New digs: Things are tough for the arts these days, but even though the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has been forced to slash its film program to save money, it's still putting on its signature event, alt.pictureshows, on Thursday night, Aug. 27, at the museum's Downtown location. So, yes, the event has been relocated from the La Jolla branch, but curator Neil Kendricks, who's been pulling together short films for the event since 2003, says that moving Downtown “feels like a homecoming of sorts.”
After all, the Downtown locale is where alt.pictureshows began, when Kendricks was still a grad student. But it's grown from its origins as part of MCASD's TNT evenings. Nowadays, there really is no other film evening like it in San Diego. Kendricks takes over the entire museum, programming different rooms with different themes and offering up more than 25 short films, some of which might have been included in Cinefemme or 'Toon Town Troublemakers, annual museum film events that fell victim to budget cuts.
The themed rooms for the year include “Drama Queens and Global Village Idiots Unite (Again),” “Beggar's Banquet and Other Meal Tickets” and “Welcome to the Pleasuredome: Buzzcocks & the New Flesh.” You get the idea. Kendricks' own short, Aerial Haiku, appears in “The Wailing Wall, Disc IV,” and The Happiest Day of His Life, produced by La Jolla's Jennifer Burton and directed by her sister Ursula, will screen in the Cinefemme Suite. Also on the docket are rarely seen short films from well-known gallery artists Raymond Pettibon and Marilyn Minter and rooms dedicated entirely to the work of Reynold Reynolds and Nicholas and Sheila Pye.
There are a lot of movies—so many, in fact, that in the entire three hours, you cannot see them all. But that's really part of the beauty of alt.pictureshows. Usually when you go to a movie, you see the same thing everyone else is seeing. On Thursday, you may not see everything, but your experience will be unique.
Alt.pictureshows runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, in the Jacobs Building, 1100 Kettner Blvd., Downtown. $7.
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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 Answer Man: Just because Jeff Daniels has written a best-selling spiritual book doesn't mean he has a clue.
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. See our review.
Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg: Documentary about groundbreaking TV pioneer Gertrude Berg.
One time only
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Yes, it's the Holy Grail of Monty Python movies. And, yes, that was a bad joke. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Tilted Kilt, Downtown. There will be Python-themed drink specials. Free.
The Sicilian: Christopher Lambert plays the title role, Sicilian independence fighter Salvatore Giuliano, who takes on the church and the state in Michael Cimino's 1987 film. Screens at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Parioli in Solana Beach. Free.
The Deep: A young couple in Bermuda finds a wrecked ship and some angry treasure hunters. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Tk8 Last Ride: The latest surf film from Josh Pomer features high-profile wave-cutter Tom Curren, who'll also appear with his band. Doors open at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with Rifftrax: The most recent sequel to Raiders is woefully bad, but at least it'll be accompanied by Rifftrax's running commentary. Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido. Free.
The 39 Steps: Hitchcock's espionage classic has been turned into a musical comedy, and the first stop of the national tour is going on right now at the La Jolla Playhouse. You've got three shots to catch the film version this week: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, at the Museum of Photographic Arts; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, at the Maritime Museum; and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla.
The Awful Truth: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are a soon-to-be-divorced couple trying to sabotage each other's new chances for love. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 27 and 28, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Wall-E: Pixar outdid itself with this story about a lonely little robot who's still cleaning up after us long after we're gone. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, at Market Creek Plaza in Encanto. Free.
Pay it Forward: Remember Haley Joel Osment, who broke so big with The Sixth Sense? This movie did not, apparently, pay anything forward to his career. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. Free.
Top Gun, Back to the Future or ET: Viewers pick the final selection of the Liberty Station outdoor summer film series. Whichever it is will screen at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Ingram Plaza. Free.
Dial M for Murder: Hitchcock classic has nothing to do with texting. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 and 30, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
The Principal Story: Documentary about two elementary-school principals in poverty-stricken schools who were followed by the crew for six years. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Young Frankenstein: Guess which summer film series is putting on this Mel Brooks classic? Oh, right—all of them. Still, who doesn't love the mad scientist Gene Wilder / monster Peter Boyle team-up for “Puttin' on the Ritz”? Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, and Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
The Treatment: English teacher Chris Eigeman turns to his shrink, played by Ian Holm, to help him figure out what to do when he meets the hot widow Famke Janssen. One catch—the therapist might be in his head. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Fados: Examines the Portuguese vocal tradition that came out of the 1820s. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Otay Ranch Marketplace. Free.
Fletch: He's Chevy Chase, and you're not. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
School of Rock: Before he jumped the shark, Jack Black was way fun as a rocker pretending to be a substitute teacher who gives a bunch of geeky band kids some self-confidence. Fact: first movie Zeppelin ever allowed to use their music. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.
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.
Maya Inaugural Film Series: This new seven-part traveling Latino film series will run one week.
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.
The Cove: This documentary about secret dolphin fishing in Japan is tough to watch, but it's definitely worth watching.
A Perfect Getaway: Everything would be going great for newlywed couple Steve Zahn and Mila Jovovich, except someone on their island paradise is murdering newlywed couples.
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.
Paper Heart: It's hard to define this little movie, which finds Charlyne Yi traveling the country and interviewing people in the hopes of finding out the meaning of love. She complements it with serious puppet shows, and she and former boyfriend Michael Cera re-enact their relationship for the cameras. Yes. Weird.
Aliens in the Attic: Aliens neglect to ensure that their mind-control ray works on meddling kids. It's unclear why said children fail to welcome our new alien overlords.
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.
Orphan: Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga totally pick the scary kid at the orphanage.
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.
Brüno: In his follow-up to Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen proves that Paula Abdul is a moron, Ron Paul is woefully out of touch, and ignorant, homophobic crackers are ignorant, homophobic crackers.
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 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.