Hey, kids! Want to meet a real live filmmaker? You've got two shots this week.
First, Melora Hardin, probably best known for playing Steve Carell's love interest on The Office, screens her new film, You, at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at UltraStar Del Mar. Though she's been acting professionally since before she turned 10, this is the first time Hardin has directed. The movie, about a man raising his daughter after his wife's sudden death, was written by and stars her husband, Gildart Jackson. Also playing parts are both of the couple's daughters and Hardin's father, Jerry Hardin, who played Deep Throat on The X-Files.
Hardin says, via e-mail, that directing the film wasn't the intimidating part. “The editing room was the only place I hadn't experienced before, so it was completely foreign to me. My director friends told me that that's where the movie is made, and they were right.”
Of course, working with family has pros and cons. Hardin says she and her husband ran into some difficult moments during the shoot. “Wearing so many different hats, Co-stars, Director/Star, Writer/Director, Producer/Director, Producer/Writer, complicated the already complicated working relationship of husband/wife and Mommy/Daddy to our daughters, who were in the film as well. All that said, however, we did pretty well, through some silent disagreements and arguments. We never had screaming matches or couldn't resolve our differences.”
David Sims shot his independent film, The Laws of Human Gravity, in San Antonio, and edited it in San Diego, working with the jazz outfit Trio Gadjo, who composed the movie's score. He'll screen it for the first time for the public on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Whistle Stop. It's about Abe O'Malley, a former World War II fighter pilot who escaped from multiple POW camps during the war but is now facing an even greater challenge—his nursing home.
“I was hanging around this bar that had a lot of WWII vets, and I was taken by them,” Sims says. “I just found incredible stories about pilots and POWs, great escape stories. So I had the idea of transferring the war to modern times, with nursing homes paralleling the Stalags.”
Sims is currently in discussions with distributors, but your chance to see Laws of Human Gravity for free begins at 8 p.m. with a performance from Trio Gadjo. The film will screen at 9.
Armored: Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, and their buddies pull an inside job at an armored car company.
Brothers: When Marine and solid family man Tobey Maguire is presumed dead in Afghanistan, his black-sheep brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in to look after his wife (Natalie Portman) and kids. That can't end well.
Everybody's Fine: If Bob Dylan can make a Christmas album, Robert De Niro can make a Christmas movie.
Oh My God?: Documentary examines the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent being by interviewing celebrities.
The Strip: When one of their numbers gets married, the low-level employees of a low-end electronics store have to decide whether to stay young and fun or actually grow up.
Transylmania: Finally, a raunchy vampire comedy with boobies.
ONE TIME ONLY
Warren Miller's Dynasty: The latest joint from the extreme-snow-sports master. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 2 and 3, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
The Departed: This Damon-DiCaprio-Nicholson gangster flick may not be Scorsese's best, but it is the one for which he finally won his Best Director Oscar. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The 800 Mile Wall: John Carlos Frey's look at the border and the politics that have resulted in the deaths of more than 5,000 immigrants since the beginning of Operation Gatekeeper. Screens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center. Free, with a requested donation of a gallon of water.
re: Session: The latest ski and snowboarding flick from Teton Gravity Research. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Price Center Theater on the UCSD campus. Free.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life: Hey, Patti Smith is still cooler than you. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Into Temptation: Jeremy Sisto is a priest trying to find prostitute Kristen Chenoweth after she confesses to him that she's going to commit suicide. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Public Enemies: Johnny Depp and Christian Bale go mano-a-mano as original American Gangster John Dillinger and the G-man hunting him, Melvin Purvis. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Tokyo Sonata: The San Diego Asian Film Festival presents this look at a Japanese family that slowly implodes after the father loses his job and his pride won't allow him to tell his wife and kids. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at UltraStar Hazard Center.
Best in Show: Though not quite as fresh as Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show might be the funniest thing Fred Willard's ever done. Woof. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Wes Anderson's adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic story, which features stop-motion animation and performances from George Clooney and Meryl Streep, really is fantastic.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Werner Herzog has been making weird and wonderful movies for more than three decades. This revamp of Abel Ferrera's definitive film, starring Nicolas Cage as a drug-addled workaholic New Orleans cop, is no different.
Ninja Assassin: The team that created V for Vendetta eschews a real plot for serious slicing-and-dicing.
Old Dogs: Robin Williams and John Travolta really haven't learned any new tricks.
Red Cliff: John Woo's epic look at Chinese history has been trimmed considerably for international audiences.
The Road: The last time someone made one of Cormac McCarthy's books into a movie, No Country for Old Men won the Best Picture. And this one, about a man and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic U.S., won the Pulitzer.
The Blind Side: The book this is based upon is about the economics of football and an enormous, poverty-stricken young black man—adopted by a white family—who has the potential to be a highly paid professional athlete. So, of course, they turned it into a Sandra Bullock movie.
The Messenger: Ben Foster shines as a young veteran assigned to the casualty-notification department after his return from Iraq. The scenes in which he and Woody Harrelson deliver the bad news are devastating.
Planet 51: Animated flick about invading aliens. The catch is that the aliens are us, in the form of Dwayne Johnson.
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire: Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry helped produce this film about an obese Harlem teen in the 1980s, which is being talked up as a Best Picture possibility.
Twilight: New Moon: Either you dismiss the Twilight franchise as being for tweens and their moms or you've been drinking the blood-red Kool-aid.
2012: The guys who blew up the world in Independence Day take us down again.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day: The sequel to the cult classic. This time, with more guys getting shot!
Pirate Radio: Even with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this look at DJs spinning tunes from a ship off the English coast during the '60s is all soft rock.
Disney's A Christmas Carol: Robert Zemeckis gives Dickens' classic the animated, 3-D treatment and hands the lead role to Jim Carrey.
The Men Who Stare at Goats: Even though it's got all the right ingredients, like George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey, this dark comedy about secret psychic warfare loses track of itself (which means it's not psychic, right?).
An Education: Nick Hornby of High Fidelity fame wrote the script and does a 180 by writing about a girl who desperately wants to grow up and thinks she may have found a shortcut in a good-looking charmer twice her age.
Where the Wild Things Are: Let the wild rumpus begin!
A Serious Man: The Coen brothers offer up an examination of faith that moves in mysterious ways.
Couples Retreat: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell make a dumb romantic comedy.
Paranormal Activity: The buzziest horror film of late, touted as the next Blair Witch Project, was shot in San Diego on a shoestring budget by a first-time director.
Capitalism: A Love Story: You may not always agree with Michael Moore's filmmaking methods, but it's hard to argue with his message. Rise up, people.
Zombieland: Woody Harrelson. Zombies. Rated R. 'Nuff said.
Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino's brutal, bloody, hysterically funny WWII movie isn't gonna be for everyone, but it certainly is for us. Take that, Hitler!
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.