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The Bikeriders

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At the outside of Jeff Nichols’ gorgeous and grungy look back on the history of the Vandals motorcycle club, we are informed that it is based on The Bikeriders, a book by photojournalist Danny Lyon, based on his interviews with the club’s members — and, significantly, their women — between 1965 and 1973. And boy howdy, does it feel like it. After a rousing opening scene in which a couple of locals attempt to separate beautiful Benny (Austin Butler) from his club colors, we cut to an interview between Danny and Benny’s bride Kathy (an appealing Jodie Comer), in which she opines that “it can’t be love” that fuel’s Benny’s devotion, so “it must be stupidity.” Well, if the wife can’t tell, what hope is there for us, especially given the way Nichols keeps us at arm’s length from the characters? Danny asks why club founder Johnny (a slippery-accented Tom Hardy) started the Vandals, and Kathy says something about him seeing a movie. Cut to Johnny watching Brando in The Wild One, answering the question “What are you rebelling against?” with “What have you got?” Except Johnny’s not rebelling; he’s got a wife and kids and a house and a steady job, and the Vandals are just a bunch of guys who like to talk motorcycles, race motorcycles, and hang out and drink, whether in a bar or in a field. Why join? “Everybody wants to belong to something,” offers one member. Okay. There’s a story here — about changing times and how you can’t always be the master of your own creation, about the way that a band of brothers can devolve into a gang of criminals once you take love out of the mix — and yeah, that story hinges on Johnny and Benny’s choices. But their reasons seem murky even to themselves, and for all the cheerful exposition Kathy provides, Nichols seems happy to have it that way. There were these guys. They looked like this and talked like that. They rode these bikes. And that will have to be enough. Well, maybe. (2024) — Matthew Lickona

Rated R | 1.0 hour, 56 minutes
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AMC Fashion Valley
7037 Friars Road, San Diego, 888-262-4386 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
3:40pm, 6:25pm, 9:10pm
Monday, July 15
3:40pm, 6:25pm, 9:10pm
Tuesday, July 16
3:40pm, 6:25pm, 9:10pm
Wednesday, July 17
3:40pm, 6:25pm, 9:10pm
AMC La Jolla
8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego, 888-262-4386 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
4:30pm
Monday, July 15
1:30pm
Tuesday, July 16
1:00pm, 6:30pm
Wednesday, July 17
1:30pm
AMC Mission Valley
1640 Camino del Rio North, San Diego, 888-262-4386 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
11:15am, 4:30pm, 9:45pm
Monday, July 15
12:00pm, 5:15pm, 10:30pm
Tuesday, July 16
12:00pm, 5:15pm, 10:30pm
Wednesday, July 17
11:05am, 4:20pm, 10:05pm
AMC Plaza Bonita
3050 Plaza Bonita Road, National City, 888-262-4386 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
9:00pm
Monday, July 15
8:50pm
Tuesday, July 16
8:50pm
Wednesday, July 17
8:50pm
La Paloma
471 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760-436-7469 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
7:45pm
Monday, July 15
8:00pm
Tuesday, July 16
8:00pm
Wednesday, July 17
5:30pm
Regal Escondido
350 West Valley Parkway, Escondido, 760-291-0119 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
3:45pm, 6:50pm
Monday, July 15
3:45pm
Tuesday, July 16
3:45pm, 6:50pm, 9:50pm
Wednesday, July 17
3:45pm, 6:50pm
Regal Parkway Plaza
405 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon, 619-401-3456 | Directions
Sunday, July 14
7:15pm
Monday, July 15
6:40pm
Tuesday, July 16
4:45pm, 7:30pm
Wednesday, July 17
4:45pm, 7:30pm
Thursday, July 18
6:40pm
Regal Rancho San Diego
2951 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, 619-660-3483 | Directions
Monday, July 15
6:45pm, 9:30pm
Tuesday, July 16
6:45pm, 9:30pm
Wednesday, July 17
6:45pm, 9:30pm
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