The Boll is in our court: During the past two years, our attention has been primarily focused on the floundering economy, the presidential election and the two wars our country is fighting. The genocidal attacks going on in Darfur have not subsided, but they have moved out of the public's top-10 list of things to be concerned about. Nevertheless, at least one filmmaker is still trying to call our attention to that part of the world: Uwe Boll.
Wait a minute. The same Uwe Boll who directed all those critically panned film adaptations of video games, like Bloodrayne and In the Name of the King? The same Uwe Boll who famously challenged several of his critics to a boxing match a few years ago, and then proceeded to beat the hell out of them? Yes, that's the Uwe Boll who's bringing his new film Darfur to San Diego on Monday.
The movie is about a group of American journalists, played by Billy Zane, Edward Furlong and others, who accompany a group of African Union peacekeepers on a humanitarian mission when they find themselves in the middle of a Janjaweed massacre. Boll tells CityBeat that he hopes audiences will be forced “to determine what they would do if they were in a situation like this. Would you walk away or say ‘Only over my dead body?' It's a tough movie to watch, but I think it's a necessary movie to watch.”
Now, I haven't seen Darfur, but the German-born Boll says it's extremely violent. “I wanted to make a movie about how we react to situations like this,” he says, “how we push information away to get through our normal day. Of course, this is a harsh confrontation for everyone who watches the movie, but, to me, it shows there is no excuse for NATO and the U.N. not to do something. It's not a civil war; it's a massacre. But this is the whole point, because sometimes you have to open your eyes and see what's going on.”
But is the public—and the media—ready for a serious Uwe Boll film? The director knows his reputation precedes him, but he's hoping people will look past that, if only because of the film's subject matter. “People know me for my previous films, and they don't want to accept the fact that I can make an actual good movie,” he says. “They don't want to write it. I hope this is more important than me as a person. I hope people think that no matter what you think of Uwe Boll, this is an important movie about an important subject matter.”
Darfur screens at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, at Hillcrest Cinemas, in partnership with Designers4Africa.org. Boll will be present for a post-screening discussion.
Antichrist: Thought you'd missed your chance to see Lars von Trier's NC-17 supernatural weird-out? It came and went, but now it's coming back (to the Gaslamp). Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe are a married couple who endure an unspeakable tragedy. And that doesn't include the genital mutilation.
The Blind Side: The book this is based upon is about the economics of football and an enormous, poverty-stricken young black man—adopted by a white family—who has the potential to be a highly paid professional athlete. So, of course, they turned it into a Sandra Bullock movie.
The Maid: Spanish drama about a longtime maid, her war with the household's teenage daughter and the young woman brought in to mediate the situation.
The Messenger: Ben Foster shines as a young veteran assigned to the casualty-notification department after his return from Iraq. The scenes in which he and Woody Harrelson deliver the bad news are devastating. See our review on Page 21.
Planet 51: Animated flick about invading aliens. The catch is that the aliens are us, in the form of Dwayne Johnson.
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire: Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry helped produce this film about an obese Harlem teen in the 1980s, which is being talked up as a Best Picture possibility.
Twilight: New Moon: Either you dismiss the Twilight franchise as being for tweens and their moms or you've been drinking the blood-red Kool-aid.
Yes Men Fix the World: Documentary about the activist hoaxsters who claim to represent the likes of big oil and the State Department, offering up press conferences and then saying the organizations they (don't) represent are going to do the right thing.
One Time Only
The Big Lebowski: The Dude abides. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Hunger: Vampires are so gay, especially when they're being presented by FilmOut. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Star Trek: Actually, JJ Abrams did a pretty good job with this reboot. It has its issues, but it's phasers-on-kill entertaining. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, through Saturday, Nov. 21, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Sleep Dealer: Alex Rivera's dystopian border movie has shades of The Matrix and Brazil. It'll be interesting to see what he can accomplish if someone gives him a real budget. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at The Loft @ UCSD.
After the Wedding: An altruistic Dane returns to Copenhagen in hopes of scoring a huge grant for the Indian orphanage he works for. When he arrives, however, he discovers his past is waiting for him. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Breathless: Jean-Luc Godard's classic is the epitome of French new wave. Screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Free.
Adoration: Canadian director Atom Egoyan's latest is about the consequences of a teen who claims to be the son of a well-known terrorist. It's intense, thought-provoking and one of the best post-9/11 movies to date. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles: If you're still mourning John Hughes, drown your sorrows over one of his best, poolside. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Dead Snow: A group of Norwegian medical students on a ski trip learn the hard way that the worst kind of zombie is a Nazi zombie.
2012: The guys who blew up the world in Independence Day take us down again.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day: The sequel to the cult classic. This time, with more guys getting shot!
Disgrace: John Malkovich is a South African professor dismissed from his Capetown university for getting busy with one of his students.
Gentlemen Broncos: The latest film from Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) stars Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) as a novelist who steals the ideas of one of his fans.
The Horse Boy: Unlike the spate of fictional movies about autism, this documentary about a Texas couple who take their autistic son to Mongolia shows how tough it is to have a kid on the spectrum.
Pirate Radio: Even with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this look at DJs spinning tunes from a ship off the English coast during the '60s is all soft rock.
(Untitled): Adam Goldberg is an abrasive, neurotic composer in this satirical look at the modern art world. For once, Vinnie Jones plays a creative type, rather than the guy who kicks ass.
The Box: Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) adapts Richard Matheson's (I Am Legend) story about a couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) who are given an offer: Push a button, get rich, kill someone you don't know.
Disney's A Christmas Carol: Robert Zemeckis gives Dickens' classic the animated, 3-D treatment and hands the lead role to Jim Carrey.
The Fourth Kind: This POV look at alien abduction could be the next Blair Witch—uh, Paranormal Activity.
The Men Who Stare at Goats: Even though it's got all the right ingredients, like George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey, this dark comedy about secret psychic warfare loses track of itself (which means it's not psychic, right?).
Skin: A black girl (Sophie Okonedo) is born to white parents (Sam Neill and Alice Krige) in South Africa during Apartheid.
White on Rice: Fresh off his divorce, Jimmy moves in with his sister and has to share his 10-year-old nephew's room while he hunts for a new wife.
Five Minutes of Heaven: Violence begets violence and terrific performances from Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt in Oliver Hirschbiegel's drama about two men meeting decades after one of them killed the other's brother.
Michael Jackson: This Is It: Over it.
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning: When Tony Jaa burst onto the scene with Thai Warrior, everyone thought he was the second coming of Bruce Lee. Even though it has some cool fighting, the prequel makes it clear that he is not.
Amelia: Hilary Swank plays the famous dominatrix—er, aviatrix. Yeah, aviatrix.
An Education: Nick Hornby of High Fidelity fame wrote the script and does a 180 by writing about a girl who desperately wants to grow up and thinks she may have found a shortcut in a good-looking charmer twice her age.
Astroboy: Animated version of the famous manga about a robot boy who has machine guns coming out of his ass. Oh, yeah, it's for kids.
Law Abiding Citizen: Jamie Foxx is a Philly D.A. trying to stop sociopath Gerard Butler, who is somehow blowing shit up while serving a prison term.
New York, I Love You: The sequel to a similar project about Paris, these 11 short films are about the beast that is New York, all tied together. There are plenty of high-profile actors, but the nature of the project guarantees that the whole is uneven.
Where the Wild Things Are: Let the wild rumpus begin! Scroll down at Lastblogonearth.com to find Anders Wright's review.
A Serious Man: The Coen brothers offer up an examination of faith that moves in mysterious ways.
Couples Retreat: Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell make a dumb romantic comedy.
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.
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.
Zombieland: Woody Harrelson. Zombies. Rated R. 'Nuff said.
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.
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.
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.
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.