The Hunger Games is an entertaining movie, but my gripe is this: It’s a film about a dystopian future in which teens are sent to fight to the death, but those fights are shot in a herky-jerky manner, rendering them essentially bloodless, which means that the real horror and brutality of The Hunger Games—so important to Suzanne Collins’ books—was sanitized into a PG-13 rating.
To a degree, it makes sense to go in that direction, because the source material is a young-adult novel, and you have to cater to teens. But the sanitization of violence in movies always grates on me, because it means that we don’t take it as seriously.
The violence certainly isn’t toned down in Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku’s 2000 film that’s roughly about the same subject matter. Yes, misbehaving teenagers are forced to duke it out to the very end, and the results are intense, shockingly brutal and extremely bloody. Yes, this is the film The Hunger Games has probably been compared to the most. And not only has it finally come out on Blu-ray, but it’s also screening at midnight, Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30, at the Ken Cinema, with an introduction from Beth Accomondo of KPBS on Saturday. If you’ve seen it, you know how intense this movie is, and, yes, it’s worth your while to see it on the big screen.
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Born to Love You: The Filipino film series at Horton Plaza continues with this romantic comedy.
Deep Sea: This IMAX undersea film was made by Del Mar’s Howard and Michele Hall and is narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Elena: A middle-aged Russian woman takes matters into her own hands when she discovers that her elderly husband is cutting her out of his will.
Magic Mike: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and some other oiled-up boys take off their clothes for dollar bills.
People Like Us: When his father dies, Chris Pine learns that he has a half-sister, played by Elizabeth Banks. He goes to her to explain the situation and give her part of their dad’s estate but finds that, well, she’s kinda hot. Yeah, that’s creepy.
Ted: Mark Wahlberg’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum: It’s either her or his walking, talking, foul-mouthed teddy bear, voiced by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane, who also wrote and directed.
To Rome with Love: Woody Allen is his own worst enemy, because every time he turns out a mediocre movie—and this pastiche of stories set in Rome is certainly mediocre—it gets judged against his previous work. See our review on Page 22.
Tyler Perry’s Medea’s Witness Protection: What the world needs now, apparently, is another Medea movie.
One Time Only
The Three Amigos: Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase act like the Magnificent Seven at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Anita: The San Diego Latino and Jewish film festivals team up to present this film about a young Jewish woman with Down
Syndrome who lives in Argentina. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the Carlsbad Village Theater.
Jurassic Park: We all thought the T-Rex was scary before the velociraptors came along. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at Gingham in La Mesa.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Insert your own “Anyone? Anyone?” joke at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at The Propagandist, Downtown.
Top Gun: This is the best homoerotic Navy-flyboy movie ever. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free. P
uss in Boots: Despite sounding like a porno, this one is for family night. Bring the kids at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido.
Jaws: The original summer blockbuster! Too bad most summer blockbusters aren’t as good. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
La Passion: An aging film director is forced to direct his town’s Good Friday celebrations after a leak in his apartment ruins an ancient fresco. Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Annie Hall: It’s definitely better than To Rome with Love. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 28 and 29, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
The Magnificent Seven: Adapted from The Seven Samurai, this is one of the greatest Westerns ever. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn and three other guys defend a village against a band of outlaws led by Eli Wallach. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
Peggy Gilbert and Her All-Girl Band: Director Jeanne Pool will be on hand to discuss her documentary about Gilbert, who played the sax professionally for more than 80 years. Screens at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.
Independence Day: Will Smith makes the aliens pay for ruining his barbecue at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 30, and Tuesday, July 3, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Citizen Kane: Basically, Citizen Kane is the Citizen Kane of classic movies. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Yankee Doodle Dandy: James Cagney stars in the classic musical biopic at 7 p.m. Monday, July 2, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
American Graffiti: Say what you want about George Lucas destroying your childhood with all those new Star Wars movies— and, let’s face it, there’s a lot to say—this coming-of-age film with Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss remains pretty damn sweet. It screens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at Gingham in La Mesa.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Finally, American children get to learn about Abraham Lincoln.
Bel Ami: In this adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s story, Robert Pattinson beds his way through Paris’ women in an effort to lift his social status. Ends June 28 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Brave: Princess Merida would rather be shooting arrows than playing dress-up, but when she defies her Scottish tribe, she sets loose a horrible curse that only she can fix.
Pink Ribbons, Inc.: This documentary looks at where all the money raised to fight breast cancer actually goes. Ends June 28 at the Ken Cinema.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: The first 30 minutes of this romantic dramedy are inspired, as Steve Carell and Keira Knightley find one another while an asteroid approaches Earth on a collision course.
Teri Meri Kahaani: Romance! Drama! Singing! Dancing! Hooray for Bollywood!
Your Sister’s Sister: Lynn Shelton’s latest improvised film finds Emily Blunt taking Mark Duplass to her family’s vacation home while he’s grieving his dead brother, and he ends up getting busy with her sister, Rosemarie DeWitt.
OC87: Bud Clayman always dreamed of being a filmmaker, but his bouts with OCD, Asperger’s, depression and bipolar disorder sidetracked things. Until now.OC87 documents his struggles to fit into the world. It’s a fascinating look at mental illness. Ends June 28 at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Teri Meri Kahaani: Bollywood love story set in 1910, 1960 and 2012. The two stars play different parts in each time setting. That’s My Boy: Adam Sandler teams up with Andy Samberg for a stupid-fest.
Rock of Ages: Yes, that’s Tom Cruise belting out hair-metal tunes in this ’80s rock ’n’ roll musical.
Safety Not Guaranteed: This sweet, quirky Sundance rom-com stars Parks & Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as a magazine intern investigating a guy who placed a classified ad looking for a time-traveling companion.
The Woman in the Fifth: Ethan Hawke moves to Paris and becomes involved with Kristin Scott Thomas, who may be involved with a series of murders. Ends June 28 at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Moonrise Kingdom: Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, this new one about two 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away from the dysfunctional adults in their lives will be adored by those who worship at the altar of Wes Anderson.
Madagascar 3: Apparently kids still fall for this. Parents, too.
Peace, Love and Misunderstanding: Conservative lawyer Catherine Keener takes her teenage kids to visit their hippie-dippie grandmother, Jane Fonda, after her husband files for divorce. Ends June 28 at the Ken Cinema.
Prometheus: Ridley Scott returns to outer space, exploring the origins of humanity and the original Alien. It’s worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D.
A Cat in Paris: French animated film about a feline who spends his days with the daughter of a policewoman and his nights with a notorious cat burglar. Ends June 28 at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
For Greater Glory: Andy Garcia and Eva Longoria star in this account of the 1920s-era Cristero War, the uprising against the Mexican government over religious freedom. Though it was shot in Mexico, it’s in English.
Coral Reef Adventure: Get up close and personal with a serious underwater microcosm at 6 p.m. Fridays in June at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Africa: The Serengeti: Nowhere in this IMAX look at this incredible wildlife sanctuary will you find the incredible Toto song. Screens Fridays in June at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Flying Monsters 3D: No, it’s not a crappy studio blockbuster—this one is all about dinosaurs and was written and directed by Richard Attenborough, using Avatar-like technology, and plays the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
Hardflip: Teen skater learns his dad is John Schneider, aka Bo Duke. And finds God.
The Intouchables: French blockbuster sensation about an aging Caucasian paraplegic who hires a poor young black man to be his caretaker.
Snow White and the Huntsman: Big-budget retelling of the fairy tale finds the huntsman (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth) teaming up with Snow White (Kristen Stewart) to try to end the reign of the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron).
Chernobyl Diaries: Oren Peli, who wrote and directed Paranormal Activity here in San Diego, wrote this found-footage thriller about tourists who hire a guide to take them to that glowing vacation spot, Chernobyl.
Hysteria: Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in this Victorian comedy about the invention of the vibrator. Yeah, you read that right.
Men in Black 3: Will Smith has to go back in time to prevent Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement from murdering Tommy Lee Jones, who’s represented in the past by Josh Brolin.
Battleship: Peter Berg’s adaptation of the Hasbro board game, pitting the American Navy against invading aliens, is seriously loud and explodey.
Bernie: Jack Black plays the real-life Bernie Tiede, a popular Texas funeral director who was convicted of murdering an 81-year-old widow.
The Dictator: Sacha Baron Cohen—aka Borat, Bruno and Ali G—is back as a despot willing to do anything to prevent the spread of democracy.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting: No, this probably wasn’t begging to be adapted into a feature film, but that didn’t stop Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison and Jennifer Lopez from getting involved.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: There’s a charm to this movie about British retirees who outsource their retirement to India, mostly because the cast is made up of folks like Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith.
Dark Shadows: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp just can’t remake enough stuff. This time, it’s the campy gothic soap from the ’70s which, apparently, was dying for the big screen.
The Avengers: It set box-office records for the biggest opening weekend ever, and for good reason. Joss Whedon’s take on the Marvel franchise is well-written, superbly edited, funny and enormously entertaining.
Headhunters: A corporate headhunter who steals art on the side finds himself up to his neck in trouble.
The Raven: John Cusack seems to be channeling Nicolas Cage, rather than Edgar Allan Poe, in James McTeigue’s serial killer film.
Chimpanzee: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 1. A fully grown adult chimp takes a younger one under his wing after he gets separated from his troupe.
The Lucky One: Marine Zac Efron goes to North Carolina in search of a woman he thinks was his good-luck charm during his three tours of Iraq. If this sounds like it’s based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, that’s because it is.
Monsieur Lazhar: An Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a Montreal teacher who committed suicide in her own classroom. That’s a tough act to follow.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
Think Like a Man: Four guys decide to get even when they learn that their girlfriends have been using Steve Harvey’s relationship advice against them. Not surprisingly, it’s based on Steve Harvey’s book.
The Cabin in the Woods: This satirical deconstruction of the horror movie, from Joss Whedon and Lost veteran Drew Goddard, is one hell of a lot of fun.
The Three Stooges: The Movie: Yeah. This is happening.
Mirror Mirror: Julia Roberts is an evil queen, while Lily Collins is the plucky princess trying to get her kingdom back.
The Hunger Games: The most anticipated movie of the year to date is about a dystopian future where teens like Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are forced to kill one another to stay alive.
21 Jump Street: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star in a comedy do-over of the undercover-cops-in-high-school TV show that launched Johnny Depp’s career.
Secret of the Cardboard Rocket: Two kids build a rocket in their garage and end up in outer space in this IMAX film screening Saturday mornings in March at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Journey 2: Mysterious Island: Sort of a sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, in that it’s an adaptation of a Jules Verne book made family-friendly and in 3-D.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Born to 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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.