So, you didn't get yourself a Comic-Con badge in time, right? And now it's completely sold out and you're not going to get to take a sneak peek at films like Tron 2.0, Iron Man 2, James Cameron's Avatar, Toy Story 3, Sherlock Holmes, Zombieland or any of the others. Well, don't fret. There are actually some cool movie options for the badgeless. First, if you Twitter and you're smart, you might be able to come up with passes for a Thursday, July 23, screening of District 9. There will also be showings of Ninja Assassin, Mystery Team, Orphan and The Collector, just to name a few.
Additionally, Rifftrax—the Artists Formerly Known as Mystery Science Theater 3000—will do two shows up at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens. On Wednesday, July 22, they'll take on Fantastic Four, while on Thursday, following a reading and signing by king geek Wil Wheaton, they'll offer up running commentary on The Matrix Reloaded. Both shows are at 9 p.m. and free, but you gotta be at least 21.
And since Twilight was such a massive hit at last year's Con, it's no surprise that the vampire romance, geared toward tweens and their moms, will be shown repeatedly at the Reading Gaslamp. Tickets, $10, are only available via Fandango, and since there's a press conference and a panel with stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner for the New Moon sequel during the Con, there's always the chance a cast member might drop by.
Simpsons fan? Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me, Where in the World is Osama bin Laden) will hold an open casting call for his forthcoming documentary, The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D on Ice (which will be neither in 3-D nor on ice). He's looking for super-fans who have stories to tell about why the long-running show is so important to them. That happens from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25, in the San Diego Ballroom at the Marriott, right next to the Convention Center,.
Though it's not strictly film, composer Bear McCreary will play The Music of Battlestar Galactica Thursday through Saturday at House of Blues. Yeah, that's frakkin' weird, but so is the horror-film showcase that goes down from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, July 24, at El Dorado, the Downtown hipster bar.
Yes, there's a zombie walk past the Convention Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and a little Googling will find you geek burlesque shows, nerd proms, a Harry Potter dance party and no shortage of fanboy meetups. And best of all, there's no badge required.
Now, if you were on top of it and you did get a badge, look for me. I'll be down there all weekend, doing interviews, taking video footage, posting at CityBeat's Lastblogonearth.com, Twittering (@anderswright) and covering all the geek news fit to cover—just so, you know, you don't have to.
G-Force: Animated guinea pigs save the world, destroy the art of filmmaking.
How to Be a Serial Killer: Us, we'd just watch Dexter. The guy in this movie seeks one out for private lessons.
Humpday: The anti-bromance. Lynn Shelton's movie is about two straight-male friends who suddenly find themselves in a hotel room, about to make a porno. Starring them. See our review on Page 21.
Orphan: Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga totally pick the scary kid at the orphanage.
Seraphine: Biopic about the French painter Séraphine de Senlis, who was discovered while working as a maid to German art critic and collector Wilhelm Uhde.
Soul Power: Documentary about the music festival that took place around the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight championship between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Zaire '74 featured performances from James Brown, BB King, Bill Withers and others.
Tetro: Vincent Gallo stars as an unpleasant, self-destructive writer in Francis Ford Coppola's new picture.
The Ugly Truth: Actually, the ugly truth is that this Katherine Heigl / Gerard Butler romcom looks really stupid.
Unmistaken Child: Documentary about a Buddhist monk's search for the reincarnation of a Tibetan master.
One Time Only
The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court: Part of PBS' POV series, this documentary looks at ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his efforts to take down jerks like the president of Sudan. Hopefully, the sequel will find him busting Dick Cheney. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Valley Girl: Like, gag me with a spoon. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Days of Dirt: Mountain-biking movie featuring a mix of downhill and freestyling serves as a benefit for the San Diego Mountain Bike Association. Yes, there will be drink specials. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23, at the Ken Club in Kensington.
Out of the Past: Classic noir stars Robert Mitchum as small-town gas jockey Jeff Bailey, whose past catches up with him in the form of Kirk Douglas' Whit Sterling. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
San Diego International Children's Film Festival: This year's fest kicks off at 8 p.m. Friday, July 24, with a collection of shorts at Screen on the Green, in front of the Museum of Art in Balboa Park. For Comic-Con attendees, there'll be a full day of kids films from around the world on Sunday, July 26.
Barbarella: Yep, before she won her Best Actress Oscar, Jane Fonda bared all in outer space. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
War on Democracy: And after democracy, we're going after the Libertarians! Screens at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Pink Floyd The Wall: Shaved eyebrows mandatory. Oh, and, by the way, which one's Pink? Screens at midnight, Saturday, July 25, at the Ken Cinema.
Lebowski Fest: Are you an achiever? Do you abide? This might be the best way for you to meet like-minded Lebowski fans, who will be gathering to bowl, drink white Russians and watch their fave film on July 26 and 27 (check www.lebowskifest.com for details). See our feature story.
Waltz with Bashir: Plenty of people were surprised when Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman's animated recollection of the Lebanon War in the early 1980s didn't win Best Foreign Language Film last year. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 27, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Surf's Up: Remember how crazy we were for penguin movies a couple of years ago? And for Shia? Yeah, we're pretty much over both of them. Screens at dusk on Tuesday, July 28, at the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine. Free.
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone: An epic anime imported from Japan, the first of a four-part series about teenage mecha pilots—kids who drive giant fighting robots, for you noobs—trying to save a post-apocalyptic Tokyo 2.0 from awesome invading aliens. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, at UltraStar Mission Valley.
Harold and Maude: CityBeat film editor Anders Wright's favorite movie. Death-obsessed young Harold (Bud Cort) falls for Maude (Ruth Gordon), an almost-octogenarian who's all about life. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Snatch: It's been downhill for Guy Ritchie since this sharp, funny crime drama that turned Jason Statham into a leading man. You can't understand a word Brad Pitt says, and it's one of the best things he's ever done. Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The latest entry in the Potter franchise is terrific summer entertainment, but only if you're already a fan.
(500) Days of Summer: A terrific film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It's a date movie, sure, but be forewarned, this is a break-up story and not a standard love story.
$9.99: An animated film about a man hoping to find the meaning of life for just under a sawbuck.
Julia: Tilda Swinton is an alcoholic on a bender of vodka and one-night stands. Sort of like Ed Decker.
The Stoning of Soraya M.: Cyrus Nowrasteh tells the story of Freidoune Sahabjam's best-seller about an Iranian woman who was stoned to death under false pretenses in 1986.
Brüno: In his follow-up to Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen proves that Paula Abdul is a moron, Ron Paul is woefully out of touch, and ignorant, homophobic crackers are ignorant, homophobic crackers.
Blood: The Last Vampire: A hot vampire in a schoolgirl outfit kills demons with a seriously sharp sword. Otherwise known as a fanboy's wet dream.
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—not what you expect for an summer action movie.
I Love You, Beth Cooper: When high-school valedictorian Denis (Paul Rust) professes his love for popular girl Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere) during his grad speech, the last thing he expects is for her to show up at his house that night.
The Girl From Monaco: When a brilliant attorney heads to Monaco for a trial, he doesn't count on falling for a psychotic vixen who distracts him from his upcoming case.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: When, oh when, will animated mammoths remember their rightful place as construction equipment?
Public Enemies: Michael Mann's movie about the end days of John Dillinger is long on history, style—and length.
Cheri: Set in 1920s Paris, a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), breaks a younger man's heart, sending him spinning into a fantasy world. Based on the novels of Collette, the movie's directed by the always-reliable Steven Frears from a screenplay by Christopher (Dangerous Liasons) Hampton.
My Sister's Keeper: The summer's first big weeper. Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric have a second child, Abigail Breslin, in hopes of providing a donor match for their leukemia-stricken firstborn.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: In one of the last summer blockbusters of the year, giant robots blow shit up.
Whatever Works: The combination of Larry David and Woody Allen should be a comedy slam dunk, but it just feels like two old guys kvetching.
Food, Inc.: A documentary about how fucked-up the food system is in this country. Pass the buttered popcorn.
Moon: Director Duncan Jones delivers an impressive debut, and Sam Rockwell gives one of his best performances to date as a lonely miner on the far side of the moon whose entire worldview changes after he finds a body out on the surface.
The Proposal: Ryan Reynolds is Sandra Bullock's assistant. She pushes him into a marriage of convenience (at least for her), but we're guessing it sticks.
Year One: Jack Black and Michael Cera star in what could be subtitled History of the World, Part 2.
Away We Go: Director Sam Mendes continues his examination of the American psyche with this road-trip comedy about a young pregnant couple (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) looking for parenting role models.
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3: Whenever this remake, which stars Denzel Washington as a subway dispatcher and John Travolta as the guy who takes a subway car hostage, slows down, it's easy to see how ridiculous it is.
Departures: This Japanese film about a cellist who becomes a mortician of sorts earned the Best Foreign Film Oscar in February.
The Hangover: They cut a good trailer for Todd Phillips' new film, about three buddies—Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis—who wake up the morning after a brutal bachelor party with no memory of what happened or where the groom is.
Up: The trailer for Pixar's first 3D film doesn't sell it, but this story of an old man who flies his house to South America via helium balloons is just as good as what you've come to expect from those guys.
Angels and Demons: More fun than The Da Vinci Code, but just as stupid.
Star Trek: The JJ Abrams-directed franchise reboot boldly goes to the heart of the original show and makes it fun again. It's fun, fresh and exciting, the first badass Trek movie since The Wrath of Khan. Good for Trekkies, good for non-Trekkies and great for Trek.
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Space Theater: After undergoing significant renovations, the Fleet is re-opening its dome Imax theater, complete with a kick-ass new screen. Films vary week-to-week. Showtimes and prices can be found at www.rhfleet.org.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: No, it's not a time warp—the love-it-or-hate-it camp classic continues its midnight run in its 37th year of release. When the lead character of the film is a transvestite scientist named Dr. Frank-N-Furter, you know you're in for some seriously trashy viewing. And, of course, this is the one movie where you want the audience shouting at the screen. Screens Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theater in Encinitas.