When Borat came out in 2006, it was generally considered to be hysterically satirical. Sacha Baron Cohen surreptitiously exposed nasty racist, sexist and homophobic tendencies in average Americans by playing a dimwitted reporter from Kazakhstan and also by not telling people what his real motives were—to surreptitiously expose their nasty racist, sexist and homophobic tendencies, and then show them to millions of people. So it's no surprise that in the intervening years leading up to this week's release of his new film, Brüno, we've started looking at his style as being, well, kinda mean.
What will that mean for the new movie, in which Cohen takes on the identity of a gay Austrian supermodel? I had yet to see the new movie by press time, but the trailers look painfully funny, as Cohen does his best to provoke a reaction from good ol' boys, fashionistas, African-Americans, swingers and pretty much anyone who didn't see Borat and is either willing or dumb enough to get in front of the camera with him. In some ways, the movie's release has fortuitous timing, what with Prop. 8 passing in November and states like Iowa and New Hampshire ending up more progressive than California when it comes to gay marriage. But there are questions: How much is too much? Brüno adopts an African baby and names the child O.J., after all. Is there already something of a Cohen backlash brewing? And is what he does funny simply because it's happening to someone else? The answer to the latter is easy: Yes.
Blood: The Last Vampire: A hot vampire in a schoolgirl outfit kills demons with a seriously sharp sword. Otherwise known as a fanboy's wet dream.
The End of the Line: This documentary argues that if we keep doing what we're doing, our oceans might be seafood-free by 2048.
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. See our review.
I Love You, Beth Cooper: When high-school valedictorian Denis (Paul Rust) professes his love for popular girl Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere) during his grad speech, the last thing he expects is for her to show up at his house that night.
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A Senseless Death / Una Muerta sin Sentido: Documentary looks at two young Marines who were born in Mexico, raised in San Diego County and killed in Iraq. Fernando Suarez del Solar, a local activist and the father of one of the slain Marines, will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Ocean's Eleven: Steven Soderberg and the dream team of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon turned in a remake of the Rat Pack casino-heist original that's better that its source material, even though the two sequels it spawned weren't. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Bring out your dead! Yes, it's the Holy Grail of Monty Python movies. Get there early—they've been turning people away. Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 8, at Stone Brewery and Bistro in Escondido. Free.
Our Man Flint: James Coburn is ultra-cool as Derek Flint, the world's greatest secret agent. Part of the Mid-Century California exhibit, it screens at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.
It Happened One Night: A Capra classic. Claudette Colbert is a spoiled heiress who's run away, and Clark Gable is a reporter who desperately needs a story. True fact: Gable takes off his shirt, and he's not wearing anything underneath. Undershirt sales dropped precipitously. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 9 and 10, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Il Vento Fa Il Suo Giro: A French shepherd and his family move to a dying Italian village. At first, the locals are thrilled they've arrived, but as the family finds success, their new neighbors start to resent them. Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival, it screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location. Donation suggested.
Forever Plaid: It's the successful off-Broadway musical's 20th anniversary, and this broadcast will include sing-alongs, a live performance from five cast members (well, it would be live if we lived on the other coast) and lots of other things for the diehard fans. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at AMC La Jolla and Mission Valley, Edwards Mira Mesa and Horton Plaza. www.fathomevents.com.
Objectified: Documentary about the people who design the objects we covet and our relationship with both the designers and the objects. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, July 10, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location.
Kambakkht Ishq: Hooray for Bollywood! Screens at 9:45 p.m. Friday, July 10, at UltraStar Del Mar and 5 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at UltraStar Poway. www.goldspiritfilms.com.
The Big Chill: True fact: This would have been Kevin Costner's debut role if he hadn't ended up on the cutting-room floor. It's his death that causes old friends Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Tom Berenger, Mary Kay Place and JoBeth Williams to reunite. It still holds up, by the way. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Back to the Future: These days, you can find a DeLorean on eBay for, like, 10 grand. Screens at midnight, Saturday, July 11, at the Ken Cinema.
I Served the King of England: This gorgeous movie—about Jan Dite, a Czech man who attempts to live and love (lots and lots of love!) between the 1920s and the 1960s while working at a fine hotel in Prague—asks whether you can live your life outside world events. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
The Betrayal: Shot over 23 years, Ellen Kuras' documentary follows a Laotian family's journey to America after the secret U.S. bombings against their country during the Vietnam War. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 13, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Beer Wars: Documentary about the brutal behind-the-scenes battles in America's favorite industry. Screened at 8:30 p.m. Monday, July 13, at (appropriately) Stone Brewery and Bistro in Escondido. Free.
Madagascar 2: Escape From Africa: Stranded animated animals try to make it home but wind up on the wrong continent instead. Again. Screens at dusk, Tuesday, July 14, at Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine. Free.
I.O.U.S.A.: Documentary about how we got into our collective financial mess in the first place. Ironic, certainly, because of how California is now paying its bills. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, at the 8Teen Art and Cultural Center in North Park. Free.
Blazing Saddles: This will always be Mel Brooks' masterpiece, a brutally funny, anti-PC satire about a black man hired to be the new sheriff of a town in the Old West. Also, it's the first film to include fart sounds. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: The movie that made Sean Penn a star. San Diego's Cameron Crowe wrote Fast Times, the ultimate high-school movie, but it wouldn't have been the same without Penn's Spicoli, who needs only tasty waves and a cool buzz to be just fine. Screens at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, at Stone Brewery and Bistro in Escondido. Free.
The Girl From Monaco: When a brilliant attorney heads to Monaco for a trial, he doesn't count on falling for a psychotic vixen who distracts him from his upcoming case.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: When, oh when, will animated mammoths remember their rightful place as construction equipment?
Public Enemies: Michael Mann's movie about the end days of John Dillinger is long on history, style—and length.
Il Divo: Paolo Sorrentino won the Jury Prize at Cannes for his film about legendary Italian politician Giulio Andreotti. Yes, the political trials and tribulations of another nation are complex, but the filmmaking is absolutely amazing.
Cheri: Set in 1920s Paris, a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer), breaks a younger man's heart, sending him spinning into a fantasy world. Based on the novels of Collette, the movie's directed by the always-reliable Steven Frears from a screenplay by Christopher (Dangerous Liasons) Hampton.
My Sister's Keeper: The summer's first big weeper. Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric have a second child, Abigail Breslin, in hopes of providing a donor match for their leukemia-stricken firstborn.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: In one of the last summer blockbusters of the year, giant robots blow shit up.
Under Our Skin: This documentary takes the medical and insurance industries to task for not dealing with Lyme disease, which can be contracted by more people each year than HIV, avian flu and the West Nile virus combined.
Whatever Works: The combination of Larry David and Woody Allen should be a comedy slam dunk, but it just feels like two old guys kvetching.
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 Proposal: Ryan Reynolds is Sandra Bullock's assistant. She pushes him into a marriage of convenience (at least for her), but we're guessing it sticks.
Year One: Jack Black and Michael Cera star in what could be subtitled History of the World, Part 2.
Away We Go: Director Sam Mendes continues his examination of the American psyche with this road-trip comedy about a young pregnant couple (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) looking for parenting role models.
Imagine That: The latest Eddie Murphy family flick finds financier Eddie solving his problems via his daughter's imaginary world.
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3: Whenever this remake, which stars Denzel Washington as a subway dispatcher and John Travolta as the guy who takes a subway car hostage, slows down, it's easy to see how ridiculous it is.
Departures: This Japanese film about a cellist who becomes a mortician of sorts earned the Best Foreign Film Oscar in February.
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.
Land of the Lost: Will Ferrell turns a totally cheesy TV show into a big-screen movie whose trailer can't even make it look good.
Drag Me to Hell: Sam Raimi returns to his roots with a small horror film that stars Alison Lohman as a sweet girl going to hell.
Up: The trailer for Pixar's first 3D film doesn't sell it, but this story of an old man who flies his house to South America via helium balloons is just as good as what you've come to expect from those guys.
Valentino, the Last Emperor: Documentary about the legendary designer Valentino Garavani.
The Brothers Bloom: Dirty-rotten-scoundrel brothers Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo target wealthy heiress Rachel Weisz as their final mark before leaving the business.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: CGI history-revision lesson with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.
Summer Hours: Three adult siblings are forced to revisit their childhood when their mother dies and they need to go through her things.
Angels and Demons: More fun than The Da Vinci Code, but just as stupid.
Star Trek: The JJ Abrams-directed franchise reboot boldly goes to the heart of the original show and makes it fun again. It's fun, fresh and exciting, the first badass Trek movie since The Wrath of Khan. Good for Trekkies, good for non-Trekkies and great for Trek.
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.