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Jul 22

Fighting to save the future in “12 Monkeys”

 Time traveler James Cole (Bruce Willis) is on the trail of bioterrorists in “12 Monkeys”

Terry Gilliam’s classic science fiction thriller doesn’t monkey around

The year is 1990. The place, Baltimore, Md.

There’s a bald, bedraggled man claiming to be a time traveler sent to prevent a devastating worldwide plague. He’s distraught and clearly disturbed. What do you do?

Easy. You arrest him and commit him to an insane asylum. But what if that crazy coot is actually telling the truth?

That’s the premise behind “12 Monkeys,” Terry Gilliam’s wildly creative science fiction thriller.

“12 Monkeys” follows James Cole (Bruce Willis), a convicted criminal living in a grim, grimy dystopian future.

Like the rest of society, he’s been forced underground by a devastating virus that wiped out most of humanity in 1996. Now, in 2035, scientists are eager to learn more about the mysterious disease.

They send Cole back in time in hopes of stopping the virus, believed to be the work of a terrorist organization known as The Army of the 12 Monkeys.

Through his trips, Cole encounters a psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe) and an animal rights activist (Brad Pitt) who may hold the key of Earth’s destruction.

Like Terry Gilliam’s other films (“Brazil,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”), “12 Monkeys” takes a classic genre — the science fiction thriller — and turns it on its head. It’s fierce, funny and contains at least one neatly executed twist.

Plus, it features surprisingly strong performance from Willis, who has been maligned for years as just an action flick heavy, and Pitt, who’s best when he “plays crazy.”

“12 Monkeys” is loosely based on the influential French short film, “La Jetee.”

Watch “12 Monkeys” at 7 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. tonight at The Palm Theatre, 817 Palm St. in San Luis Obispo. Tickets are $7.50.

***James Bond aficionados can watch their favorite spy in action tonight in “License to Kill.”When drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) brutally tortures CIA agent Felix Leiter (David Hedison) and murders Felix’s new bride, Bond (Timothy Dalton) vows to avenge him.Agent 007 resigns from the British Secret Service and begins a fierce vendetta, teaming up with a beautiful pilot (Carey Lowell) and Sanchez’s sexy mistress (Talisa Soto).

He battles agents on both sides of the law, facing a ferocious boat chase, a midair brawl and an action-packed confrontation in the Mexico desert as he tries to bring Sanchez to justice.

Watch “Licence to Kill” tonight at  Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa, 2727 Shell Beach Road in Shell Beach.

Free lawn seating begins at 7:30 p.m. Drinks and snacks are available for sale.

Moviegoers also have the option of a three-course dinner served on the patio, starting at 7 p.m. That costs $49 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required.

Call 773-8900 for more information

***

Also tonight, the documentary “Fierce Light: With Spirit Meets Action” chronicles individuals moved by love to take positive, peaceful action.

Written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Velcrow Ripper, the documentary features appearances by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, author Alice Walker, activist Julia Butterfly Hill and actress Daryl Hannah.

“Fierce Light” screens at 7 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo library, 995 Palm St. in San Luis Obispo. Tickets are $7.

***

On Friday, film noir gets timely with “The Big Clock.”

When a powerful publishing tycoon (Charles Laughton) kills his mistress, crime magazine editor Richard Stroud (Ray Milland) takes the murder rap.

 Stroud must elude the police while searching for proof of his boss’ guilt and his own innocence.
“The Big Clock” was remade as 1976′s “Police Python 357″ and 1987′s “No Way Out,” but there’s no question that the original 1948 version is the superior film.  It’s a frenzied cat-and-mouse thriller in which the hunter is also the hunted.“The Big Clock” screens at dusk Friday at Edna Valley Vineyard, 2585 Biddle Ranch Rd. in San Luis Obispo. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.Tickets cost $10, with all proceeds benefiting the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.Moviegoers are encouraged to bring a low-backed lawn chair or blankets. Picnics are allowed, but outside alcohol is forbidden. Wine and other beverages will be available for sale.

For more information, call Renee Graas at 544-5855, ext. 31.

***

On Saturday, the San Luis Obispo City Library offers a free screening of the popular animated movie “Bolt.”

John Travolta stars as Bolt, a white German shepherd who’s the star of a hit television show.

In every episode, Bolt uses his superpowers to save his owner and co-star Penny (Miley Cyrus) from Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell) and his evil minions. He believes that his powers are real, even if Penny and The Director (James Lipton) know better.

When Bolt is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City, he must make his way home without the aid of Hollywood magic. His traveling companions? A jaded alley cat (Susie Essman) and an easily excited hamster (Mark Walton) stuck in a plastic ball.

“Bolt” combines breakneck action with humor and some genuinely heartfelt moments.

See “Bolt” at 2 p.m. Saturday in the library’s Community Room, 995 Palm St. in San Luis Obispo. The screening includes free popcorn and drinks.

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Above image courtesy of MovieWeb.com.

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1 comment

  1. The Man from Moqui

    Terry Gilliam marches to the beat of his own drum. Brazil is out there and so is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (My heart was filled with joy … I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger … a man on the move and just SICK enough to be TOTALLY confident!) See “12 Monkeys” at the Palm and support Jim Dee. Then, to gain some insights into his vision as an auteur check out the featurette on the making of “12 Monkeys” on the DVD.

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