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Yes, you Cannes: This year's Cannes Film Festival doesn't go down until mid-May, but there are two Cannes-themed events taking place in town this week.
First, congrats to local filmmaker Giancarlo Ruiz, whose short film St. Jacques has been accepted into this year's Short Film Corner. The film, a slightly experimental piece about a couple who continue to search for one another after a beachside tragedy, isn't in competition, but Ruiz will have the opportunity to show it to industry professionals and do scads of networking.
Ruiz, who lives in Tijuana and works in La Jolla, shot the film in Las Playas with both American and Mexican actors. It's a moving, languorous work, and you can see it at a fundraiser the Media Arts Center is holding for the filmmaker and the film. The event goes down from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 30, at 921 25th St. St. Jacques will screen at 7 p.m., and Ruiz will be on hand for a Q&A. There's a bonus for attendees, too—beyond the food, drink and silent auction, anyone who donates $10 or more will receive a copy of the film as well as The Z's, another Ruiz short. This marks the first time a Tijuana film has been accepted into Cannes, and the fundraiser is a terrific opportunity to support local filmmaking.
Also, on Thursday, April 29, I'll be putting in an appearance at Juvenile Status, a Cannes Film Festival Selection Celebration. Rebecca Webb, curator of UCSD's ArtPower! Film, has handed the reins to students Jim Kildunne and Bora Kim, who've put together a selection of short films that appeared in the prestigious festival. All six pictures explore at the nature of childhood through different perspectives—I've seen them all, and it's sure to be an interesting evening. After the films, I'll be leading a Q&A, along with UCSD visual arts professor Wolfgang Hastert and at least one of the student curators. The event takes place at The Loft on the UCSD campus (www.artpwr.com). Doors open at 7, and the show starts at 8, but you can buy me a drink at any time.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Because, apparently, every single movie needs to be remade. At least they got Jackie Earle Haley to play Freddy Kreuger.
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. See our review on Page 22.
Furry Vengeance: Brendan Fraser is a nasty real-estate developer who takes on the animals of Oregon. Lessons, we assume, are learned.
La Mission: Benjamin Bratt is Che, a man well-respected in San Francisco's Mission District and forced to come to terms with the fact that his only son is gay.
Mid-August Lunch: A middle-aged Italian man must keep his 93-year-old mother and three other elderly women fed and happy, or he risks losing his condo.
Shinjuku Incident: Jackie Chan returns to China to make a serious crime film. Who would have guessed?
One Time Only
Up: Pixar's latest is one of its greatest. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Murder in Fashion: The Story of Andrew Cunanen: Descriptive title helps beleaguered writer cut word count. Screens at 6 and 8 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
The Room: It's back! This dark (possibly intentional) comedy is often described as the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Screens at midnight, Saturday, May 1, at the Ken Cinema.
Mammoth: Great little indie movie that never got to San Diego. Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams are an overworked couple with child whose lives are about to be dramatically changed by decisions he makes on a business trip to Thailand. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Storm: Kerry Fox plays a prosecutor at the Hague Tribunal who's sent, along with her team, to Bosnia to discover whether a key witness is telling the truth. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 3, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Burma VJ: All the footage in this documentary, which looks at the 2007 uprisings against Myanmar / Burma's military dictatorship and was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar, had to be smuggled out of the country. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Free Land: Minda Martin's documentary examines the history of her own family's displacement through a historical context. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, in Room 240 in the Arts Building on the CSU San Marcos campus.
In the Pit: Documentary about the workers who put together the second deck of Mexico City's Periferico Freeway, altering the nature of the city and the lives of everyone involved. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at the performance space in the Visual Arts facility on the UCSD campus. Free.
Visual Acoustics: All-around cool guy Keith York will present this excellent documentary about architect Jules Shulman. York goes on at 7:30, and film rolls at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. It's presented by the San Diego Architectural Foundation, which will probably ask you for a donation.
A Village Called Versailles: The village in this case is a New Orleans neighborhood dominated by Vietnamese Americans. They pulled themselves up after Katrina, only to face a government-mandated toxic-waste dump right in their backyard. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
The Three Amigos: When this movie came out, you probably wouldn't have thought that Chevy Chase would be the guy working most right now. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Square: Aussie bros Joel and Nash Edgerton craft a dark thriller that's reasonably compared to the Coen brothers Blood Simple, but with fewer laughs and more mullets.
The Back-Up Plan: JLo gets knocked up with twins via a turkey-baster, just before she meets the man of her dreams.
The Eclipse: Probably the only Irish romantic horror drama you'll see this year. Stars the terrific character actor Ciarin Hinds as a widower attracted to a horror writer at the literary festival where he volunteers—which is good timing, because he's just started seeing ghosts.
The Losers: A CIA black-ops team goes after the assassins who set them up. With the likes of Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans and Idris “Stringer Bell” Elba.
Oceans: Documentary about how we're destroying the other three-quarters of the planet.
The Secret in Their Eyes: This Argentinean thriller won the Best Foreign Language award at this year's Oscars. It's good, spanning decades and the relationship between a federal prosecutor and the boss with whom he's infatuated.
That Evening Sun: Elderly farmer Hal Holbrook escapes from his nursing home and returns to his spread, only to discover that it's occupied by someone else. Ends April 29 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
City Island: Andy Garcia and Juliana Margulies play a married New York couple whose family is falling apart around them—but more in a dramedy way than a tragedy way.
Death at a Funeral: Neil LaBute remakes, for American audiences, the English comedy about a funeral gone awry. So, instead of uptight Brits, you've got Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Danny Glover.
The Joneses: Their suburban neighbors can barely keep up with the Joneses, an all-American family made up of David Duchovny, Demi Moore and their two kids. But there's a reason for that, and to reveal it here would be to spoil the movie.
Kick-Ass: The worst thing about Kick-Ass is the trailer, which makes it look, well, cute. Actually, this is the hard-R, brutally violent, viciously funny comic-book movie you've been waiting for, assuming you've been waiting for an adorable 11-year-old girl who kicks ass and literally takes no prisoners.
Malice in Wonderland: Maggie Grace (Shannon from Lost) is a London law student who wakes up in an amnesiac wonderland after she's hit by a cab.
The Perfect Game: It's Mexico, 1957, and Clifton Collins Jr. is Cesar, whose aspirations of major-league coaching were thwarted by his ethnicity. He becomes the driving force behind a group of disadvantaged kids dying to start their own Little League team.
Date Night: Steve Carell and Tina Fey are a married couple struggling through their weekly date night. They're both so funny, but neither has starred in a movie that's as good as his or her TV show.
The Runaways: Twilight's Kristen Stewart is Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning is Cherie Currie in this look at the groundbreaking teen-girl rock group from the '70s. Weird-looking Michael Shannon is their manager, Kim Fowley.
Terribly Happy: Well-received Danish film about a big-city cop transferred to the sticks after a nervous breakdown. He stands out like a sore thumb, trying to solve a crime in a town where everyone knows everyone else—except him.
Clash of the Titans: The remake is just as awful as the 1981 original, but without the camp value.
The Last Song: Miley Cyrus is the cranky daughter to Greg Kinnear's sensitive estranged dad. Take your insulin.
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?: Tyler Perry strikes again, this time with Janet Jackson.
Coral Reef Adventure: The Fleet's classic IMAX film takes you for a visit to the reefs of Tahiti, which is cheaper than airfare and your own SCUBA gear, by the way. Fridays at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Hot Tub Time Machine: Truth in advertising. John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Cordrry and Clark Duke go back to the '80s in a hot-tub time machine. Totally out-raunches The Hangover by using every bodily fluid there is.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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. Ends April 1 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
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.