Sometimes subtlety is overrated. Take the latest movie marathon from FilmOut, San Diego's LGBT film festival. When an event is called the Women Who Kick Ass Marathon (filmoutsandiego.com), you know exactly what you're getting yourself into. Sit your own butt down for five films on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Birch North Park Theatre, for $8 apiece, or drop $30 to cover the entire day.
First up, at noon, is Thelma and Louise, which I find hard to believe is now more than 20 years old. Directed by Ridley Scott, it stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon as a pair of women who go on the run after Louise (Sarandon) shoots a lowlife who's trying to have his way with her bestie. Thelma and Louise is also notable for including Brad Pitt's breakout role.
Bound screens at 2 p.m. This is the Jennifer Tilly / Gina Gershon lesbian gangster movie that the Wachowski Brothers made before The Matrix and when they were still the Wachowski Brothers (Larry has since become Lana through gender-reassignment surgery). It'll be followed at 4 p.m. by Foxy Brown, the 1974 blacksploitation flick starring Pam Grier as Foxy, who takes a gig as a top-shelf call girl to take down the mobsters who killed her boyfriend.
Russ Meyer's badass 1965 flick Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is up at 7 p.m., featuring the, ahem, talents of Tura. In a nutshell, three strippers go on a killing spree, taking the girlfriend of one of their victims hostage, only to run into an old man and his two sons who are even worse than they are. Classic sexploitation. It wraps up at 9 p.m. with Terror Train, a horror classic from 1980 starring Jamie Lee Curtis. Of the five movies, this is the one I've never seen. But I get the idea: insane killer stalking college kids at a New Year's Eve costume party on a moving train. It's so crazy it just might work.
File under "Also crazy": One more bit of ass-kicking is Tai Chi Zero, which opens Friday, Oct. 19, at AMC Mission Valley. When a village of martial-arts masters is threatened by one of its former residents and his locomotive, the denizens turn to an outsider to save them. Did I mention that they're all martial-arts masters? I did? OK. Did I mention that it's also seriously steampunk? No? Well, that's what sets this one apart.
Alex Cross: We're used to Morgan Freeman in the role of this famous detective.
Now the part is played by Tyler Perry. Another obvious sign of the impending apocalypse.
Bringing Up Bobby: Famke Janssen's directorial debut stars Milla Jovovich as a European con artist who moves her young son to Oklahoma in hopes of escaping her past.
Least Among Saints: Martin Papazian wrote, directed and stars in this film about a tough-luck veteran who tries to help his 10-year-old neighbor find his missing dad.
The Oranges: Two families who've been friends for years find their bond put to the test when the daughter (Leighton Meester) of one couple stars having an affair with the husband (Hugh Laurie) of the other.
Paranormal Activity 4: Now with more paranormal.
Smashed: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is very good as the alcoholic teacher trying to get sober, but there's little in this that you haven't seen before.
War of the Buttons: Two groups of kids must put aside their differences to hide a Jewish girl during WWII.
One Time Only
The Thing From Another World: John Carpenter would eventually remake this into The Thing, though this 1950s version—which tapped into Americans' fear of communism—is pretty good itself. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Central Library, Downtown.
The Third Man: As part of its "Out of the Shadows" film series, the Public Library will show this 1949 noir starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes. It's damn good. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Scripps Miramar Ranch Library.
Donnie Darko: For many of us, this timebending psycho-trip was the first place we were introduced to Jake Gyllenhaal. It's a terrific movie, screening at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Notorious: Ingrid Bergman is Alicia Huberman, who's approached by Devlin (Cary Grant), an American agent who asks her to spy on a group of Nazis in South America. Hitchcocktober continues at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
The Philadelphia Story: Tough call for Katharine Hepburn: Cary Grant or James Stewart. Oh, and she's rich. How very 1-percent. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, through Saturday, Oct. 20, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Chinatown: Roman Polanski's noir masterpiece stars Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, a low-rent private dick who wades deep into the seamy business of L.A.'s water and runs up against fat cat John Huston and his wife, Faye Dunaway. It was nominated for all kinds of Oscars but only won Best Screenplay. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Beetlejuice: Exactly how many times are you (not) supposed to say his name? Screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Back to the Future: The Ken Cinema's been celebrating its 100th anniversary by showing a film from each decade. Looks like we're in the 1980s by now, or that pesky Delorean has screwed up again. Screens at noon, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21.
North by Northwest: More Hitchcock. Cary Grant is an ad man mistaken for a secret agent by espionage types in this classic. If they ever, for some terrible reason, had to remake this movie, Jon Hamm would be a good fit. Screens at 7 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Rocky Horror Picture Show: A man in fishnets entertains a young couple at his quaint home. Screens at midnight, Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Ken Cinema.
Psycho: Hitchcock certainly did his bit for water conservation by terrifying people out of bathing. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Not Exactly Cooperstown: Filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis will be on hand to discuss his documentary, which looks at the Baseball Reliquary, described as the People's Baseball Hall of Fame. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Sun Kissed: POV documentary about a Navajo family whose children have a genetic disorder that makes exposure to sunlight fatal. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Marnie: Yet more Hitchcock. Sean Connery decides to marry Tippi Hedren, despite her psychological issues and kleptomania. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
The Story of Levi Leipheimer: The Levi Effect: Perhaps even more interesting than the story of the famed cyclist will be the panel that follows it, in light of what recently went down with Lance Armstrong. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at several area theaters. See fathomevents.com.
Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein: Halloween must be on the way or something. TCM presents the two classics at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at several area theaters. See fathomevents.com.
Edward Scissorhands: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, back when Tim Burton movies with Johnny Depp were cool. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Seven Psychopaths: Martin McDonagh returns with another violent comedic drama. Colin Farrell stars as Marty, an L.A. screenwriter surrounded by psychopaths such as Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits. Like McDonagh's debut, In Bruges, this one has an emotional heart to it, despite the blood and guts.
3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom: Chris O'Dowd has been a hot property since the success of Bridesmaids. Here he plays Bruce, who has embarrassed and filmed his younger brother Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) since they were kids. Now Bruce is cleaned up and out of rehab, and Frankie is ready to get his revenge. Um, it's a comedy.
Argo: Ben Affleck directs and stars in this take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and believe it or not, it's gonna be a Best Picture contender.
Atlas Shrugged: Part Two: Paul Ryan porn, the sequel.
Decoding Deepak: This look at Deepak Chopra was made by his own son, Gotham, who chronicled a year of his dad's life.
Excuse Me for Living: Suicidal Dan (Tom Pelphrey) is trying to clean up and date his psychiatrist's daughter, which gives the good doctor leverage when he orders Dan to lead a men's group for seniors. The movie also stars old guys like Christopher Lloyd, Robert Vaughn and Jerry Stiller.
Here Comes the Boom: High-school biology teacher Kevin James becomes an MMA cage fighter in order to keep his school's extracurricular activities afloat.
Keep the Lights On: A filmmaker watches as a one-night stand with a closeted lawyer turns into a dysfunctional relationship. Ends Oct. 18 at the Ken Cinema.
Liberal Arts: Josh Radnor wrote, directed and stars in this picture about a 30-something who falls for an undergrad (Elizabeth Olsen) when he returns to his alma mater. Ends Oct. 18 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
The Paperboy: Lee Daniels' follow-up to Precious is a seamy, seedy take on Peter Dexter's novel. Zac Efron falls for older woman Nicole Kidman, who's working with his older brother, intrepid reporter Matthew McConaughey, to get her convicted-murderer boyfriend out of jail.
Sinister: Novelist Ethan Hawke stumbles upon footage that explains how a family was murdered in the very house in which he's working—which, of course, puts him in serious danger, too.
Smiley: San Diego's own YouTube star Michael Gallagher's Internet serial-killer feature is playing on the big screen. Support the home team at AMC Mission Valley.
The Thieves: Korean thriller about a group of expert thieves going after a massive diamond worth more than $20 million that's stashed deep in a casino. Of course, if they get it out, the only thing they have to worry about is each other.
English Vinglish: An Indian housewife starts studying English at a fast-paced school after having an embarrassing experience ordering in an American restaurant.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel: This documentary about the influential legendary fashion editor was co-directed by Vreeland's grandson's husband.
Flight of the Butterflies: It turns out Monarch butterflies are much like SDSU students—every year, thousands of them head to Mexico. This IMAX film captures their beautiful trip. The butterflies, that is.
Frankenweenie: Tim Burton hasn't made a film that's been an original idea in years, so it sort of makes sense that he'd remake one of his own movies.
The Other Dream Team: Doc about the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, which came in third against the likes of Jordan, Barkley and Pippen. Ends Oct. 18 at Hillcrest Cinemas
Taken 2: Remember all those dudes Liam Neeson killed in the thoroughly violent Taken? At least one of them has a family member out for a little payback.
Hotel Transylvania: You won't be surprised to hear that this new animated film involves vampires. And 3-D.
Looper: Director Rian Johnson (Brick, Brothers Bloom) teams once again with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for this time-twister; JGL is a hit man whose future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to be rubbed out.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: This adaptation of the beloved young-adult novel has made plenty of old adults feel for their youth.
Pitch Perfect: Anna Kendrick is the new girl at college who finds her place by joining a bad-ass all-girl vocal group.
Won't Back Down: Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal are two angry moms who, um, won't back down after taking on the bureaucracy that makes the school their kids attend so crappy.
End of Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are L.A. cops targeted by a Mexican cartel after a routine traffic stop.
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.
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.
Trouble with the Curve: Aging baseball scout Clint Eastwood would have much more success if he'd stop talking to chairs.
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.
Finding Nemo 3D: All those fish are going to look great in 3-D.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy concludes.
Ice Age: Continental Drift: So cold.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Apparently, he does whatever a spider can. In 3-D, too.
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.
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.
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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.