As usual, there's no shortage of sequels and remakes (Star Trek into Darness, Fast and Furious 6, The Hangover Part III, The Wolverine, Man of Steel, Kick-Ass 2, Dirty Dancing, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, etc.), but there's also a couple of original big-budget movies I'm looking forward to. Brad Pitt takes on fast zombies in World War Z on June 21, and the footage I've seen has me excited. Meanwhile, Guillermo del Toro pits giant robots against giant monsters in Pacific Rim on July 12. And, I'm eager to see Elysium, the new one from District 9 helmer Neill Blomkamp, which comes out on Aug. 9. Oh, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are teaming up once again with Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright for the endof-the-world comedy called, um, The World's End. That comes out on Aug. 23.
Of course, there are plenty of movies coming out this summer that aren't gigantic studio pictures, and they often get overlooked, which is a shame. Sarah Polley, who has turned into a wonderful director, has a new film, Stories We Tell, due in May, and I'm very excited about Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, which opens at the Ken Cinema on May 24. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a damning account of Blackwater, the shadowy private-security firm, has a new film, Dirty Wars, scheduled for a June release, and Joss Whedon, of all people, has directed a new adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which comes out on June 21.
Reading Cinemas Gaslamp continues to program some of the more interesting indie and foreign films in town, and the new Digital Gym Cinema in North Park continues to add to the mix.
Yes, of course, you're about to be deluged with marketing and advertising for all these enormous movies, and some of them actually look kind of cool. But there's a lot of smaller films coming to town this summer that are more than worth your while, if you're willing to find them.Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.
At Any Price: Ramin Bahrani's made three interesting films about the American experience through the eyes of people of color. This time he takes on the American dream, as seen through the eyes of a shady Iowa farmer (Dennis Quaid) and his rebellious son (Zac Efron). S
Bert Stern: Original Madman: Stern was one of the key photographers during the Golden Age of Advertising. Other than that, title pretty much says it all, right? Screens for one week only at the Ken Cinema.
In the House: French film about a 16-yearold boy whose work in a literature class has a profound impact on the teacher and his fellow students.
Iron Man 3: The summer blockbuster season kicks off with that snarky Tony Stark saving our ungrateful hides once again.
Kon-Tiki: New film about Thor Heyerdal's 1947 ocean adventure, in which he sailed across the ocean on a balsa raft to prove that South Americans were able to cross in pre-Columbian times.
La Rafle: Jean Reno and Melanie Laurent star in this true story of Jews in occupied France. Screens at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Running America: Some of the proceeds from this documentary, about a pair of marathoners planning to run from San Francisco to Times Square, will go to the OneFundBoston. Screens at Digiplex Mission Valley.
The World Before Her: This documentary about the changing and challenging roles of women in India opens Tuesday, May 7, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
One Time Only
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: Stay classy, San Diego. By the way, the sequel is shooting in Atlanta. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Iron Man marathon: Is there such a thing as too much of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark? Find out on Thursday, May 2. The first one starts at 1 p.m., followed by Iron Man 2, The Avengers and, yes, Iron Man 3. It happens at several local AMC theaters.
Pulp Fiction: Still Tarantino's best, this crime-thriller-comedy that spans dozens of characters and fractures its own timeline is a terrific piece of work. Screens at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
Bidder 70: Documentary about Tim DeChristopher, the college student who outbid the oil companies for land with money he didn't have. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Hillcrest.
The Birds: Hitchcock's wonderful flying creepshow. Birds attack a lovely seaside town. The how and the why don't matter. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, through Saturday, May 4, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Errors of the Human Body: A genetic scientist who's discovered a conspiracy among his colleagues ends up creating a new virus that could wipe out humanity. Screens at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
SDLFF Shorts: This collection of short films provided by the San Diego Latino Film Festival starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Wreck-It Ralph: Disney's charming animated video-game movie kicks off a new outdoor series in Normal Heights. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4, outside on a big screen at Adams Avenue Park.
The Impossible: Ewan McGregor and Natalie Watts star in this sentimental look at a family torn apart by the 2004 tsunami.
San Diego Arab Film Festival mid-season event: After enjoying a successful inauguration, the new fest will present three short films from director Zaid Abu Hamdan, who'll be in attendance. A reception starts at 6 p.m., and the film rolls at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Hitchcock: The Making of Psycho: The Public Library's Film Forum moves to Point Loma for three months while the new library is getting its finishing touches. Anthony Hopkins plays the portly director. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the Hervey Branch Library in Point Loma.
Nacho Libre: Jack Black jumps on your back at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Graceland: This Filipino take on Taken is grittier and twistier than you expect.
Arthur Newman: Colin Firth plays Newman, an unhappy divorcé who stages his own death in hopes of starting over.
The Big Wedding: Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton are a long-divorced couple who must pretend to be married at the wedding of their adopted son.
May Day Workers Film Festival: Four films over four days at different venues around San Diego. Get all the details at workersfilmfestival.org. Ends on May 1.
Mud: Matthew McConaughey continues to deliver the emotional goods in this coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy who idolizes a drifter with a violent past.
No Place on Earth: Documentary about a group of Ukrainian Jews who escaped the Holocaust by hiding out in underground caves. Ends May 2 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Oscar Nominated Short Films: Though the awards are in the books, the nominated live-action and animated films grace the big screen at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. Ends on May 2.
Pain and Gain: Michael Bay's new one stars Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie as Florida bodybuilders whose kidnapping scheme goes awry.
The Pirogue: A group of African men attempts to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain in hopes of a better life. Screens at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Renoir: French biopic about the impressionist painter in his twilight years.
Simon Killer: A slightly off-kilter young American travels to Paris after a breakup and has a relationship—with a prostitute—that finally exposes his dark secrets. Ends May 2 at the Ken Cinema.
Upstream Color: The new feature from Shane Caruth, whose 2004 film Primer was smart and inventive, is another serious sci-fi mind trip.
¡Vivan las Antipodas!: Documentary about two of the Earth's dry spots, which lie in opposite places on the globe. Screens at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Disconnect: Henry Alex Rubin's new film focuses on people having a hard time communicating despite being wired in. It stars Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Michael Nyqvist and designer Marc Jacobs in his acting debut.
Filly Brown: A young female hip-hop artist has to decide if she wants to water down her music to sign a big record deal.
Girl Rising: A girl-power documentary about nine young women from nine different countries, narrated by folks like Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Liam Neeson.
Home Run: Cinematographer-turned-director David Boyd's debut is about a Major League baseball player with a substance-abuse problem who's reduced to coaching Little League to remember what he loved about the game.
Lords of Salem: The new one from Rob Zombie stars his wife, Sheri Moon, as a DJ who receives a record that triggers visions of her town's brutal past—and possibly its future.
Oblivion: Tom Cruise plays a spaceman sent back to pull the last few remaining resources out of a depleted Earth.
To the Wonder: Terrence Malick's new movie is almost more straight-up art than it is a film. This meditation on humanity, faith, nature and our relationship to everything around us will be sweet poetry to some and a pretentious bore to others. Ends May 2 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Room 237: Bizarrely enjoyable documentary about Stanley Kubrick's take on The Shining, featuring interviews with people who have incredible theories regarding what the movie's really about. There are no talking heads, however—everyone's points are made through film footage.
42: Biopic about the baseball player who wore that number, which has been retired by every single Major League team. Spoiler: It's Jackie Robinson.
The Company You Keep: Robert Redford directed and starred in this drama, playing a former '60s radical whose hidden past is uncovered by plucky young journalist Shia LaBeouf.
It Takes a Man and a Woman: This Filipino romantic comedy is the third in the A Very Special Love trilogy. It screens at UA Horton Plaza.
Scary Movie 5: In our most recent issue, we reported that Scary Movie 5 was opening last week. We were wrong. The fact that you're reading about it twice must be terrifying.
Evil Dead: The updated version of Sam Raimi's classic is a serious gore-fest.
Jurassic Park 3D: Now with more velociraptor!
The Place Beyond the Pines: Ryan Gosling re-teams with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, playing a motorcycle daredevil who starts robbing banks because he's got a kid on the way. Bradley Cooper is the lawman on his trail.
The Sapphires: Though it's standard stuff, this story of four young Aboriginal women who go to Vietnam with their obnoxious Irish manager (Chris O'Dowd) wears its heart on its sleeve. Loosely based on a true story.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Channing Tatum returns as Duke, and this time Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis join him in blowing things up.
The Host: The new movie from author Stephanie Meyer—aka the woman who wrote the Twilight books—stars Saoirse Ronan as a teen trying to save the world from some bodysnatching aliens.
Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor: A marriage counselor ends up in a serious affair with one of her clients. Perry's not actually in this one; Kim Kardashian, however, is.
Admission: Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who could blow her career by accepting a student who just might be the kid she gave up for adoption 18 years ago.
The Croods: Animated caveman movie featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone.
Olympus Has Fallen: Terrorists take over the White House and take the president hostage before being killed by disgraced Secret Service agent Gerard Butler. It's ludicrous, for sure, but pretty enjoyable as R-rated action films go.
The Call: Halle Berry is a 911 operator who takes a call from a girl who's been kidnapped by a serial killer.
Oz: The Great and Powerful: Sam Raimi directs this big-budget prequel. James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis are all off to see the wizard.
Rocky Mountain Express: The IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center was recently overhauled. This latest entry takes viewers through the Canadian Rockies without leaving San Diego.
Side Effects: This thriller is rumored to be Steven Soderbergh's final theatrical release. If so, he's going out on top with this one, about a woman (Rooney Mara) whose shrink (Jude Law) prescribes her anti-depressants that end up plunging both of them down a rabbit hole.
Cosmic Collisions: So, that asteroid that might smash into Earth in 20 years is much bigger than previously thought? Awesome. This new IMAX movie at the Reuben H. Fleet looks at what happens when things bash into each other in outer space. On the bright side, if we go the way of the dinosaurs, at least future species will have a new source of fossil fuels.
Silver Linings Playbook: Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a bipolar guy from Philly who's just out of the mental hospital, having lost his job, his home and his wife. He moves in with his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro) in hopes of regaining his marriage, but things are thrown askew by Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has problems of her own.
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.
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.
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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.