Let's say you're like me—kind of meh about this year's crop of Oscar nominees. The good news is that there's a slew of past Oscar winners screening around town this week. Reading Cinemas will show a number of award winners during the course of the next two months, and the fever has clearly spread to some other venues. Are they all, you know, the real deal? That depends on you, friend, or, as Javier Bardem said in his Oscar-winning turn in No Country for Old Men, "Call it, friend-o." (Sadly, that movie will not be shown anywhere.)
The first film will likely be done before a lot of this week's CityBeats have reached their destination. Driving Miss Daisy, which earned Jessica Tandy her Best Actress Oscar, screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at the Central Library, Downtown. The film won four Oscars, including Best Picture, though Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd, nom'd for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, didn't get a walk to the podium, and Bruce Beresford, the director, didn't even get a nomination.
At noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, you can catch Tootsie at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont. It's easy to poke fun at this one now, but it racked up 10 nominations, winning just one award, for Jessica Lange as Best Supporting Actress.
Similarly, Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach, earned nine Oscar nominations, but won only two awards, and one of those, Sound Effects Editing, was a Special Achievement.
Reading Cinemas Gaslamp will screen the 1956 take on Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, and Tuesday, Jan. 22—that one earned five Oscars, including Best Picture.
The one absolutely unimpeachable Oscar film screening this week is Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean's epic, which won seven awards, and, as far as I'm con cerned, should have won a couple more, since both Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif lost. O'Toole was bested by Gregory Peck's performance in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Lastly, My Cousin Vinny screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. There's always been controversy surrounding Marisa Tomei's Best Supporting Actress win, because there was talk at the time that presenter Jack Palance read the wrong name. I don't think that's the case, but, hey, that sounds like a pretty good idea for a movie.Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Wait, what? Didn't this micro-budget movie come out last summer before being nominated for a slew of Oscars last week? Yeah, that's why it's back in theaters, Sherlock.
Broken City: Ex-cop Mark Wahlberg finds himself immersed in scandal when he starts trailing Catherine Zeta-Jones, wife of New York Mayor Russell Crowe.
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.
The Last Stand: What do governors do after they're termed out? Star in ultraviolent movies, of course! The Governator plays Ray Owens, an inexperienced border-town sheriff who's the only thing standing between a drug lord and his destination in Mexico.
Mama: Fresh from Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain has to take care of her young nieces, who survived in the woods for five years. Also, there are ghosts or something.
The Rabbi's Cat: A rabbi's cat, who lives in Algeria in the 1920s, swallows a parrot, learns to talk and explains that he'd like to convert. Oy.
One Time Only
Blazing Saddles: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is a bastard son of Mel Brooks' satirical western, generally thought of as the first movie ever to use the sound of flatulence. (Also, it was nominated for three Oscars!) Screens at around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.
The Princess Bride: Sword fighting! Swashbuckling! The most handsome man and beautiful woman in the world! Also, nominated for the Best Song Oscar. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Sullivan's Travels: The Preston Sturges series continues. Joel McCrea stars as a movie director who learns a thing or two when he poses as a hobo and rides the rails. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Escort in Love: A wealthy MILF is forced to take on a new profession after her husband dies and leaves her and her son penniless. Um, it's a comedy, presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
El Abuelo and With Me: These two films—the former written by San Diego playwright and screenwriter Stephen Metcalfe—are about children on the autism spectrum and the unique challenges they and their families face in communicating with the world around them. The event, which will feature a post-screening discussion, will raise money for two local nonprofits. It starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla branch.
Men in Black: Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones save the world from aliens. Barry Sonnenfeld's film is still pretty funny stuff. Not only was the movie nominated for three Oscars; it also won Best Makeup. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Rocky Horror Picture Show: Oscars? Nah. RHPS don't need no stinkin' Oscars. Screens at midnight, Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Ken Cinema.
Farewell My Queen: French film about Marie Antoinette's extremely close relationship with a female attendant. Brings a whole new meaning to that cake-eating saying. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Bestiare: This quiet documentary looks at animals—and their relationship to both nature and humans—in a way you've never seen before. Screens at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the gorgeous Calit2 Auditorium at UCSD.
Space Jam: Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny are forced to play basketball against alien slavers. Um, this one was not nominated for an Oscar. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Full Moon Drive- In in Pacific Beach.
The High Cost of Low Prices: Documentarian Robert Greenwald takes a hard look at Walmart. Presented by Women Occupy San Diego, it screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Women's Museum of California in Liberty Station.
Robin Hood: Men in Tights: Mel Brooks robbed from Kevin Costner's version of Robin Hood to give to the poor people who paid to see that one. Screens at around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.
One More Try: In this Filipino drama, a woman tries to convince her ex-husband to give her another child so she'll have a blood donor for their very ill son.
Amour: Michael Haneke's Palm d'Orwinning drama, about an elderly couple facing declining health, is as terrifying as his movies about sadism, home invasions and fanaticism.
A Haunted House: Comedy-horror! Horror-comedy! Marlon Wayans (who co-wrote the script) and Essence Atkins move into a new house, where Atkins is quickly possessed by demon spawn. Hilarity ensues.
Gangster Squad: Hey, girl, Ryan Gosling is a spiffy L.A. cop shooting up mobster types like Sean Penn's Mickey Cohen in the new movie from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer.
The Studio Ghilbi Collection: After a week at La Jolla Village Cinemas, Miyazaki's animated masterworks move to the Ken Cinema. Check landmarktheatres.com for details.
The Impossible: Biopic about a family, led by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, caught up in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.
Texas Chainsaw 3D: Because the best kind of chainsaw is the kind that comes right at you.
Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow's movie, about the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, is a masterwork of filmmaking, and the fact that it's inspiring debate about torture should be more tangential than anything else.
Django Unchained: Tarantino takes on yet another genre—the western—and blows it up and makes it fun again. Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave freed by German bounty hunter Christoph Waltz, off to rescue wife Kerry Washington from plantation owner Leonardo DiCaprio.
Les Miserables: Fans of the legendary musical will get their fix from this big-screen adaptation by King's Speech director Tom Hooper, who relies heavily on close-ups and, sadly, Russell Crowe, who isn't a trained singer. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, dreams a nice dream as Fantine.
Not Fade Away: The first film from Sopranos godfather David Chase is about a group of New Jersey teens trying to make it as a rock band in the 1960s. Steven Van Zandt served the film as a musical advisor.
Promised Land: Matt Damon and John Krasinski co-wrote the screenplay for Gus Van Sant's new movie, an impressively nuanced look at the world of fracking from the point of view of Damon's corporate cog, who believes that he's doing something good for the world. Unfortunately, a twist at the end undermines that whole idea.
Parental Guidance: Billy Crystal and Bette Midler agree to look after their grandchildren. Hilarity for a certain demographic ensues.
The Guilt Trip: Seth Rogen takes an unexpected road trip with his mom, played by Barbra Streisand.
Jack Reacher: Tom Cruise takes on the title role in a movie based on the best-selling series of books, obviously looking for another Mission: Impossible sort of franchise.
Monsters, Inc. 3D: Sulley, Mike and Boo are coming at you, literally.
Rust and Bone: Marion Cotillard plays an orca trainer whose relationship with young Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts from last year's Oscar-nominated Bullhead) takes on a new dimension when she suffers a serious accident at work.
This is 40: Judd Apatow returns to Knocked Up territory, though this sort-of sequel focuses on Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), who were supporting players in the earlier film.
Hyde Park on Hudson: Bill Murray plays FDR in the days leading up to WWII, and Laura Linney is the distant cousin with whom he enjoys a special relationship.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth in the first of three films based on the book that came before Lord of the Rings.
Hitchcock: Anthony Hopkins plays the famed director, and Helen Mirren his wife, during the time Hitchcock was shooting Psycho. Ends Jan. 17 at Hillcrest and La Jolla Village cinemas.
Anna Karenina: Director Joe Wright teams up again with his Pride & Prejudice star Keira Knightley to take on another period drama.
Life of Pi: Ang Lee's adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel about a boy, a tiger and a lifeboat is this year's movie that you simply must see on a big screen and in 3-D. Really.
Rise of the Guardians: The Immortal Guardians—aka the Easter Bunny, Santa, etc.—team up to kick evil-spirit ass.
Silver Linings Playbook: Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a bipolar guy from Philly who's just out of the mental hospital, having lost his job, his home and his wife. He moves in with his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro) in hopes of regaining his marriage, but things are thrown askew by Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has problems of her own.
Lincoln: It might as well have been called The 13th Amendment. Despite another spellbinding performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln's biopic is really about getting legislation through Congress.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2: The long national nightmare is over.
Skyfall: Daniel Craig's third outing as 007 is thankfully closer to Casino Royale than Quantum of Solace. This time, he's going up against Javier Bardem, who has some history with MI-6.
Tales of the Maya Skies: This IMAX movie explores the rich history of the Mayan people, just in time for the end of the world. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Sessions: John Hawkes is great as Mark O'Brien, a writer and poet paralyzed by polio who turns to a sexual surrogate (Helen Hunt) in order to lose his virginity at age 38. Ends Jan. 17 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Wreck-It Ralph: The latest animated film from Disney stars John C. Reilly as Ralph, the bad guy in an old-school video game who desperately wants to be liked.
Argo: Ben Affleck directs and stars in this take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and believe it or not, it's gonna be a Best Picture contender.
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.
Flying Monsters 3D: No, it's not a crappy studio blockbuster—this one is all about dinosaurs and was written and directed by Richard Attenborough, using Avatar-like technology, and plays the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
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.