You're lucky, people. Why? Because you have two opportunities this week to see The Exiles, Kent MacKenzie's long-lost classic, at Che Café on the USCD campus. Made in 1961, it earned Venice kudos without earning a commercial distribution deal and has languished ever since. That is, until UCLA gave it the restoration it sorely needed and deserved.
Shot in black and white on a shoestring over three years, The Exiles follows one night in the lives of Mary, Homer and Tommy, three Native Americans living off the rez, trying to make it in L.A. The script comes directly from MacKenzie's interviews with the participants and captures the marginalization these people faced from both society and their own sense of self. MacKenzie's cinematography is beautiful, and his subjects are heartbreaking.
After all those years in exile, The Exiles almost didn't make it to San Diego.
Though it has engagements in art-house theaters and festivals around the country, there was no venue in place here.
But Natalie Snoyman, a recent UCSD grad, had learned about the film in her classes and had read about the newly restored version.
“It just kind of fell into my hands to organize it,” she tells CityBeat.
Snoyman reached out to Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, the husband-and-wife team that run Milestone Films, and suggested Che Café, where she volunteers, as a venue. They were interested in getting the film to San Diego, and before she knew it, Snoyman was putting on the screening herself.
“I just wanted people in San Diego to be able to see it,” she says. “And the more I read about it, the more important I thought it was.”
Nice move. There are only two screenings of The Exiles—6:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Tickets are $7, or $6 for students. 858-534-2311.Opening
Breakfast With Scot: Eric (Tom Cavanaugh of Ed) and Sam (Ben Shenkman) are DINKs—Dual Income, No Kids—and the straight-leaning gay couple find themselves taking care of a recently orphaned boy who's something of a sissy.
Happy-Go-Lucky: Mike Leigh's new one is a change in direction from his recent work. Instead of exploring the seamy underbelly of the human condition, he looks at Poppy (Sally Hawkins), an effervescent schoolteacher who won't grow up. She's sort of infectious, sort of annoying, but the effect she has on everyone around her is far more real than, say, Peter Pan. See our review on this page.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year: But we missed the first two, lalala!
Pride and Glory: Four NYC cops are dead, and Ed Norton is dispatched by his dad (Jon Voight) to figure out whodunit. But all roads seem to lead to another cop—his brother, Colin Farrell.
Saw V: But we missed the first four, aiieee!
Yella: Leaving her East German husband behind for a new life in West Germany, things finally seem like they're going Yella's way. Except, you know, for the really strange stuff that starts happening.
One time only
El Brindis: Mexican TV and movie star Ana Serradilla stars in the latest entry of Cinema en tu Idioma, the San Diego Latino Film Festival's monthly film series. She's on her way to meet her Chilean father but falls into a relationship with the rabbi who's prepping dad for his Bar Mitzvah. Through Oct. 23 at the UltraStar Hazard Center.
Teen Producers Project Anniversary Celebration: Media Arts Center San Diego celebrates the seventh anniversary of its terrific Teen Producers Project, which puts filmmaking equipment in the hands of teens from underserved communities. Actor / writer Rick Najera will screen some of the films created in the last year on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown. Donations will be accepted. www.mediaartscenter.org.
Ghostbusters: Who you gonna call? Um, to watch Ghostbusters with? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Yep, that's a youthful Johnny Depp getting disemboweled by Freddy Kreuger in the first franchise entry. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Saw Marathon: Since it's undoubtedly necessary to see them to understand Saw V, the first four Saw films will run back-to-back-to-back-to-back the day before the new one slashes into theaters. It's a solid deal, actually—$15 gets you in for the duration, and you can come and go as you please. It starts at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at AMC Mission Valley and Palm Promenade and wraps up just before midnight.
Tortilla Soup: This remake of Ang Lee's Eat, Drink, Man, Woman stars Hector Elizondo as a retired chef who has lost his sense of taste and lives with his three adult daughters, all of whom are trying to find their way outside the nest. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park. Free.
Citizen Video Trailer Park Fest: The Citizen kids are pulling together some of the hottest feathered-hair '80s slasher fare—and maybe some Italian sexploitation previews, all for movies that really aren't coming anytime soon (with an intermission performance from BRAAIINS!). Screens at 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Free.
Young Frankenstein: Easily one of Mel Brooks' top three, we watch this one over and over just to see mad scientist Gene Wilder team up with monster Peter Boyle for “Puttin' on the Ritz.” Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 25, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Paris Je T'Aime: A love letter to the City of Light, this is 20 short films from the Coen brothers, Gus Van Sant, Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuaron and others. Screens at 1 p.m. in Room 204 on MiraCosta College's San Elijo campus and 7 p.m. in the Little Theater on the Oceanside campus on Friday, Oct. 24. Free.
Whaledreamers: Gorgeous documentary about an Aboriginal tribe that dreams of whales and how climate change and an increase in commercial whaling might impact its future. Part of “A Weekend of Unity and Peace,” Whaledreamers screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24; 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25; and 2 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26, at the San Diego Center for Spiritual Living, Downtown.
The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror: Five gay and lesbian couples book a B&B outside of town the weekend of the Giant Gay Party but have to contend with crazy right-wing maniacs who want them killed in all sorts of horrible ways. Um, sort of like real life. Screens at midnight on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 25, at Hillcrest Landmark Theatres.
Poltergeist: Ah, the movie that gave the nearing-midlife-crisis set nightmares when it first came out in 1982. You have two chances to see it—just make sure the TV is off when you get home. Screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park and 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Both are free.
Why We Fight: Remember that troublesome war in Iraq? Eugene Jarecki's terrific documentary explores how we got into it and asks if Eisenhower's final words to the country—cautioning us against the military-industrial complex—were prophetic. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at Café Libertalia in Hillcrest. Free.
Press Rewind Plus '08: It's the final week of films that were presented by UCSD's ArtPower! Film in last year's first student film festival. Screens at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at The Loft on the UCSD campus. Pay what you will.
The Pursuit of Equality: Documentary made by Gavin Newsom's brother-in-law about hizzoner's 2004 move to make gay marriage a reality in San Francisco and the rest of California. Oh, and by the way, vote no on Prop. 8. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Lestat's West in Normal Heights. Free.
What's Your Point, Honey?: This documentary about seven young women who are part of the 2024 Project, which aims to elect the first female president within the next 16 years, takes a look at how far women in politics have come and what obstacles still stand in their way. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at The Loft on the UCSD campus.
The Silence of the Lambs: It's true—a movie about a cannibalistic serial killer earned Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director Oscars. How about some fava beans and a nice Chianti? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Max Payne: This was actually a groundbreaking video game in its day, the first real instance of Matrix-like bullet-time at your fingertips. Mark Wahlberg is Max, a burnt-out cop whose family has been murdered, who teams up with a hot female assassin for a little vengeance at a thousand frames per second.
The Weather Underground: Ripped from the headlines: This 2002 doc tells the true story of William Ayers.
A Girl Cut in Two: French thriller about sprightly weather girl Gabrielle, who has Charles, a famous older writer, and Paul, a wealthy playboy, desperate for her attention. Oh, and one's married, the other's schizo. This can't end well.
Foster Child: A fictional look at the state of the foster and adoption systems in the Philippines. Presented by the San Diego Asian Film Festival as part of its year-long examination of Filipino film. Runs through Oct. 23 at UltraStar Chula Vista.
Morning Light: This documentary about 15 young sailors, both men and women, who train and then race a high-end sloop in an open-ocean 2,300-mile race against professionals, first screened here during the San Diego Film Festival.
Secret Life of Bees: Dakota Fanning runs away with her housekeeper, Jennifer Hudson, ending up at the home of three African-American sisters in South Carolina in 1964. Queen Latifah is the matriarch, Alicia Keys the rebellious sister.
Sex Drive: An 18-year-old virgin hits the road with his two best pals to hook up with a chick he met over the Internets. Crazy shit happens between his place and hers, including a run-in with Amish farmer Seth Green.
W: Oliver Stone directs and Josh Brolin plays the title character in this Lone Star melodrama. Brolin is terrific as el presidente, but we wish it had come out several years earlier, because we're so fucking sick of George W. Bush.
What Just Happened?: It's all slings and arrows for fading Hollywood producer Robert De Niro, who's struggling desperately to get his new movie made. Great supporting cast includes Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Kristen Stewart and Bruce Willis as himself.
Body of Lies: Ridley Scott teams Russell Crowe with Leonardo DiCaprio for this spy thriller, about a CIA agent going after a terrorist leader in Jordan and doesn't know who he can trust on his own team. DiCaprio is the good guy. Maybe.
City of Ember: A mysterious underground city has survived for generations via hundreds of flickering lights, but now the generator is dying, forcing two teens to search the city for a way to escape. Bill Murray is the city's mayor, i.e. The Man.
Quarantine: Could this be Blair Witch 2.0? A reporter and her cameraman investigate an infection that makes its victims all zombie-like, only to find themselves trapped in an apartment complex with several other survivors when the authorities cordon off the building and refuse to let anyone out.
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.
Appaloosa: The Western continues its comeback. Ed Harris directs and stars as a lawman with good-lookin' Viggo Mortensen as his sidekick, going after a bad dude.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Um. Ratdogs get Babe treatment.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The film adaptation loses some of the spectacularly sinful stuff found in Toby Young's memoir of working under Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair. Even the nude transsexual stripper doesn't seem like a very big deal. But Simon Pegg is fun as the journo looking for the sweet smell of success. Like The Devil Wears Prada, but with a dude.
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist: Call it John Hughes 2.0. Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are the titular characters, kicking around New York all night in search of their favorite band and a love connection with each other. Not perfect but terribly sweet, with a great soundtrack that includes a nice score from Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh.
Religulous: Bill Maher travels the world, talking to different people about a God he doesn't believe in.
Fireproof: Kirk Cameron takes a break from those Left Behind movies to play a super-brave firefighter who doesn't have the courage to stand up to his own wife. Until, you know, something with Jesus.
The Duchess: Keira Knightley's latest period piece also stars some other Brits, like Ralph Fiennes and Dominic Cooper and (yawn) zzzzzzzzz.
Eagle Eye: Shia LaBeouf re-teams with director DJ Caruso for this terror-thriller. He's a slacker, Michelle Monaghan's a single mom, and both are being pushed to do horrible things by a threatening voice on the other end of the phone. Seriously, how have we survived this long without another Shia movie? Oh, right. Easily.
Nights in Rodanthe: Richard Gere and Diane Lane get busy in a small North Carolina town with the awkward name of Rodanthe. Let's just hope they both have residency and vote Democrat.
Igor: John Cusack voices the title character in this animated creature-feature, a hunchbacked lab rat desperate to become a mad scientist. The supporting cast includes Steve Buscemi and John Cleese, but we're really looking forward to Eddie Izzard's take on Dr. Schadenfreude.
Lakeview Terrace: Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington move in next to Samuel L. Jackson, an angry cop who doesn't want a biracial couple as neighbors. It's from director Neil LaBute, so prepare your buttons now—they will likely be pushed.
My Best Friend's Girl: Irritating comic Dane Cook is hired by his best friend, the irritating Jason Biggs, to woo the irritating Kate Hudson, so she'll see how great the irritating Biggs is. Surprise! The irritating Cook falls for her. We're guessing that at some point, we'll hear the somewhat irritating song from The Cars that the movie is named after.
Burn After Reading: The Coen brothers' new film is a thriller-comedy reuniting bromancers Pitt and Clooney. Pitt, along with Frances McDormand, is a gym employee who blackmails a gnarly ex-CIA guy (John Malkovich) who leaves his unpublished memoirs behind after a workout. Let's hope it's more Fargo than The Ladykillers.
Pineapple Express: Seth Rogen and James Franco play buddies Dale and Saul, whose possession of some ultra-rare weed leads them into compromising situations with the police, thugs, drug dealers and a Chinese crime syndicate. Yeah, it's as dumb as it sounds. It's also hilarious and hugely entertaining, with a star-making performance by Danny McBride as Red. Keep an eye out for the absurd props, which provide some unexpected laughs.
The Dark Knight: It's finally here, and yes, Christopher Nolan's new Batman movie is everything you hoped it would be. An epic two-and-a-half-hour crime drama that examines the complicated nature of good, evil and heroism and simply must be seen on an Imax screen to be believed. Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aaron Eckhard are all well-served by a tense, taut script, but it truly is Heath Ledger's movie, as he plays Batman's nemesis, The Joker, with a shambling malevolence that's terrifying and intense.
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.