Marshall Curry's Point and Shoot tells the complex and serpentine story of Matthew VanDyke, an American filmmaker-turned-revolutionary who spent more than five months in a Libyan jail after being captured by forces loyal to dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Much of the film unfolds with footage shot by VanDyke during a tour of Africa and the Middle East. During this time, the Baltimore native set out on a crash course in manhood, and the end result explores the way adrenaline defines masculinity, both on screen and in real life.
Posing for the camera in the film's opening moments, VanDyke shows off the arsenal of knives he keeps on his person and the flack jacket he chooses to wear. Inspired by Hollywood action cinema and the low-budget films of Australian daredevil Alby Mangels, VanDyke attempts to mold his own adventure saga by filming nearly every moment of his motorcycle trek across multiple continents. During these travels, he meets a Libyan named Nouri, and the two become friends. When the Arab Spring breaks out in 2011, VanDyke sneaks into Libya to fight alongside the rebels attempting to overthrow Gaddafi's regime.
What's most interesting about VanDyke's dangerous and reckless journey is how he completely disavows life at home. Both his girlfriend's and mother's feelings are considered, but only from surface level. Instead, Curry is much more fascinated with his subject's desire to "use the camera to write my own life," as if he were using the power of filmmaking to fill a void left by a lack of machismo. In the end, VanDyke's ego supersedes his humanity, leaving the viewer morally conflicted about his motivations and actions. Point and Shoot, which opens Friday, Nov. 28, at the Ken Cinema, relishes this ambiguity.
Food Chains: Through their Fair Food program, Florida farm workers battle a powerful collective of supermarket chains. Director Sanjay Rawal (Nov. 28) and food activist Ellen Gustafson (Nov. 30) will be on hand for post-screening discussions. Screens through Dec. 4 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. Get details at digitalgym.org.
The Homesman: A lonely farmer (Hilary Swank) living in the old west agrees to transport three women who've gone insane across state lines with the help of an ornery old louse (Tommy Lee Jones).
Horrible Bosses 2: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day get another chance to turn the tables on their self-serving bosses and exact revenge.
Penguins of Madagascar: A trio of goofy penguins must join forces with a secret underground organization to defeat a villain trying to destroy the world.
Point and Shoot: Filmmaker Matthew VanDyke sets out on a journey to find his own masculinity and instead gets involved as a revolutionary in the Libyan civil war. Screens through Dec. 4 at the Ken Cinema.
One time only
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: John Hughes' rambunctious comedy about two men trying to make it home for Christmas is warning enough to stay home for the holidays. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The Princess Bride: Rob Reiner's comedic spin on the classic fairy-tale story is a rip-roaring and lasting film about love and chivalry run amok. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 27, through Saturday, Nov. 29, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Little Hope Was Arson: Ten churches are burnt to the ground in 2010, sparking the largest arson investigation in East Texas history. Screens at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Elf: Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a man who was raised as an elf and is forced to journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his real family. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, at Arclight La Jolla.
Daughter From Danang: A first-generation Vietnamese woman raised in America is reunited with her birth mother after 22 years. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village.
Grand Piano: A fragile concert pianist (Elijah Wood) gets a rude awakening moments before going on stage for his comeback performance. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.
Murder by Death: In this offbeat black comedy, five famous literary characters and their sidekicks are invited to a mansion in order to solve a mystery. Presented by FilmOut, it screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Bad Santa: Billy Bob Thornton's vulgar Santa impersonator doesn't want you to sit on his lap, unless you're a lady. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The Better Angels: Shot in stark black-and-white photography, this poetic film tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's childhood, set against wood cabins and dense forests. Ends Nov. 27 at the Ken Cinema.
Foxcatcher: Bennett Miller's dark sports film tells the tragic true story of the Schultz brothers (Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum), wrestlers who became forever entwined with the wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune (Steve Carell).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1: Having just destroyed the Hunger Games infrastructure, Katnis returns home to lead the rebellion against the corrupt forces of the capital.
To Kill a Man: An indictment of governmental bureaucracy and fear, this revenge thriller from Chile looks at the lengths one man will go to protect his family. Ends Nov. 27 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Beyond the Lights: On the brink of superstardom, a talented young musician struggles with the pressure of the public limelight.
Dumb and Dumber To: In this sequel to the 1994 hit comedy, walking morons Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) return to the big screen to grace us with their idiocy.
Rosewater: Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a journalist who becomes imprisoned after filming the aftermath of the 2009 elections in Iran. It's directed by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.
The Theory of Everything: Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) is diagnosed with motor-neuron disease just as he's graduating with a doctorate degree in physics from Cambridge and starting a new life with his wife (Felicity Jones).
Awake: The Life of Yogananda: This documentary covers the life and influence of the famous spiritualist who brought Hindi practices to the west in the 1920s.
Big Hero 6: An inflatable robot develops a bond with a prodigy named Hiro, and the two band together and become high-tech heroes.
Force Majeure: While on vacation in the French Alps, a Swedish family experiences a traumatic event that reveals the deep-seated emotions and frustrations that have long simmered under the surface.
Interstellar: Christopher Nolan's new science-fiction epic follows a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to find a new home for humanity.
Citizenfour: Laura Poitras' documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden explores the abuses of national security in post-9/11 America.
Nightcrawler: This scathing and unsettling portrait of modern news television stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a vulture scouring the Los Angeles streets for gory events.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya: Master Studio Ghibli animator Isao Takahata adapts the famous Japanese folk tale about a young sprite who's born in a stalk of bamboo and grows up to confront the power dynamics of the emperor.
Mystery of the Nile: Traverse the glorious history and legacy of the ancient Egyptians in this IMAX adventure that takes you beyond the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Birdman: A burnt-out superhero actor (Michael Keaton) tries to mount a play on Broadway in order to prove his worth. It co-stars Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough.
John Wick: After his dog is killed during a random break-in, a former hit man (Keanu Reeves) goes on the warpath looking for vengeance.
Ouija: Board game meet cinema.
St. Vincent: A misanthropic senior citizen (Bill Murray) befriends a young boy going through familial trouble, inevitably leading to redemption for all involved.
Fury: A surly tank commander (Brad Pitt) and his small crew fend off Nazis during the waning days of World War II.
The Best of Me: Former high-school sweethearts fall in love again after they reunite many years later while visiting their small hometown.
The Book of Life: This animated fantasy follows a young man who's torn between fulfilling his family duties and following his heart. It features the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana and Channing Tatum.
Whiplash: A sadistic music teacher tortures a young drummer at a posh New York City conservatory.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: A boy lives through a calamitous day, and the bad luck spreads to his other family members.
Dracula Untold: This will suck.
The Judge: Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to his childhood home to defend his embittered father (Robert Duvall), the town's judge, who's been accused of murder.
Gone Girl: David Fincher adapts Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel with Ben Affleck in the lead as the suspicious husband whose beautiful wife (Rosamund Pike) suddenly goes missing.
The Equalizer: Denzel Washington takes names and kicks ass in this remake of the 1980s television show.
The Maze Runner: In this science-fiction film, a community of boys tries to escape an elaborate maze after being kidnapped and having their minds erased.
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.
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.