Ever since Reading Cinemas took over the Pacific Theaters a few years ago, it's used some of the smaller rooms at its flagship Gaslamp location to screen very small films that otherwise likely would never have been seen in San Diego. That by itself has been an enormous addition to the cinema scene, and if you're not taking advantage of it, it's time to start. In addition to that, Reading kicked off its 40 Foot Film series last year, screening classic older films twice a week for just $5 each. Selections have included Lawrence of Arabia, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the first two (and best) films in The Godfather franchise, as well as some more modern, um, classics like Terminator 2.
The series has been such a success that Reading has expanded it, adding screenings at its Town Square location in Clairemont. There are two older movies showing this week as part of the series. On Thursday, Feb. 16, The King and I screens at Reading Cinemas Town Square, and two days later, also at 7 p.m. All the President's Men will play the Gaslamp location. I'm looking forward to It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, slated for Feb. 23 at Town Square. You can visit readingcinemas.com to see what's going on, though I tend to find the latest information on the company's Facebook page. Either way, for just five bucks a pop, it's worth taking a look.
The Flowers of War: Christian Bale poses as a priest to try to save a number of Chinese women from the Japanese during the attack on Nanking in 1937.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Man, Nicolas Cage must really need the money.
The Secret World of Arrietty: Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki wrote the screenplay for this anime take on The Borrowers.
This Means War: Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are secret-agent best friends who face off against each other when they both fall for Reese Witherspoon while trying to capture a Eurotrash terrorist. It's as stupid as it sounds, but everyone is so good-looking and charming that you might be willing to overlook that. Read our review.
One Time Only
San Diego Jewish Film Festival: The fest runs through Sunday, Feb. 19, at theaters throughout the area. Swing by SDJFF.org for all the details.
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Mickey Rooney's role has to be considered a racist caricature by any standards, but it's tough not to love Audrey hepburn's Holly Golightly. Presented by FilmOut at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
The Notebook: Evidently, Valentine's Day just happened. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Winnie: Jennifer Hudson is Winnie Mandela to Terrence Howard's Nelson at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in Room 101 of the Social Science Building at UCSD. Free.
Maya Lin: A Clear Strong Vision: This film, which beat out Hoop Dreams for the 1994 Best Documentary Oscar, profiles the artist behind the Vietnam Memorial. It's presented by the San Diego Architectural Foundation at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Re:Generation: Amir Bar Lev, the guy who directed The Tillman Story, also made this doc about five influential DJs, including DJ Premier and Skrillex. It screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at UltraStar Mission Valley, Poway Creekside Plaza and Mission Marketplace in Oceanside.
Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Animation 2012: The long-running, adults-only animation festival continues at midnight, Friday, Feb. 17, at the Ken Cinema.
Best Picture Nominee Marathon: Catch War Horse, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and The Descendants for just $20, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at AMC Mission Valley and La Jolla. A week later, you can catch the other five.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: It's just a jump to the left—at midnight, Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Ken Cinema.
Stairway to Heaven: Yes, there's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven—none of which has anything to do with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1946 post-war film about a British pilot (David Niven) who has to convince a heavenly court that his time hasn't yet come. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Dirty Dancing: Have the time of your life at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: Just in time for Valentine's Day comes this Bollywood romcom at Horton Plaza.
Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within: Sequel to the terrific Brazilian movie about a paramilitary police unit facing corruption while taking on drug traffickers.
Journey 2: Mysterious Island: Sort of a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, in that it's an adaptation of a Jules Verne book made family-friendly and in 3-D.
The Oscar-Nominated Short Films: All 10 will screen at the Ken Cinema in two programs, live-action and animated.
Pina: Wim Wenders directed this film about dance legend Pina Bausch. Don't miss it, and make sure you see it in 3-D.
Safe House: Young CIA buck Ryan Reynolds must team up with wily veteran Denzel Washington to kill a bunch of bad guys.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D: The Force was not so strong with this one.
The Vow: After Rachel McAdams loses her memory in a car crash, husband Channing Tatum has to make her fall in love with him again.
W.E.: Madonna's new movie—she directed it—parallels the relationship between King Edward VIII and the American divorcée over whom he abdicated the crown and a contemporary romance between a married woman and a security guard.
Dolphins: Get up close and personal with a species smarter than ourselves—at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Big Miracle: John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore save the whales. No, really, that's what it's about.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Chronicle: Three Seattle high-schoolers discover that in order to enjoy their newfound superpowers, they have to face the dark side.
The Woman in Black: Daniel Radcliffe tries to break out of the Harry Potter mold with this PG-13 horror movie.
Albert Nobbs: Glenn Close plays a 19th-century Irishwoman masquerading as a male butler. It's a great idea that isn't well executed.
The Grey: Liam Neeson, who somehow became an action star in the last few years, is the lead in Joe Carnahan's film about a group of Alaskan oil workers trying to survive a pack of wolves after a plane crash.
Man on a Ledge: The man in question is an ex-con played by Sam Worthington. The ledge is played by a ledge.
One for the Money: This year's Katherine Heigl romantic comedy.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Stephen Daldry's new film about an awkward little boy whose father, Tom Hanks, died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, will polarize audiences, who'll either experience an intense emotional connection or find it sentimental and exploitative.
Haywire: Steven Soderberg goes all Quentin Tarantino with an action film starring former American Gladiator Gina Carano as a Black Ops soldier who goes all medieval after she's betrayed.
Red Tails: George Lucas produced this film, which may be the biggest action film ever with a primarily black cast. Set during WWII, a group of Tuskegee Airmen finds itself oversees, fighting the enemy.
A Separation: Lovely Iranian movie about a couple going through a divorce who have to endure that country's labyrinthine legal system when their housekeeper is injured. Just won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
Underworld Awakening: The vampire / werewolf conflict continues in 3-D!
The Iron Lady: Not even Meryl Streep can solve the problems faced by this ham-handed biopic.
Carnage: Roman Polanski directs the adaptation of a Tony Award-winning play about two couples who get together to discuss a conflict between their children. It stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz and takes place entirely in one New York apartment.
Contraband: This year's Mark Wahlberg action movie.
Rescue: This IMAX movie looks at first-responders across the globe and includes footage shot during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. It screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Artist: This silent film about a silent-film star (Jean Dujardin) whose world begins to collapse as the talkies take over is a fully realized vision and a legitimate Best Picture contender.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Now with more English! David Fincher's reboot is far slicker than the Swedish original, but not, perhaps, particularly necessary.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: Believe it or not, No. 4 is the best of the bunch, probably because it's the first live-action film from director Brad Bird, the guy behind The Incredibles.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Gary Oldman is great as George Smiley, the semi-retired British spy brought back in to unmask a traitor during the Cold War, but the entire exercise is probably too slow for American audiences.
War Horse: Spielberg's other big holiday film is about a horse that's taken from the boy who raised him, serves as an officer's mount in WWI and ends up seeing action from opposite trenches.
Hugo: Hell hath apparently frozen over—Martin Scorsese has made a 3-D PG family film.
My Week with Marilyn: Eddie Redmayne is Colin Clark, an assistant to Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), who has to manage his boss' relationship with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during a production of The Prince and the Showgirl.
The Descendants: Alexander Payne's first film since Sideways is more straightforward than his previous work, but just as rewarding. George Clooney's terrific as Matt King, a father trying to reconnect with his daughters after his wife's injured in an accident.
Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen's most charming film in years stars Owen Wilson as a Jazz Age-infatuated screenwriter and aspiring novelist who ends up hanging with the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
Boto be Wild 3-D: Despite sounding like yet another animated animal movie, this is an IMAX film about baby elephants and orangutans and the people who love them. Oh, and it's narrated by Morgan Freeman. Collective sigh for the baby monkeys, please.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.