See, my child has autism, which brings about a cruel irony—my daughter has very little interest in the medium I make my living writing about. For years, we showed her the same movies other kids fawn over— Disney pictures and the like—but they weren't her thing. And then Up came along, the Pixar movie that, due to a heightened interest in balloons, was the first movie she ever really watched. And the second. And the third. And so on. I'm here to tell you that I have watched Up, or parts of it, hundreds upon hundreds of times.
I know. Sounds tough. The thing is, though, I'm a lucky guy. Up is a wonderful movie, and I've yet to tire of it, even after so many viewings. It's the rare film that's actually about something other than the story it tells—and the story, for those who still have yet to see it for the first time, is already pretty unique: An elderly man (Ed Asner) tries to relive his childhood dreams by flying his house to South America, powered by thousands of helium balloons. If you've had the pleasure of seeing it, you know that there's much more to the plot than that, certainly, but this is really a movie about life and love and regret and hope. Oh, and there's the 10-minute opening that makes kids ask mommy and daddy why they're wiping their eyes.
Up is screening at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at Gingham in La Mesa (8384 La Mesa Blvd.), a place where you can get a decently priced meal and some good craft cocktails to cry into.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Apparently, he does whatever a spider can. In 3-D, too.
Katy Perry: Part of Me: She's also in 3-D!
Neil Young's Journey: Neil Young is old-school. Ergo, no 3-D. This one's directed by Oscar winner Jonathan Demme.
Savages: Oliver Stone directs this thriller about two pot growers, played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, who take on a Mexican cartel after the bad guys kidnap their girlfriend (Blake Lively). As in, they share.
Take This Waltz: Michelle Williams is just amazing in Sarah Polley's second film, playing a Toronto woman who's happily married to a cookbook author (a surprisingly restrained Seth Rogen) but finds herself falling for her neighbor.
One Time Only
Independence Day: Will Smith makes the aliens pay for ruining his barbecue at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
American Graffiti: Say what you want about George Lucas destroying your childhood with all those new Star Wars movies—and, let's face it, there's a lot to say— this coming-of-age film with Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss remains pretty damn sweet. It screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at Gingham in La Mesa.
Casablanca: A kiss is just a kiss, 70 years later. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 5, through Sunday, July 8, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
American Splendor: The Public Library kicks off a month of comic-related films with Paul Giamatti's terrific take on Harvey Pekar. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, July 6, at the Central Library, Downtown.
The Sound of Noise: Swedish film about a cop who hates music and must contend with a band of crazy musicians who decide to perform a musical apocalypse in his little town. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 9, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Guilty Pleasures: This documentary about the romance-novel industry (hey, one sells every four seconds) screens at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Shadow of a Doubt: Hitchcock's classic stars Teresa Wright as a young woman who thinks her husband, played by Joseph Cotton, might be a serial killer. Screens at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at the Mission Valley Library. Free.
Star Wars: The second best of all the Star Wars movies gets the dinner-theater treatment at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at The Range in Hillcrest.
The Empire Strikes Back: The best of all the Star Wars movies screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Fight Club: The first rule of Fight Club means that this sentence needs to end now. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.
Born to Love You: The Filipino film series at Horton Plaza continues with this romantic comedy. Deep Sea: This IMAX undersea film was made by Del Mar's Howard and Michele Hall and is narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Elena: A middle-aged Russian woman takes matters into her own hands when she discovers that her elderly husband is cutting her out of his will.
Magic Mike: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and some other oiled-up boys take off their clothes for dollar bills.
People Like Us: When his father dies, Chris Pine learns that he has a half-sister, played by Elizabeth Banks. He goes to her to explain the situation and give her part of their dad's estate but finds that, well, she's kinda hot. Yeah, that's creepy.
Ted: Mark Wahlberg's girlfriend gives him an ultimatum: It's either her or his walking, talking, foul-mouthed teddy bear, voiced by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, who also wrote and directed.
To Rome with Love: Woody Allen is his own worst enemy, because every time he turns out a mediocre movie—and this pastiche of stories set in Rome is certainly mediocre—it gets judged against his previous work.
Tyler Perry's Medea's Witness Protection: What the world needs now, apparently, is another Medea movie. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Finally, American children get to learn about Abraham Lincoln.
Brave: Princess Merida would rather be shooting arrows than playing dress-up, but when she defies her Scottish tribe, she sets loose a horrible curse that only she can fix. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: The first 30 minutes of this romantic dramedy are inspired, as Steve Carell and Keira Knightley find one another while an asteroid approaches Earth on a collision course.
Your Sister's Sister: Lynn Shelton's latest improvised film finds Emily Blunt taking Mark Duplass to her family's vacation home while he's grieving his dead brother, and he ends up getting busy with her sister, Rosemarie DeWitt. Teri Meri Kahaani: Bollywood love story set in 1910, 1960 and 2012. The two stars play different parts in each time setting.
That's My Boy: Adam Sandler teams up with Andy Samberg for a stupid-fest.
Rock of Ages: Yes, that's Tom Cruise belting out hair-metal tunes in this '80s rock 'n' roll musical.
Safety Not Guaranteed: This sweet, quirky Sundance rom-com stars Parks & Recreation's Aubrey Plaza as a magazine intern investigating a guy who placed a classified ad looking for a time-traveling companion.
Moonrise Kingdom: Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, this new one about two 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away from the dysfunctional adults in their lives will be adored by those who worship at the altar of Wes Anderson.
Madagascar 3: Apparently kids still fall for this. Parents, too.
Prometheus: Ridley Scott returns to outer space, exploring the origins of humanity and the original Alien. It's worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D.
For Greater Glory: Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria star in this account of the 1920s-era Cristero War, the uprising against the Mexican government over religious freedom. Though it was shot in Mexico, it's in English.
Coral Reef Adventure: Get up close and personal with a serious underwater microcosm at 6 p.m. Fridays in June at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Africa: The Serengeti: Nowhere in this IMAX look at this incredible wildlife sanctuary will you find the incredible Toto song. Screens Fridays in June at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Flying Monsters 3D: No, it's not a crappy studio blockbuster—this one is all about dinosaurs and was written and directed by Richard Attenborough, using Avatar-like technology, and plays the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
Hardflip: Teen skater learns his dad is John Schneider, aka Bo Duke. And finds God.
The Intouchables: French blockbuster sensation about an aging Caucasian paraplegic who hires a poor young black man to be his caretaker.
Snow White and the Huntsman: Big-budget retelling of the fairy tale finds the huntsman (Thor's Chris Hemsworth) teaming up with Snow White (Kristen Stewart) to try to end the reign of the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron).
Chernobyl Diaries: Oren Peli, who wrote and directed Paranormal Activity here in San Diego, wrote this found-footage thriller about tourists who hire a guide to take them to that glowing vacation spot, Chernobyl.
Hysteria: Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in this Victorian comedy about the invention of the vibrator. Yeah, you read that right.
Men in Black 3: Will Smith has to go back in time to prevent Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement from murdering Tommy Lee Jones, who's represented in the past by Josh Brolin.
Battleship: Peter Berg's adaptation of the Hasbro board game, pitting the American Navy against invading aliens, is seriously loud and explodey.
Bernie: Jack Black plays the real-life Bernie Tiede, a popular Texas funeral director who was convicted of murdering an 81-year-old widow.
The Dictator: Sacha Baron Cohen—aka Borat, Bruno and Ali G—is back as a despot willing to do anything to prevent the spread of democracy.
What to Expect When You're Expecting: No, this probably wasn't begging to be adapted into a feature film, but that didn't stop Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison and Jennifer Lopez from getting involved.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: There's a charm to this movie about British retirees who outsource their retirement to India, mostly because the cast is made up of folks like Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith.
Dark Shadows: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp just can't remake enough stuff. This time, it's the campy gothic soap from the '70s which, apparently, was dying for the big screen.
The Avengers: It set box-office records for the biggest opening weekend ever, and for good reason. Joss Whedon's take on the Marvel franchise is well-written, superbly edited, funny and enormously entertaining.
Headhunters: A corporate headhunter who steals art on the side finds himself up to his neck in trouble.
The Raven: John Cusack seems to be channeling Nicolas Cage, rather than Edgar Allan Poe, in James McTeigue's serial killer film.
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 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.
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.
The Three Stooges: The Movie: Yeah. This is happening.
Mirror Mirror: Julia Roberts is an evil queen, while Lily Collins is the plucky princess trying to get her kingdom back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
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.