You have three opportunities to catch the second annual DANCEonFILM festival, which features short, experimental films of dance from around the globe. The festival, curated by locals Larry Asakawa and Kara Miller and Tijuana's Minerva Tapia, comprises films from the New York Dance Films Association (NYDFA) and is put together in a partnership between NYDFA, the SDSU School of Music and Dance and the Centro Cultural Tijuana. The teaser on the fest's website (dancefilmfestival.com) looks amazing, as the dance styles represented range from ballet to modern to urban and beyond. Now, here's what's important to recognize: These shorts are far more than just setting up a camera in front of different dances—these are films about dance, a unique style of collaboration between choreographer, filmmaker and dancer, some of which feel classical, some of which feel entirely avant-garde, and each is something completely different. The fest plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at the SDSU Studio Theatre; 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Tijuana Cultural Center; and 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 29, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. The Tijuana show is free, while the SDSU and Encinitas programs will cost you $12 and $10, respectively ($8 if you're a student).
Amarcord: This newly restored print of Fellini's masterpiece was supervised by the film's director of photography, Giuseppe Rotunno. If you've never seen it (come on, admit it), try to catch it on the big screen while it's here.
Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience: The movie that's pushing Coraline out of the 3-D theaters.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li: Torn from the digital pages of the video-game franchise and released just in time for Street Fighter IV to hit video-game consoles.
Two Lovers: The final film from Joaquin Phoenix, whose hip-hop career seems to really be taking off, finds him playing Leonard, a depressed Brooklyn boy living with his parents. Vinessa Shaw is great as the girl he should be with, but he only has eyes for drama queen Gwyneth Paltrow. What's unclear is why either of them have any interest in him. See our review.
One time only
Black Fox: The True Story of Adolf Hitler: Part of the Museum of Photographic Art's Len Stouman retrospective, this movie, narrated by Marlene Dietrich, earned the 1962 Best Documentary Oscar. Screens at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at MoPA in Balboa Park.
Bella: Mexican star Eduardo Verástegui is José, a one-time soccer phenom whose career was abruptly shattered. He's reminiscing about the day he had an encounter with a waitress, Nina (Tammy Blanchard), in the restaurant where they both worked, which helped both of them put the trials and tribulations of life in perspective. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Downtown Central Library. Free.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch: The rock opera to end all rock operas. John Cameron Mitchell is Hedwig, a transsexual punk rocker on tour, in search of her stolen songs and the boy who took them from her. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Truman Show: Before reality TV, there was Peter Weir's The Truman Show, which starred Jim Carrey as a man whose life is the subject of the most popular show on the tube—and he doesn't even know it. Part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation's film series. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at Luce Loft, Downtown. Free, with a donation requested.
Beautiful Losers: San Diego premiere of this documentary about young artists in the early '90s whose DIY work ended up having an intense impact on the art community and pop culture in general. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.
The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans: The title pretty much says it all. Filmmakers Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at the Downtown Central Library. Free.
The Manchurian Candidate: No, not the Denzel / Meryl remake, this is John Frankenheimer's original, starring Frank Sinatra as a former Korean War POW trying to stop a brainwashed comrade from becoming a political assassin. Angela Lansbury is terrific as the commie mommie with designs on a Red world. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at Cafe Libertalia in Hillcrest. Free.
Charlie Wilson's War: Overrated Mike Nichols film stars Tom Hanks as Wilson, the congressman who provided the Afghans with covert aid for their war against the Soviets. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is great as his man in the CIA, but Julia Roberts is terrible as the rich lady who doubles as his lover. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 2, at the Downtown Central Library. Free.
Raising Arizona: The Coen brothers have made several masterpieces, and this is one of them. Ex-con Nicolas Cage and ex-cop Holly Hunter steal a baby when they can't have one of their own. One of the funniest movies of all time. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Class: No, Laurence Cantet's film about a year in a low-income multi-ethnic classroom in Paris didn't win the Oscar on Sunday night, but it's still absolutely worth seeing.
The Secrets: Naomi postpones her arranged marriage to study at an all-girls seminary, providing the vehicle for a pointed critique of Orthodox Judaism's marginalization of women. A little rough around the edges, it's an interesting look at how liberating religion can be when it gets a good dose of feminism.
Confessions of a Shopaholic: Isla Fisher is the shopaholic, a New Yorker with an advice column in a film that's obviously been dumped into theaters in February in the hopes that women will take pity on it.
Tyler Perry's Medea Goes to Jail: Perry's been cranking out—and usually starring in—two movies a year for a while. Reprising his most popular character, crazy senior citizen Medea, this time he takes his shtick behind bars.
Fired Up: Two high-school football players spend the summer at cheerleading camp—a healthy combination of totally gay and George W. Bush.
Friday the 13th: Is this prequel about the dude with the hockey mask or the guy with the long fingers? Who cares?
The International: Tom Tykwer's new film is gorgeously shot and edited, especially a huge shoot-out in New York's Guggenheim Museum. But it takes itself so seriously that it feels tragic when the logic behind it just doesn't hold up. Plus, the enormous international conspiracy is far more interesting than the good guys—Clive Owen and Naomi Watts—trying to take it down.
Coraline: Henry Selick's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Hugo-winning novella is the first of the new 3-D movies that uses the tech to complement the story. Dakota Fanning voices the lonely little girl who finds a doorway to a parallel universe that turns out to be far more dangerous than her own, and Teri Hatcher is her mom—and her Other Mother, too.
He's Just Not That Into You: A look at the dating adventures of young people in Baltimore—people like Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connelly, Justin Long, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Ginnifer Goodwin and plenty of others. C'mon. No one that good-looking lives in Baltimore.
Pink Panther 2: Steve Martin dances on Peter Sellers' grave. Again.
Push: Dakota Fanning is a young girl with the power to get inside other people's minds. Along with Chris Evans, she's on the wrong end of a conspiracy, hunted by other weird psy-ops types. Director Paul McGuigan's last film, Lucky Number Slevin, was pretty sharp.
Frozen River: Melissa Leo's Best Actress Oscar nom has given this one a second theatrical life. She's a desperate single mom who ends up smuggling illegal immigrants through a reservation in the Northeast. It's a dark movie and a terrific performance.
New in Town: Rom-com with Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. She's the big-city consultant who lands in a small Minnesota town and learns some Important Lessons. Call it the anti-Wendy and Lucy.
Taken: Liam Neeson is a former CIA man whose daughter gets kidnapped by white slavers in Paris. So he goes to the city of lights and kills everybody. Pierre Morel crafts a brutally violent guilty pleasure that shows us what the rest of the world thinks we Americans are like.
The Uninvited: Elizabeth Banks is everywhere. She was in Zack and Miri and played Laura Bush in W. Now she's a sociopath who kills David Strathairn's wife to get with him. Can anything stop her? Maybe his daughters. And maybe, um, the ghost in their house.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycan: The third installment in the Underworld franchise is actually a prequel explaining exactly why the vampires and werewolves have been up in each other's grills for so long.
Defiance: The story of the Bielski brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell) is amazing: They took to the Bellarussian forests during World War II, fought the Nazis and eventually built a community of 1,200 Jews who survived the war.
Hotel for Dogs: Good road-trip tip—all Motel 6s take dogs. This kid-friendly movie, on the other hand, makes bitches out of actors like Don Cheadle, Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon.
Last Chance Harvey: Emma Thompson is terrific as the woman Dustin Hoffman takes a shine to when he's in the U.K. for his daughter's wedding. A romance for The Bucket List set. Paul Blart: Mall Cop: Rent-a-cops across the nation rejoiced when they learned their story would finally be told. Then they found out Kevin James is playing Blart.
Waltz with Bashir: Considering the violence in Gaza, there's no more timely film to see right now than Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir. The movie is essentially an animated documentary, as Folman works to recover his memories as a soldier during the 1982 Israel-Lebanon conflict and discover why he repressed them in the first place.
Gran Torino: For all the buzz, Clint Eastwood's new film is flawed. Yes, his cranky old guy, Walt Kowalski, manages to be the funny kind of equal-opportunity offender who finds some salvation by taking a good-natured Hmong neighbor under his wing. The problem is that it turns out he's right about everyone he dislikes. Black, white, Asian, his own relatives—they're all awful people in the world of Gran Torino, justifying Walt's latent racism. Nice.
Revolutionary Road: Sam Mendes directs his wife, Kate Winslet, and Leonardo DiCaprio in what might be called
American Beauty: The Early Years. It's another look at the unspoken seamy underbelly of American suburbia in the 1950s, but it just doesn't hold together. Unpleasantville.
The Wrestler: Yes, Mickey Rourke is just as good as you've heard, playing Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed-up wrestler who was big 20 years ago and is now the old man on the high-school gym circuit. Occasionally, it veers toward sentimentality but never goes over the edge. Marisa Tomei, too, is great as the stripper he'd like to get closer to, and Evan Rachel Wood is perfect as the daughter who can't find it in herself to forgive him.
The Reader: Kate Winslet is amazing as a grown woman who has an affair with a 15-year-old boy in post-war Berlin. Their paths cross again years later when she's on trial for war crimes.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Director David Fincher directs Brad Pitt as a man born old and growing young. Beautifully shot, the film is less about youth no longer being wasted on the young than it is about the decades long love story between the characters played by Pitt and Cate Blanchett, who are going in different directions.
Doubt: Best. Catholic. Priest. Abuse. Movie. Ever. John Patrick Shanley adapted and directed his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play and landed a couple of acting heavyweights for the leads. Meryl Streep is a nasty nun who goes after popular priest Phillip Seymour Hoffman, because she A. doesn't like him, and B. thinks he might be getting a little too close to one of his altar boys.
Frost/Nixon: Ron Howard is restrained in his take on the Broadway play about the interviews between lightweight talk-show host David Frost and President Nixon. Both Michael Sheen and Frank Langella reprise their stage roles as Frost and Nixon, respectively—Langella delivers a masterful performance of Mr. Not-a-Crook himself.
Milk: Sean Penn delivers yet another tremendous performance as the first openly gay elected politician in the country, Harvey Milk, who was assassinated, along with the mayor of San Francisco, in 1978. Gus Van Sant directs, but the movie is all Penn, and it is nothing if not timely in light of Prop 8.
Slumdog Millionaire: A young, uneducated Indian man is tortured by police who want to find how he knows all the questions he's gotten right on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The answers are all in his life story, which is full of poverty, abuse, hopes for true love, and the crossroads between coincidence and destiny.
Quantam of Solace: Remember how awesome the Daniel Craig '06 James Bond franchise reboot was? Well, even though the new one takes place about 20 minutes after Casino Royale ended, this one isn't awesome at all.
Rachel Getting Married: The herky-jerky handheld camera in Jonathan Demme's new movie mirrors the emotional turmoil of Kym (Anne Hathaway), just out of rehab to attend her sister's wedding. There's Oscar buzz surrounding Hathaway, who is equal parts toxic and pathetic but ultimately someone worth pulling for.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Will Woody Allen ever make another film in New York? After shooting the last two in the U.K., he moved his act overseas. Scarlett Johanssen and Rebecca Hall are tourists in Barcelona who find themselves infatuated with mysterious brooding painter Javier Bardem. When his crazy ex-wife (Bardem's real-life honey, Penelope Cruz) enters the picture, the whole trip becomes a total bummer.
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. Three films will run in rotation initially: Wild Ocean, Van Gogh: Brush with Genius and Animalopolis. 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.