The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
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Ass-in-mouth disease: If you know me, you know there's one sort of film I tend to shy away from: the new breed of torture-porn horror movies that tend to be totally disgusting and make a lot of money. Basically, I feel like there's more than enough horror in the world without me watching episodes of Saw or Hostel. But let's be clear—I don't crusade against that kind of movie; it just isn't my thing. However, let's say it's your thing. Then you seriously will not do any better than The Human Centipede (First Sequence), the utterly messed-up horror movie (yes, I watched it) that's going to show on a San Diego big screen only once—this Saturday, May 8, at midnight at the Ken Cinema.
I'm going to tell you what it's about. You might consider this a spoiler, but I doubt it, mostly because it's reasonable to assume that if you're the sort of person attending a film called The Human Centipede (First Sequence) at the Ken at midnight, you already know what you're getting yourself into. And if you don't, well, you should be. Here's the deal:
Two dippy American chicks (Ashley Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) get lost while traveling through Germany. That makes them easy prey for the crazy Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), who's decided to go the other way after a lifetime of work with Siamese twins. As in, he wants to surgically attach the two girls to another kidnap victim (Akihiro Kitamura) via one long gastric system. As in, mouth to ass to mouth to ass to mouth. Really. Does that sound fucked up? It should, because it's unbelievably fucked up. Totally nasty, hard to watch, increasing the not unreasonable distrust of German doctors in general.
But again, let's say you're one who doesn't miss a horror movie like this. Well, you're in luck, because it doesn't get much ickier. And lucky for you, the Ken is within easy staggering distance of the Ken Club, Ponce's, the Kensington Grill, Blue Boheme, Burger Lounge and the Kensington Café—all places where drinks are readily available. Trust me, you'll need some.
Babies: When a man and a woman love each other very much, the man puts his—no, wait. This documentary, which follows four kids from their first minutes outside the womb, comes after all that.
Bluebeard: Controversial director Catherine Breillat offers up a new take on the classic French fairy tale.
Iron Man 2: Was the first one entertaining? Yes. Is it overrated? Yes. Are we psyched for No. 2? Yes.
No One Knows About Persian Cats: A film about two teenagers trying to start a rock band. In Iran. Where rock 'n' roll will get you killed.
Please Give: Catherine Keener has collaborated with Nicole Holofcener on all four of her films, and this one is one of their best. Keener's a New Yorker married to Oliver Platt, selling mid-century furniture they buy from the apartments of old people who have died, consequently experiencing inescapable midlife liberal white guilt. See our review on Page 23.
Ran: Kurosawa's final epic is a must-see, especially this terrific new print.
One Time Only
Digital Film Festival: The seventh annual UCSD Video Production Club fest, made up of shorts created by students, will take place on Wednesday, May 5, in the Price Center Theater. Doors open at 5 p.m., films screen at 6.
The Three Amigos: When this film first came out, you probably didn't think that Chevy Chase would be getting more work than Martin Short and Steve Martin at this stage. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Bullshit: Filmmakers follow Vandana Shiva, the Indian environmental activist and organic farmer for two solid years. Screens at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at Che Café on the UCSD campus. Free.
William Krisel, Architect: This documentary looks at the pipe-smoking architect responsible for much of the look and feel of the buildings we live in around here. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location. It's free, but you have to reserve a seat for your butt beforehand.
La Americana: UCSD's ArtPower! Film slated this documentary about undocumented immigrants months ago. Thanks for the free publicity, Arizona! Director Nicholas Bruckman will Skype in for a post-screening Q&A. Really. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at The Loft on the UCSD campus.
Casablanca: Humphrey Bogart still rules. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6, through Saturday, May 8, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Yellowstone: IMAX classic Friday movie screens at 6 p.m. Friday, May 7, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Earth Days: Great-looking documentary that traces the environmental movement from its early days in the '50s to today. Ironically, the announcement was faxed to us. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 7, at the Sierra Club offices in Kearny Mesa. See Page 14 for details.
180 Degrees South: This screening of Chris Malloy's film about explorer Jeff Johnson's adventures in Patagonia benefits Mexicali earthquake relief. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., film rolls at 7 on Friday, May 7, at the Shiley Theater on the USD campus.
Nosferatu: This ain't no Twilight. The black-and-white silent vampire movie will enjoy live accompaniment by the San Diego Symphony. Starts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8, at the San Diego Symphony.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room: Still relevant after all these years. Class-action attorney Bill Lerach and Pulitzer-prize winning author Patrick Dillon will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A and book signing. The film rolls at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 9, at Lestat's West in Normal Heights.
Medicine for Melancholy: Nice DIY piece of guerilla filmmaking about two 20-something African-Americans in San Francisco who wake up in bed with no recollection of how they got there. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 10, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Ruthless People: Decent kidnap comedy with Danny DeVito, Bette Midler and Judge Reinhold, but it's a young Bill Pullman who shines as the stupidest man ever. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Mysteries of the Nile: It ain't just a river in Egypt. Oh, wait, yes it is. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Because, apparently, every single movie needs to be remade. At least they got Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy Kreuger.
Exit Through the Gift Shop: Legendary prankster street artist Banksy's first film is a brilliant take on art and its nature. It may sound stuffy, but it's engaging, insightful, funny and subversive—and smarter than anything else you'll see this summer. Run, do not walk, to see this one.
Furry Vengeance: Brendan Fraser is a nasty real-estate developer who takes on the animals of Oregon. Lessons, we assume, are learned.
La Mission: Benjamin Bratt is Che, a man well-respected in San Francisco's Mission District and forced to come to terms with the fact that his son is gay.
Mid-August Lunch: An Italian man must keep his 93-year-old mother and three other elderly women fed and happy, or he risks losing his condo.
Shinjuku Incident: Jackie Chan returns to China to make a serious crime film. Who would have guessed?
The Square: Aussie bros Joel and Nash Edgerton craft a dark thriller that's reasonably compared to the Coen brothers Blood Simple, but with fewer laughs and more mullets. Ends May 6 at The Ken Cinema.
The Back-Up Plan: JLo gets knocked up with twins via a turkey-baster, just before she meets the man of her dreams.
The Eclipse: Probably the only Irish romantic horror drama you'll see this year. Stars the terrific character actor Ciarin Hinds as a widower attracted to a horror writer at the literary festival where he volunteers—which is good timing, because he's just started seeing ghosts. Ends May 6 at The Ken Cinema.
The Losers: A CIA black-ops team goes after the assassins who set them up. With the likes of Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans and Idris “Stringer Bell” Elba.
Oceans: Documentary about how we're destroying the other three-quarters of the planet.
The Secret in Their Eyes: This Argentinean thriller won the Best Foreign Language award at this year's Oscars. It's good, spanning decades and the relationship between a federal prosecutor and the boss with whom he's infatuated.
City Island: Andy Garcia and Juliana Margulies play a married New York couple whose family is falling apart around them—but more in a dramedy way than a tragedy way.
Death at a Funeral: Neil LaBute remakes, for American audiences, the English comedy about a funeral gone awry. So, instead of uptight Brits, you've got Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Danny Glover.
Kick-Ass: The worst thing about Kick-Ass is the trailer, which makes it look, well, cute. Actually, this is the hard-R, brutally violent, viciously funny comic-book movie you've been waiting for, assuming you've been waiting for an adorable 11-year-old girl who kicks ass and literally takes no prisoners.
Date Night: Steve Carell and Tina Fey are a married couple struggling through their weekly date night. They're both so funny, but neither has starred in a movie that's as good as his or her TV show.
The Runaways: Twilight's Kristen Stewart is Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning is Cherie Currie in this look at the groundbreaking teen-girl rock group from the '70s. Weird-looking Michael Shannon is their manager, Kim Fowley.
Terribly Happy: Well-received Danish film about a big-city cop transferred to the sticks after a nervous breakdown. He stands out like a sore thumb, trying to solve a crime in a town where everyone knows everyone else—except him.
Clash of the Titans: The remake is just as awful as the 1981 original, but without the camp value.
The Last Song: Miley Cyrus is the cranky daughter to Greg Kinnear's sensitive estranged dad. Take your insulin.
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?: Tyler Perry strikes again, this time with Janet Jackson.
Hot Tub Time Machine: Truth in advertising. John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Cordrry and Clark Duke go back to the '80s in a hot-tub time machine. Totally out-raunches The Hangover by using every bodily fluid there is.
Chloe: Julianne Moore works with hot young thing Amanda Seyfried to figure out if hubby Liam Neeson is having an affair. That can't be a good idea.
Greenberg: The latest from The Squid and the Whale director Noah Baumbach is an observational character piece starring Ben Stiller as Greenberg, a guy who can't accept that life didn't work out the way he had hoped.
How to Train Your Dragon: Jay Baruchel voices the lead in this 3-D animated flick about a Viking teen who's supposed to learn to kill dragons but instead brings one home as a pet.
The Bounty Hunter: You might expect an awesome action movie with a title like this and a star like Gerard Butler. Instead, you get a rom-com with Jennifer Aniston.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Follows a snarky middle-schooler through an academic year. Next month, Chloë Grace Moretz, the 13-year-old female lead, will slaughter bad guys in Kick-Ass.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Thriller about a male journalist and a female hacker hired to solve the 40-year-old disappearance of a member of a Swedish crime family.
Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at Saturn's rings. Just stay away from Uranus. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Alice in Wonderland: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have remade Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sleepy Hollow together (and let's not forget about Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood). Alice marks the first time they've gone 3-D. Question is, can Burton infuse a sense of humanity into Lewis Carroll's classic?
Dolphins: It's only a matter of time before they tell us, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” In IMAX at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Ghost Writer: We all know what Roman Polanski is capable of, and we're not talking about the events that have him under house arrest in Switzerland. This political thriller—starring Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer who bites off more than he can chew when he goes to work on the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan)—is a solid, if unremarkable, piece of filmmaking.
Shutter Island: Leonardo DiCaprio is U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels in Martin Scorsese's latest, investigating a missing heiress who's escaped from an asylum and is presumed to be hiding out on the desolate titular atoll.
The Greatest Places: This IMAX adventure features seven locales, which range from Greenland's icebergs to the enormous waterfall at Iguazu. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Crazy Heart: Sure, it's a clean-and-sober story, but Jeff Bridges is guaranteed an Oscar nomination for playing faded country singer and legendary drunk Bad Blake.
The Hurt Locker: Kathryn Bigelow's tense new film focuses on an Iraq unit that specializes in defusing bombs. Well-made, well-written and well-acted.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.