Evan Glodell's directorial debut, Bellflower—opening Friday, Sept. 2, at the Ken Cinema—feels like a throwback to the kind of movies people were making 20 years ago. It was shot on an infinitesimal budget, and the dedication and perseverance of everyone involved in the film shows on screen. It's not crisp or clean—in fact, there are moments when there's grit on the lens—but that adds to the film's scruffy emotional intensity.
Glodell also stars in the movie, playing Woodrow, an L.A. slacker who spends his free time preparing for the impending apocalypse with his best friend Aiden (Tyler Dawson). This is mostly a tongue-in-cheek excuse for these dudes to build their own flamethrowers and a fire-breathing muscle car called The Medusa. But when Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman), a gorgeous badass who steals his heart, he finds that the apocalypse he has to face doesn't come in the form of motorcycle-riding, mohawked warriors of the wasteland. Instead, it's all internal, a brutal struggle with his emotions that leads to violence. It's a portrait of vicious self-destruction that can only come out of having limited resources and a lot of devotion.
“You want life to be an ad venture,” Glodell tells CityBeat. “That's what it's about—about finding people to go on a great adventure. You only live once, and you want something magical and important to happen. I think this movie has been, for us, the closest thing to that.”
Dawson says he's learned one very important thing about the apocalypse. “There are people out there who are getting ready,” he says. “In the same way Woodrow and Aiden are obsessed with it, it's a joke to them. But there are people who are doing it in a practical way. Building shelters and getting water. Us? We'd be so unprepared.”
Anita: A Jewish woman from Buenos Aires with Down Syndrome becomes separated from her family. Presented by the San Diego Latino Film Festival for a week at UltraStar Hazard Center.
Apollo 18: This found-footage horror movie takes place on the moon. Apparently, there's some nasty stuff we haven't been told about up there.
Attack the Block: Vicious aliens land in a South London housing project, and the only thing between them and the rest of us is a gang of teenagers. Nice throwback that sits somewhere between Goonies and The Thing.
The Debt: Helen Mirren is a retired Mossad agent forced to revisit her past when developments from a previous operation come to light. See our review on Page 25.
Flypaper: Patrick Dempsey just happens to be in a bank when two rival gangs show up to rob it.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy: A whole bunch of old friends, like Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Lake Bell and Tyler Labine, get it on.
Higher Ground: Vera Farmiga stars in her own directorial debut, as a member of a tight-knit spiritual community who starts to question her own faith.
The Living Sea: Sting provided the music for this IMAX film, screening Friday evenings in September at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. That'll either send you to it or drive you away.
The Names of Love: A gorgeous French lefty sleeps with her political enemies in order to win them over. It all goes great, until she meets the guy she just can't shake.
Saving Private Pérez: This Mexican crime farce is about a serious bad guy whose mother forces him to go on a suicide mission to save his own brother.
Seven Days in Utopia: A golfer's pro debut goes wrong, so he winds up on a ranch in Texas run by Robert Duvall. Very rated-G.
Sex and Zen 3-D: The world's first erotic 3-D movie! Except for, you know, all that '70s porn.
Shark Night 3-D: Not to be confused with the world's first erotic 3-D movie.
Sholem Aleichem: This doc about the writer whose work became the foundation for Fiddler on the Roof should be something to think about, something to drink about.
One Time Only
FDA: A History: If you show up expecting a look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt, you might need reading glasses. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Scarface: Say hello to your little friend again. To celebrate the Blu-ray release of the Pacino drug epic, the movie's coming back to the big screen for one night at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at several area theaters. Visit fathomevents.com for locations and ticket info.
Dog Town and Z-Boys: Stacy Peralta's awesome documentary about the early days of skateboarding screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park. Free.
Weekend at Bernie's: Remember when Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman were stars? It's been a while. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Princess Bride: Conceivably one of the best date flicks of all time. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. The
Goonies: Apparently, they never say die. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, at Piazza Carmel Shopping Plaza.
Flashback: Festival Favorites: In preparation for the main event later this month, the San Diego Film Festival has combined a greatest-hits set at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Bread and Chocolate: The San Diego Italian Film Festival presents this 1974 classic about an Italian immigrant who can't get it together in Switzerland, partly because of his own foibles and partly because of those snooty bastards' stereotypes about him. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Eat Pray Love: Julia Roberts does all of those things and Ocean Beach's To the Point café serves food and wine to go with it at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1.
Raiders of the Lost Ark: Still pretty awesome, and that's no bullwhip. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Sept. 4, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Better This World: Documentary about Brad Crowder and David McKay, two young men who were charged with domestic terrorism during the 2008 Republican convention. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Central Library, Downtown.
The Creature From the Black Lagoon: Just don't let what's on your plate strike back. Classy creature-feature screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park. Free.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: No matter what else he does, two-time Oscar-winner Sean Penn will never get away from Spicoli. You know what they say, talk to Mr. Hand. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Columbiana: Zoe Saldana grows up to become an assassin after she witnesses the murder of her parents.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: This Guillermo del Toro-produced remake of the 1973 horror flick stars Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes as a couple who should, in fact, be afraid of the dark.
Griff the Invisible: Ryan Kwanten, best known for his role on True Blood, is a socially awkward office drone who dreams of being a real superhero. Ends Sept. 1 at the Ken Cinema.
Our Idiot Brother: Paul Rudd is Ned, a simple soul who continuously screws up his sisters' lives by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, although, by the end of it, you might wonder who the real idiot is.
Senna: What, you've never heard of Ayrton Senna, who was one of the greatest racecar drivers of all time before his tragic death? This documentary will tell you all you need to know.
Amigo: John Sayles' new film, starring Chris Cooper and Garrett Dillahunt, is about the American occupation of the Philippines at the dawn of the 20th century. Expect analogies to today's conflicts, for sure.
Conan the Barbarian: Jason Momoa should hit up Jerry Brown for advice on how to fill Arnold's shoes.
Fright Night: There's no way a remake of a campy '80s vampire movie should be this fun. Anton Yelchin is the Las Vegas teen who discovers his neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a seriously brutal vampire.
One Day: Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are Dexter and Em. The film follows the same day of their lives, year after year. David Nicholls adapted his own book into a screenplay, but director Lone Scherfigwho did so much with An Educationis unable to transform it into something truly interesting.
Point Blank: In this French thriller, a male nurse whose pregnant wife has been kidnapped is forced to help a crook escape from the hospital.
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D: The fourth dimension in this case is Aromascope. No, seriously.
The Whistleblower: Rachel Weisz is terrific as Kathryn Bolkovac, the Nebraska policewoman who took a job doing contract security for the U.N. and eventually went public to expose a human-trafficking cover-up.
30 Minutes or Less: Danny McBride and Nick Swardson chain a bomb to Jesse Eisenberg's neck and force him to rob a bank. Sounds like a laugh riot, huh?
Final Destination 5: Isn't that what they said the last time?
The Help: Based on Kathryn Stockett's novel, this stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, a '60s-era college kid who starts interviewing the African-American women in her southern town, something that just wasn't done at the time.
The Devil's Double: Dominic Cooper is terrific as both Latif Yahia, the man who was forced to be the body double for Saddam's insane son Uday, and Uday himself. The movie is over-the-top and violent, but Cooperwho often appears in the frame as both characters, does amazing work.
The Change-Up: Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds switch bodies la Freaky Friday. Tough to say who's getting the better side of that deal.
The Guard: Brendan Gleeson's portrayal of a corrupt small-town Irish cop trying to take down some major drug traffickers is one of the best of the year, raising this crime comedy, which also stars Don Cheadle, to unexpected success.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: James Franco, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis and the kid who played Draco Malfoy go bananas.
Cowboys & Aliens: Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford face off against outer-space baddies in the Old West. Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man).
Crazy, Stupid, Love: Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling headline a good-enough romantic comedy that's not ashamed of its PG-13 status.
Sarah's Key: Kristin Scott Thomas is an American journalist trying to learn the fate of a Jewish French girl who went missing during WWII.
The Smurfs: They're so hard to get off your shoe when you step on them, especially when they're in 3-D.
Captain America: The First Avenger: Chris Evans plays the superhero in this week's superhero movie.
Friends with Benefits: Best buddies Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis can't find anyone to date, so they start sleeping with each other, no strings attached. Um, you lost us at Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis can't find anyone to date.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: It's tough to say goodbye, but fans will be thrilled with the franchise's conclusion, which streamlines the final half of the final book and offers up some serious wizardry—in story and special effects.
Horrible Bosses: Put-upon drones Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day decide to murder their employers, played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston. It's a comedy—ha!
Zookeeper: Talking animals try to prevent zookeeper Kevin James from blah blah blah
Transformers: Dark of the Moon: No, the third film in the franchise has nothing to do with either “Bark at the Moon” or “Dark Side of the Moon.” Is there still more than meets the eye?
Buck: Documentary about Buck Brannaman, one of the leading experts in horses and the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer.
Cars 2: Documentary about Buck Brannaman, The cars from Cars go overseas, or something. Also, there are spies. Pixar makes gazillions!
Super 8: J.J. Abrams-directed and Spielberg-produced, this is a throwback to '80s-era summer goodness, about a bunch of kids who start investigating weird goings on after a train wreck near their town.
The Tree of Life: You might consider Terrence Malick's new movie a masterpiece or find it self-indulgent and pretentious. What you can't deny is its ambition. By focusing on a Texas family in the '50s, led by patriarch Brad Pitt, the director examines life, the universe and everything. Beautiful to watch, challenging to understand, staggeringly deep.
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.
Bridesmaids: Kristen Wiig moves from scene-stealer to leading lady in this raunchy girl-comedy, and it turns out she's well suited to the promotion. Playing at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
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.
Tornado Alley: This new IMAX film, which travels into twisters with some professional storm chasers, has to be better than Twister, the movie. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.