A dozen films make up the San Diego Asian Film Festival's Spring Showcase, which runs for a week starting Thursday, April 18, and happens at the Digiplex Mission Valley. The key get is Linsanity, Evan Jackson Leong's documentary about Jeremy Lin, who became a breakout star for the New York Knicks last year. That's easily the highest-profile film of the series, but I'll draw your attention to a couple others:
First, there's Jab Tak Hai Jaan (As Long as There is Life), the series' closing-night movie and the final film from Indian master Yash Chopra. It's an epic dramatic romance, clocking in at a little less than three hours. It screens just once, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25.
And then there's Comrade Kim Goes Flying, a North Korean feature film that has to be seen to be believed, especially considering the current political climate. Like Linsanity, it's a follow-your-dreams, never-give-up movie. It's about Kim, a happy coal miner who dreams of becoming a trapeze artist. Co-financed by Western companies, it was shot entirely in Pyongyang with a North Korean crew. It's not a propaganda piece, or at least not in the traditional sense, though it portrays life in North Korea, even those of the coal miners, as being brilliantly pleasant and easy. It's sort of like a portrait of a culture that's ruled by a cult of personality—as seen through that culture, rather than from the outside. That's what makes it worth seeing, but the plucky old-school story is pleasant, too. Comrade Kim screens at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 21, and 6:40 p.m. Monday, April 22.
A list of all the films, the schedule and ticket information can be found at pac-arts.org.
Disconnect: Henry Alex Rubin’s new film focuses on people having a hard time communicating despite being wired in. It stars Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Michael Nyqvist and designer Marc Jacobs in his acting debut.
Filly Brown: A young female hip-hop artist has to decide if she wants to water down her music to sign a big record deal.
Future Weather: After her flighty mother ditches her and moves to California, a teen’s grandmother moves in and the two must learn to get along. Screens at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Girl Rising: A girl-power documentary about nine young women from nine different countries, narrated by folks like Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Liam Neeson.
Home Run: Cinematographer-turned-director David Boyd’s debut is about a Major League baseball player with a substance-abuse problem who’s reduced to coaching Little League to remember what he loved about the game.
Lords of Salem: The new one from Rob Zombie stars his wife, Sheri Moon, as a DJ who receives a record that triggers visions of her town’s brutal past—and possibly its future.
My Brother the Devil: An England-born Egyptian tries to get away from the tough streets he comes from just as his younger brother tries to get in. Sally El Hosaini’s debut, which won a cinematography award at Sundance, is a very different experience than you expect it to be. Screens for one week at the Ken Cinema.
Oblivion: Tom Cruise plays a spaceman sent back to pull the last few remaining resources out of a depleted Earth.
To the Wonder: Terrence Malick’s new movie is almost more straight-up art than it is a film. This meditation on humanity, faith, nature and our relationship to everything around us will be sweet poetry to some and a pretentious bore to others. See our review on Page 30.
The We and the I: Director Michel Gondry worked closely with New York teens to create this movie about a group of, um, New York teens, who are heading home on the bus on the last day of school.
One Time Only
The Shining: Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel is being presented by FilmOut at Wednesday, April 17, at Birch North Park Theatre.
Matrimonio ed Altri Disastri (Weddings and Other Disasters): Romantic comedy about the lonely older sister who plans her younger sibling’s wedding, only to finally meet a swell single guy. Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival, it screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Benvenuti al Sud (Welcome to the South): A postman’s wife pushes him to get a transfer to the big city, but things go awry and they end up in the sticks. Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival, it screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Lost in Translation: Sofia Coppola’s lovely little fable about an aging action star (Bill Murray) and the young woman (Scarlett Johansson) he meets when they’re both stuck in Tokyo and bored with their lives. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Crazy Wisdom: Documentary about the (quote) bad boy of Buddhism (unquote), Chogyam Trungpa. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the San Diego Sham
bhala Meditation Center in North Park.
Big Daddy: Adam Sandler takes in a little boy. Hilarity ensues. Screens at 7:45 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Ted: Seth MacFarlane wrote and directed this comedy about a guy (Mark Wahlberg) who has to choose between his super-hot girlfriend (Mila Kunis) and the foul-mouthed teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) with which he grew up. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Teddy Bear: A shy 38-year-old Danish body builder heads to Thailand in hopes of finding a wife. Screens at noon, Saturday, April 20, at the Central Library, Downtown.
American Psycho: Batman kills people in horrible ways. Leave the kids at home. Screens at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Doctor will see you at midnight, Saturday, April 21, at the Ken Cinema.
Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow’s epic movie about the decade-long search for Osama bin Laden was seriously snubbed at Oscar time. Jessica Chastain is amazing as the woman who brought him down. Screens at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Found Memories: A traveling photographer finds himself becoming the bridge between the past and the future of the citizens of a rural Brazilian village. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Avatar: No one takes it seriously anymore, but James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi adventure changed the way people watch movies all around the globe. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Room 237: Bizarrely enjoyable documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining, featuring interviews with people who have incredible theories regarding what the movie’s really about. There are no talking heads, however—everyone’s points are made through film footage.
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.
Fists of Legend: Korean film about three high-school rivals given a chance 25 years later to fight for a huge sum of money.
Gimme the Loot: A pair of New York graffiti artists targets the ultimate tag in this scrappy debut from Adam Leon. Ends April 18 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.
It Takes a Man and a Woman: This Filipino romantic comedy is the third in the A Very Special Love trilogy. It screens at UA Horton Plaza.
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.
Not Today: An American living in India starts to battle the thriving human-trafficking industry.
Paris Manhattan: French rom-com about a pharmacist obsessed with Woody Allen. Ends April 18 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.
Evil Dead: The updated version of Sam Raimi’s classic is a serious gore-fest.
Jurassic Park 3D: Now with more velociraptor!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No: Gael García Bernal is a young advertising executive who leads a campaign designed to take on Augusto Pinochet, the longtime Chilean dictator. Ends April 18 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
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.
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.
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.