Movies

Movie review: 'A Wrinkle in Time'

Remake has lots of dazzle but can't mask a desperate need to entertain

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Bigger is not always better. That's certainly the case with "A Wrinkle in Time," the second motion picture adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's beloved and multi-award winning young adult novel first published in 1962.

Both movies were put together by Disney Studios. The first, done in 2003 as a TV feature, wasn't very good. In fact, at the time, Newsweek asked L'Engle if it met her expectations, to which she replied, "Yes, I expected it to be bad, and it is."

For the new release, L'Engle unfortunately isn't around to ask, having passed in 2007, but one must wonder if her reaction wouldn't be much different.

The drawback to the first movie was that it lacked impossible to define "production values." It was clunky and lame and never gave the audience a satisfying vision of L'Engle's strange and bizarre otherworldly tale. Obviously, today's version was given the greenlight to dazzle with every pixel-popping, terabyte-twisting, psychedelic flashback-inducing vision Disney's software designers and graphic artists could come up with, plus featuring on-camera talent such as Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Zack Galifianakis, and Capt. James T. Kirk (of "Star Trek") himself, Chris Pine. Not only that, but acclaimed director Ava DuVernay ("Selma") was behind the camera. What could possible go wrong?

Ever try to fit 10 pounds of anything into a five-pound bag?

Imagination is a funny thing, especially when it comes to movies and loads of CGI (computer-generated imagery) and a studio willing to lavishly squander millions of dollars to do what literally could not be done in 2003. So, when everything is cranked up to 11 in the visual overload department, not a lot of room is left for subtlety -- or even acting. Large segments of the movie consist of this expensive talent standing around in loony costumes as nothing more than window dressing to bizarre imagery rendered on green screens. Yes, unfortunately, some sequences are downright boring.

The story is about a girl named Meg (Storm Reid), who is an outcast at school, partly because she is always having to look after her brainy little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). A pair of siblings from the book don't appear in the movie. Meg and Charles Wallace live with their single mom (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in a household that has a very big hole left in it by the disappearance several years before of their dad (Chris Pine). Their dad was a scientist who was into some high level experiments that probably had something to do with his vanishing.

In a bit of magic-mixed-with-science, Meg, Charles Wallace and a school friend named Calvin (Levi Miller) miraculously get transported to a strange dimension where they meet the celestial beings Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon). These beings inform the kids that they know what happened to their father and will lead them to him, but the journey will be across the universe using an object known as a tesseract and there will be some peril involved. The danger is from The Black Thing, which is imprisoning their dad.

It's a basic story of good versus evil with enough sleight-of-hand to mask the huge plot holes only parents might notice.

"A Winkle in Time" is rated PG for thematic elements and some peril..

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

The following were edited from press materials.

Gringo

MPAA rating: R for language throughout, violence and sexual content

Mitchell Storyteller 7

An exhilarating mix of dark comedy, white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, “Gringo” joyrides into Mexico, where mild-mannered businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) finds himself at the mercy of his back-stabbing business colleagues back home, local drug lords and a morally conflicted black-ops mercenary.

Crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal, Harold battles to survive his increasingly dangerous situation in ways that raise the question: Is he out of his depth or two steps ahead? Co-stars Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Sharlto Copley, Amanda Seyfried, and Thandie Newton. Directed by Nash Edgerton (Joel’s brother) from a screenplay by Anthony Tambakis and Matthew Stone.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Milagro Beanfield War

MPAA rating: R for language, some violence

Movies at the TCA

In Milagro, a small town in the American Southwest, Ladd Devine (Richard Bradford) plans to build a major new resort development. While activist Ruby Archuleta (Sônia Braga) and lawyer-newspaper editor Charlie Bloom (John Heard) realize that this will result in the eventual displacement of the local Hispanic farmers, they cannot arouse much opposition because of the short-term opportunities offered by construction jobs.

When Joe Mondrágon (Chick Vennera) illegally diverts water to irrigate his bean field, the local people support him because of their resentment of water use laws that favor the rich like Devine. When the governor sends in ruthless troubleshooter Kyril Montana (Christopher Walken) to settle things quickly before the lucrative development is cancelled, a small war threatens to erupt.

Directed by Robert Redford and based upon the novel by Taos author John Nichols, this 1988 film co-stars Rubén Blades, Julie Carmen, James Gammon, Melanie Griffith, Daniel Stern, Freddie Fender and Carlos Riquelme.

Screenings are Friday through Monday (March 16-19), 7 p.m., except for Sunday which is a 2 p.m. matinee.

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

 The Strangers: Prey at Night

MPAA rating: R for horror violence and terror throughout, and for language

Mitchell Storyteller 7

A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Sequel of sorts to the 2008 nihilistic horror hit.

Film is directed by Johannes Roberts (“47 Meters Down”) and co-stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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