Paul Newman's death from cancer is just plain sad. It's almost impossible to come up with another movie star who has remained quite as beloved by the general public throughout the years—even if they hadn't thought of him for a while, there was no shortage of people who found themselves touched when they heard he'd died. Certainly, his recent films weren't as great as the movies he made back in the '60s, '70s and '80s, but he's almost more remembered for his philanthropy during the past two decades.
Of course, he made many wonderful films. I'm personally a huge fan of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, that anti-western written by William Goldman that had an enormous impact on me when I was young. He teamed with Redford again for The Sting, another terrific movie, and some of my other favorites include Hud, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler—hell, even The Color of Money, an overrated piece that finally earned him his Oscar. Newman never shied away from darker, challenging roles, and that's why we'll always remember him in Cool Hand Luke, as the one man who will stand up to The Man for all of us. You can say goodbye to Newman with Cool Hand Luke, which will screen at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at Café Libertalia in Hillcrest.—Anders Wright
Allah Made Me Funny: Muslim comedians look for comedy in the Western world. An American Carol: Hollywood Republicans like Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper team up for a Michael Moore mockumentary.
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.
Battle in Seattle: There's a solid cast in Stuart Townsend's fictitious take on the 1999 WTO riots in the Emerald City. Charlize Theron, Andre Benjamin and Ray Liotta are all on board, and Woody Harrelson plays a riot cop who bashes in some brains.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Um. Ratdogs get Babe treatment.
Blackout: The latest entry in the Philippine Cinema Showcase is a psychological thriller about a drunken apartment landlord who wakes up to find his car's bumper dented and bloody. Runs Oct. 3 through 8 at UltraStar Chula Vista.
Blindness: Julianne Moore is the only sightless person quarantined after an epidemic of blindness hits her city. Mark Ruffalo is her husband, and Gael Garcia Bernal is the crazy dude who tries to take over in the chaos.
Flash of Genius: Greg Kinnear plays Robert Kearns, the man who invented the modern windshield wiper but who had to fight Ford and the auto industry for 30 years to get the credit. Nice premise, but like Kinnear and the windshield wiper, somewhat bland.
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. See our review on Page 23.
Religulous: Bill Maher travels the world, talking to different people about a God he doesn't believe in.
Save Me: A drug-addicted gay man's family checks him into a brainwashing rehab facility in the hopes of curing his gayness.
One Time Only
Kubrador: Part of the San Diego Asian Film Festival's yearlong look at Filipino movies, Kubrador follows the life of a bookie who scrambles to collect debts from the numbers racket that exists in the slums. Through Oct. 2 at UltraStar Chula Vista.
Silent films with live music: Curtis Glatter will hit the library's second-floor auditorium with his laptop, his keyboards and his four-track and accompany several silent films—including Vampyr and two from Jean Epstein, La Glace a Trois Faces and Tempestaire—with live music. Starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Downtown Public Library. Free.
The Big Lebowski: The Dude has now abided for a decade. Easily the Coen brothers' cultiest cult film, Lebowski stars Jeff Bridges as The Dude, a stoner who shares his name with the wealthy husband of a kidnap victim. After a mistaken-identity incident results in his rug being soiled, The Dude seeks recompense, and hilarity ensues. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Friday the 13th: The first of a five-film horror series, this is the one with the dude in the hockey mask with serious mommy issues. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Tlatelolco: Las Claves de la Massacre: Ten days before the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, police opened fire on student demonstrators, killing scores of them. This documentary will make sure you don't forget. Screens at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in Arts & Letters 101 on the SDSU Campus. Free.
Drona: An epic Bollywood smashup between good and evil. Drona is the one dude who just might be able to save the world. From evil, we think. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, and at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4 at the UltraStar Del Mar. Tickets at www.goldspiritfilms.com.
I-Be Area: As part of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Thursday Night Thing (TNT), this week they'll be showing Ryan Trecartin's funky full-length. Dealing with issues like cloning and adoption, the film is a surreal experience, so much so that attendees will get a chance to paint their face all day-glo and also hear a talk from curator Neil Kendricks. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the museum's Downtown location.
My Architect: The first of Architecture + Cinema, a series put together by UCSD's ArtPower! Film, My Architect takes a long look at internationally renowned architect Louis I. Kahn through the eyes of his son, director Nathaniel Kahn. Part of the site-specific installation Sanctuary at the Salk Institute, which Kahn the elder designed. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the CalIt2 Auditorium on the UCSD campus.
The Philadelphia Story: Just a classic. Jimmy Stewart won a Best Actor Oscar, Katharine Hepburn was nominated as Best Actress, and the screenplay took an award as well. He's a tabloid reporter who crashes her society wedding, she's a society debutante, and it all happens under the watchful eye of her ex-husband, played by Cary Grant. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, through Saturday, Oct. 4, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
San Diego Women's Film Festival: Now in its sixth year, the Women's Film Festival has a new sheriff: Citizen Video owner Holly Jones. She's curated this lineup of more than 40 films, all of which feature women behind the camera. It's a sharp lineup, and we've got more details over on Page 18. The festival runs Oct. 2 through 5 at the Reading Gaslamp. www.sdwff.org.
San Diego Italian Film Festival: Avoiding the sophomore slump is tough to do, but the Italians have a nice lineup and a good concept. This year, it's just bigger and better, with a gala—thrown in the way only the Italians can throw a party—accompanying the first film, and all told, 15 movies on the big screen, most of which are recent theatrical releases from the homeland. See Page 18 for more. www.sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com.
Press Rewind Plus '08: Each Sunday in October, UCSD's ArtPower! Film presents the flicks it showed in last year's first student film festival. Week 1 includes shorts from Jessie Pellegrino, Joshua Krohn, Jay Kim, Stacie Perillo, Braden Diotte, Ben Tuller, M. Jay Drose and Matthew Goodwin. Each week will feature different films from different filmmakers, and it'll always be pay-what-you-can. Screens at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at The Loft on the UCSD campus.
Up the Yangtze: Yung Chang's doc is ostensibly about the side effects of damming up the Yangtze River, but it's really a portrait of what it's like to be poor in China. Heartbreaking. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, at the Downtown Central Library. Free.
The Visitor: Tom McCarthy follows up his debut, The Station Agent, with this subtle look at immigration. Veteran character actor Richard Jenkins (the dead dad on Six Feet Under) is a burnt-out professor adrift in his life, but things change when he tries to help a young illegal immigrant detained in New York. McCarthy makes his points through people instead of politics, which is nice. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, at the IR/PS Robinson Auditorium on the UCSD campus. Free.
The Future of Food: Presented by the Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op, this doc takes a frightening look at how our food gets from where it's planted to your local Albertsons. Remember, people, think global, eat local! Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the International House Great Hall on the UCSD campus. Free.
The Exorcist: A young priest questioning his faith teams with an experienced exorcist to drive the demon out of a prepubescent Linda Blair. The second of a five-film horror series, this one is still freaky after all these years. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
The Devil Wears Prada: This adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's best-seller about the fashion industry is thin but pleasant. It established Anne Hathaway as a leading lady, introduced us to Emily Blunt and features a blistering performance from Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, a thinly veiled version of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
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.
Choke: Clark Gregg's adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's nihilistic novel about a sex addict with serious mommy issues who fakes choking in restaurants to garner sympathy and money is really funny, believe it or not. It all rests on the shoulders of Sam Rockwell, and this is the role he was born to play.
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.
Miracle at St. Anna: Spike Lee's new joint explores four African-American soldiers trapped in a Tuscan village during World War II.
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.
Ghost Town: Ricky Gervais finally gets the lead in an American movie. But is this the right one for his big stateside break? He's a nasty dentist who dies on the operating table, and once he's revived, he sees—and can talk to—dead people, all of whom are soon asking for favors. Like Ghost meets The Sixth Sense with a chubby Brit.
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.
Righteous Kill: Two aged New York cops investigate murders that are eerily reminiscent of a case they tackled years ago. Just check the cast: Al Pacino. Robert De Niro. And 50 Cent? For reals.
The Women: Annette Bening and Meg Ryan star as rich New York bitches in this remake of George Cukor's 1939 take on Clare Booth Luce's classic play.
Mamma Mia!: The Sing-Along Edition: Perhaps you wish you could stand up in a darkened theater and belt out the ABBA songs featured in Mamma Mia! Well, your time has come. There's a new edition of the based-on-the-hit-Broadway-musical film starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan that will feature the lyrics to all the songs on the screen, like a disturbingly large karaoke machine. You'll be with a group of like-minded ABBA fans, so your version of “Take a Chance on Me” will be supported—nay, encouraged—by the rest of the faithful.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Force goes animated. The new film—really the pilot for an ongoing show on the Cartoon Network—doesn't capture the awesomeness of the 1977 original. But it's still better than the last three movies.
Tropic Thunder: Ben Stiller directed and stars in this monster comedy about a bunch of spoiled actors dropped into a real war zone. The thing is, they think it's a movie set, but the guerrillas they're up against are the real deal. Jack Black stars as the funnyman taking on a serious role, and Robert Downey Jr. is the award-winning actor who dyes his skin to play the part of the unit's black sergeant. Like most of Stiller's stuff, it's really dumb and kinda funny. Oh, and in this case, it's rated R, so it's also really violent.
Vicky Christina Barcelona: Will Woody Allen ever make another film in New York? After shooting the last two in the U.K., he moved his act overseas. Scarlett Johanssen and Rebecca Hall are tourists in Barcelona who find themselves infatuated with mysterious brooding painter Javier Bardem. When his crazy ex-wife (Bardem's real-life honey, Penelope Cruz) enters the picture, the whole trip becomes a total bummer.
Man on Wire: James Marsh directs this compelling documentary about Frenchman Philippe Petit, who illegally tightrope-walked between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Man on Wire explores Petit's obsessive and meticulous plotting, and how he convinced a group of wild-eyed young adventurers to assist him. Drawing on gorgeous archival footage and charming the audience with vivid storytelling, it's an imaginative, entertaining riff on heist movies.
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.
Mamma Mia!: The hit Broadway musical consisting of nothing but Abba tunes is turned into a big, fat Hollywood movie. But this one's got Meryl Streep as an overbearing mother. Her daughter Sophie is getting married, but she doesn't know who her dad is. So she invites all of mom's exes—Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård—to the wedding.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl: Abigail Breslin stars as a precocious young reporter. It's got a seriously high-profile supporting cast, but if you're the target demo, you shouldn't be reading CityBeat.
Wall*E: Our hopes are high for the cute li'l titular robot, whose trailers are enough to make us both laugh and cry. It's hundreds of years in the future, and Wall*E's been cleaning up our mess since we left. And along the way, he's gotten lonely. Sure, we already get the An Inconvenient Truth messaging, but Pixar has yet to do us wrong.
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.
Fridays at the Fleet: Sea Monsters and Mysteries of Egypt are some of the rotating films shown each Friday at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center's IMAX theater where, for only $7.50, you can catch four flicks. Sure, it's more Discovery Channel than Transformers, but the Fleet's enormous old-school dome screen is way cool, and some of the talent—narrators like Meryl Streep or Johnny Depp—is impressive. You might find yourself as mesmerized as the little kiddies sitting around you. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. Check www.rhfleet.org for the screening list.