What's shocking isn't how many film festivals San Diego hosts; what's astonishing is how many of them have been around for so long. One of the oldest, FilmOut, San Diego's LGBT fest, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, a serious accomplishment considering how hard it is to get a festival off the ground.
It kicks off at 7:30 p.m.Wednesday, May 29, at the Birch North Park Theatre, and runs through Sunday, June 2. More than 30 films will screen during the fest, including the opening-night picture, G.B.F., a comedy about three popular female high-schoolers who try to become, well, GBFs with their school's closeted gay boy. They want to be cool, but when they out him, he becomes too cool for school. The movie features Megan Mullaly, Natasha Lyonne and Jonathan Silverman.
Another movie boasting high-profile stars is Meth Head, which features Lucas Haas as Kyle, a 30- something gay man stuck in a dead-end job, partnered with Julian (Wilson Cruz, who was the GBF way back when on My So-Called Life), a good-looking guy and the more successful half of the couple. One night of partying leads Kyle to become BFFs with Dusty (Blake Berris) and Maia (Necar Zedegan), two fun-loving kids who teach him to step outside of his comfort zone and, yes, get hooked on meth. Haas, as you may remember, got his start as the little boy in Witness and has enjoyed something of a career resurgence recently with supporting roles in high-profile movies like Inception and Lincoln. Director Jane Clark will be on hand after the screening, which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1.
The festival also includes the documentaries Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean, which screens at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 30, and Raid of the Rainbow Lodge, which explores the high-profile raid of a gay bar in Fort Worth in 2009, showing at 5 p.m. Friday, May 31. The closing-night film, which screens at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 2, is a doc, too: I Am Divine examines the life of the drag superstar and features interviews with folks like John Waters and Ricki Lake.
There's plenty more. A list of films, showtimes, ticket info and details on the fest's parties can be found at filmoutsandiego.com.
After Earth: In M. Knight Shyamalan's movie, it's 1,000 years since humanity was forced off of Earth. Now, a father (Will Smith) and son (his son Jaden) are forced to return, as the son has to undergo a dangerous journey to save the father.
Before Midnight: Almost two decades after Richard Linklater teamed up with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy on the romantic fantasy Before Sunrise, the trio comes together for the final film of the trilogy. Jessie and Celine aren't as young as they used to be, and that makes it the best of all of them.
Frequency Film Festival: The new Ocean Beach festival, one of the most interesting in San Diego, runs sporadically for the next two weeks at the Ocean Beach Playhouse. Get details at frequencyfilmfestival.com.
London: The Modern Babylon Documentary: Infamous music-video director Julien Temple takes a look at his hometown and how it's changed over the decades. Narrated by Michael Gambon, it opens Tuesday, June 4, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
The Matchmaker: Israeli flick about a teen who, in 1968, goes to work for a matchmaker who survived the Holocaust. Screens through June 6 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Now You See Me: Four illusionists— Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco—pull off amazing heists against the 1 percent and give the money to the rest of us.
Sightseers: A British couple's roundtrip takes a strange turn when they embark on a serial killing spree.
One Time Only
AKA Doc Pomus: The rock 'n' roll pioneer who was paralyzed with polio as a child was a Brooklyn-born dude named Jerome Felder. Presented by the San Diego Jewish Film Festival, it screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla.
Fiddler on the Roof: Despite its deep undercurrent of sadness, this classic musical will have you humming the tunes after the credits roll. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Little Miss Sunshine: Charming-enough road-trip movie about a dysfunctional family who work out their issues during an illadvised journey to take their plain daughter to a beauty pageant. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
FIRST: The Story of the London 2012 Olympic Games: This documentary profiles a dozen first-time Olympians and how they fared in London last summer. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at AMC Mission Valley, Edwards MiraMesa and Horton Plaza. Hit fathomevents.com for details.
The Thomas Crown Affair: The 1999 remake was actually pretty good, but this 1968 caper flick, with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, is far superior. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 30 and 31, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
American Mary: The inauguration of a late-night horror series, this new film from the Soska Sisters (who last made Dead Hooker in a Trunk) is about a medical student who ends up deep in the underground-surgery scene on the path to easy money. Screens at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Monsters, Inc.: This Pixar charmer will have a prequel later in June. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Adams Avenue Community Center.
Suspicion: Classic Hitchcock. Joan Fontaine is a shy young thing who suspects that the handsome man in her life—Cary Grant—may be plotting to kill her. Well, if you gotta go. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
San Diego Student Film Festival: This collection of shorts from filmmakers across the city is being produced by some of the same folks behind the Film Consortium. A student ID gets you in for free on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, at the Saville Theatre at City College.
Short Films from High Schoolers: San Diego High School's IB Film Class has a two-year program that culminates in this presentation of short films. It starts at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 2, at the Ken Cinema. Free.
Executive Action: Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who won two Oscars while being blacklisted, wrote this political piece about a bunch of businessmen and freelance killers plotting to murder JFK. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at the Hervey Branch Library in Point Loma.
LUNAFest: This year, the traveling festival of short films by female filmmakers focuses on women as leaders. The event starts at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, and the films roll at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Dazed and Confused: Richard Linklater's terrific coming-of-age film, set on the last day of school in a small Texas town in the 1970s, was a coming-of-age for many members of its cast, which includes Parker Posey, Rory Cochrane, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser and Marissa Ribisi. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The Big Lebowski: The Dude abides, and Stone kicks off its annual film series at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.
3 Geezers!: J.K. Simmons plays a character actor doing research on what it's like to be elderly. When the folks at an old-age home pick on him, he brings in people like Kevin Pollak and Tim Allen to turn the tables.
7 Cajas: A teenage delivery boy in Paraguay is offered a ton of money to deliver seven mysterious boxes during the course of a single night. Ends May 30 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay: If you don't know much about Ricky Jay, one of the world's greatest sleight-of-hand artists, you'll likely find this documentary fascinating.
Epic: Animated flick about a young girl who teams up with a ragtag collection of characters to save the world. It features the voices of folks like Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé, Colin Farrell and the guy who voiced Bender on Futurama.
Fast & Furious 6: Surprisingly, No. 5 was the best of the bunch. This time, Dwayne Johnson brings Vin Diesel and Paul Walker on board to try to take down a former special-forces guy (Luke Evans) who's all about vehicular warfare. There's already a No. 7 in the works.
FilmOut: San Diego's LGBT film festival celebrates its 15th birthday this year, running from Wednesday, May 29, through Sunday, June 2, at the Birch North Park Theatre. Visit filmoutsandiego.com for all the details.
Frances Ha: The new one from Noah Baumbach stars Greta Gerwig as a New Yorker who couch-surfs, apprentices for a dance company without being a dancerand is generally an odd duck.
The Hangover Part III : Drink, drank, drunk.
Ping Pong : A doc about a senior table-tennis championship. Ends June 2 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's : Matthew Miele's documentary profiles the legendary Manhattan department store, known for being the pinnacle of high fashion.
What Maisie Knew : Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan play a New York couple enmeshed in a seriously nasty custody battle.
Star Trek: Into Darkness : The sequel to J.J. Abrams' rollicking reboot feels more like a summer blockbuster than a vital part of the Trek universe. Still, it's always good to see Benedict Cumberbatch on the big screen.
Stories We Tell : Actor-turned-director Sarah Polley points her camera on her own family, exploring her history and what makes her and her relatives so creative.
The Great Gatsby : Baz Luhrmann, who made Moulin Rouge , takes on the American literary classic. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in this tale of class warfare.
Love is All You Need : A Danish hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm) who's lost her hair to cancer travels to Italy for her daughter's wedding, where she meets Pierce Brosnan, an angry widower and the father of her soon-to-be son-in-law.
Iron Man 3 : The summer blockbuster season kicks off with that snarky Tony Stark saving our ungrateful hides once again.
Kon-Tiki : New film about Thor Heyerdal's 1947 ocean adventure, in which he sailed across the ocean on a balsa raft to prove that South Americans were able to cross in pre-Columbian times.
Mud : Matthew McConaughey continues to deliver the emotional goods in this coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy who idolizes a drifter with a violent past.
Pain and Gain : Michael Bay's new one stars Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie as Florida bodybuilders whose kidnapping scheme goes awry.
Oblivion : Tom Cruise plays a spaceman sent back to pull the last few remaining resources out of a depleted Earth.
42 : Biopic about the baseball player who wore that number, which has been retired by every single Major League team. Spoiler: It's Jackie Robinson.
Jurassic Park 3D : Now with more velociraptor!
The Croods : Animated caveman movie featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone.
Olympus Has Fallen : Terrorists take over the White House and take the president hostage before being killed by disgraced Secret Service agent Gerard Butler. It's ludicrous, for sure, but pretty enjoyable as R-rated action films go.
Oz: The Great and Powerful : Sam Raimi directs this big-budget prequel. James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis are all off to see the wizard.
Rocky Mountain Express: The IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center was recently overhauled. This latest entry takes viewers through the Canadian Rockies without leaving San Diego.
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.
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.