Check This Out
Grumpy young man: Sure, I have as many problems with Mel Gibson as anyone, but before he went nuts and became fodder for the tabloids and South Park, and when he still sounded Australian, he made some terrific movies. I'm a big fan of The Road Warrior, one of the greatest action films of all time, and its precursor, Mad Max, was the movie that foisted Gibson upon the world. Sure, it had a huge influence (not always a good one) on almost every post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian movie since, but Mad Max is really just another classic revenge story—not unlike Harry Brown (see our feature in this week's issue).
Gibson is Max, a member of the MFP, an elite highway-patrol unit in a scattershot not-too-distant future who's given carte blanche to take on the rampaging gangs as long as, as his boss puts it, the paperwork's clean. But every war has its casualties, and even though Max is the MFP's top pursuit man, he isn't there when the bad guys—led by a dude called Toecutter—eventually kill his wife and family, sending him on a bender of death, mayhem and torture. It's a grim, gritty, grimy movie that still manages to be greatly entertaining, and it's best watched with drinks. Good thing, then, that it's screening at the Birch North Park Theatre at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, May 24. The Birch, you see, is attached to West Coast Tavern, which is putting on the show, and your $7 admission fee will also net you a beer or a glass of wine for $3. But you should drink beer—Max, he would drink beer.
180 South: In 1968, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins made their way to Patagonia via surf, ski and sail. In this film, adventurer Jeff Johnson retraces their journey. Opens Saturday, May 21, at La Paloma Theater in Encinitas.
Harry Brown: The loutish youths in Michael Caine's housing project learn the hard way that they've fucked with the wrong military-trained pensioner. See our review on Page 23.
Here Comes the Bride: The latest in Horton Plaza's Filopino series.
Kites: Big-budget Bollywood production about a young Indian man dying in the Mexican desert, desperate to find the woman he loves.
MacGruber: What the world needs now, apparently, is a movie based on a Saturday Night Live sketch based on MacGyver.
Multiple Sarcasms: Timothy Hutton is a successful New York architect in New York in 1979 who's dissatisfied with his life, despite his hot wife Mira Sorvino, their sweet daughter and his good friends. So he starts writing plays that narrowly mirror the frustration and self-discovery he's going through.
OSS 17: Lost in Rio: The second in the French spy-spoof series is somewhere between Austin Powers and Mad Men.
Shrek Forever After: One of the greatest Happy Meal marketing schemes finally comes to an end.
One Time Only
Castles in the Sky: The latest surf film from Poor Specimen was shot over three years in five countries. Screens at 7 and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19, at La Paloma Theater in Encinitas.
Press Rewind: UCSD's ArtPower! Film presents its third annual collection of films made by famous directors when they were students. Christopher (Dark Knight) Nolan's Doodlebug is a highlight this time around. Starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at The Loft on the UCSD campus.
Serial Mom: FilmOut presents John Waters' camp classic, starring Kathleen Turner as a mom who really acts out when her suburban life proves to be just too much. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Sex and the City: Crack for women will be available at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Big Lebowski: The dude abides, and Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido kicks off its summer movie series at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 19.
SDSU Student Film Showcase: SDSU students have had a lot of recent success on the festival circuits. See these films, some of the best made by students this semester, before they hit it big. Starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at the Don Powell Theatre on the SDSU campus.
UCSD Up & Coming Student Film Festival: Or you could head up to UCSD, where this selection of student-made films was culled down from more than 50 submissions. This one starts with live music and a talk by visual arts professor Michael Trigilio at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at The Loft on the UCSD campus.
Aperitivo: Part 1 of the San Diego Italian Film Festival's CineCucina series screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. Feast on the details on Page 15.
Bomb It: This documentary about the graffiti-art movement, recently pranked in Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop, features interviews with the likes of Shepard Fairey and Space Invader. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at Latte Mi Corazon in Grant Hill. Free.
Forbidden Zone: Danny Elfman's brother Richard wrote and directed this freak show about a freak show. When the Hercules family moves into a new house in Venice, Calif., they discover that one of the home's many doors leads to the sixth dimension. Danny appears, too, as the devil. Presented by the freak show that is Zirk Ubu at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 20. Check zirkubu.com for the location.
Rear Window: The classic thriller starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. Today's kids will be shocked at how Hitchcock ripped off the Shia LaBeouf movie Disturbia. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 20, through Saturday, May 22, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Focaccia Blues: The San Diego Italian Film Festival's CineCucina wraps up with this tasty film at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at the Birch North Park Theatre. See Page 15 for details.
Wake: Bijou Phillips is Carys, a lonely woman who starts attending funerals of people she doesn't know. That's where she meets Tyler (Ian Somerhalder, who didn't make it past the first season of Lost), who's mourning his dead fiancée. Does that sound like Harold and Maude? It does to me. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 24, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Flamingo Kid: When, oh when will someone team this The Graduate knock-off starring Matt Dillon with Eric Roberts' weird-ass Coca-Cola Kid as a double-feature? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Airplane: I am serious. And don't call me Shirley. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday May 26, at the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
The Good, the Bad, the Weird: Korean director Ji-woon Kim's tongue-in-cheek take on Sergio Leone's epic spaghetti western has action sequences to die for, even if the story eventually gives way to the style.
Just Wright: NBA player Common has to choose between the long-term three-point shot of Queen Latifah and the slam-dunk of her shallow best friend Paula Patton. Either way, he scores.
Letters to Juliet: Amanda Seyfried is an American tourist in Italy who gets way into Shakespeare.
Mother and Child: Three women struggle with their familial identities. Annette Bening is haunted by the child she gave up for adoption as a pregnant teen, Naomi Watts sorts out what it was like to be an adopted child and Kerry Washington attempts her own adoption.
Princess Kaiulani: Biopic about the teen princess who united the Hawaiian Islands and gave President Grover Cleveland a tongue-lashing over the treatment of her people.
Robin Hood: Did you see Russell Crowe on Letterman the other night? He looks more like Friar Tuck than Robin Hood. Still, Ridley Scott always makes good-looking movies.
The Human Centipede (First Sequence): A crazy German doctor connects two American party girls with a Japanese playboy. Sadly, for them, this hook up is done surgically. Torture porn doesn't get any more gruesome than this.
Yellowstone: Watch carefully, or you'll miss the cameo by Yogi the Bear in this IMAX classic showing Fridays at the Fleet Science Center.
Babies: When a man and a woman love each other very much, the man puts his—no, wait. This documentary, which follows four kids from their first minutes outside the womb, comes after all that.
Iron Man 2: Was the first one entertaining? Yes. Is it overrated? Yes. Are we psyched for No. 2? Yes.
No One Knows About Persian Cats: A film about two teenagers trying to start a rock band. In Iran. Where rock 'n' roll will get you killed.
Please Give: Catherine Keener has collaborated with Nicole Holofcener on all four of her films, and this one is one of their best. Keener's a New Yorker married to Oliver Platt, selling mid-century furniture they buy from the apartments of old people who have died, consequently experiencing inescapable midlife liberal white guilt.
Mysteries of the Nile: It ain't just a river in Egypt. Oh, wait, yes it is. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Because, apparently, every single movie needs to be remade. At least they got Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy Kreuger.
Exit Through the Gift Shop: Legendary prankster street artist Banksy's first film is a brilliant take on art and its nature. It may sound stuffy, but it's engaging, insightful, funny and subversive—and smarter than anything else you'll see this summer. Run, do not walk, to see this one.
Furry Vengeance: Brendan Fraser is a nasty real-estate developer who takes on the animals of Oregon. Lessons, we assume, are learned.
La Mission: Benjamin Bratt is Che, a man well-respected in San Francisco's Mission District and forced to come to terms with the fact that his son is gay. Ends May 20 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
The Back-Up Plan: JLo gets knocked up with twins via a turkey-baster, just before she meets the man of her dreams.
The Losers: A CIA black-ops team goes after the assassins who set them up. With the likes of Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans and Idris “Stringer Bell” Elba.
The Secret in Their Eyes: This Argentinean thriller won the Best Foreign Language award at this year's Oscars. It's good, spanning decades and the relationship between a federal prosecutor and the boss with whom he's infatuated.
City Island: Andy Garcia and Juliana Margulies play a married New York couple whose family is falling apart around them—but more in a dramedy way than a tragedy way.
Death at a Funeral: Neil LaBute remakes, for American audiences, the English comedy about a funeral gone awry. So, instead of uptight Brits, you've got Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Danny Glover.
Kick-Ass: The worst thing about Kick-Ass is the trailer, which makes it look, well, cute. Actually, this is the hard-R, brutally violent, viciously funny comic-book movie you've been waiting for, assuming you've been waiting for an adorable 11-year-old girl who kicks ass and literally takes no prisoners.
Date Night: Steve Carell and Tina Fey are a married couple struggling through their weekly date night. They're both so funny, but neither has starred in a movie that's as good as his or her TV show.
Clash of the Titans: The remake is just as awful as the 1981 original, but without the camp value.
Hot Tub Time Machine: Truth in advertising. John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Cordrry and Clark Duke go back to the '80s in a hot-tub time machine. Totally out-raunches The Hangover by using every bodily fluid there is.
Greenberg: The latest from The Squid and the Whale director Noah Baumbach is an observational character piece starring Ben Stiller as Greenberg, a guy who can't accept that life didn't work out the way he had hoped.
How to Train Your Dragon: Jay Baruchel voices the lead in this 3-D animated flick about a Viking teen who's supposed to learn to kill dragons but instead brings one home as a pet.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Thriller about a male journalist and a female hacker hired to solve the 40-year-old disappearance of a member of a Swedish crime family.
Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at Saturn's rings. Just stay away from Uranus. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Dolphins: It's only a matter of time before they tell us, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” In IMAX at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Shutter Island: Leonardo DiCaprio is U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels in Martin Scorsese's latest, investigating a missing heiress who's escaped from an asylum and is presumed to be hiding out on the desolate titular atoll.
The Greatest Places: This IMAX adventure features seven locales, which range from Greenland's icebergs to the enormous waterfall at Iguazu. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Crazy Heart: Sure, it's a clean-and-sober story, but Jeff Bridges won an Oscar for playing faded country singer and legendary drunk Bad Blake.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.