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Brotherly love: Usually, when actors write screenplays, they give themselves enormous, meaty parts. That's not the case in The Square, the Australian crime drama that opens this Friday at the Ken Cinema. It's been likened to a Down Under Coen brothers movie, directed by former stuntman Nash Edgerton and written by his brother Joel, an interesting actor whose deep-set eyes give him a look unique enough for him to pull off both leads and supporting roles with equal credibility.
“I set out initially to write a film that gave me a leading role,” said the actor, who's appeared in films like King Arthur and Ned Kelly and who has the lead in a forthcoming prequel to The Thing. “But that film didn't feel like it was up to it. So I changed my focus and stopped considering myself as an actor within that process. I sort of separated those skills. I told myself that if I really wanted to write a film, I needed to detach my ego from it and just write a story that I think is great. And if I happen to fit into it as an actor, so be it.”
Edgerton did fit into it; he plays a small-time arsonist who's drawn into a plot by Ray (David Roberts) and his mistress Carla (Claire van der Boom), who want to rip off Carla's mullet-sporting husband Smithy (Anthony Hayes) so they can run off together. Things go wrong, of course, resulting in blackmail and violent death. The movie, which has the Blood Simple feel of the Coens' early work, takes twists and turns before reaching its bloody conclusion. It's a decent, if dark, ride to take—things go from bad to worse to much, much worse, as Ray tries to figure out who's shaking him down.
The Square will be preceded by Spider, a fun, nasty little short also directed by Nash Edgarton.
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.
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. See our review on Page 24.
That Evening Sun: Elderly farmer Hal Holbrook escapes from his nursing home and returns to his spread, only to discover that it's occupied by someone else.
One Time Only
Fresh: Doc explores the way our food gets to our plates and features interviews with people like MacArthur Genius Award winner Will Allen and Joel Salatin, made famous by The Omnivore's Dilemma. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla.
The Neverending Story: The fx are cheesy by today's standards. But if you were growing up when this film came out, it probably holds a small place in your childhood. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
FilmOut: San Diego's LBGT film festival runs through Thursday, April 22. Details at www.filmoutsandiego.com.
The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression: Director Susan Politz Schutz and one of her subjects will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. Screens at 6:25 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at KPBS at SDSU. RSVP at www.kpbs.org. Free.
Zoot Suit: Edward James Olmos stars in this look at L.A.'s Zoot Suit Riots of the '40s. Part of UCSD's Hate Free Film Week, it screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 22, in Center Hall Room 113 at UCSD. Free.
Blade Runner: Balboa Park's Museum of Photographic Arts presents the final cut of Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece. Party starts at 7, film rolls at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 22. See Page 10 for deets.
Michael Jackson: This Is It: Movie-themed hoedown throw-downs continue! If you're going to beat it, wear a costume. One white glove counts. Starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Beauty Bar in City Heights.
Do the Right Thing: Spike Lee's best film, this 1989 look at racial attitudes in New York still packs a punch. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 23, in Center Hall Room 109 at UCSD. Free.
Avatar: Celebrate Earth Day with the best use of blue-nipple-covering technology of all time. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 22, through Saturday, April 24, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. It's also playing at La Paloma in Encinitas.
Enlighten Up: Filmmaker Kate Churchill pushes her buddy Nick Rosen to take yoga seriously and then catches him on film as he tries to do so. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 23, at Swedenborg Church and Hall in North Park.
Departures: This Japanese film about a cellist who becomes a mortician of sorts earned the Best Foreign Film Oscar last year. Screens at 1 p.m. Friday, April 23, at the San Elijo campus of MiraCosta College.
Follow Me: Insane mountain-biking film serves as a benefit for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Screens at 11:45 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at the Ken Cinema.
Shorts n' Spirits Showcase: Local promoter Mental Eclectic presents several short films and a whole lot of networking at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 25, at West Coast Tavern in North Park.
Deathbowl to Downtown: Skateboarding flick explores the culture and the shredding of downtown NYC. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 26, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Gran Torino: The problem with Clint Eastwood's film isn't that his cranky old Walt is a racist; it's that it actually justifies the reasons he hates people. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 26, in Center Hall Room 109 at UCSD. Free.
The Big Lebowski: The dude abides. Screens at 7 and 9 p.m. Monday, April 26, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
My Neighbor, My Killer: Documentary about the Gacaca, the open air hearings that followed the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, April 26, at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Cat City: Mental Eclectic's monthly Bedlam Cinema night features Brent Huff's thriller, starring Brian Dennehy as a private dick up to his ass in betrayal and greed. Screens at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, at Prospect Bar and Grill in La Jolla.
Up: Pixar's latest is one of its greatest. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
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.
The Joneses: Their suburban neighbors can barely keep up with the Joneses, an all-American family made up of David Duchovny, Demi Moore and their two kids. But there's a reason for that, and to reveal it here would be to spoil the movie.
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.
Malice in Wonderland: Maggie Grace (Shannon from Lost) is a London law student who wakes up in an amnesiac wonderland after she's hit by a cab.
The Perfect Game: It's Mexico, 1957, and Clifton Collins Jr. is Cesar, whose aspirations of major-league coaching were thwarted by his ethnicity. He becomes the driving force behind a group of disadvantaged kids dying to start their own Little League team.
The Warlords: Jet Li stars in this historical epic about three blood brothers forced to betray one another in a time of war. Ends April 22 at the Ken Cinema.
Letters to God: Film about a cancer-stricken boy whose letters to god inspire the faithful and amuse the cynics.
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 Greatest: Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon are both terrific as parents grieving a lost child. Ends April 22 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
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.
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.
Vincere: Historical drama about Mussolini's first wife, Ida Dalsar, whom he eventually denied and imprisoned. Good rule of thumb: Don't fall for undergrads or fascists. Ends April 22 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?: Tyler Perry strikes again, this time with Janet Jackson.
Coral Reef Adventure: The Fleet's classic IMAX film takes you for a visit to the reefs of Tahiti, which is cheaper than airfare and your own SCUBA gear, by the way. Fridays at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
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. Ends April 15 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
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.
Repo Men: More a sequel to Repo! The Genetic Opera than Repo Man. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are guys who will take back your shiny new organs if you can't keep up your payments.
Green Zone: Matt Damon teams up with Paul Greengrass, the guy who made the last two Bourne movies, for an Iraq action film.
She's Out of My League: Jay Baruchel gets his first lead since Undeclared, and it's about time, even if it's in a Jud Apatow rom-com knock-off. He's Kirk, an average guy working for the TSA who can't believe that hottie Alice Eve wants to be with him.
A Prophet: Brutally intense film about a young Arab man (Tehar Rahim) who becomes a mob kingpin after he's sentenced to six years in a French prison. Ends April 1 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
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?
Brooklyn's Finest: Training Day director Antoine Fuqua has clearly been watching The Wire in recent years, but his new dirty-cop drama, starring Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle, is black-and-white, rather than more interesting shades of gray.
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. Ends April 1 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
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.