Quick look: New this week at the movies - East Valley Tribune: Movies

Quick look: New this week at the movies

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 6:00 am

>> This information is provided in community partnership with Harkins Theatres. For showtimes, theater locations and tickets, go to HarkinsTheatres.com.



Someone once observed that “America is great because she is good; if she ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Today, that notion of the essential goodness of America is under attack, replaced by a story in which theft and plunder are seen as the defining features of American history, from the theft of Native American and Mexican lands and the exploitation of African labor to a contemporary foreign policy said to be based on stealing oil and a capitalist system that robs people of their “fair share.” This movie takes 21st-century Americans into the future by first visiting our past, reminding us that our founding fathers warned that, although the freedoms they gave us were hard fought, they could very easily be lost. PG-13

Begin Again

A soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together, “Begin Again” is about Gretta and her longtime boyfriend, Dave — college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. The trappings of his newfound fame tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. But a chance encounter with a disgraced record label exec sets in motion an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City. Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Adam Levine, Mos Def. R

Deliver Us from Evil

New York police officer Ralph Sarchie, struggling with personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Starring: Eric Bana, Olivia Munn, Joel McHale. R

Earth to Echo

Tuck, Munch and Alex are a trio of inseparable friends whose lives are about to change. Their neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move. But two days before they must part ways, the boys and another school friend, Emma, discover a small alien who has become stranded on Earth. The friends come together to protect the alien and help him find his way home. This journey, full of wonder and adventure, is their story and their secret. Starring: Teo Halm, Reese C. Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt. PG

Life Itself

This documentary recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert — a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful and transcendent. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, it explores the legacy of the late Ebert’s life, from his Pulitzer-Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America. Starring: Roger Ebert. R


In this sci-fi epic, a failed global warming experiment kills off most life on the planet. The survivors board the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine. When cryptic messages incite the passengers to revolt, the train thrusts full-throttle toward disaster. Starring: Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris. R


After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother. Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates. R

The Internet’s Own Boy

Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz’s fingerprints are all over the Internet, from his help in the development of the basic Internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing — combined with his aggressive approach to information access — that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. Starring: Tim Berners-Lee, Cory Doctorow, Peter Eckersley. Not Rated

Third Person

Three couples in three cities find love and heartbreak in three interlocking stories. A married writer and a single girl sadistically toy with each other in Paris, a corporate thief on the run from the law meets a beautiful gypsy woman in Rome, and a failed soap star wages a custody battle for the son she endangered in New York. Starring: Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello, Kim Basinger. R


Also showing

22 Jump Street

After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them. Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman. R

50 to 1

Misfit New Mexico cowboys find themselves on the journey of a lifetime when their crooked-footed racehorse qualifies for the Kentucky Derby. Based on the inspiring true story of Mine That Bird, the cowboys face a series of mishaps on their way to Churchill Downs, becoming the ultimate underdogs in a final showdown with the world’s racing elite. Starring: Skeet Ulrich, Christian Kane, William Devane. PG-13

A Million Ways to Die in the West

When cowardly Albert accidentally saves the life of a mysterious and beautiful woman, she helps him find his courage and learn to stand up for himself. But when her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, sheep farmer Albert must triumph over all of the hilariously awful dangers of the Old West in order to save her. Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman. R


After a bad blind date, a man and woman find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows as their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship. Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Joel McHale, Kevin Nealon. PG-13


Chef Carl Casper suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife, his friend and his son to launch a food truck, reigniting his passion for the kitchen and zest for life and love. Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt. R

Edge of Tomorrow

In a near future in which an alien race has hit Earth in an unrelenting assault, Lt. Col. Bill Cage is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop that forces him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again and again. With each battle, he is able to engage his adversaries with increasing skill — alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski. As Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton. PG-13


An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Starring: Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston. PG-13

How to Train Your Dragon 2

In the sequel to the 2010 animated hit, Viking teenager Hiccup and his dragon Toothless discover new lands, hundreds of new wild dragons and a mysterious dragon rider who turns out to be Hiccup’s long-lost mother. Together, they must fend off a mad conqueror who poses a serious threat to humans and dragons alike. Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. PG

Jersey Boys

Four young men from the wrong side of the tracks came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. This story of their trials and triumphs is accompanied by songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You” and many more. Starring: Christopher Walken, Vincent Piazza, Freya Tingley. R


Picking up where “Restrepo” left off, this film features the same men, the same valley, the same commanders — but a very different look at the experience of war, explaining how war works, what it feels like and what it does to the young men who fight it. As one soldier cheers when he kills an enemy fighter, another asks if God will ever forgive him for the killing he has done. As one soldier grieves the loss of a friend in combat, another admits he would go back to the front line in a heartbeat. Starring: Misha Pemble-Belkin, Dan Kearney. R


In this untold story of Disney’s iconic villain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty,” Maleficent is a beautiful, pure-hearted young woman with stunning black wings, growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom — until an invading army of humans threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal that begins to turn her heart to stone. Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Jude Law. PG

Million Dollar Arm

In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitcher. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm.” He discovers Dinesh and Rinku, two 18-year-olds with a knack for throwing a fastball. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family. Starring: John Hamm, Bill Paxton, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin. PG


A young couple suffering from arrested development are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby in this comedy. Starring: Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Rose Byrne, Seth Rogen, Jake Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lisa Kudrow, Halston Sage, Carla Gallo, Chasty Ballesteros. R

Night Moves

Three environmentalists’ homegrown plot to blow up a controversial dam unravels into a journey of doubt, paranoia and unintended consequences. As organic farmer Josh, high society dropout Dena and ex-Marine Harmon plan, carry out and then witness the fallout of an attention-grabbing act of sabotage, they find their personal limits tested. Starring: Dakota Fanning, Alia Shawkat, Jesse Eisenberg. R

Obvious Child

For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female 20-something provides ample material for her incredibly relatable brand of humor. But when Donna gets dumped, loses her job and finds herself pregnant just in time for Valentine’s Day, she has to navigate the murky waters of independent adulthood for the first time. As she grapples with an uncertain financial future and a surprising new suitor, Donna begins to discover that the most terrifying thing about adulthood isn’t facing it all on her own; it’s allowing herself to accept the support and love of others. Never failing to find the comedy and humanity in each awkward situation she encounters, Donna finds out along the way what it means to be as brave in life as she is on stage. Starring: Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffmann, Richard Kind. R

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

Shep Gordon is the consummate Hollywood insider. A beacon in the industry, beloved by the countless stars he has encountered throughout his storied career, Shep is known for managing the careers of musicians. But he also found time to invent the concept of “celebrity chef.” Though the “chef as star” is part of the culture now, it took imagination and moral outrage at how chefs were being treated to monetize the culinary arts into the multibillion-dollar industry it is today. In this film, Gordon’s unlikely story is told by those who know him best, his pals. Starring: Shep Gordon, Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Willie Nelson, Emeril Lagasse. R

The Fault in Our Stars

Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them — and us — on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. Starring: Shailene Woodley, Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern, Mike Birbiglia. PG-13

The German Doctor

Patagonia, 1960. A German doctor meets an Argentinean family and follows them on a long desert road to a small town where the family will be starting a new life. Eva, Enzo, and their three children welcome the doctor into their home and entrust their young daughter, Lilith, to his care, not knowing that they are harboring one of the most dangerous criminals in the world. At the same time, Israeli agents are desperately looking to bring the German doctor to justice. Starring: Natalia Oreiro, Àlex Brendemühl, Diego Peretti. PG-13

The Grand Seduction

A small fishing village must procure a local doctor to secure a lucrative business contract. When unlikely candidate and big-city doctor Paul Lewis lands in their lap for a trial residence, the townsfolk rally together to charm him into staying. As the doctor’s time in the village winds to a close, acting mayor Murray French has no choice but to pull out all the stops and begin The Grand Seduction. Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban. Not Rated

The Signal

Three college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour: the tracking of a computer genius who has already hacked into MIT and exposed security faults. The trio find themselves drawn to an eerily isolated area. Suddenly everything goes dark. When one of the students, Nic, regains consciousness, he finds he is in a waking nightmare. Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Laurence Fishburne, Sarah Clarke. PG-13

Think Like a Man Too

In this highly anticipated sequel, which was inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book “Act Like a Lady,” all the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas. But plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event. Starring: Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Dennis Haysbert, Taraji P. Henson. PG-13

Transformers: Age of Extinction

As humanity picks up the pieces following the conclusion of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control, all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his cross-hairs. Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer. PG-13

Under the Electric Sky

An immersive 3D documentary exploring the allure of the EDM phenomenon told through the experiences of six different groups attending the Electric Daisy Carnival 2013 in Las Vegas, this film combines personal stories with performances by Fatboy Slim, Kaskade, Dillon Francis, Afrojack, Above & Beyond, Armin Van Buren, Avicii and Tiësto. Directors Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz bring the event to life by going behind the scenes to show what it takes to stage one of the biggest parties in the known universe. Starring: Pasquale Rotella. PG-13

Words and Pictures

Prep school English teacher Jack Marcus laments his students’ obsession with social media and good grades rather than engaging with the power of the written word. When Dina Delsanto — a painter and new teacher who was once celebrated for her art — arrives on campus, the two flirt and provoke each other with equal relish. Jack hatches a plan to galvanize student interest in their studies: He declares a war between Words and Pictures. Dina accepts the challenge, and the battle lines between English and art students are drawn. Starring: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche. PG-13

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class” in an epic battle that must change the past in order to save our future. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart. PG-13

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