Not all chick flicks are meant for dates. Here are three girl-oriented movies you could consider seeing with a BFF:
Whip It: Roller derby is as real as a tattooed elbow to the chops. Drew Barrymore's directorial debut about Bliss (Juno's Ellen Page), a Texas teen who finds herself in the rink, doesn't have nearly the same impact, but it's not really supposed to. Bliss bristles under her mother's (the always great Marcia Gay Harden) obsession with pageants and lies to everyone she knows about what she's doing twice a week. It's predictable and sweet, featuring nice supporting jams from Juliette Lewis, SNL's Kristen Wiig, Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat and Daniel Stern as Bliss' football-obsessed dad. Of course, you know she's going to get caught and everything's going to work out, because, essentially, it's about moms and daughters coming to terms with each other and best friends growing apart. It's not great, but it's definitely Whip It good.
Coco Before Chanel: You never know what you're going to get out of Audrey Tatou. When she's in the right project, it's as bright and shining as Amelie. When it's wrong, she gets lost. She's a good choice for Coco Before Chanel, the new film that looks at the early years of Gabrielle Chanel, before her fashion career took off. She can be tart and acidic, but it's the few times that this onetime orphan finds happiness that the screen lights up. Still, the film's most interesting character ends up being Etienne Balsan (Benoît Poelvoorde), Chanel's onetime sugar daddy who can't bring himself to love her.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: You're right, not a girl-power film, but it's a girl-power presentation. UCSD student Kelle Anzalone has created “Silents on Sundays,” a four-picture series, which kicks off with the 1920 classic starring John Barrymore and includes short films from both Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. The films screen at 7 p.m. every Sunday of the month in the Seuss Room of the Geisel Library. And, yes, sometimes silence is golden.
American Harmony: If you missed this documentary at the San Diego Film Festival about the surprisingly brutal world of competitive barbershop quartets, it has a run at Reading Gaslamp.
Amreeka: A single mom and her teenaged son move from the West Bank to small-town Illinois.
The Boys are Back: Clive Owen's wife dies, leaving him to care for their children and his teenaged son from a previous marriage.
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. See our review on Page 23.
Coco Before Chanel: Audrey Tatou plays the famed designer in her pre-fame years. She's pouty, but she lights up the screen when she smiles.
The Invention of Lying: Ricky Gervais stars in his own U.S. directorial debut. He lives in a world where everyone always tells the truth, until one day he doesn't.
No Impact Man: Writer Colin Beavan sets out to have zero environmental impact for a solid year, which sounds cool, except his wife and daughter aren't on board.
Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D: The first of Pixar's movies and its sequel will double-feature for the price of one.
Whip It: Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, about a rebellious teen (Ellen Page) who gets into roller derby, is more harmless than the sport it covers, but it has an easy charm to it.
Zombieland: Woody Harrelson. Zombies. Rated R. 'Nuff said.
One time only
Kobe Doin' Work: A documentary that follows Kobe Bryant during one day of the 2008 playoffs. Directed by lifelong Knicks fan Spike Lee. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at The Loft @ UCSD.
Knocked Up: The best of the Jud Apatow canon (so far). Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Fast and Furious with Rifftrax: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, teamed with the artists formerly known as Mystery Science Theater 3000. Good food, good beer, bad movie. That's the idea. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
Crossing Delancy: Amy Irving and Peter Riegert play matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match—as part of the Oceanside Museum of Art's Culinary Cinema series. A kosher meal will be served before the screening. It starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Call 760-435-3721 to make a reservation.
Nommogeneity: Local filmmaker Terrence Stubbs looks at the plight of the writer and where literature might be headed. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Wait Until Dark: Three crooks terrorize gorgeous, blind Audrey Hepburn while looking for a doll stuffed with heroin. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, through Saturday, Oct. 3, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
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. Peep the trailer—it looks freaky-deaky. It'll probably get a full release at some point, but if you can't wait, there are midnight sneak preview screenings Thursday, Oct. 1, through Saturday, Oct. 3, at AMC Mission Valley.
King Corn: You Are What You Eat: Potluck beforehand; no popcorn allowed (just kidding, but popcorn kills Mother Earth—and puppies). Screens at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, at the Sierra Club office in Clairemont Mesa.
Orfeu: Going right along with last month's screening of Black Orpheus is this 1999 adaptation of the Greek myth of Orpheus, set in the slums of Rio during Carnival. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
O'Horten: After he retires, a train conductor suddenly discovers that perhaps his life doesn't need to be controlled by a timetable. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
I Like Killing Flies: Tasty documentary about the chef of the classic Greenwich Village eatery Shopsin's. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Lestat's West in Normal Heights. Free.
The Beach: Danny Boyle's adaptation of Alex Garland's novel stars Leo DiCaprio as a good-looking tourist who finds a strange community of other good-looking people living on a Thai island. It's paradise, until, you know, things go horribly wrong. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Bright Star: Jane Campion's latest period piece creates a very real person out of Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), the country girl who's long been considered the tart who fooled around with poet John Keats before his death.
Crude: Scathing indictment of the way big oil has savagely polluted South America.
Fame: Actually, a remake of Fame right now makes sense. The country's totally addicted to celebrity, and there are plenty of openings on reality TV.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell: Biopic about Tucker Max, self-proclaimed drunken asshole.
Pandorum: Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster come out of suspended animation with no memory and no idea why people are trying to kill them.
Paris: Juliette Binoche shows up with her three kids at the doorstep of her brother, who's desperately waiting for a heart transplant.
Surrogates: In the future, Bruce Willis will try to solve the murder of robot surrogates, which will provide the only means for us to interact with each other. Like Facebook.
Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself: Perry's latest adventures of Medea also stars Taraji Henson (who was nominated for an Oscar for Benjamin Button) as April, a boozy nightclub singer who has three teenage kids foisted on her.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Sure, this 3-D adaptation of the beloved children's book looks cheesy. But it's great, and any cheese involved makes it taste even better. Seriously, one of those rare children's films that's equally awesome for adults. And it includes Neil Patrick Harris voicing a monkey.
Big Fan: Patton Oswalt delivers in his first dramatic role as an obsessed New York Giants fan who has an ill-fated encounter with his favorite player.
The Burning Plain: Guillermo Arriaga, who wrote Babel and Amores Perros, directs Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger in a non-linear film about a woman trying to come to terms with her past.
Flame & Citron: Based on a true story, this is a look at two Danish resistance fighters during the tail-end of World War II who were sent on a mission to kill someone who was once very close to one of them.
The Informant!: Steven Soderberg directs a pudgy, mustachioed Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a '90s-era whistleblower with aspirations of greatness and a propensity for bending the truth.
Jennifer's Body: Megan Fox stars in this Diablo Cody-penned horror film about a hottie who acquires a serious taste for men. Literally.
Love Happens: Will Jennifer Aniston be the woman who helps widower Aaron Eckhart cope with his loss? Yes.
The September Issue: A not-so-revealing look at Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
It Might Get Loud: Documentary about the art of guitar as played by Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Turn it up.
Inglourious 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!
District 9: This terrifically fun Peter Jackson-produced sci-fi flick has two messages. One, discrimination sucks. Two, alien guns rule.
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.
(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 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.