What's fascinating about The September Issue—the new documentary from R.J. Cutler about Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and one of most influential figures in the fashion world—is that it has very little to do with fashion and everything to do with publishing. The movie follows the famously prickly Wintour, upon whom Miranda Priestly, Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada, is based, and the creation of the September 2007 issue of Vogue, the biggest in the magazine's history.
There's all manner of behind-the-scenes drama and tension, and though Wintour agreed to the shoot, she barely tries to warm up to the camera and, long before the shoot was completed, clearly grew tired of having a film crew hanging around, which allowed Grace Coddington, the magazine's creative director, to surface as one of the driving forces behind the magazine's content.
But in many ways, The September Issue plays like a history lesson, taking place just as the recent recession was getting started, before magazine and media advertising dropped precipitously and coffers were flush. Sure, it's a (not-so-titillating) look at a person who fascinates fashionistas everywhere, but The September Issue should also be interesting to the media set—because look at it like this: The September issue of Vogue in 2007 ran 840 pages. In 2009? Just 584.
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9: Shane Acker's animated movie, starring Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelley as living rag dolls in a post-apocalyptic world, is stunning to watch, even if its style outweighs its substance See our review.
The Baader Meinhof Complex: Lengthy look at the domestic terror cell that terrified Germany during the 1970s, committing bombings and murder in the hopes of undermining the country's still wet-behind-the-ears democracy.
Earth Days: Documentary about the origins of the tree-hugging holiday and the hippies who want you to give up your Hummer.
Play the Game: Grandson teaches Andy Griffith how to be the nursing-home playa.
Somers Town: Two teens in North London, one British and the other Polish, come to depend on each other until they're interested in the same girl.
Sorority Row: All the best serial killer movies involve sorority girls.
Whiteout: Kate Beckinsale is a U.S. marshal tracking a killer in Antarctica, just as the continent is about to be plunged into six months of darkness.
One time only
Man on Wire: Terrific Oscar-winning doc about the crazy Frenchman who walked on a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
The Complete History of the San Diego Chargers: We're guessing Shawne Merriman won't attend. Screens at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at UltraStar Hazard Center. www.chargers.com.
An Officer and a Gentleman: Even though the song “Up Where We Belong” will make you diabetic, this movie is stronger than you remember. Richard Gere wants to become a Navy pilot and woo factory worker Debra Winger at the same time. Lou Gossett Jr. won an Oscar. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Strange Brew: Best comedy about beer, ever. Hell, best movie about beer, ever. Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
Spellbound: Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman star in the Hitchcock classic about a psychiatrist trying to protect an amnesiac patient accused of murder. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, through Saturday, Sept. 12, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Archeology of Memory: The Villa Grimaldi: This doc is about the artist Quique Cruz, who was abducted and tortured in Chile during Pinochet's tenure. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
UnderSea Film Exhibition: This marks the 10th edition of gorgeous underwater movies shot around the globe. There are two different programs, starting at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11 and 12, at Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley.
Sherlock, Jr.: Live music will accompany the 1924 Buster Keaton classic. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Southie: Remember that brief period when Donnie Wahlberg was a bigger-name actor than his younger bro? Here, he's a bad boy come back to Boston. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Who is Bozo Texino?: Good question. Here's a hint: It's a name that's appeared in hobo symbolism, a language of symbols that tramps use to warn each other about what they're walking into—for more than 80 years. Screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Free.
Goodbye Solo: Terrific little movie about a Senegalese cab driver in Winston-Salem who suspects one of his customers (played by Red West, one of Elvis' former homeboys) is planning to do himself harm. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Red Bull Rampage 2008: Benefit for the San Diego Mountain Bike Association features a doc about the crazy mountain-bike competition. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free, but donate.
D Tour: This documentary is about Rogue Wave's Pat Spurgeon, whose kidney started to fail just as his band broke big. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Were the World Mine: Marking the first entry of FilmOut's monthly series, this musical is about a young gay man in a repressed town who discovers a love potion, à la A Midsummer's Night Dream. Soon, everyone's in love. Gay love, that is. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Point Break: How can any movie with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze be this awesome? Screens at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 16, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Pulp Fiction: Is Inglourious Basterds Tarantino's best? Possibly, but Pulp Fiction is still pretty damn good, even if it did end up giving John Travolta his career back. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
Extract: Comeback kids Mike Judge and Jason Bateman team up for a comedy about a factory owner (Bateman) hoping to have an affair with one of his employees (Mila Kunis).
Afghan Star: Documentary about an Afghani TV show similar to American Idol. Simon Cowell wouldn't last two minutes there.
All About Steve: If you can buy into the idea that Sandra Bullock is smart enough to create crossword puzzles, this romcom, which also stars Bradley Cooper and Thomas Hayden Church, is for you.
Gamer: Hard to understand why Gerard Butler and Michael C. Hall would star in an R-rated futuristic gorefest that looks like it should feature some guy who used to be in the WWE. But it was made by the Crank guys.
Jerichow: A German adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice, about a gorgeous woman and the angry men who love her.
My One and Only: It's 1953, and Renee Zellweger takes to the road after hubby Kevin Bacon can't keep it in his pants. But even though she's MILFy, it's tough to find a husband when you've got two teenage sons.
World's Greatest Dad: Robin Williams does his best work in years as the father of a repellent teenager who dies while masturbating. Not surprisingly, it's directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.
Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love: Not many westerners know N'Dour, who's considered one of the greatest singers in the Muslim world.
A Woman in Berlin: Heavy look at life for women in Berlin during the 1945 Russian invasion based on the one-time anonymous writings of journalist Marta Hillers.
The Final Destination: The fourth movie in the franchise—we're guessing not the final one.
Halloween 2: Technically, the second Halloween 2.
It Might Get Loud: Documentary about the art of guitar as played by Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Turn it up.
Taking Woodstock: Ang Lee turns one of the major cultural touch-points of the last half-century into a let's-save-the-family-farm unfunny comedy.
Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg: Documentary about groundbreaking TV pioneer Gertrude Berg.
Inglorious Basterds: Tarantino's new brutal, bloody, hysterically funny WWII movie isn't gonna be for everyone, but it certainly is for us. Take that, Hitler!
Cold Souls: Paul Giamatti plays a distraught actor named, um, Paul Giamatti who decides to have his soul extracted in order to play the title role in Uncle Vanya. Giamatti is terrific, and the film is nicely shot and entirely unique.
Post Grad: Foxy Alexis Bledel moves back home after she graduates college.
Shorts: Kid finds a magical wishing rock. Not surprisingly, grownups want to steal it.
Thirst: A Catholic priest becomes a vampire in this anti-Twilight movie from Park Chan-wook, the brilliant Korean director of Oldboy.
Ponyo: The new movie from legendary Japanese animator Miyazaki is gorgeous, good for kids and a nice break from the standard CGI cartoons we see today.
Adam: Hugh Dancy is the title character, a New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome who's charming enough to get together with his new neighbor, Rose Byrne.
District 9: This terrifically fun Peter Jackson-produced sci-fi flick has two messages. One, discrimination sucks. Two, alien guns rule.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard: Jeremy Piven and crew are brought in to save a Temecula auto dealership from bankruptcy through intense liquidation and R-rated comedy.
The Time Traveler's Wife: Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams star in the massively delayed adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's sci-fi romance.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: It was only a matter of time.
Julie & Julia: Meryl Streep is Julia Child, and Amy Adams is her biggest fan, Julie Powell, who got through life with the help of Child's My Life in France.
Funny People: Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen star in Jud Apatow's latest. Sandler's a comedian who thinks he might be dying; Rogen's the protégé he takes under his wing.
In the Loop: This crafty, satirical look at the methods behind the run-up to the Iraq war works because it—accurately—portrays people at every level of government as being average people, which means they're often self-involved, vicious and narcissistic.
G-Force: Animated guinea pigs save the world, destroy the art of filmmaking.
The Ugly Truth: Actually, the ugly truth is that this Katherine Heigl / Gerard Butler romcom looks really stupid.
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.
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.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: In one of the last summer blockbusters of the year, giant robots blow shit up.
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.
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.
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.