Aug. 5 2014 06:18 PM

Classic musical starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds leads our rundown of movies screening around town

Singin in the Rain
Singin’ in the Rain

"Dignity, always dignity." The character Don Lockwood's trademark saying carries an ironic twinge in the early parts of Singin' in the Rain. At a glamorous film premiere for his latest silent melodrama titled The Royal Rascal, the actor charts his rise to fame through a contradictory montage. The elegant narration and poverty-stricken imagery created by co-directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen don't add up, allowing the audience a window into the shady relationship between perception and reality. 

What follows can only be described as a pop-culture dream of cinema's rebirth, albeit one founded on a lie. As silent cinema drastically transitions into the talkie era, most of Hollywood's elite belittles the paradigm shift. The film's flimsy narrative about a misbegotten sound picture hindered by the voice of an arrogant actress is littered with characters that don't believe change is necessary. A connection can be made between this evolution and the recent alteration between 35mm and digital projection. 

But wisdom can be gleaned from Singin' in the Rain; when faced with an elemental deviation in ideology and craft, the most innovative artists learn to use the new technology to fit their own sensibilities. The film's effervescent final act explores the drastic and revolutionary changes in the medium's form, culminating in the hyper-real "Broadway Melody" sequence that sets the old world of cinema on fire.

As a musical, Singin' in the Rain—which screens Thursday and Friday, Aug. 7 and 8, at Cinema Under the Stars—lacks the formalist daring of Gold Diggers of 1933. Yet it taps into the emotional center of classical Hollywood film: the desire to polish and preen until the final product matches both the professionalism of its makers and the enjoyment of its audience. For that, the movie remains crucial to the understanding of film history. 


A Touch of Sin: Four violent and engaging stories unfold in modern China, foretelling the institutional and political issues plaguing the nation through globalization and economic boom. Screens through Aug. 14 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

Alive Inside: Dan Cohen tries to revolutionize the eldercare industry by giving seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's the opportunity to experience music again with iPods and headphones. The results are staggering. Screens through Aug. 14 at the Ken Cinema. 

The Hundred-Foot Journey: The proprietress (Helen Mirren) of a famous French restaurant clashes with the family running a newly opened Indian eatery down the street. 

Into the Storm: An onslaught of unprecedented tornados touches down and causes havoc in the Midwest. Global warming is a real bitch. 

Pablo: Part documentary, part animation, this film tells the story of Pablo Ferro, an innovative Cuban-American film and graphic designer whose imprint is on classics as diverse as Dr. Strangelove and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" video. Screens through Aug. 13 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.

Step Up: All In: Get your grove on, again.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Watch out for Raphael. He's a party dude. 

One time only

Pregnant in America: Exposé about how the healthcare system impacts pregnant women in modern-day America. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Women's Museum in Point Loma's Liberty Station. 

Jaws: Chomp, chomp. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Un Difetto di Famiglia (A Family Flaw): Small-town Italian life turns batty in this rambunctious farce about a series of misadventures involving a runaway coffin. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Ultrastar Mission Valley Cinemas and 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. 

North by Northwest: Innocent man Cary Grant gets chased by an aggressive airplane and a bunch of nefarious baddies. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla.

Singin' in the Rain: Silent cinema to sound pictures, one glorious tap dance at a time. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 7 and 8, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. See our review on Page 24.

Instructions Not Included: A wild bachelor is presented with a life-changing decision when he's forced to raise his long-lost daughter. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at the Jacob's Center outside amphitheater in Lincoln Park. 

The Room: "Oh, hi, Denny!" Screens at midnight Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Ken Cinema. 

Tosca's Kiss: Founded in 1896, Casa di Riposa was the first retirement home for opera singers. In this documentary originally released in 1984, director Daniel Schmid takes his camera inside the residence and finds a sublime, moving alternate reality. Screens at midnight on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, at the Ken Cinema. 

Strangers on a Train: Never make a deal with the devil on a train bound for hell. Maybe Alfred Hitchcock's most menacing film. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. 

Key of Life: Swapping identities usually isn't a good idea, especially when the role you take on is of a world-renowned hit man being stalked by his former employers. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library. 

The Motel Life: Two brothers flee after they're involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village. 

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Paul Newman and Robert Redford star as the real-life bandits who escape to Bolivia, only to get into hot water with the local police. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at Arclight La Jolla. 

Roman Holiday: Gregory Peck is undeniably charming, so one can't fault princess Audrey for falling in love after they meet by chance in Rome. Screens at 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at the San Diego Museum of Art's May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden in Balboa Park. 

Arranged: This story of an orthodox Jewish woman who befriends a Muslim colleague during their first day teaching at a Brooklyn school is more pertinent now than ever. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library. 

Rye Coalition: The Story of the Hard Luck 5: A documentary that uses home video and concert footage to explore the rise and fall of the famous New Jersey punk-rock group. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. 

Bridesmaids: Pray for the bride; these ladies can party. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Now playing

Borgman: In this enigmatic, magical-realist horror film, a mysterious vagrant starts tormenting an upper-class family for his own sadistic urges and needs. Screens through Aug. 6 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

Get on Up: The James Brown biopic we've all been waiting for from the director of The Help

Guardians of the Galaxy: American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his rowdy alien crew become objects of a manhunt after stealing a valuable orb that belongs to a diabolical space villain.

Lucky Them: Toni Collette plays a rock journalist assigned to track down her musician ex-husband. Screens through Aug. 7 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.

Happy Christmas: When heartbroken Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her brother (Joe Swanberg), his novelist wife (Melanie Lynskey) and their 2-year-old baby, things get weird fast. Ends Aug. 7 at the Ken Cinema.

Forces of Nature: See the Earth rumble, explode and spew in glorious IMAX. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Back to the Moon For Good: Watch as teams from around the world compete to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which challenges engineers to land a robot on the moon. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Lucky Them: Toni Collette plays a rock journalist assigned to track down her musician ex-husband. Screens through Aug. 7 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.

Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's latest cinematic confection follows an English debunker (Colin Firth) brought in to unmask a possible swindle involving a wacky astrologist (Emma Stone). 

Oceanside International Film Festival: It's cinema time by the surf. More than 70 films will be screened during this eight-day festival running through Sunday, Aug. 10. For more information visit

A Most Wanted Man: Director Anton Corbijn (The American) adapts John le Carré's famous novel about a web of spies operating in the shadowy confines of Hamburg, Germany.

And So it Goes: Michael Douglas plays a grumpy real-estate agent whose life is suddenly uprooted when he's forced to care for his estranged granddaughter. It co-stars Diane Keaton. 

Code Black: Director Ryan McGarry's documentary takes viewers inside a notorious trauma bay in an inner-city emergency room that's known as the "hurt locker of medicine."

Hercules: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson dons the sword, sandals and skimpy underwear to play the half-god at odds with his immortal brethren.

I Origins: A molecular biologist (Michael Pitt) makes a discovery that could change the world, all while romancing his lab assistant. It's directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth) and co-stars Brit Marling and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead). Ends Aug. 7 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

Land Ho!: Two old friends take a road trip through Iceland, hoping to find a new lease on life, in Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens' quirky dramedy.

Lucy: Thanks to a drug-smuggling operation gone bad, Scarlet Johansson miraculously begins to use 100 percent of her brain and seeks revenge against the bad guys who put her on the spot. 

Sex Tape: During a drunken celebration, a husband (Jason Segel) and wife (Cameron Diaz) make a sex tape, only to find it gone the next morning. A frantic search for it's whereabouts commences.

Boyhood: Richard Linklater's epic drama follows the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from age 6 to 18, charting all the highs and lows in between.

Planes: Fire and Rescue: This sequel to the 2013 animated hit film finds lead race plane Dusty (Dane Cook) forced into working with a fire-and-rescue unit after his engine is damaged. 

The Purge: Anarchy: It's that time of year again to murder, murder, murder, all for the benefit of the good ol' United States of America. Let freedom ring.

Wish I Was Here: Zach Braff stars as a struggling actor attempting to overcome the avalanche of problems that face his family and parents.

Begin Again: When a forlorn singer / songwriter (Keira Knightley) breaks from her cheating superstar boyfriend (Adam Levine), she finds newfound success with a disgraced record executive (Mark Ruffalo) willing to take a chance on an unknown talent.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Ten years after a virus outbreak pitted apes against men, the two factions forge a fragile peace that's tested by fear and aggression. It's directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) and stars Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis. 

Hidden Universe: Blast off into the stratosphere with this documentary that uses real images captured from telescopes to examine the vast reaches of space. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. 

America: From the mastermind behind 2016: Obama's America comes another hyperbolic documentary that imagines a scenario where the United States lost the Revolutionary War and America did not come to exist.

Earth to Echo: The found-footage film has finally found its way to the children's-sci-fi genre in this adventure about an alien who recruits a group of friends to help it return home. I'm sure E.T. is suing for copyright infringement.

Snowpiercer: In a frozen post-apocalyptic future, the only human survivors live aboard a high-speed train with distinct class boundaries and brutal restrictions. A revolt by the impoverished tail section threatens to shift the balance of power. 

Tammy: Melissa McCarthy stars as a fast-food employee who hits the road with her alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon) after losing her job and leaving her husband.

Transformers: Age of Extinction: Boom! 

Jersey Boys: Clint Eastwood adapts the popular Broadway play about the rise of musical group The Four Seasons. 

22 Jump Street: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return for more violent shenanigans as undercover cops trying to expose a drug ring at a local college.

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless encounter new challenges while trying to bring their species together in harmony. 

Edge of Tomorrow: Tom Cruise dies a thousand times in order to find the right info about an alien attack that will destroy Earth. It co-stars a very buff Emily Blunt.

The Fault in Our Stars: In a dramedy starring Shailene Woodley (Divergent), from the writers of (500) Days of Summer, young love is tested when a cancer-stricken teenager falls for her witty foil despite her serious illness. 

Maleficent: Angelina Jolie stars as the infamous sorceress who sets her sights on the nubile young Princess Aurora in this big-budget reboot of Sleeping Beauty

X-Men: Days of Future Past: The latest installment of the popular Marvel franchise finds Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) going back in time to recruit his colleagues' younger selves in order to save mankind from the evil Sentinels. 

Chef: Jon Favreau returns to comedy filmmaking with this story of a well-respected chef who opens a food truck after being fired by a posh restaurateur. 

Journey to the South Pacific: Let the glorious scale of IMAX take you to the tropical islands of West Papua, where life under the sea is just as lush and vibrant as it is on shore. Screens 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.


See all events on Wednesday, Dec 7