In between those, there are a number of films that aren't comedies. The Japanese film I Wish is a poignant look at two young brothers separated by distance. The Front Line is a Korean War film made in South Korea. Headshot, from Thailand, and Life Without Principle, Johnnie To's latest Hong Kong movie, have the action angles covered. And, yes, there are even a couple of films made in the United States. Details are at sdaff.org.
There's another festival happening this week, near and dear to yours truly. To celebrate Autism Awareness Month, the SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film will present Hearts Like Ours, a film festival including three shorts on the subject, made by recent grads. There's Autistically Speaking, No. 1, from Anthony Pang, followed by Iris Caffin's Strong Souls, Gentle Spirits, which chronicles one family's effort to get their 8-year-old daughter diagnosed and to have a service dog placed in the family. The third film, Stephen Crutchfield's El Abuelo, screened recently at the San Diego Latino Film Festival and is written by Hollywood screenwriter Stephen Metcalfe.
The event starts at 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, in SDSU's Don Powell Theater. A Q&A with the filmmakers and autism experts will follow. A $10 donation is suggested; proceeds will support art and summer programs for autistic kids.
Chimpanzee: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 1. A fully grown adult chimp takes a younger one under his wing after he gets separated from his troupe.
The Hunter: Willem Dafoe plays a mercenary sent into the jungle by a biotech company in search of the last Tasmanian tiger.
The Island President: This documentary about Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, and his intense efforts to get developed countries to sign a climate-change agreement in 2009, is far more interesting than it sounds. See our review on Page 28.
The Lucky One: Marine Zac Efron goes to North Carolina in search of a woman he thinks was his good-luck charm during his three tours of Iraq. If this sounds like it's based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, that's because it is.
Monsieur Lazhar: An Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a Montreal teacher who committed suicide in her own classroom. That's a tough act to follow.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
Think Like a Man: Four guys decide to get even when they learn that their girlfriends have been using Steve Harvey's relationship advice against them. Not surprisingly, it's based on Steve Harvey's book.
One Time Only
The Lady Vanishes: Ralph DeLauro, who programs movies for the Central Library and Cinema Under the Stars, kicks off his new "Hitchcock Revisited" series with The Lady Vanishes at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Scripps Ranch Library. Free.
Garden State: Zach Braff used to be the shit. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Charade: Audrey Hepburn simply has to trust Cary Grant when her husband is murdered and lots of bad guys are after the cash he'd amassed. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
The Great Flood: Jazz legend Bill Frisell performs the score he wrote for Bill Morrisson's film about the 1927 Mississippi River Flood, which displaced an enormous number of Delta blues musicians. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at UCSD's Price Center East Ballroom.
Elephant: Gus Van Sant's take on Columbine-like school shootings is heartbreaking. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: It's pretty rare that the fourth movie in a franchise is the best of the bunch, but Brad Bird's new take on MI is pretty damn entertaining. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Ben-Hur: Charlton Heston is the Jewish warrior who goes all pre-medieval on the Romans. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday and Tuesday, April 21 and 24, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Do the time warp. Again. At midnight, Saturday, April 21, at the Ken Cinema.
Iphigenia: Michael Cacoyannis' 1977 take on Euripides' play is about King Agamemnon's required sacrifice of his daughter in order to appease the gods. It'll be followed by a discussion led by Loyola Marymount University professor Katerina Zacharia. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Young Adult: Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody reteams with director Jason Reitman for this story about a former homecoming queen (Charlize Theron) who returns to her small hometown in Minnesota after a divorce and a mental breakdown of sorts, intending to steal her high-school beau (Patrick Wilson) away from his wife and child. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Another Life: This documentary about young African men trying to make their way to Europe is part of the International Documentary Film Series, and proceeds go to the International Rescue Committee. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, at Landmark La Jolla.
2001: A Space Odyssey: Sadly, humanity hasn't evolved much since 2001. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
Dongtian De Gushi (Winter Story): This narrative film, shot in a pseudo-documentary style, is designed to give the viewer a realistic look at modern city life in China. Screens at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at The Loft at UCSD.
What Happens in Vegas: What happens in Vegas is that Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz are forced to get married. Too bad it didn't stay there. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Bully: It's very hard to watch the bullied children, and the families of bullied kids who took their own lives, in Lee Hirsch's film, though you might wish he'd examined the bullies, too.
Bad Ass: With a title like that, you know Danny Trejo has to be in it. Ends April 19 at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Blue Like Jazz: A 19-year-old raised in the Bible Belt ditches his Texas Christian college for the inclement weather of the Pacific Northwest—where he finds God, or something.
The Cabin in the Woods: This satirical deconstruction of the horror movie, from Joss Whedon and Lost veteran Drew Goddard, is one hell of a lot of fun.
Damsels in Distress: Whit Stillman's first film in almost 15 years, about preppy college girls and their need to belong to something, is just as precious as his previous work, but not quite as fresh.
Deadline: Eric Roberts is a world-weary reporter who takes a on a young journo (Steve Talley) while trying to solve a 20-year-old murder.
Detention: Everybody loves a comedy-horror film, and this one, which stars The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson as one of many students being pursued by a serial killer, fits the bill.
The Kid with a Bike: In the Dardenne brothers' latest film, the town's hairdresser agrees to look after an abandoned boy on weekends.
The Lady: Michelle Yeoh plays Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi.
L!fe Happens: Krysten Ritter, who co-wrote the screenplay, struggles to stay besties with Kate Bosworth after she gets knocked up.
Lockout: In the future, Guy Pearce is wrongly convicted of espionage, but he's given a chance to clear his name if he can rescue the president's daughter from an outer-space prison totally controlled by the inmates. Or something like that.
The Three Stooges: The Movie: Yeah. This is happening.
Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day: A husband and wife have a week to find their kidnapped daughter in this religiously affiliated film.
American Reunion: There was a time when everyone who starred in American Pie was a star. Nowadays, they need the work.
Delicacy: Audrey Tautou (Amelie) is mourning her dead husband when she's wooed by a Swedish co-worker.
Housefull 2: This Bollywood action-comedy is, you guessed it, a sequel.
Titanic 3D: The ship still sinks.
The Deep Blue Sea: Rachel Weisz, in a loveless marriage to a judge in post-war England, meets a hot former fighter pilot who spells all kinds of trouble. Ends April 19 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Mirror Mirror: Julia Roberts is an evil queen, while Lily Collins is the plucky princess trying to get her kingdom back.
The Raid: Redemption: Despite a fairly thin story and a title that sounds like it's a sequel, this Indonesian action film delivers, as a SWAT team finds itself trapped in a high-rise full of bad guys.
Wrath of the Titans: By Hades! Another one?
The Hunger Games: The most anticipated movie of the year to date is about a dystopian future where teens like Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are forced to kill one another to stay alive.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi: This fine little documentary profiles Jiro Ono, widely considered to be one of the finest sushi chefs on the planet.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen: Ewan McGregor is a fisheries expert hired to help a sheik populate a river in Yemen with salmon. Along the way, he falls for Emily Blunt.
21 Jump Street: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in a comedy do-over of the undercover-cops-in-high-school TV show that launched Johnny Depp's career.
Casa De Mi Padre: Will Ferrell's latest comedy is in Spanish. That's not a joke.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home: Jason Segal is Jeff, a slacker who lives in his parents' basement until his brother (Ed Helms) takes him on an adventure, because he thinks he's being cheated on. Ends April 19 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
John Carter: This epic 3-D sci-fi adventure stars Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) as a Civil War veteran transported to Mars. It's directed by Andrew Stanton, who also made Finding Nemo and Wall*E, but it's much more traditional than either of those.
Silent House: Elizabeth Olsen is in a lakeside house trapped by something scary.
Project X: Todd Phillips, the guy behind Old School and The Hangover, produces this R-rated teen comedy about a monster party that totally turns into every parent's worst nightmare.
Coral Reef Adventures: Skip the SCUBA lessons and go underwater in this gorgeous IMAX film screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: Let's hope the voice talents of Zac Efron and Taylor Swift don't overshadow the good Doctor's environmental message.
Rampart: The first time Oren Moverman made a movie (The Messenger), Woody Harrelson got an Oscar nomination. Here, Harrelson shines as a bad cop in Moverman's second feature, which was co-written by James Ellroy, a guy who knows a thing or two about writing about bad cops.
Secret of the Cardboard Rocket: Two kids build a rocket in their garage and end up in outer space in this IMAX film screening Saturday mornings in March at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Act of Valor: Navy SEALS go after a bunch of brown-skinned guys who have kidnapped a CIA agent. The movie stars real-life SEALS, so it's worth wondering if it's an action movie or a recruitment video.
Tyler Perry's Good Deeds: Depending upon your point of view, his good deeds may not include making movies.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Man, Nicolas Cage must really need the money.
This Means War: Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are secret-agent best friends who face off against each other when they both fall for Reese Witherspoon while trying to capture a Eurotrash terrorist. It's as stupid as it sounds, but everyone is so good-looking and charming that you might be willing to overlook that.
Journey 2: Mysterious Island: Sort of a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, in that it's an adaptation of a Jules Verne book made family-friendly and in 3-D.
Pina: Wim Wenders directed this film about dance legend Pina Bausch. Don't miss it, and make sure you see it in 3-D.
Safe House: Young CIA buck Ryan Reynolds must team up with wily veteran Denzel Washington to kill a bunch of bad guys.
The Vow: After Rachel McAdams loses her memory in a car crash, husband Channing Tatum has to make her fall in love with him again.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
A Separation: Lovely Iranian movie about a couple going through a divorce who have to endure that country's labyrinthine legal system when their housekeeper is injured. Just won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. Ends April 19 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
The Artist: This silent film about a silent-film star (Jean Dujardin) whose world begins to collapse as the talkies take over is a fully realized vision and a legitimate Best Picture contender.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Gary Oldman is great as George Smiley, the semi-retired British spy brought back in to unmask a traitor during the Cold War, but the entire exercise is probably too slow for American audiences.
Born to be Wild 3-D: Despite sounding like yet another animated animal movie, this is an IMAX film about baby elephants and orangutans and the people who love them. Oh, and it's narrated by Morgan Freeman. Collective sigh for the baby monkeys, please.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas