Hot Tub Time Machine
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Truth in advertising: There's little doubt that Hot Tub Time Machine was quickly written, shot and rushed to market in the wake of the enormous success of The Hangover, a movie that cost very little to make and had b-list stars with reasonable salaries. But so what? It's still stupid funny, starring John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry as 40ish BFFs whose lives are totally off track, until they—along with Cusack's nephew, Clark Duke—go back to the 1980s in, well, a hot-tub time machine.
And once they're there, it's got a little bit of everything. It's part Animal House, part ski-lodge-teen-sex comedy, part have-to-return-to-the-future comedy and a whole lot of '80s comedy, going so far as to cast '80s / Back to the Future icon Crispin Glover in a clever supporting bit. It also never takes itself even slightly seriously. It absolutely out-raunches The Hangover, unapologetically spraying its stars with virtually every bodily fluid imaginable and giving Corddry and Robinson bigger and better roles than they've had on the big screen.
Is it dumb? Sure. But let's face it, it's a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine. It's supposed to be dumb. Does it all work? No. But would you expect it to? What I'd expect is that it'll be successful, because it couldn't have cost a lot to make, and it's going to earn repeat visits from the same set that repeatedly endured The Hangover. Hell, if it makes enough money, they'll probably consider a sequel, which is funny because a film like Hot Tub Time Machine is totally designed so that guys like Robinson and Corddry never have to make movies like Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
The Art of the Steal: A documentary about the vicious court battle over an art collection valued at $25 billion. One week only at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
CA$H: A Chicago couple with money problems finds nasty Sean Bean at their door offering what could be a solution, or something else entirely.
Chloe: Julianne Moore works with hot young thing Amanda Seyfried to figure out if hubby Liam Neeson is having an affair. That can't be a good idea.
Greenberg: The latest from The Squid and the Whale director Noah Baumbach is an observational character piece starring Ben Stiller as Greenberg, a guy who can't accept that life didn't work out the way he had hoped.
How to Train Your Dragon: Jay Baruchel voices the lead in this 3-D animated flick about a Viking teen who's supposed to learn to kill dragons but instead brings one home as a pet.
Prodigal Sons: Looks at three siblings—a gay man, a transgendered woman and their adopted brother, who is the grandson of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. One week only at the Ken Cinema. Director Kimberly Reed and Todd McKerrow, one of the brothers, will be on hand for opening weekend.
One time only
Football Under Cover: Doc about a match between German and Iranian soccer teams that took place in Teheran in 2006. Both of these are women's teams, and it marked the first time the Iranian women had ever played another squad. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
You Can Heal Your Life: Louise Hay published Heal Your Body in 1976, an early entry into the now-massive self-help genre. This documentary about her life screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, at Vision in Clairemont Mesa. Keep your donation, but give them a love offering.
There's Something About Mary: This one is still pretty funny, even if you're sick of Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
A Class Apart: Documentary about the landmark 1951 Hernandez vs. Texas Supreme Court case and the lawyers and activists who fought it. There's a reception at 6:30 p.m., and the film screens at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, March 25, in room CYB 101 at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in Old Town. Free.
Il Posto: Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival, this is the 1961 classic about a young man who must undergo a series of ridiculous exams in order to get the government job that eventually strips him of his individuality. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25, at UltraStar Flower Hill.
Senorita Extraviada: Documentary examining the disappearance and murders of more than 300 women in Juarez, Mexico. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, March 26, at Latte mi Corazon in Sherman Heights.
The Blind Side: The Cinema Under the Stars summer series starts early with two Spring Cinema entries. Deserving or not, Sandra Bullock was gracious when she accepted her Best Actress Oscar for this one. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 26 and 27, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Banff Mountain Film Festival: Touring festival of films about mountain-climbing culture. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas and at 7 p.m. Friday through Monday, March 26 through 29, at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
IndieFest Indie Film Stage: The entire first day of this year's IndieFest is made up of independent films, presented on the Mental Eclectic Indie Film stage at Queen Bee's Arts and Culture Center in North Park. There will be panels, celebrity emcees and, best of all, a slew of independent films. Find details about IndieFest on Page 15.
Townes Van Zandt: Be Here to Love Me: Terrific documentary about an artist who truly gives everything to his work. Screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 28, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Free.
The Devil's Breath: Documentary about the undocumented migrants who perished in the 2007 California wildfires. Part of the Border Film Week, it screens at 6 p.m. Monday, March 29, at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre on the USD campus. Free.
Food, Inc.: Oscar-nominated doc explains why the phrase “You are what you eat” is pretty disturbing these days. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 29, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Michael Jackson: This Is It: Michael Jackson's estate just signed the largest record deal in history. He might be dead, but he won't beat it. Screens at 7 and 9 p.m. Monday, March 29, at the Birch North Park Theatre. Your $10 admission gets you a beer, too ($7 without beer).
Hafner's Paradise: Documentary about Paul Hafner, a former Nazi living comfortably in Spain. Director Güünter Schwaiger will be on hand to take questions. Screens at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, at the Institute of the Americas on the UCSD campus. Free.
7 Soles: A coyote is trying to get out of the business, so his employers send a young smuggler to keep an eye on him during what is supposed to be his last run. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre on the USD campus. Free.
2501 Migrants: Takes a look at the art and culture of the migrant Mexican community. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre on the USD campus. Free.
Tommy Boy: Chris Farley really was a funny guy. Screens at 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 31, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Bounty Hunter: You might expect an awesome action movie with a title like this and a star like Gerard Butler. Instead, you get a rom-com with Jennifer Aniston.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Follows a snarky middle-schooler through an academic year. Next month, Chloë Grace Moretz, the 13-year-old female lead, will slaughter bad guys in Kick-Ass.
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.
Miss You Like Crazy: Filipino film about two people whose lives are going in predictable directions until they run into one another on a ferry one night.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers: No, it didn't win the Oscar, but this documentary is a fascinating look at the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration, a must see for potential whistle blowers and journalists.
Mother: Korean director Bong Joon-ho follows up The Host with this painfully well-made murder mystery featuring a disturbing performance from Kim Hye-ja, who's desperate to prove that her mentally disabled son is innocent.
The Red Baron: Set during WWI, when dogfighting had nothing to do with the NFL.
Repo Men: More a sequel to Repo! The Genetic Opera than Repo Man. Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are guys who will take back your shiny new organs if you can't keep up your payments.
Ajami: Co-directed by a Jew and a Palestinian, this look at a mixed neighborhood in the Jaffa part of Tel Aviv is populated by non-actors and was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Ends March 25 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Green Zone: Matt Damon teams up with Paul Greengrass, the guy who made the last two Bourne movies, for an Iraq action film.
Our Family Wedding: Marcus (Lance Gross), an African-American man, is getting married to Lucia (America Ferrera), a Latina woman, which inflicts no end of comic anguish on their respective dads, Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia.
Remember Me: Set in New York in the summer of 2001, Ruben Pattinson is an angry young man who has a tumultuous relationship with his father (Pierce Brosnan). Emilie de Ravin of Lost just might be the girl to straighten him out, if audiences are prepared to watch Pattinson do something besides Twilight.
She's Out of My League: Jay Baruchel gets his first lead since Undeclared, and it's about time, even if it's in a Jud Apatow rom-com knock-off. He's Kirk, an average guy working for the TSA who can't believe that hottie Alice Eve wants to be with him.
A Prophet: Brutally intense film about a young Arab man (Tehar Rahim) who becomes a mob kingpin after he's sentenced to six years in a French prison.
Alice in Wonderland: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have remade Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sleepy Hollow together (and let's not forget about Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood). Alice marks the first time they've gone 3-D. Question is, can Burton infuse a sense of humanity into Lewis Carroll's classic?
Brooklyn's Finest: Training Day director Antoine Fuqua has clearly been watching The Wire in recent years, but his new dirty-cop drama, starring Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle, is black-and-white, rather than more interesting shades of gray.
Cop Out: Kevin Smith's new cop comedy, starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, was once under the working title “A Couple of Dicks.”
The Crazies: A remake of George Romero's 1973 freak show, about a small Iowa town whose residents go nuts and start killing each other.
Dolphins: It's only a matter of time before they tell us, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” In IMAX at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Ghost Writer: We all know what Roman Polanski is capable of, and we're not talking about the events that have him under house arrest in Switzerland. This political thriller—starring Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer who bites off more than he can chew when he goes to work on the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan)—is a solid, if unremarkable, piece of filmmaking.
Shutter Island: Leonardo DiCaprio is U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels in Martin Scorsese's latest, investigating a missing heiress who's escaped from an asylum and is presumed to be hiding out on the desolate titular atoll.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: It's tough times for young Percy. His dad is Poseidon, his mom has gone missing and he's the prime suspect in the case of Zeus' missing lightning bolt. Also, it's tough times for anyone who believed in a deity that isn't Greek.
The Last Station: Michael Hoffman's film about Tolstoy's final days manages to avoid being a stuffy, standard period piece and features some terrific acting from Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. Ends March 25 at Hillcrest and La Jolla Village cinemas.
The Greatest Places: This IMAX adventure features seven locales, which range from Greenland's icebergs to the enormous waterfall at Iguazu. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Crazy Heart: Sure, it's a clean-and-sober story, but Jeff Bridges is guaranteed an Oscar nomination for playing faded country singer and legendary drunk Bad Blake.
Sherlock Holmes: Robert Downey Jr. is great, as usual, even if his Sherlock Holmes is more brawn than brains.
A Single Man: Colin Firth delivers on the role of a lifetime in fashion designer Tom Ford's directorial debut.
The Young Victoria: The Devil Wears Prada's Emily Blunt stars as, well, a young Queen Victoria.
Avatar: James Cameron's sci-fi magnum opus is too long and has an inevitable love story. But, for once, when they say you've never seen anything like it, they're right. This is a film and a truly rendered alien planet that must be seen on the big screen and in 3D.
Up in the Air: George Clooney is at his charmiest (charm + smarmy) as Ryan Bingham, flown in to fire employees at companies he has nothing to do with and aspiring to little more than more frequent flier miles. He's a lock for a Best Actor nomination.
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.
Amazon: There are all sorts of insane animals to be encountered in this 4,000-mile IMAX trek through the South American basin. Keep your hands in the boat. Screens Fridays at 8 p.m. at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.