There are plenty of cinephiles, me included, who revere Stanley Kubrick as a visionary director whose body of work is unique and can’t be equaled. He’s made several masterpieces, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove.
And then there’s The Shining, the 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel that some consider the most elegant horror film of all time. It’s a movie in which absolutely every aspect of every frame has been considered and, over time, analyzed by lots of fans and admirers.
That, right there, is the subject of Room 237, the new documentary about The Shining by director Rodney Ascher that opens Friday, April 12, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp. Ascher spends the entire film talking to people who are The Shining enthusiasts, who’ve quite possibly spent as much time thinking about Kubrick’s film as Kubrick did himself.
But this isn’t a talking-heads documentary. Instead, Ascher uses film clips—from Kubrick’s and others’ films—to make the points his subjects are discussing. The thing is, you don’t really know who these people are—at first, you assume that they’re experts or historians or something. But as the movie goes on, and some of their theories get way out there, you start to think that some of the subjects in Room 237—like the guy who posits that The Shining is Kubrick’s atonement for staging the fake moon landing on behalf of the U.S. government—are veering away from rational thought. And if you think that seems to be what happens in The Shining itself, well, a gold star for you.
It’s not that these people are nuts, though, and to see this film discussed like this is truly fascinating—it’s kind of like Trekkies for serious movie buffs. More than anything, it will likely make you want to watch The Shining again, and if that’s the case, you’re in luck. FilmOut will present a big-screen showing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at Birch North Park Theatre (2891 University Ave.). Tickets are $10.Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.
42: Biopic about the baseball player who wore that number, which has been retired by every single Major League team. Spoiler: it’s Jackie Robinson.
The Company You Keep: Robert Redford directed and starred in this drama, playing a former ’60s radical whose hidden past is uncovered by plucky young journalist Shia LaBeouf.
Gimme the Loot: A pair of New York graffiti artists targets the ultimate tag in this scrappy debut from Adam Leon. Screens for one week at the Ken Cinema.
Hunky Dory: Minnie Driver is a ’70s-era drama teacher pushing her apathetic kids to pull together a production of The Tempest. Presumably, the superb David Bowie album of the same name is involved.
Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald: Documentary about Holocaust survivors who lived together in a Buchenwald children’s barrack returning to the death camp 65 years after their liberation.
Paris Manhattan: French rom-com about a pharmacist obsessed with Woody Allen. Screens at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Sadda Haq: This Punjabi film about young men standing up to a corrupt government in the 1980s and ’90s was banned in many parts of India.
Scary Movie 5: In our most recent issue, we reported that Scary Movie 5 was opening last week. We were wrong. The fact that you’re reading about it twice must be terrifying.
Trance: Danny Boyle’s new hypno-thriller is a combination of Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
One Time Only
American Beauty: Kevin Spacey won the Best Actor Oscar in Sam Mendes’ debut, which explores the seamy underbelly of American suburbia. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Fargo: The Coen brothers had already been making great films, but this Minnesota crime thriller (yes, that’s where it’s set, despite the title) hit the perfect blend of comedy, drama and violence and earned Frances McDormand a Best Actress Oscar. Screens at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
Least Among Saints: All proceeds from tickets for this film, about the challenges a veteran faces when he returns home from war, will be donated to veterans charities. Screens at 7 p.m Thursday, April 11, at AMC Mission Valley. A
rmy of Darkness: Apparently there’s a chance that the storylines of the original Evil Dead and the current remake could eventually run into each other. Stay on top of it with the third movie of the original trilogy at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park.
Marie Antoinette: The Public Library’s affair with Sofia Coppola continues. Kirsten Dunst eats cake to a modern soundtrack at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Across the Universe: Director Julie Taymor, who helmed the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King, tried to create a musical made up of Beatles songs, featuring the likes of Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood. It’s ambitious, even if unsuccessful. Screens at 7:45 p.m. at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Ruby Sparks: Paul Dano is a writer who had enormous success at an early age before fading into a bit of obscurity. That all changes, though, when he writes a wonderful character—played by his real-life girlfriend and the screenwriter, Zoe Kazan— and she comes to life. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Raiders of the Lost Ark: The sequels were all inferior, but the original is so great that they don’t detract. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, and Tuesday, April 16, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Si Puo Fare (We Can Do It): Sent to fail at running a cooperative of mentally ill Italians, Nello manages to help them find their
way and integrate into society. Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival, it screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Spy Kids: In the franchise that made Robert Rodriguez his real money, the children of a couple of secret agents are forced into action when bad guys capture their parents. Screens at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
This Must Be the Place: Sean Penn is an aging goth who has to leave his Dublin hideaway to travel to New York after the death of his father. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Urban Warrior in the African Bush: This documentary about Mama C—a poet, musician, artist and onetime Black Panther— screens at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Rebel Without a Cause: James Dean was the original hipster, even if he didn’t have a beard, didn’t brew his own beer and drove a car instead of a fixed-gear bike. Screens at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Corpo Celeste: The Public Library teams up with Film Movement, a monthly film club, to present this feature about a 13year-old girl who returns to Italy after living in Switzerland for a decade and runs smack-dab into the intractable Catholic Church. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Se7en: There’s no doubt that David Fincher is one of the most talented directors working today, but it was this creepshow masterpiece, which follows cops Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as they track a serial killer, that made us sit up and take notice. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
Grease: Man, John Travolta has been through a lot since Grease was the word. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Happy Gilmore: There was a time when Adam Sandler made funny movies. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
I Am Not a Hipster: Shot in San Diego, this is Destin Daniel Cretton’s character study on art, success and anger. Ends April 11 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Blancanieves: This twisted version of Snow White is set in 1920s Spain and centered on a female bullfighter. It’s shot in glorious black and white. Ends April 11 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Evil Dead: The updated version of Sam Raimi’s classic is a serious gore-fest.
Jurassic Park 3D: Now with more velociraptor!
Love & Honor: A U.S. soldier in Vietnam returns to the states in hopes of winning back his girlfriend, who’s joined the antiwar movement.
The Place Beyond the Pines: Ryan Gosling re-teams with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, playing a motorcycle daredevil who starts robbing banks because he’s got a kid on the way. Bradley Cooper is the lawman on his trail.
The Sapphires: Though it’s standard stuff, this story of four young Aboriginal women who go to Vietnam with their obnoxious Irish manager (Chris O’Dowd) wears its heart on its sleeve. Loosely based on a true story.
The Waiting Room: Documentary about U.S. hospitals struggling to care for patients, most of whom are uninsured. Ends April 11 at the Ken Cinema.
Welcome to the Punch: Mark Strong plays a former criminal who has to return to London, which gives detective James McAvoy the opportunity to finally nab him.
K-11: This prison flick has a hard time straddling the line between jailhouse horror movie and campy extravaganza. A high-powered record executive (Goran Visnjic) is charged with murder and ends up in a branch of the Los Angeles jail reserved for gay and transgendered inmates. Ends April 11 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
From Up On Poppy Hill: Director Goro Miyazaki’s brother, legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, wrote the screenplay, about Japanese teens trying to save their school from the wrecking ball as the 1964 Olympics approach. Ends April 11 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Channing Tatum returns as Duke, and this time Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis join him in blowing things up.
The Host: The new movie from author Stephanie Meyer—aka the woman who wrote the Twilight books—stars Saoirse Ronan as a teen trying to save the world from some bodysnatching aliens.
Lore: German film about a young girl who must lead her siblings across the shattered remains of her country in the days after World War II.
Starbuck: A 42-year-old Montreal slacker learns that his secret past as a sperm donor resulted in more than 500 children—and that almost 150 of them have filed a class-action suit to uncover his identity.
Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor: A marriage counselor ends up in a serious affair with one of her clients. Perry’s not actually in this one; Kim Kardashian, however, is.
War Witch: This Oscar-nominated Canadian film about a 12-year-old girl conscripted as a child soldier in the Congo is as harrowing as it sounds.
Admission: Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who could blow her career by accepting a student who just might be the kid she gave up for adoption 18 years ago.
The Croods: Animated caveman movie featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone.
Olympus Has Fallen: Terrorists take over the White House and take the president hostage before being killed by disgraced Secret Service agent Gerard Butler. It’s ludicrous, for sure, but pretty enjoyable as R-rated action films go.
Spring Breakers: Harmony Korine takes on the Girls Gone Wild mythos with this violent, exploitative, oddly insightful art film.
The Call: Halle Berry is a 911 operator who takes a call from a girl who’s been kidnapped by a serial killer.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Steve Carell is a fading spray-tanned Vegas magician whose popularity is being usurped by a David Blaine-esque upstart (played here by Jim Carrey). Can the power of illusion help him sort out why he fell in love with magic in the first place? Um, yes.
Stoker: The first English-language film from Korean auteur Park Chan-wook is a gothic tale about a young girl (Mia Wasikowska) who learns she has a creepy uncle (Matthew Goode) who shows up after her dad dies mysteriously.
Emperor: Matthew Fox plays a U.S. general in Japan after that country’s World War II surrender, trying to determine if the emperor should be hanged as a war criminal. Tommy Lee Jones swings by as Douglas MacArthur.
Oz: The Great and Powerful: Sam Raimi directs this big-budget prequel. James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis are all off to see the wizard.
Rocky Mountain Express: The IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center was recently overhauled. This latest entry takes viewers through the Canadian Rockies without leaving San Diego.
Jack the Giant Slayer: The first feature from Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects) in five years is about a young farmhand who takes the war between humans and giants straight to the giants.
No: Gael García Bernal is a young advertising executive who leads a campaign designed to take on Augusto Pinochet, the longtime Chilean dictator.
Safe Haven: The latest Nicholas Sparks romance stars Julianne Hough as a mysterious woman who takes up with a hunky widower (Josh Duhamel).
Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation: Sure, they’re better known for their sick-and-twisted stuff, but this 30th-anniversary family-friendly greatest-hits set of films from the past four decades has some great stuff. Screens through April 13 at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.
Identity Thief: Jason Bateman hits the road to find out who stole his identity. Not a spoiler: It’s Melissa McCarthy.
Side Effects: This thriller is rumored to be Steven Soderbergh’s final theatrical release. If so, he’s going out on top with this one, about a woman (Rooney Mara) whose shrink (Jude Law) prescribes her anti-depressants that end up plunging both of them down a rabbit hole.
Quartet: It’s surprising that it took Dustin Hoffman this long to direct a movie. Quartet, about what happens when a faded opera singer (Maggie Smith) is forced to move into a home for retired musicians, including the rest of the quartet she left behind, is slight, but enjoyable.
Cosmic Collisions: So, that asteroid that might smash into Earth in 20 years is much bigger than previously thought? Awesome. This new IMAX movie at the Reuben H. Fleet looks at what happens when things bash into each other in outer space. On the bright side, if we go the way of the dinosaurs, at least future species will have a new source of fossil fuels.
Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow’s movie, about the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, is a masterwork of filmmaking, and the fact that it’s inspiring debate about torture should be more tangential than anything else.
Django Unchained: Tarantino takes on yet another genre—the western—and blows it up and makes it fun again. Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave freed by German bounty hunter Christoph Waltz, off to rescue wife Kerry Washington from plantation owner Leonardo DiCaprio.
Silver Linings Playbook: Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a bipolar guy from Philly who’s just out of the mental hospital, having lost his job, his home and his wife. He moves in with his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro) in hopes of regaining his marriage, but things are thrown askew by Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has problems of her own.
Lincoln: It might as well have been called The 13th Amendment. Despite another spellbinding performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln’s biopic is really about getting legislation through Congress.
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.
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.
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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.