James' focus never pulls back much further than the street. He doesn't explore the larger political and socioeconomic issues that contribute to urban violence. He doesn't need to. Between lingering on the flowers and teddy bears left on the street for the dead, and bearing witness to young people in the heat of anger, we understand exactly what's going on.
What's impressive and ultimately hopeful about the movie— which opens Friday, Nov. 11, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp and also screens at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at The Loft at UCSD—is the difference these Interrupters can make. Often, they're able to talk a person down from violence or vengeance, and then they employ a long-term strategy that keeps them in constant contact with those same people. There's something amazing, for instance, about watching a 19-year-old return to the salon he robbed to apologize for his actions.
At the same time, there are so many heartbreaking moments— seeing relatively young mothers grieving for their dead children, or an elementary-school-age girl breaking down in class because she's terrified of her neighborhood. The difference the Interrupters are making is significant, but the mountain of poverty and senseless killings they climb is daunting.
The Greening of Whitney Brown: A spoiled city kid learns what's really important when the economic squeeze forces her family to move to the country.
Immortals: Zeus chooses Thesus (played by Henry Cavill, the next Superman) to take on Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) in a film by Tarsem Singh, who made The Cell.
J. Edgar: Leonardo DiCaprio is the longtime head of the FBI in Clint Eastwood's biopic. DiCaprio's pretty good, but the film treats Hoover with kid gloves.
Jack and Jill: As if one Adam Sandler weren't enough, here he plays a nice guy and the nice guy's annoying twin sister.
Like Crazy: Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are a young couple drawn to each other for years, even though her visa situation keeps her in England, while he lives in L.A. See our review on Page 21.
The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father CIA Spymaster William Colby: Um, title pretty much says it all.
Melancholia: There's an enormous amount of symbolism in Lars von Trier's new one, which stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg facing a failed wedding and, literally, the end of the world.
Revenge of the Electric Car: No, the electric car doesn't kill a bunch of goodlooking camp counselors, but that'd be cool, right?
One Time Only
Cruising: Al Pacino plays a cop who goes undercover in New York's 1980 underground gay subculture to catch a seriously homophobic serial killer. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Birch North Park Theatre. Election: Matthew Broderick is a teacher who goes up against Reese Witherspoon, a candidate for student body president. This terrific film is part of an Alexander Payne retrospective and screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
West Side Story: When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dying day. It's the musical's 50th anniversary, and it's screening at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at several area theaters. Hit fathomevents.com for details.
The Hammer: Based on the Life of Matt Hamill: This biopic of Matt Hamill, the first deaf wrestler to win the National Collegiate Wrestling Championship, screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at UltraStar Mission Valley.
Coming to America: Eddie Murphy has made a fortune doing family-friendly films. WTF happened to Arsenio Hall? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
About Schmidt: Jack Nicholson earned yet another Best Actor Oscar nomination playing Warren Schmidt, a recently retired widower who travels cross-country to his daughter's wedding. Part of the Alexander Payne retrospective, it screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: It's tough to say goodbye, but fans should be thrilled with the franchise's conclusion, which streamlines the final half of the final book and offers up some serious wizardry, in both story and special effects. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, through Saturday, Nov. 12, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
A Clockwork Orange: Kubrick's dystopian future made Malcolm McDowell a star and is still terribly creepy. The movie screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Metropolis: Tom DeLonge and the rest of Angels and Airwaves will be on hand to present the band's film at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Metropolis: The original Occupy Wall Street screens at midnight, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12, at the Ken Cinema.
Wall, The Journey Up: This doc tells the story of Steve Wampler and his quest to become the first person with cerebral palsy to scale El Capitan. Screens at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Sideways: In Alexander Payne's midlifecrisis film, Paul Giamatti takes Thomas Hayden Church to the Santa Barbara wine country to celebrate Church's impending wedding. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview: Steve is dead; long live Steve. Screens at 7:15 and 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16 and 17, at Hillcrest Cinemas.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Lions and vampires and werewolves, oh my. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at several area theaters. Check fathomevents.com for details.
The Big Lebowski: Donny is out of his element at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: About as funny as a holiday stoner 3-D movie can be, although the buzz wears off over time. Still, Neil Patrick Harris is absolutely filthy, going further than he did in the first two films.
Tower Heist: When Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck learn they've lost everything in Alan Alda's ponzi scheme, they recruit Eddie Murphy to help them rob him.
Martha Marcy May Marlene: Elizabeth Olsen—yes, the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley—is very good as a woman who has physically, but not mentally, escaped from a cult led by John Hawkes.
Anonymous: Disaster director Roland Emmerich commits murder most foul against Shakespeare's reputation in this entertaining period piece positing that someone else wrote all of the Bard's work.
In Time: Justin Timberlake stars in this sci-fi actioner as a guy with too much time on his hands in a world where people no longer age.
Oranges and Sunshine: Emily Watson plays Margaret Humphreys, a British social worker who discovered that her government was telling children their parents were dead but instead was shipping them to Australia.
Puss in Boots: Not too hard to imagine what the knock-off porn title will be of this Shrek spin-off.
Forces of Nature: This IMAX film is all about earthquakes, volcanoes and storms, things that remind us that Mother Nature is one tough mama. Screens Fridays at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Everest: It's one seriously tall mountain, and you'll get up close and personal with it in this IMAX movie. Screens Fridays at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rum Diary: Johnny Depp channels Hunter S. Thompson once again in an adaptation by the guy who made Withnail and I and How to Get Ahead in Advertising.
The Skin I Live In: Antonio Banderas stars in Pedro Almodovar's drama as a plastic surgeon desperate to create a synthetic skin for his wife, who was badly burned years ago. Thing is, he needs a human subject, and he'd rather try it out on someone else before he tries it out on her.
Footloose: The good news is that this remake is directed by Craig Brewer, who made Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, and he's able to coax some contemporary sensibility out of what could have been a diabetes-causing disaster.
The Thing: Technically a prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 classic, this new one has some good ideas but can't duplicate the success of the movie it's trying to emulate.
Take Shelter: Michael Shannon is tremendous as a man whose mental illness compels him to build a storm shelter in his backyard.
The Way: Emilio Estevez directed his dad, Martin Sheen, in this film about a father who heads to Europe to try to recover the body of his estranged son.
The Ides of March: George Clooney, who's always worn his politics on his sleeve, directs and stars in his latest film, about the death of idealism in a young political consultant played by Ryan Gosling. It's well-made, but not as important as it thinks it is.
Real Steel: In the future, when boxers are replaced by robots, Hugh Jackman resurrects his career as a trainer by teaching a worthless piece of junk how to get all rock-'em, sock-'em.
Under the Sea: Go underwater and see some of the planet's most gorgeous ecosystems, before it's too late, since we're gradually destroying pretty much everything. Screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
50/50: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Adam, a 28-year-old who learns he has cancer. Seth Rogen is his best friend, so it's got the R-rated raunch-comedy thing going on, but JGL's performance is so good you won't care.
My Afternoons with Margueritte: Gerard Depardieu is Germain, an almost-illiterate man in his 50s whose friendship with the elderly Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus) allows both of them to grow in ways they hadn't anticipated.
Dolphin Tale: A boy and his dolphin. A family picture with Morgan Freeman and Harry Connick Jr., not to be confused with that weird '75 Don Johnson sci-fi movie A Boy and His Dog.
Moneyball: Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's who shook up baseball by reinventing the way players are valued. Sounds like dry stuff, but the last time someone adapted a Michael Lewis sports-business book for the big screen was The Blind Side, which earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar.
Contagion: Stephen Soderbergh's big-budget virus movie stars everyone from Matt Damon to Kate Winslet to Marion Cottilard to Gwyneth Paltrow. Finally, we know what happened to the bird flu.
The Help: Based on Kathryn Stockett's novel, this stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, a '60s-era college kid who starts interviewing the African-American women in her southern town, something that just wasn't done at the time. Screening at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Crazy, Stupid, Love: Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling headline a good-enough romantic comedy that's not ashamed of its PG-13 status.
Buck: Documentary about Buck Brannaman, one of the leading experts in horses and the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer. Screening at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
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.
Tornado Alley: This new IMAX film, which travels into twisters with some professional storm chasers, has to be better than Twister, the movie. 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.