Aug. 1 2012 02:10 PM

Juan of the Dead' tops our coverage of all the movies screening around town

Juan of the Dead

Yeah, zombies are everywhere these days, even gracing CityBeat's cover on July 11. People can't seem to get enough of them as they mindlessly shamble into any multiplex that features the walking dead on a big screen, stuffing their brainholes with popcorn and sugar water.

Well, good news, zombie (fan)! The San Diego Latino Film Festival is kicking off its 13th annual Cinema en tu Idioma with Juan of the Dead. Yes, you read that right. Juan of the Dead is straight outta Cuba, a subtitled romp that's not entirely unlike Dawn of the Dead or Shaun of the Dead.

Apparently, when there's no more room in Hell, the dead shall walk the streets of Havana. At least that's what Juan (Alexis Díaz de Villegas), a middle-aged slacker, discovers when his neighbors start going for his jugular, along with every other part of him. Juan's the industrious sort, though, and tries to find a way to turn this whole deadcoming-back-to-life thing to his advantage.

As we all know, the hardest part of the impending zombie apocalypse is killing our recently turned loved ones, right? Well, that's the business plan hatched by Juan and his cronies—they'll kill the ones you can't. Though it has its oddly homophobic moments, Juan, which screened at last year's SDLFF, is quite clever and often very funny, wisely subtle with its social commentary. The movie opens Friday, Aug. 3, for a weeklong run at UltraStar Mission Valley. Details are at

It's spelled S-O-L-O-N-D-Z: If you read last week's CityBeat, you'll know I'm a fan of Dark Horse, the new film from Todd Solondz. What you might not realize, however, is that after I misspelled his name the first time ("Solodnz"), I never got around to making it right, and that massive screw-up extended all the way to the cover of the paper. Thanks to the sharp eyes for pointing it out, and the sharp tongues who let us hear about it.

Write to and You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.


The Babymakers: The new film from Super Troopers director Jay Chandrasekhar finds Paul Schneider pulling a sperm-bank job when he can't get Olivia Munn pregnant. As in, he's breaking into a sperm bank and stealing his own stuff.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: If it feels like they release one of these every summer, that's because that they release one of these every summer.

Farewell, My Queen: A behind-the-scenes look at Marie Antoinette's palace in the early days of the French Revolution, as seen through the eyes of a woman whose job is to read books to the cake-eater.

Red Lights: Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy are paranormal investigators who find themselves turning to Robert De Niro when they run into a situation they seriously can't handle.

Ruby Sparks: The first film since Little Miss Sunshine from co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris stars Paul Dano as a writer whose latest creation, a gorgeous, quirky girl named Ruby, comes to life. See out review on Page 26.

Sacrifice: In Kaige Chen's latest historical epic, a doctor sacrifices his own young son to protect the last remaining member of a noble family. When the boy grows up, the doctor sets his mind on vengeance.

Soldiers of Fortune: Christian Slater, Ving Rhames and Sean Bean shoot up a bunch of guys.

Total Recall: Less a remake of Arnie's 1990 flick than a new adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's short story. Colin Farrell plays Quaid, a man who starts to believe that everything he remembers might not be real. Kate Beckinsale is in the Sharon Stone role; Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston also star.

The Well-Digger's Daughter: In France, just before WWII, a single father with six daughters is torn between his sense of honor and his loyalty to his family when his eldest finds herself knocked up.

One Time Only

The Great Gatsby: A remake is due this Christmas, so catch what's currently the definitive film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's brilliant novel. Robert Redford is Gatsby, a nouveau riche young man who inserts himself into upper-class life in the 1920s. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.

The Grateful Dead Movie: Jerry would have been 70 on Aug. 9. The film screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at several area theaters. Check fathomevents. com for details.

Cars: The San Diego Asian Film Festival opens its summer outdoor-film series with the Pixar movie that sold a million pairs of Lightnin' McQueen shoes. At least. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Piazza Carmel Shopping Plaza. Blazing Saddles: Hopefully they'll serve beans along with Mel Brooks' classic at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Gingham in La Mesa.

The Flamingo Kid: Matt Dillon's coming-of-age movie is still pretty charming, though it looks seriously dated. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. 

Edward Scissorhands: One of Tim Burton's best. Also one of Johnny Depp's best. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. 

Some Like It Hot: The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library kicks off its sixth edition of Flicks on the Bricks, a combination of movies and wine tasting, with this San Diego classic. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are in drag, which makes things tough for Curtis, who's trying to put the moves on Marilyn Monroe. With sequences shot at the Hotel Del, the movie is served with California sparkling wine at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Athenaeum in La Jolla. 

Touch of Evil: Orson Welles' epic look at good, evil and corruption on the U.S.-Mexico border stars Charlton Heston as a Mexican narcotics officer and features one of the greatest opening shots in cinematic history. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 2 and 3, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. 

Metropolis: Fritz Lang's silent masterpiece is really just another look at how the 1 percent lives. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free. 

Big Trouble in Little China: Kurt Russell finds out that ancient Chinese secrets are more than just detergent ads from the '70s. Screens at midnight, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3 and 4, at the Ken Cinema. 

Here and Now: Taylor Steele's new surf film, currently unreleased, will screen as a benefit for PCI's California Border Healthy Start Project. Junior World Surfing champion Leila Hurst will put in an appearance. Screens at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at Bird's Surf Shack. 

Love Aaj Kal: The San Diego Museum of Art teams with the San Diego Asian Film Festival to present this Bollywood romance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, in front of the museum in Balboa Park. 

How to Steal a Million: Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole hook up when she must break into a Paris museum to cover up her father's art forgeries. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. 

Jaws: Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the drive-in. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at Full Moon Drive-In in Ocean Beach. 

Grease: Apparently, it's the word. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at Full Moon Drive-In in Ocean Beach. 

Mysteries of Egypt: Part of the Reuben H. Fleet's Senior Monday, this IMAX movie will screen at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6, following a lecture titled "Da Vinci Thinking: Why Science Needs the Arts." 

Barbarella: Before she went to Vietnam, Jane Fonda went to outer space in this 1970s sexploitation classic. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free. 

The Lady Vanishes: In Hitchcock's classic, a wealthy American starts to think that the elderly woman she met on a train has gone missing. Screens at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the Mission Valley Library. Free. 

The Graduate: Dustin Hoffman is a lonely college grad who starts having an affair with one of his parents' friends, the Mrs. Robinson who was immortalized in song by Simon & Garfunkel. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at Gingham in La Mesa.

O Brother, Where Art Thou: After walking away from ER, George Clooney made a bunch of crappy movies, but with Out of Sight and this wonderful Coen brothers take on The Odyssey, we started to see that he really was a talented guy. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Now Playing

Adventures in Wild California: Here's what happens when the state has a few drinks and flashes the camera. Actually, no it's an IMAX movie about nature that's screening on Fridays at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

The Queen of Versailles: This documentary about a couple that run into the nation's economic collapse while trying to build the largest residential home in the United States, is a fascinating examination of the 1 percent.

Dark Horse: In recent years, Todd Solodnz's exploration of America's seamy underbelly has gotten icky, but he returns to form with this story of Abe (Jordan Gelber), a man you care about despite his unpleasant personality and abhorrent behavior. Ends Aug. 2 at the Ken Cinema. 

Step Up Revolution: This time the dancing is in 3D! And Miami!

Trishna: Michael Winterbottom adapts Tess of the d'Urbervilles and sets it in contemporary India, with Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto playing one of the star-crossed lovers. 

The Watch: Originally called Neighborhood Watch, this comedy—starring Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and Vince Vaughn as suburbanites in over their heads while trying to protect their 'hood—had its title changed after the Trayvon Martin killing. 

Union Square: Mira Sorvino drops in on her sister, Tammy Blanchard, unannounced, putting a serious crimp in the latter's plans with her boyfriend. 

Invisible War: Kirby Dick's new film explores rape in the U.S. military.

The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy concludes.

Cocktail: Things get tricky when a guy tells his mom he's dating his girlfriend's roommate rather than his girlfriend in this Bollywood rom-com.

Eega: Bollywood sci-fi thriller about a murdered man who's reincarnated as a housefly bent on revenge.

Beasts of the Southern Wild: This Sundance success, about a little girl living in Louisiana after an apocalyptic environmental disaster, is beautiful and beguiling.

Bol Bochchan: The lastest Bollywood romantic comedy to play Horton Plaza.

Ice Age: Continental Drift: So cold. 

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!

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. Ends July 26 at Hillcrest Cinemas. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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 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. 

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.


See all events on Tuesday, Dec 6