Dec. 28 2011 03:34 PM

The latest from writer-director-star Takeshi Kitano tops our rundown of movies showing around town

“You know you're dealing with the Yakuza, right?” That line is uttered not once, but twice, in Outrage, the latest film from writer-director-star Takeshi Kitano and the only new movie opening in San Diego this week (Friday, Dec. 30, at the Ken Cinema). You know you're dealing with the Yakuza long before anyone says it, because virtually every char acter in Outrage is Yakuza (as in, organized crime in Japan), except for the cops, who are totally corrupt and on the take.

So, you're wondering, who are the good guys in Outrage. Keep wondering, because there are none. The closest would probably be Otomo, played by Kitano himself, a longtime mid-level underboss and enforcer in a crime family pitted against another group by the head of the entire syndicate. He's old-school in his brutality and deference to protocol, but as the war between the families heats up, he finds that his adherence to old ways allows various puppet masters to take advantage of his loyalty. He's one of the few who have any sense of dignity, and therefore you pull for him.

Still, he and his friends have no qualms about inflicting serious mayhem on anyone who gets in their way, and the beatings and murders get bloodier and nastier as every gangster tries to claw his way to the top.

There's a bit of Macbeth and a bit of The Godfather to be found here, though it's certainly not as epic as either of those. That said, chopsticks are only meant for one orifice above the neck, and here they find their way into another. That's how you know you're dealing with the Yakuza, right?

One Time Only

Angel Face: Robert Mitchum is an ambulance driver who gets mixed up with the scheming Jean Simmons. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.

Viewer's Choice: It's like naming your band Free Beer. Whatever it is will start at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.

The Trouble With Harry: The trouble Harry faces in Hitchcock's film is that he's dead and everyone in town thinks he or she might have had something to do with it. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.

Indoctrinated: The San Diego County Office of Education helped produce this documentary about child sex trafficking. Screens at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 31, at St. Mark's Sanctuary in Clairemont.

All Good Things: Ryan Gosling is a rich guy whose wife, played by Kirsten Dunst, goes missing. Twenty years later, when the cops reopen the case, he goes on the lam and starts living as a woman. Loosely based on a true story. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.

Wall Street: Greed is still good, especially when you're drinking cocktails poolside. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.

Now Playing

A Dangerous Method: Michael Fassbender is Jung, Viggo Mortensen is Freud and Keira Knightley is a disturbed young Russian with eyes on the former. Somehow, even under David Cronenberg's direction, it isn't very interesting.

The Adventures of Tin-Tin: Most Americans are unfamiliar with Tin-Tin, the series of Belgian graphic novels about a boy reporter and his heroic dog Snowy. Spielberg's kid-friendly adaptation has some amazing motion capture, but it doesn't truly capture the series.

The Artist: This silent film about a silent-film star (Jean Dujardin) whose world begins to collapse as the talkies take over is a fully realized vision and a legitimate Best Picture contender.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey: You have kids? Then you know Elmo. This documentary, however, is about Kevin Clash, the man behind the furry red monster. Ends Dec. 29 at the Ken Cinema.

The Darkest Hour: Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby are in Moscow when aliens attack.

Don 2: Bollywood thriller about an Indian crime lord who sets his sights on the European underworld.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Now with more English! David Fincher's reboot is far slicker than the Swedish original, but not, perhaps, particularly necessary.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: Believe it or not, No. 4 is the best of the bunch, probably because it's the first live-action film from director Brad Bird, the guy behind The Incredibles.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Gary Oldman is great as George Smiley, the semi-retired British spy brought back in to unmask a traitor during the Cold War, but the entire exercise is probably too slow for American audiences.

War Horse: Spielberg's other big holiday film is about a horse that's taken from the boy who raised him, serves as an officer's mount in WWI and ends up seeing action from opposite trenches.

We Bought a Zoo: Native son Cameron Crowe gets seriously PG. Matt Damon stars as a single dad who moves his two kids to an aging zoo conveniently run by Scarlett Johansson. Also starring some very cute animals and kids.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: The sequel is certainly entertaining, as Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) take on the detective's legendary enemy, Professor Moriarty. But there's really no mystery to solve.

I Won't Last a Day Without You: The Filipino film series at Horton Plaza continues with this romantic comedy.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: Squeaky clean.

Young Adult: Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody reteams with director Jason Reitman for this story about a former homecoming queen (Charlize Theron) who returns to her small hometown in Minnesota after a divorce and a mental breakdown of sorts, intending to steal her high-school beau (Patrick Wilson) away from his wife and family.

Machine Gun Preacher: Gerard Butler plays Sam Childers, a real-life former drug dealer who, after finding religion, led armed incursions into dangerous parts of Sudan to rescue conscripted child soldiers.

New Year's Eve: Famous people like Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Robert De Niro and Ashton Kutcher get drunk and make out at midnight.

Shame: Michael Fassbender bares body and soul as a sex addict in Steve McQueen's NC-17 drama. It's graphic, emotionally and sexually, but it's also well-made.

The Sitter: Jonah Hill is the college kid suckered into taking care of children who live next door to him.
Alaska: Sarah Palin does not appear in this IMAX film, which runs Fridays through December at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Mystery of the Nile: It ain't just a river in Egypt. It's also an IMAX film running Fridays through December at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Arthur Christmas: A 3-D animated flick about Santa's youngest son, who uses Santa's high-tech operation to complete a crucial mission on Christmas night.

Hugo: Hell hath apparently frozen over—Martin Scorsese has made a 3-D PG family film.

The Muppets: Jason Segal reboots the franchise. It's time to play the music and light the lights one more time.

My Week with Marilyn: Eddie Redmayne is Colin Clark, an assistant to Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), who has to manage his boss' relationship with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during a production of The Prince and the Showgirl.

The Descendants: Alexander Payne's first film since Sideways is more straightforward than his previous work, but just as rewarding. George Clooney's terrific as Matt King, a father trying to reconnect with his daughters after his wife's injured in an accident.

Santa vs. The Snowman: Family-oriented steel-cage match plays the IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: You know how Bella and Edward spent the last three movies not getting it on? Well, now they do. 

Immortals: Zeus chooses Thesus (played by Henry Cavill, the next Superman) to take on Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) in a film by Tarsem Singh, who made The Cell.

J. Edgar: Leonardo DiCaprio is the longtime head of the FBI in Clint Eastwood's biopic. DiCaprio's pretty good, but the film treats Hoover with kid gloves.

Jack and Jill: As if one Adam Sandler weren't enough, here he plays a nice guy and the nice guy's annoying twin sister.

The Way: Emilio Estevez directed his dad, Martin Sheen, in this film about a father who heads to Europe to try to recover the body of his estranged son.

The Ides of March: George Clooney, who's always worn his politics on his sleeve, directs and stars in his latest film, about the death of idealism in a young political consultant played by Ryan Gosling. It's well-made, but not as important as it thinks it is.

Under the Sea: Go underwater and see some of the planet's most gorgeous ecosystems, before it's too late, since we're gradually destroying pretty much everything. Screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Moneyball: Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's who shook up baseball by reinventing the way players are valued. Sounds like dry stuff, but the last time someone adapted a Michael Lewis sports-business book for the big screen was The Blind Side, which earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar.

Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen's most charming film in years stars Owen Wilson as a Jazz Age-infatuated screenwriter and aspiring novelist who ends up hanging with the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

Boto 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.


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