Given where we are on the calendar, you’re forgiven if you thought San Diego’s 2012 filmfestival schedule had come to an end. But you’d still be wrong. This coming weekend is actually the biggest fest weekend of the year, believe it or not. Four different film festivals will be in action. It’s like a festival of film festivals.
The San Diego Italian Film Festival and the San Diego Asian Film Festival are both in full swing. The Italians have been running since late October, and they’ll wrap things up on Sunday, Nov. 11. Their fest is at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, and films still on the docket include Rosso Come il Cielo (Red Like the Sky), a look at blind Italian sound editor Mirco Manacci. That screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. A list of films, as well as info on an upcoming gala, can be found at sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com.
The Asians kicked off their fest on Nov. 1, expanding to venues throughout the city, and it, too, will close on Nov. 11. It’s worth seeing if there are still tickets remaining for the closing-night picture, the Japanese romantic comedy Love Strikes!, or you could certainly take a look at the Thai film Dead Bite, which features a hip-hop band taking on bikini-clad zombies. Closing weekend of the Asian Film Festival is always a bustling event, so swing by sdaff.org to see what’s on, when it’s on and how you can see it.
Halloween is behind us now, but there are still plenty of horror films for the faithful. Horrible Imaginings, San Diego’s horrorfilm fest, is running Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 and 11, at the 10th Avenue Theater, Downtown. Festival honcho Miguel Rodriguez always puts together an interesting lineup of short films, features and blasts from the past. Horror flicks from around the globe, including one made in San Diego, will be on display, capped by one of the greatest, Evil Dead 2, which closes things out just before midnight on Sunday, Nov. 11. Visit hifilmfest.com for details.
And what’s the polar opposite of a horror-film fest? Yup. The San Diego Christian Film Festival returns, running Nov. 9 through 11, at the Birch North Park Theatre. I’m not much for organized religion in general, but I try to be respectful, and the folks at SDCFF sent me a very nice email inviting me to come check things out. If you want to check them out, get details at sdchristianfilmfestival.com.
So, yeah, that’s plenty. But keep your calendar open. Two more fledgling film festivals, the San Diego Arab Film Festival and the Barrio Film Festival, are still to come in November.
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The Details: Tobey Maguire is obsessed with getting rid of the raccoons that are digging up his lawn. Wife Elizabeth Banks has had enough, and soon nosey neighbor Laura Linney gets involved, too.
Detropia: The makers of Jesus Camp take a look at Motown, one of the hardesthit urban areas in the nation. Some of the images of abandoned areas are amazing and disturbing.
The Flat: An Israeli documentary filmmaker finds himself exploring his family’s secret history after his grandmother dies and he starts sorting through her things.
A Late Quartet: A famous string quar tet, whose members include Christopher Walken, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener, struggle to stay together after one of them gets some terrible news.
The Loneliest Planet: Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg play an engaged couple backpacking through the Caucasus mountains who are forced to examine themselves as a couple and as individuals.
Skyfall: Daniel Craig’s third outing as 007 is thankfully closer to Casino Royale than Quantum of Solace. This time, he’s going up against Javier Bardem, who has some history with MI-6.
Tales of the Maya Skies: This IMAX movie explores the rich history of the Mayan people, just in time for the end of the world. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
One Time Only
The Maltese Falcon: The ultimate noir. Bogart is Sam Spade, caught between murderous bad guys, a gorgeous dame and the black bird. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
The Wiz: FilmOut presents the, ahem, classic musical with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Strange Brew: Bob and Doug McKenzie make a triumphant return to the smallish screen. Part of Beer Week, it screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.
6 Over the Movie: Documentary about six people and their love for motorcycles. Screens at 7 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
The Hunger Games: Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss, a teen from a dystopian society who volunteers for an event that pits 24 kids in a battle to the death. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
My Louisiana Love: Documentary about Monique Verdin, a young Native American woman who returns to her family in Southeast Louisiana in the aftermath of Katrina. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in room LRC 435 at Mesa College. Verdin will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A.
Cotton Club: Richard Gere stars in Coppola’s ode to the jazz age as a smalltime musician who gets too close to a mobster’s girl at the famous Harlem nightclub. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Animal House: Basically, the only good thing about fraternities. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
50 First Dates: Adam Sandler starts dating Drew Barrymore, only to discover that she’s unable to form short-term memories, forcing him to date her for the first time every day. Like a rom-com version of Memento. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Safety Not Guaranteed: Aubrey Plaza of Parks & Rec is a cub reporter who gets involved with a guy (Mark Duplass) who’s placed a classified ad looking for a partner in his time-traveling venture. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Son in Law: Ah, Pauly Shore, what has become of you? No, wait, please, don’t answer that. Screens at roughly 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.
The Big Lebowski: Pot smoking, bowling and abiding will commence at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
The Big Picture: French thrillers are all the rage these days. In this one, a successful lawyer’s life unwinds and he finds himself on the run and trying to create a new life for himself. Ends Nov. 8 at the Ken Cinema.
Flight: Robert Zemeckis’ first live-action film in more than a decade suffers from many of the standard alcoholism-film clichés, but it features a tremendous performance from Denzel Washington, playing a pilot who lands his broken jet miraculously, with minimal loss of life.
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk: Go white-water rafting without actually getting wet. Screens on Fridays through November (except Nov. 30) at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West: Get up close and personal with the famous explorers in IMAX, Fridays through November (except Nov. 16) at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Man With the Iron Fists: The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA co-wrote (with Eli Roth), directed and stars in this ultraviolent martial-arts epic, which also features Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu. They’re all on the trail of a fortune in gold.
The Other Son: An Israeli and a Palestinian discover they were switched at birth.
The Sessions: John Hawkes is great as Mark O’Brien, a writer and poet paralyzed by polio who turns to a sexual surrogate (Helen Hunt) in order to lose his virginity at age 38.
Wreck-It Ralph: The latest animated film from Disney stars John C. Reilly as Ralph, the bad guy in an old-school video game who desperately wants to be liked.
Chasing Mavericks: A surfing movie, surprisingly co-directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson, about a teen who turns to crusty surfing legend Gerard Butler to help him survive a massive wave.
Cloud Atlas: This epic production is almost three hours long and stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving in multiple roles. It consists of six stories that span different time periods, with a running storyline about reincarnation and the effects of our actions on future generations.
Fun Size: A teenage girl loses track of her little brother while attending a Halloween party thrown by a really cute boy.
San Diego Italian Film Festival: Runs through Nov. 11. Details can be found at sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D: Very few video-game adaptations are successful enough to demand a sequel. The first one looked terrific—let’s hope this sequel follows suit.
Simon and the Oaks: Swedish film about two boys, one of whom is Jewish, growing up during WWII. Ends Nov. 8 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Masquerade: Korean film about a king’s body double who must hold his country together after the ruler is poisoned.
Alex Cross: We’re used to Morgan Freeman in the role of this famous detective. Now the part is played by Tyler Perry. Another obvious sign of the impending apocalypse.
Paranormal Activity 4: Now with more paranormal.
Seven Psychopaths: Martin McDonagh returns with another violent comedic drama. Colin Farrell stars as Marty, an L.A. screenwriter surrounded by psychopaths such as Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits. Like McDonagh’s debut, In Bruges, this one has an emotional heart to it, despite the blood and guts.
Argo: Ben Affleck directs and stars in this take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and believe it or not, it’s gonna be a Best Picture contender.
Here Comes the Boom: High-school biology teacher Kevin James becomes an MMA cage fighter in order to keep his school’s extracurricular activities afloat.
Sinister: Novelist Ethan Hawke stumbles upon footage that explains how a family was murdered in the very house in which he’s working—which, of course, puts him in serious danger, too.
Flight of the Butterflies: It turns out Monarch butterflies are much like SDSU students—every year, thousands of them head to Mexico. This IMAX film captures their beautiful trip. The butterflies, that is.
Frankenweenie: Tim Burton hasn’t made a film that’s been an original idea in years, so it sort of makes sense that he’d remake one of his own movies.
Taken 2: Remember all those dudes Liam Neeson killed in the thoroughly violent Taken? At least one of them has a family member out for a little payback.
Hotel Transylvania: You won’t be surprised to hear that this new animated film involves vampires. And 3-D.
Looper: Director Rian Johnson (Brick, Brothers Bloom) teams once again with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for this time-twister; JGL is a hit man whose future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to be rubbed out.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: This adaptation of the beloved young-adult novel has made plenty of old adults feel for their youth.
Pitch Perfect: Anna Kendrick is the new girl at college who finds her place by joining a bad-ass all-girl vocal group.
End of Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are L.A. cops targeted by a Mexican cartel after a routine traffic stop.
The House at the End of the Street: Jennifer Lawrence and her mother, Elisabeth Shue, move next door to a house where there’d been a brutal murder. When Lawrence makes friends with the sole surviving family member, things get dangerous.
The Master: The new one from Paul Thomas Anderson looks at the relationship between drifter Joaquin Phoenix and emerging religious figure/cult leader Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It is intelligent, artistic, cerebral, and challenging.
Trouble with the Curve: Aging baseball scout Clint Eastwood would have much more success if he’d stop talking to chairs.
Arbitrage: Richard Gere is a hedge-fund billionaire who makes some serious mistakes while trying to stay rich. Ends Nov. 8 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Samsara: Shot in 70-millimeter film on several different continents over half a decade, this is the latest from the folks responsible for Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka.
Searching for Sugar Man: When two South Africans try to learn how an obscure American singer-songwriter from the ’70s died, they get more than they bargained for. Despite that sounding like a feature, it’s a pretty damn good documentary.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: If it feels like they release one of these every summer, that’s because that they release one of these every summer.
The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy concludes.
Ice Age: Continental Drift: So cold.
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.
The Intouchables: French blockbuster sensation about an aging Caucasian paraplegic who hires a poor young black man to be his caretaker.
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.
Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity: Liam Neeson narrates this IMAX film, screening 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.