It isn't long into Todd Louisa's new film, Hello I Must Be Going, before you have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen. In this case, that's not a bad thing; it's really enjoyable watching it play out. And the movie provides a terrific showcase for Melanie Lynsky, who was previously best known for a small but memorable role in Tom McCarthy's Win Win and a recurring part on Two and a Half Men.
Lynsky plays Amy Minsky, a woman in her mid-30s who's moved back home in the wake of a divorce. This hasn't been an easy time for Amy, who's directionless and depressed, moping around the house in boxers and a dirty T-shirt, much to the displeasure of her mother (Blythe Danner), who has a cutting tongue. Her parents force her to clean up and dress up one night to help entertain a potential client, who shows up with his wife and 19-year-old son Jeremy (Christopher Abbott). Amy's dad really needs to seal this deal; his retirement is looming, and he's lost a ton of money amid the recession. So, Amy probably doesn't help matters by entering into a secret affair with the much-younger Jeremy.
Lynsky is tremendously enjoyable to watch as Amy retreats into a space of arrested development brought on by being subjected to her mother's barbs. She and Abbott have nice chemistry, and director Louisa—best known for being the record-shop employee who wasn't Jack Black in High Fidelity, offers up a nice blend of humor and pathos.
Hello I Must Be Going, which begins Friday, Sept. 21, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp, was the opening-night film at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it's easy to see why—this is a solid American indie that hits all the right notes and makes you feel good about its rather obvious conclusion.
Speaking of indies, the San Diego Independent Filmmakers Consortium (sdindiefilms.com) and the San Diego Student Film Festival are teaming up for a mixer and pitch fest at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Four Points Sheraton near Montgomery Field (8110 Aero Drive). More than 150 people have already RSVP'd on Facebook, so if you're looking to network within the indie film community, this would be a good place to start.
Cut Poison Burn: A documentary screening at Hazard Center about alternative methods of treating cancer and why the standard methods don't really work.
Dredd 3D: Karl Urban straps on the helmet and cruises the streets of MegaCityOne as judge, jury and executioner in the latest adaptation of the popular U.K. comic book.
End of Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are L.A. cops targeted by a Mexican cartel after a routine traffic stop.
Entre Les Bras (Step Up to the Plate): Doc about the legendary French chef Michel Bras and his attempt to hand his restaurant over to his son.
The House at the End of the Street: Jennifer Lawrence and her mother, Elisabeth Shue, move next door to a house where there'd been a brutal murder. When Lawrence makes friends with the sole surviving family member, things get dangerous.
The Master: The new one from Paul Thomas Anderson looks at the relationship between drifter Joaquin Phoenix and emerging religious figure/cult leader Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It is intelligent, artistic, cerebral, and challenging.
My Uncle Rafael: A producer desperate for a hit hires his aging uncle to star in a reality TV show, billed as the first show with an Armenian lead.
Trouble with the Curve: Aging baseball scout Clint Eastwood would have much more success if he'd stop talking to chairs.
You May Not Kiss the Bride: An action comedy about an unassuming pet photographer who's forced to marry a Croatian mobster's daughter, who's then kidnapped during their honeymoon.
One Time Only
The Apartment: Too bad Jack Lemmon is gone. In Billy Wilder's wonderful comedy, he's CC Baxter, a corporate stooge who lets bigwig Fred MacMurray use his apartment for an affair with the charming Shirley MacLaine. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.19, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Precious Knowledge: Great doc—it won Best Documentary at the 2011 San Diego Latino Film Festival— about students and community organizers fighting Tucson's decision to close down a high-school ethnicstudies class. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the food court at Otay Ranch Center.
The Birds: Polly want an eyeball? TCM's terrific big-screen series continues with Hitchcock's super creepshow. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at several area theaters. Check fathomevents.com.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: The viewers have spoken, and for this week's Viewer's Choice selection, they have selected Ron Burgundy. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Bogart is so good as the bad guy, and the rest of the movie is terrific, too. Screens at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
Si Puo Fare (We Can Do That): The San Diego Italian Film Festival gears up for the main event in October with this comedy about a Milanese tradesman who's assigned to turn a cooperative of mental patients into a profitable business. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Sabrina: The original, not the lukewarm remake, stars Humphrey Bogart and William Holden as wealthy brothers sparring for the affection of Audrey Hepburn, the daughter of their family's chauffeur. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, through Saturday, Sept. 22, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
The Thin Blue Line: Errol Morris' documentary is possibly the most important one of all time. Not only did it get an innocent man off of death row; it also showed generations of filmmakers how powerful the medium could be. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Goodfellas: In Scorsese's mobster masterpiece, Ray Liotta is Henry Hill, a small-timer who has to decide whether to save his skin or stick with the likes of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Double Indemnity: The Ken's 100th-anniversary celebration continues with this noir classic, which stars Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson. Screens at noon, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23, at the Ken Cinema.
The Producers: This is Mel Brooks' original movie, which was adapted into a Broadway musical, which was adapted into a new movie. "Springtime for Hitler," indeed. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, and Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure: Wouldn't it be great if Tim Burton went back to making movies like this? Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Reservoir Dogs: Tarantino's original bloodbath opened the floodgates to a new kind of urban ultraviolence. Screens at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Man from Earth: A college professor tells his colleagues that the real reason he's resigning is that he's immortal. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Young Frankenstein: They'll be puttin' on the ritz at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
A Better Life: An illegal immigrant in L.A. works night and day to keep his son in school and a roof over their heads. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the food court at Otay Ranch Center.
The Goonies: They never say die, apparently. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
San Diego Film Festival: The 11th annual event is the first to feature two locations, as well as new leadership—learn more on Page 27. The fest runs Wednesday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 30. Films, showtimes and party, panel and pass info can be found at sdff.org.
Unconditional: A woman's faith is tested after her husband is murdered.
Heroine: This new Bollywood movie is about a film actress whose career is on the decline.
The Mistress: This romantic comedy is the latest entry in Horton Plaza's Filipino film series.
Arbitrage: Richard Gere is a hedge-fund billionaire who makes some serious mistakes while trying to stay rich.
Barfi!: This Bollywood romantic comedy is about a speech- and hearing-impaired boy who runs into the love of his life years after her parents rejected him because he wasn't normal enough for their daughter.
Branded: In the not-so-distant future, one average Russian schmo discovers a dystopian sci-fi conspiracy theory that's behind all the corporations and advertising that run our daily lives.
Chicken with Plums: Marjane Satrapi teams up again with Vincent Paronnaud, who directed the adaptation of her graphic novel Persepolis, for this tale of a musician (Mathieu Amalric) who loses the will to live after his favorite violin is destroyed. Ends Sept. 20 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Finding Nemo 3D: All those fish are going to look great in 3-D.
Little White Lies: French film starring Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin about a group of friends whose vacation is altered when one of them has a serious accident. Ends Sept. 20 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Resident Evil: Retribution: Lots of actors whose characters died in the first four episodes, like Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr, are back for this one—which seems appropriate, since the movies are all about zombies.
Sleepwalk with Me: This American Life regular Mike Birbiglia teams up with Ira Glass on this story of his serious sleep disorder. See our review on Page 25.
Bachelorette: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher are three maids of honor who really screw things up the night before their friend's wedding.
Stormchasers: The science of storms is explored in IMAX at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Cold Light of Day: Henry Cavill is a Wall Street trader who has to go on the offensive after his family is kidnapped while on a European holiday.
The Imposter: Bart Layton's documentary plays like a thriller, telling the story of a young Texas boy who disappeared for more than three years before being located in a small village in Spain. One thing, though: The guy who returned to San Antonio wasn't the same kid who went missing.
Last Ounce of Courage: A small-town mayor tries to bring religion back to the community after his son dies in action, only to be challenged by those rascals at the ACLU and that pesky separation of church and state.
Samsara: Shot in 70-millimeter film on several different continents over half a decade, this is the latest from the folks responsible for Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka.
The Words: Bradley Cooper plays a successful writer who must finally face up to the fact that he stole someone else's work.
For a Good Time, Call...: Two girls (Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller) who couldn't stand each other in college start up a phone-sex line in order to afford a fabulous New York apartment.
Lawless: The new film from John Hillcoat, about three brothers (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) running moonshine during Prohibition, looks great but feels long and somewhat lifeless.
The Possession: A young girl buys a cool-looking box at a yard sale, only to find out it hosts an evil spirit. Not the bargain she was looking for.
2016: Obama's America: A right-wing doc designed to terrify the faithful.
Hit & Run: Real-life couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell co-star in this action road-trip comedy, which Shepard also wrote and directed.
Premium Rush: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Manhattan bike messenger being pursued by corrupt cop Michael Shannon, who thinks Gordon-Levitt's got something more than irony and attitude in his messenger bag.
Robot & Frank: In the not-too-distant future, an elderly jewel thief (Frank Langella) gets a robot butler as a gift.
Killer Joe: Matthew McConaughey is good as an overly polite hitman in William Friedkin's new NC-17 thriller.
The Expendables 2: Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme join the aging-action-star party, along with Stallone, Statham, Lundgren, Willis, Li and the Governator.
Paranorman: Everyone thinks Norman, voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a freak because he can talk to ghosts. That talent comes in handy when his small town is invaded by the undead. New 3-D stop-motion film from Laika, the folks who made Coraline.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton can't have a kid. That is, until there's a knock on the door and an odd little boy who apparently grew in their garden tells them that he's theirs.
Searching for Sugar Man: When two South Africans try to learn how an obscure American singer-songwriter from the '70s died, they get more than they bargained for. Despite that sounding like a feature, it's a pretty damn good documentary. Ends Sept. 20 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Sparkle: Whitney Houston's final film is about a girl group that has to deal with the difficulties of success.
The Bourne Legacy: Jeremy Renner takes over the franchise, which is now directed by Tony Gilroy, the guy who wrote all of the other Bourne movies and directed Michael Clayton.
The Campaign: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis spar over a North Carolina congressional seat.
Celeste and Jesse Forever: Rashida Jones, who co-wrote, plays Celeste, who's trying to stay friends with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jesse (Andy Samberg).
Hope Springs: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones turn to Steve Carell to put some zip back into their marriage.
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.
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.
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.
Step Up Revolution: This time the dancing is in 3D! And Miami!
The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy concludes.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: This Sundance success, about a little girl living in Louisiana after an apocalyptic environmental disaster, is beautiful and beguiling.
Ice Age: Continental Drift: So cold.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Apparently, he does whatever a spider can. In 3-D, too.
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.
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.
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.
Tyler Perry's Medea's Witness Protection: What the world needs now, apparently, is another Medea movie.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.