphic automobiles head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix in this sequel to the 2006 animated film Cars. Rated G. At Flatiron, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT

The First Beautiful Thing

The First Beautiful Thing (La Prima Cosa Bella) is Italy’s 2011 Academy Award® submission. The film follows a strong and optimistic mother raising her two children against all odds. Throughout grief and pain she teaches her family to remain open and loving. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Friends with Benefits

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis play young professionals too busy for relationships — and willing to ignore the sage advice of recently preceding romantic comedies like No Strings Attached — who undertake a sex-only relationship in this rom-com that pokes fun at other rom-coms. Rated R. At Century and Flatiron.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold unmasks the mar  keting process to bring audiences behind closed doors directly into the pitch meetings and marketing presentations which ultimately inform our everyday entertainment decisions. At Boedecker Theater. ­— Boedecker Theater


Happy combines cutting-edge science from the new field of “positive psychology” with real-life stories of people from around the world whose lives illustrate these findings. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

See full review Page 37. Rated PG-13. At Flatirons, Century and Colony Square. — Los Angeles Time/MCT

Horrible Bosses

We’ve all had them. We’ve all had to suffer their indignities — or else just quit our jobs. But three friends come up with an alternative to dealing with their monstrous bosses with the help of an ex-con. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Rene Rodriguez

How to Live Forever

Director Mark Wexler (Tell Them Who You Are) embarks on an entertaining worldwide trek to investigate just what it means to grow old, and what it could mean to really live forever. He travels to Okinawa and Iceland, where people live longest; he journeys to Las Vegas for a funeral directors’ convention and to Arizona for a tour of a cryonics facility. At Chez Artiste. ­— Landmark Theatres

If a Tree Falls

On December 7, 2005, federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) — an organization the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front is the remarkable story of the group’s rise and fall, told through the transformation of one of its members. At Chez Artiste. ­— Landmark Theatres

In Our Name

Suzy is a British soldier, born and bred, but fitting back into civilian life after fighting in Iraq isn’t easy. In Our Name is inspired by the reality of the struggles some soldiers go through when they return from a tour of duty, and explores post traumatic stress disorder from a female perspective. At Boedecker Theater. ­— Boedecker Theater

Journey from Zanskar

The Zanskar region of Tibet is geographically remote, caught in a cycle of poverty and under siege from the Chinese who surround them and show little respect for their Buddhist traditions. In such a place, educating children is no easy task, and illiteracy is an epidemic in Zanskar. For many families, enrolling their children in school means making letting them leave home. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Larry Crowne

This Tom Hanks directed (and co-produced and co-written) rom-com is the neediest movie of the year, and one of the phoniest. Julia Roberts plays a washed-up community college instructor. Tom Hanks plays a washedup, laid-off divorcee who returns to school and winds up in guess who’s class. The problem here is the script, co-written by Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame. PG-13. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips

The Last Mountain

In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain, a battle over protecting our health and environment from the destructive power of Big Coal. Nowhere is that concern greater than in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, where a small but passionate group of ordinary citizens are trying to stop Big Coal corporations, like Massey Energy, from continuing the devastating practice of mountain top removal. At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres

The Law

The Law (previously released in the U.S. as Where the Hot Wind Blows) stars Gina Lollobrigida as Marietta, the gorgeous housekeeper to Don Cesare (Brasseur), the patriarch of a small Mediterranean coastal town.

Lusted after by many men, Marietta has her own desires, consisting of the poor Enrico. Marietta connives the men of the town by turning the tables on them using their own vicious drinking game. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Midnight in Paris

A lark, a souffle, a delightful shaggy-dog story with Owen Wilson as its shaggy hero. What’s he doing in a Woody Allen movie about a B-list screenwriter who time-travels from the present to the Jazz Age? Disarming the audience with his wistful joie de vivre, that’s what.

Rated PG-13. At Mayan, Flatiron, Colony Square and Century. — Carrie Rickey

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Jim Carrey stars in this adaptation of the 1939 Newbery Award-winning children’s book about a house painter who starts breeding trained penguins and takes his animal act on the road, creating a national sensation. Rated PG. At Flatiron. — Rene Rodriguez

Opera: The Girl of the Golden West

Puccini’s operatic take on the Wild West is sprinkled with Hollywood glitz in this splashy production from the Netherlands Opera. The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) stars blond bombshell soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as the cowgirl Minnie. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater

Page One

In the tradition of great fly-on-the-wall documentaries, Page One: Inside the New York Times deftly gains unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom. With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, Page One chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. At Esquire and Denver FilmCenter/Colfax­. — Landmark Theatres

Queen of the Sun

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater

Rejoice and Shout

Rejoice and Shout traces the evolution of gospel through its many musical styles — the spirituals and early hymns, the four-part harmony-based quartets, the integration of blues and swing into gospel, the emergence of soul, and the blending of rap and hip-hop elements. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Spotlight on Amos Gital

Abandoned by its Palestinian owner in the 1948 war; requisitioned by the Israeli government as vacant; rented to Jewish Algerian immigrants in 1956; purchased by a university professor who undertakes its transformation into a three-story house in 1980. This West Jerusalem building is no longer the microcosm it once was 25 years ago. Its inhabitants dispersed, this common space has disintegrated, but remains both an emotional and physical center at heart of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Stand By Me

In this Rob Reiner dramatization of Stephen King’s novella The Body, a writer (Richard Dreyfuss) tells the story of how four boys sought adventure and heroism in the Oregon woods with their search for a missing teen’s dead body in the 1950s. What they uncover about themselves along the way, however, means even more. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Super 8

Joe, the young teenage son of a local cop, is making a zombie movie with his friends in their hilly Ohio steel town. One night while filming a scene on the train platform, an Air Force train derails before their very eyes, some strange boxcar cargo making its presence known. Then the strangeness starts.

Rated PG-13. At Flatiron, Century and Colony Square. — Michael Phillips


Thirty years before the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears were regular gossip fodder, Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney made her mark as a tabloid staple ne plus ultra. Academy Award-winner Errol Morris’ documentary follows the salacious adventures of this beauty queen with an IQ of 168 whose single-minded devotion to the man of her dreams leads her across the globe, into jail, and onto the front page. At Esquire­. — Landmark Theatres


A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, Terri, directed by Azazel Jacobs (Momma’s Man) and produced by the team behind Blue Valentine and Half Nelson, is a moving and often funny film about the relationship between Terri (Jacob Wysocki), an oversized teen misfit and the loquacious but well-meaning vice principal (John C. Reilly) who reaches out to him.

At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres

Third Star

James has terminal cancer and wants to make the most of this life. He invites his three closest friends to join him on a camping trip to West Wales. With no other skills for the outdoor life, except making tea, the journey will test their strength, their friendship and their belief in what makes life worth living. At Boedecker Theater. ­— Boedecker Theater

Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives

An homage to the exploitation films of the ’70s and ’80s, Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives is a revenge fantasy flick that brews up a concoction of camp, slasher horror and powerchick flick to create a radical new genre:

Transploitation! Inspired by the increase in hate crimes against transgender people, writer/director Israel Luna, along with his Dallas based cast and crew, pour their hearts into creating the atmospheric ’70s distressed aesthetic that glimmers with each woman’s distinct brassy groove. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

In this third installment, we learn that the NASA space program was a cover-up that allowed the crew of Apollo 11 to explore the alien ruins on the dark side of the moon. Michael Bay continues to offer up soulless and frenetic trash. PG-13 At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father. Jack finds himself a lost soul, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life. At Esquire and Century. — Landmark Theatres


In a town surrounded by quicksand, an outlaw from Vash the Stampede’s past has resurfaced after 20 years. His name is Gasback — and he’s looking to cause a little trouble. It seems Gasback has a serious beef with the town’s mayor, who’s paying dozens of bounty hunters to protect his turf. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society

The Trip

When Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour the country’s finest restaurants, he envisions it as the perfect getaway with his beautiful girlfriend. But when she backs out on him, he has no one to accompany him but his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon. As the brilliant comic duo, freestyling with flair, drive each other mad, the ultimate odd couple realize a rich amount about not only good food, but the nature of fame, relationships, and their own lives. At Mayan and Boedecker. — Landmark Theatres


The government says there’s nothing to worry about — it’s just a problem with bears making trouble in the mountains and forests of Norway. But local hunters don’t believe it, and neither do a trio of college students who want to find out the truth. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Landmark Theatres


Named after the local soccer stadium in the Southern Israeli town of Beer Sheba, Vasermil tells the story of three teenagers from separate marginalized communities, who pin their hopes on soccer as a way out. Shlomi, Adiel and Dima are recruited by the coach of the local soccer team to take part in the Beersheba Youth Championship. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society

Winnie the Pooh

See full review Page 37. Rated G. At Flatirons, Twin Peaks, Century and Colony Square. — Los Angeles Times/MCT


Kevin James stars as the title character, a guy getting questionable romantic advice from the talking animals in his care. A comedy that smells like the monkey house. Rated PG. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — David Hiltbrand