Saturated pictures of decrepit theater lobbies, tattered marquees and deteriorating exhibition halls frame the opening credits of Paul Schrader's The Canyons. It's a level of physical erosion that stands in direct contrast to the glossy, high-end locations that litter the rest of this salacious B-grade noir starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen as a Hollywood couple on a reckless path toward betrayal and murder.
The Canyons is often a blunt and flaccid neo-thriller that wants to look and sound like a David Lynch film. But its juxtaposition of lifeless Hollywood scumbags with the rotting spaces puts an interesting spin on the way forms of exhibition (be it public or private) are changing in the age of YouTube, Netflix and iPhones. The intimacy once found in the classic theatrical viewing experience is now gone, replaced with something altogether emotionless, open and artificial.
The Canyons—now on video-on-demand with select cable carriers—might be a seedy, B-grade noir on the surface, but it suggests an interesting double betrayal perpetrated between Hollywood and its audience. The actions of the characters in Schrader's film represent this growing tension. Not only does Hollywood resent the masses for finding a new form of entertainment in their own self-fulfilling fantasies, audiences in turn have abdicated experiencing film-going in the traditional way. In short, the joy of experiencing film art in a collective setting has turned toxic. All that's left is perpetual menace, in high definition.
Elysium: After being diagnosed with a terminal disease, a factory worker (Matt Damon) attempts to infiltrate a manmade space habitat where the world's wealthy now live in permanent luxury. Directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9).
Europa Report: Midway through a privately funded space mission to Jupiter's fourth largest moon, an international crew of astronauts encounter some mysterious phenomena. Screens for one week at the Ken Cinema.
Everest: Two climbers overcome immeasurable odds while scaling the world's largest mountain. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Fecha de Caducidad: When Ramona's ungrateful grown son goes missing, her desperate search to find answers leads her down a darkly comedic path that splinters into three separate perspectives of the same story. Starring the great Mexican actor Damián Alcázar. Screens through Aug. 15 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Lovelace: Amanda Seyfried stars in this biopic about Linda Lovelace, the legendary porn star who overcame her abusive husband to take control of her life outside the industry.
Nicky's Family: Just before the Nazis invaded Eastern Europe, Englishman Nicholas Winton organized the rescue of nearly 700 Czech and Slovak children. His dramatic story unfolds in this film from director Matej Minac. Screens through Aug. 14 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters: The titular son of Poseidon must embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters in order to stop a rising tide of ancient evil.
Planes: The kids will probably do flips for this animated Disney film about a crop-dusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race.
Prince Avalanche: Director David Gordon Green returns to more character-driven territory with this drama about two men (Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) working in the Texas highlands doing highway maintenance after the area is devastated by fire. See our review on Page 25.
We're the Millers: In order to sneak a huge Mexican weed shipment into the U.S., a veteran pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) creates a fake family in hopes of bypassing authorities. Co-starring Jennifer Aniston.
One Time Only
Hunger Games: The cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 skewers Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her quest to survive the ultimate battle royale. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.
Jaws: There's no other fitting way to bid adieu to the summer than with Steven Spielberg's PSA against swimming. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The Source Family: This documentary examines the radical experiment in '70s utopian living that came to define the counterculture movement. A pre-screening reception begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, outside of the Botanical Building in Balboa Park. The film follows at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Reservations required: mopa.org.
The Blues Brothers: Bust out your dark sunglasses and pump up the volume with Ellwood and Jake Blues. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 8 and 9, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Ashley: A distraught teenage girl resorts to self-inflicted cutting after a failed attempt to connect with her estranged mother, only to find confidence and solace in the arms of an older woman. Screens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Funny Face: A shop clerk (Audrey Hepburn) becomes an overnight sensation after an impromptu fashion shoot at a bookstore. Presented by Forty Foot Films, it screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, and Tuesday, Aug. 13, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Divorce, Italian Style: Marcello Mastroianni stars as a married baron who concocts a devious plan to get rid of his wife after falling in love with his cousin. Presented by the Little Italy Summer Film Festival, it screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Amici Park's Outdoor Amphitheater in Little Italy.
Vertigo: Hitchcock's masterpiece of doppelgangers and obsession. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
The Room: Come experience the best worst movie ever made, on the big screen! Screens at midnight on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Ken Cinema.
Doctor Doolittle: Eddie Murphy stars, in this remake of the Rex Harrison-starring film from 1967, as the M.D. who realizes he can hear animals speak. Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach.
Lawrence of Arabia: David Lean's epic of all epics tells the amazing story of T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), a flamboyant British military officer whose exploits in Arabia in WWI became legend. Screens at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Arclight La Jolla.
We Have a Pope: Who knew picking a pope could be so funny? Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Hervey Branch Library in Point Loma.
What Did You Expect? The Archers of Loaf Live at Cat's Cradle: This concert film follows indie-rock icons The Archers of Loaf as they reunite for two epic performances in 2011. Screens at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at TigerTiger! in North Park.
Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival: See the likes of The Allman Brothers Band, Blake Mills, Booker T., Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards and more in this concert rockumentary filmed at Madison Square Garden. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at various theaters. Check fathomevents.com for details.
The Sapphires: In 1968, four talented young Australian Aboriginal girls become a hit music sensation and learn about the realities of the outside world while on tour entertaining U.S. troops in Vietnam. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Hervey Branch Library in Point Loma.
Ice Age: Meltdown: The ice age is ending and Manny, Sid and Diego must join the massive exodus to higher ground. Screens at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 13 and 14, at Reading Grossmont and Town Square Cinemas.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Mr. Hand and Jeff Spicoli, one of the great student-teacher tandems ever. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Stone World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.
Bridesmaids: Never a bride, always a—. Kristin Wiig is in fine form as a smart woman stumbling her way toward everlasting love. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
2 Guns: Plenty of bullets will be spent in this action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington as dueling law-enforcement officers trying to clear their names.
Blue Jasmine: Woody Allen's latest comedy showcases the amazing Cate Blanchett as an entitled 1-percenter who experiences a harrowing fall from grace.
Computer Chess: Man takes on machine in this singular independent film from director Andrew Buljaski about a chess tournament set in the 1980s. Ends Aug. 8 at the Ken Cinema.
Drift: Sam Worthington (Avatar) stars in this surfing drama about two brothers who challenge the boundaries of the ocean and society in the 1970s.
Global Film Festival: This series of feature films from Mexico, Iraq, China, India and South Africa were selected for their authentic voice, engaging aesthetics and striking cultural perspectives. It runs through 8 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
More than Honey: This documentary by Markus Imhoof investigates why large numbers of honey bees have been dying off around the world. Ends Aug. 8 at the Ken Cinema.
Mysteries of Egypt: Glorious imagery of the Nile River Valley provides the backdrop to this engaging journey through the Land of the Pharaohs. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Attack: An Israeli Palestinian surgeon finds his life destroyed after his wife is accused of conducting a suicide bombing that leaves countless dead. It's directed by Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut).
Blackfish: SeaWorld and its potentially corrupt business practices take a shellacking in this documentary about the killer whale responsible for three deaths during its time in captivity.
Smurfs 2: Another Smurfs movie, because why not? Opens Wednesday, July 31.
Storm Surfers 3D: Surfing legends Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones travel the globe seeking the ultimate wave, in 3-D.
The To-Do List: Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) finally gets a leading role in this comedy about a high-school senior hoping to gain some life experience before heading off to college.
The Wolverine: Hugh Jackman reprises his iconic role as the immortal clawed X-Man battling a brutal band of Yakuza in modern Japan.
The Conjuring: Ghosts and demons haunt a large suburban family who just moved into a rickety Rhode Island home with a dark past. It's directed by horror maestro James Wan (Insidious, Saw).
Girl Most Likely: Kristin Wiig brings her patented self-deprecating humor to this story about a failed New York playwright forced to spend time with her overbearing mother (Annette Benning) and start anew.
Only God Forgives: Seeped in neon reds and yellows, this psychedelic nightmare from director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) follows an American expat (Ryan Gosling) as he attempts to avenge his brother's murder in Thailand.
Reds 2: Bruce Willis and his aged assassins once again try to defend their lawn chairs from shadowy government forces and international terrorists.
R.I.P.D.: Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds play undead police officers protecting Earth from ghouls and goblins attempting to take over the world. Hilarity ensues.
Still Mine: Local authorities stymie an elderly couple's dream of building their final home, resulting in a David and Goliath story set in rural New Brunswick. Ends Aug. 8 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Turbo: A normal garden snail finds that a freak accident has given him some unexpected powers in the speed department, allowing him to compete in the Indy 500.
Grown Ups 2: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Kevin James return for another round of juvenile debauchery in this sequel to the 2010 comedy.
Pacific Rim: From the mind of Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro: The world is under attack by reptilian monsters, so mankind resorts to building gigantic robots as the last line of defense.
The Way, Way Back: A 14-year-old boy finds self-worth during a summer vacation with his mother (Toni Collette) and her combative new boyfriend (Steve Carell).
20 Feet From Stardom: Backup singers for today's superstars finally take center stage in this music documentary featuring a range of inspirational stories about artistic endurance and passion.
Despicable Me 2: Gru (Steve Carell) and his army of minions attempt to transcend their roles as villains and save the world in this sequel to the popular 2010 animated film.
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain: Filmed at a sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden during a 2012 concert tour, this documentary showcases the comedian's brash style and formidable presence.
The Lone Ranger: The masterminds behind Pirates of the Caribbean hope to find similar success with this mega-budget adaptation of the classic Western hero (Armie Hammer) and his mystical sidekick (Johnny Depp).
The Heat: Yet another riff on the classic buddy comedy, this time starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as polar-opposite cops tasked with capturing a brutal drug lord. From Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.
Monsters University: Professional frighteners and quibbling buddies Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) are back for Pixar's first-ever prequel set during their wild college days.
Much Ado About Nothing: The Avengers director Joss Whedon steps out of his comfort zone and updates the Bard's classically romantic skirmish of wits with this jazzy black-and-white ensemble piece.
World War Z: The zombie apocalypse is in full swing as Brad Pitt attempts to save the world from certain demise. It's based on the popular graphic novel by Max Brooks.
Man of Steel: Director Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen) attempts yet another reboot of the Superman origin story with Henry Cavill sporting the famous tights and Amy Adams cracking wise as Lois Lane.
This is the End: It's the end of the world as we know it, and the Judd Apatow reunion tour feels just fine. Directed by Seth Rogen, this comedy apocalypse is sure to include multiple plumes of ganja smoke.
Now You See Me: Four illusionists—Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco—pull off amazing heists against the 1 percent and give the money to the rest of us.
Star Trek: Into Darkness: The sequel to J.J. Abrams' rollicking reboot feels more like a summer blockbuster than a vital part of the Trek universe. Still, it's always good to see Benedict Cumberbatch on the big screen.
Rocky Mountain Express: The IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center was recently overhauled. This latest entry takes viewers through the Canadian Rockies without leaving San Diego.
Cosmic Collisions: So, that asteroid that might smash into Earth in 20 years is much bigger than previously thought? Awesome. This new IMAX movie at the Reuben H. Fleet looks at what happens when things bash into each other in outer space. On the bright side, if we go the way of the dinosaurs, at least future species will have a new source of fossil fuels.
Flight of the Butterflies: It turns out Monarch butterflies are much like SDSU students—every year, thousands of them head to Mexico. This IMAX film captures their beautiful trip. The butterflies, that is.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.