reel to reel | Week of May 17, 2012

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In a large apartment high above the city lives a couple. They’re in love. She’s a painter, he’s a successful actor. Just a normal afternoon — except that this isn’t a normal afternoon, for them or anyone else. Because tomorrow, at 4:44 a.m., give or take a few seconds, the world will come to an end far more rapidly than even the worst doomsayer could have imagined. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society


A team of superheroes including Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor unite to save the world. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT


“Fille is a treasure,” says Monica Mason, director of The Royal Ballet. Anyone who has seen this sunniest of ballets will certainly agree. With its origins in a work first seen in Bordeaux in 1789, La Fille Mal Gardée had been staged by several choreographers in the 19th century. Frederick Ashton brought the work into the 20th century and created an instant classic that has never left The Royal Ballet’s repertory. Funny and touching, La Fille Mal Gardée is the perfect ballet for first-timers of all ages, but it is also one to which ballet-lovers will return again and again. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater.


The classic naval combat game brought to life with plenty of visual effects and slowmotion action sequences. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.


Filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset) returns to his Texas roots for this delightfully pokerfaced black comedy — based on a true story — about East Texas assistant funeral home director Bernie Tiede (Jack Black). He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Driven by her cruelty to put four bullets in her, Bernie goes to great lengths to keep up the illusion that she’s still alive. At Century and Mayan. — Landmark Theatres


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a witty comedy-drama about a group of British retirees (Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith) who decide to “outsource” their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the place a shell of its former self. At Century and Esquire. — Landmark Theatres


It’s 1984, and on the rural East Coast of New Zealand “Thriller” is changing kids’ lives. This is a hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale about heroes, magic and Michael Jackson. Boy is a dreamer who lives with his brother, a tribe of deserted cousins and his Nan. Boy’s other hero, his father, is the subject of fantasies: a deep sea diver, war hero and a close relation of Michael Jackson (he can even dance like him). In reality he is an inept, wannabe gangster who has been in jail for robbery. When his father returns home after seven years, Boy is forced to confront the man he thought he remembered, find his own potential, and learn to get along without the hero he imagined. At Boedecker Theater and Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Boedecker Theater


More than 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The new film Bully, directed by Sundance and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres


This nature documentary follows a baby chimpanzee and his family as they survive in the African forest. At Century and Colony Square. — Los Angeles Times/ MCT


Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno) plays a North African dictator risking his life to save his country from democracy. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks


A vampire is freed from his tomb after two centuries and set loose in the world of 1972. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.


Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. At Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres


Writer/director Terence Davies, master chronicler of post-War England, returns with a timeless romantic drama starring Rachel Weisz as a woman whose overpowering love threatens her well-being and alienates the men in her life. At Boedecker Theater. — Landmark Theatres


Juliette Binoche plays Anne, a wife, mother and journalist researching an article about student prostitution for the French edition of ELLE magazine. She finds herself drawn to two young women who have entered the sex trade for different reasons. As they open up, Anne confronts realities of her own bourgeois life. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Landmark Theatres


Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected.

Bess Kargman’s award-winning documentary and feature film debut, First Position, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet. At Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres


Most romantic comedies give up once the girl, or guy, has been gotten. This movie shows why. Rated R. At Century and Colony Square.


Headhunters is an intense action thriller, as well as a provocative investigation into questions of betrayal, revenge and deadly ambition. The talented Aksel Hennie (Max Manus) stars as Roger, a charming scoundrel and Norway’s most accomplished corporate headhunter. At Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres


In the post-apocalyptic ruins of North America, a teenage girl competes in a nationally televised battle to the death against 23 of her peers. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT


Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, is the proprietor of a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. As his son Yoshikazu faces the pressures of stepping into his father’s shoes and taking over the legendary restaurant, Jiro relentlessly pursues his continuing quest of poetic mastery of life through his art. Rated PG. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Boedecker Theater


Juan is 40 years old, most of which he spent in Cuba doing absolutely nothing. It’s his way of life, and he’s prepared to defend it at any cost, along with his pal Lázaro, as lazy as Juan but twice as dumb. Suddenly some strange things start to happen, people are turning violent attacking one another. Juan was first convinced it’s just another stage of the Revolution. At Denver FilmCenter/Colfax. — Denver Film Society


After a long absence, gangster and father Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric) arrives home to a house haunted with memories, towing the body of a teenaged girl and a bound and gagged young man. His gang waits inside his house, having shot their way past police. There is friction in the ranks. Ulysses, however, is focused on one thing: journeying through the house, room by room, and reaching his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini) in her bedroom upstairs. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society


Grand Jury Prize winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this deeply moving new release by the Dardenne brothers delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril. When his father abandons him, Cyril obsessively tries to find his bicycle — after all, his father must have cared about him enough not to sell that off, he reasons. He becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser, a woman who seems surprised to find herself so determined to help him. With his unpredictable behavior and his disastrous search for father figures, Cyril risks losing her — though she refuses to give up without a fight. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater.


Rock ’n roll biopic on the life of Ritchie Valens, a young Mexican/American whose talents as a rock and roll singer catapulted him from the obscurity of a farm laborer obsessed with music to stardom at the age of 17 with a string of pop hits still popular today. At Denver FilmCenter/ Colfax. — Denver Film Society


The Lady, directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Professional), is the extraordinary story of human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh) and her husband, Michael Aris (David Thewlis). It is also the epic story of the peaceful quest of the woman who is at the core of Burma’s democracy movement. Despite distance, long separations, and a dangerously hostile regime, their love endures until the very end. At Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres


Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Director Kevin Macdonald’s (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) documentary Marley is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres


An exiled princess enlists the help of a group of diminutive bandits to take back her usurped throne from an evil queen in this retelling of the Snow White fairy tale. Rated PG. At Colony Square. — Los Angeles Times/MCT


See full review on page 40. Rated PG. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars Ewan McGregor as Dr. Alfred Jones, a fisheries scientist who one day receives an unusual request. A businesswoman named Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau) wants his help in fulfilling a wealthy sheikh’s (Amr Waked) desire to bring sport fishing to Yemen. At Century and Mayan. — Landmark Theatres


In the mystery drama Sound of My Voice, a couple of young documentary filmmakers infiltrate a mysterious group led by an enigmatic young woman named Maggie (co-writer Brit Marling, Another Earth). Intent on exposing her as a charlatan and freeing the followers from her grip, Peter and Lorna start to question their objective and each other as they unravel the secrets of Maggie’s underworld. At Mayan. — Landmark Theatres


In May 2009, 29 young contestants came from all over the world to compete in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, the most prestigious prize in the music world. This is the story of one of the contestants, 20-year-old Nobuyuki Tsujii from Tokyo, blind from birth. At Boedecker Theater. — Boedecker Theater.


Inspired by Ronald Wright’s bestselling non-fiction book A Short History of Progress, Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks’ intelligent and compelling documentary explores the concept of progress in our modern world, guiding us through a sweeping but detailed survey of the major “progress traps” facing our civilization in the arenas of technology, economics, consumption and the environment. At Chez Artiste. — Landmark Theatres


Four men have their love lives shaken up when the women they are pursuing read a relationship-advice book and take its lessons to heart. At Colony Square. — Los Angeles Times/MCT


Three infants left on a nun’s doorstep grow up to be knuckleheads who get embroiled in a strange murder plot and stumble into a reality TV show. Rated PG. At Twin Peaks. — Los Angeles Times/MCT


The book What to Expect When You’re Expecting is approaching 30 — about time to start bearing its own offspring, though the disjointed high drama of this film may not exactly make a parent proud. The ensemble cast that includes every available face from Jennifer Lopez to Chris Rock leads to heavy-handed dramatics panning in an overall sitcommy film. Rated PG-13. At Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.