This year, for the eighth iteration, there are six rooms and more than 20 short films, including St. Jacques, the dreamlike short from local filmmaker Giancarlo Ruiz, which screened at Cannes earlier this year. That's screening in the “Emotion Junction—Outsiders, Drama Queens, and Village Idiots Unite” room, along with the Sundance pick Charlie and the Rabbit; Kavi, which was nominated for an Oscar; and, among others, “Vomit Pig / Lustful Fistful,” a two-part music video from Craig Oliver, who used to man the counter at the now-defunct Citizen Video, and his filmmaking partner Nathan Gulick.
There's a room of animated shorts (“Toon Town Troublemakers' Detention Room II”) and another made up of shorts from Africa (“New African Viewfinders”).
Anna O'Cain and SDSU Professor Richard Keely's Gulf, a two-channel video installation looking the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, makes up this year's “Wailing Wall.” Elevated, an early short from Vincenzo Natali, who recently directed Splice, takes up residence in the “Phantasmagoria Lounge,” and Kendricks will be screening his own work in progress, Comics Are Everywhere, in the “Mini- Docs R' Us” room.
It really is a unique event, and this year, it will also include a DJ set from David J, the former bassist for Bauhaus and Love and Rockets. It kicks off at 7 p.m. and it's only $5 to get in. Traditionally, there's been more running time than walking time, meaning that you can't see everything there is to see. My advice? If you're going to have a drink in the lounge, make it quick.
A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop: A frenetic Chinese adaptation of the Coen brothers' first film, Blood Simple. Does that sound weird? It is.
Around a Small Mountain: French director Jacques Rivette's new one is about an Italian man who falls for a French woman who's a member of a traveling circus.
Celda 211: A prison guard pretends to be an inmate during a prison riot in hopes of getting home to his pregnant wife. Presented for a week by the San Diego Latino Film Festival at UltraStar Mission Valley.
Cinco Dias sin Nora: Before her death, a woman devises a Rube Goldberg-like scheme to make her ex-husband take care of her funeral. Presented for a week by the San Diego Latino Film Festival at UltraStar Mission Valley.
Flipped: It's love at first sight when Juli first meets Bryce, even though they're only in the second grade. Rob Reiner directs.
I'm Still Here: Remember when Joaquin Phoenix went nuts, grew that scraggly beard and tried to be a hip-hop artist? Casey Affleck caught it all on camera.
Jean-Michael Basquiat: Radiant Child: Between running away at 17 and overdosing on heroin a decade later, Basquiat packed in a lot of living. Tamra Davis' new documentary looks at the rise and fall of one of the most important contemporary American artists. See our review on Page 19.
Resident Evil: Afterlife: In 3-D. Yep.
The Virginity Hit: A Blair Witch Project-style mockumentary about a geeky dude taking the plunge. And by “plunge,” we mean having sex.
ONE TIME ONLY
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. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Stoked and Broke: A locally made documentary about two surfers, Ryan Burch and director Cyrus Sutton, on a minimalist surfing journey. Premieres at 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Entre Nos: A mother takes her two kids from Colombia to New York, only to be abandoned by her husband. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, at Otay Ranch. Free.
The Goonies: The movie came out in 1985? Man, we're old. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Cronos: Yes, another vampire movie. But this one was made by Guillermo del Toro and is wickedly cool. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Calling on Others: Locally produced surf doc gets a screening at a North Park eatery. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, at El Take It Easy in North Park.
Barnyard: If you have kids, you already know that the Saturday morning cartoon spawned by Bob Odenkirk's film is pretty damn funny. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, poolside at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley. Free.
Some Like It Hot: Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are jazz musicians in drag and on the lam from the mob. Can they keep it up after they run into Marilyn Monroe? Yes, that's a euphemism, and, yes, some of it was shot at the Hotel Del. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, through Saturday, Sept. 11, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Bicycle Film Festival: The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles (that's from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). Details are on Page 10, but pedal by bicyclefilmfest ival.com for tickets and film info. It starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
The Kid Brother: Silent Harold Lloyd classic with live accompaniment from Philip Carli. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins: Scooby Snacks is just a whimsical term for edibles, right? Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, poolside at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley. Free.
Off and Running: Avery is an African- American girl adopted by two white lesbian mommies in New York. When she hits high school, she finds she's got some serious soul-searching to do. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
A Mi Me Gusta: A Venezuelan cook is deported home, only to meet a yummy British chef who comes to town. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, at Otay Ranch. Free
The Graduate: The movie that made Dustin Hoffman a star is on CityBeat film editor Anders Wright's short list of favorite films. Why? Plastics. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
role / play: A divorced gay marriage activist and an outed soap star are forced to come to terms with how bitchy the gay community can be. It's presented by FilmOut at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Temecula Valley international Film & Music Festival: This year, they're giving out awards to Eric Roberts and Kenny Loggins. They usually have some decent films, too—swing by tviff.com for the whole list. Runs Wednesday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Sept. 19 in Temecula.
The Tillman Story: Steady-handed and depressing documentary about the cover-up over the friendly-fire death of the football player turned Army Ranger.
The American: George Clooney is a sensitive hit man who has to pull One Last Job.
Centurion: Director Neil Marshall's Roman adventure feels more like a WWII movie, as a small squad of soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines and desperately trying to make it to safety. Visually, he does a lot with a little, but that doesn't fix the lack of characterization and clunky dialogue.
Going the Distance: Exes Drew Barrymore and Justin Long play a couple in a long-distance relationship. In real life, apparently, she's a PC.
Highwater: A documentary about the Triple Crown surf competitions from the guy who made Step Into Liquid.
Machete: Danny Trejo finally gets his own movie. Robert Rodriguez turns him into a Mexican killing machine by adapting the faux trailer the duo made for Grindhouse.
Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One: This second part of the famous French criminal's story is better than the first (Killer Instinct). Vincent Cassell is dangerously good.
Avatar: Special Edition: It's back, and it's bigger than before—meaning there's an additional nine minutes of footage. If you're going to see it again (because who hasn't seen it?), make sure you see it in 3D.
The Last Exorcism: Eli Roth produced this seriously creepy-looking redo.
Mao's Last Dancer: Bruce Beresford directs this biopic of Li Cunxin, who was chosen by the Chinese government to become a world-class ballet dancer.
Mesrine: Killer Instinct: The first of a two-part biopic about Jacques Mesrine, the infamous French criminal who operated in his homeland and Canada during the '60s and '70s. Vincent Cassell is terrific as the main man.
Takers: A crew of bad guys, including Paul Walker, Idris Elba and T.I., doublecross each other over a big payday.
Piranha 3-D: Finally, someone is putting this technology to good use.
Animal Kingdom: This look at the last days of a small-time Australian family of criminals is low on violence and high on tension and drama.
Cairo Time: Patricia Clarkson is a reserved magazine editor who chums around Cairo with her husband's former U.N. security guard (Alexander Siddig) when events in Gaza prevent her hubby from meeting her there.
Lottery Ticket: Bow Wow buys a lottery ticket worth more than $300 million. But it's a three-day weekend, and everyone in his neighborhood wants to separate him from it.
Nanny McPhee returns: Just waiting for the pay-per-view Super Nanny / Nanny McPhee steel-cage match.
The Switch: Seven years after Jennifer Aniston turkey-basted herself pregnant, her BFF Jason Bateman tells her that it was full of his man juice.
Vampires Suck: So tired of vampire movies.
Eat Pray Love: Julia Roberts does all of the above. Women swoon.
The Expendables: Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren and some wrestlers kill people.
The Expendables: Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren and some wrestlers kill people.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Edgar Wright's adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's beloved graphic novel is like nothing you've seen before. Michael Cera is the titular hero, who must fight Ramona Flowers' (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes to the death in order to date her. It's all done with quick cuts and awesome edits and is full of video-game references.
Peepli Live: This satire about the suicides of Indian farmers and the government's lackluster attempt to respond was the first film from that country to compete at Sundance.
Get Low: Robert Duvall does crotchety old man better than anyone, and this crotchety old man wants to throw himself a funeral party while he's still alive.
The Other Guys: Mark Ferrell and Will Wahlberg team up as cops. Or is it the other way around?
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: Yes, they really made a movie with this title.
Dinner for Schmucks: In order for Paul Rudd to succeed in business, he must invite a serious loser to his boss' house for dinner. That loser is Steve Carell.
Salt: Angelina Jolie is a CIA agent who beats down a ton of people after she's accused of being a Russian spy.
Restrepo: This documentary keeps the cameras on a U.S. platoon in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan for a solid year. Harrowing.
Inception: Christopher Nolan's follow-up to The Dark Knight is epic, complex and beautiful. In short, it's the stuff that dreams are made of.
The Kids Are All Right: Decent family drama about a lesbian couple played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore whose family is altered when their children seek out the sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) who made it all possible.
Despicable Me: Steve Carrell voices Gru, an animated master criminal trying to steal the moon—until he meets three little girls who think he might make a better dad than a crook.
The Girl Who Played with Fire: The second film in the massively successful Millennium trilogy gives us more of Lisbeth Salander, the ass-kicking female hacker heroine, and less originality.
The Living Sea: The latest IMAX film at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center looks at all the creepy crawlies that live down in the deep blue.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Blah blah blah Robert Pattinson. Blah blah blah Taylor Lautner.
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: The latest IMAX entry at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park follows super surfer Kelly Slater as he does his thing on some massive waves.
Winter's Bone: Debra Granik's noir thriller, set in a closed meth-cooking community in the Ozarks, is as intense and grim as its name. It's well-written and well-made and features an amazing performance from Jennifer Lawrence, a 17-year-old who has to find her deadbeat father or she and her young brother and sister will lose their home.
Toy Story 3: Any idea where the toys you loved as a kid ended up? When Andy goes off to college, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang end up at a day-care center.
Exit Through the Gift Shop: Legendary prankster street artist Banksy's first film is a brilliant take on art and its nature. It may sound stuffy, but it's engaging, insightful, funny and subversive—and smarter than anything else you'll see this summer. Run, do not walk, to see this one. Playing at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Thriller about a male journalist and a female hacker hired to solve the 40-year-old disappearance of a member of a Swedish crime family.
Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at saturn's rings. Just stay away from Uranus. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.