The slasher film has long been a bloody forum for filmmakers to skewer patriarchal traditions regarding gender. It's right there in the typical setup defining classics from Halloween to Scream: The obsessive male monster hunts down his female victim with relentless force, only to be thwarted by her own relentless will to survive.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a film that's been sitting in distribution limbo since its festival premiere in 2006, further deconstructs this premise in some interesting ways. It starts abruptly, with the titular object of affection, Mandy (Amber Heard), accepting an invitation to a house party held by a vacuous jock.
Director Jonathan Levine's camera nearly caresses Mandy's body as she dives into a swimming pool, taking the perspective of every other teenage male drooling with anticipation. A few moments later, the aforementioned meathead takes a nosedive off his parents' house, trying to impress Mandy, setting in motion a deceptively tricky revenge narrative that has more than its share of booby traps.
The bulk of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane—which opens Friday, Oct. 11, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas—takes place nine months after the incident, when Mandy joins the same group of cool kids at an isolated farm for a weekend trip of booze, drugs and, hopefully, sex. When bodies start dropping, the film begins to cycle through the typical horror-film conventions. But it's all a sneak attack.
Not only is the sexualized male perspective completely obliterated, but, also, the process is disturbingly sardonic. This tone can be found in the dreamy rendition of America's "Sister Golden Hair" that plays like an omen or the simple but evocative shot of one character's retainer sitting next to a condom. Here, the young and the restless have become their own worst nightmare.
—Glenn Heath Jr.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: A weekend getaway in the country turns bloody for a band of high-school jocks eager to deflower the titular Mandy Lane (Amber Heard).
Captain Phillips: Based on actual events, this thriller by director Paul Greengrass tells the story of the container ship Maersk Alabama and its leader, Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks), who was kidnapped by Somali pirates during a voyage in 2009.
Concussion: During her recovery from a hard knock to the head, a suburban housewife goes through a crippling identity crisis, creating an alter ego to survive.
Escape from Tomorrow: A man slowly goes insane while visiting a land of artificial castles and mechanical rodents. This controversial film premiered at Sundance and was largely shot inside Disneyland. Screens through Oct. 17 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Machete Kills: Danny Trejo reprises his role as the betrayed federale who must once again wield his brutal weaponry and bed women in the name of the people.
Marcelo: In this edgy comedy from Mexico, Aaron Diaz stars as a reclusive young man who thinks he’s found his perfect superhero in the form of a porn star played by Hector Jimenez (Nacho Libre). Screens through Oct. 17 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Muscle Shoals: Music documentary celebrating Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios, which produced such staples as “Brown Sugar” and “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Screens for one week at the Ken Cinema.
Romeo and Juliet: Yet another cinematic incarnation of Shakespeare’s ultimate romantic tragedy, this time starring Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as the love-stricken Juliet.
The Summit: This harrowing documentary tells the dramatic story of 11 mountain climbers who mysteriously died on the slopes of K2.
Sweetwater: Ed Harris, January Jones (Mad Men) and Jason Isaacs star in this acid western about a preacher, a vengeful sheriff and an ex-prostitute who seek vengeance in Old West New Mexico.
One Time Only
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: A landmark of gay cinema, this Australian comedy follows two drag queens and a transsexual as they traverse the desert trying to find a cabaret gig. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12 and 13, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Verdithon: Special film presentations of “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata” provide the ultimate treat for opera lovers. Presented by the San Diego Italian Film Festival, screenings run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the new San Diego Public Library in East Village.
Point Break: “Have you ever fired your gun into the air while screaming, ‘Ahhhhhh’?” If you’re Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), the answer is yes. Screens at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Bird’s Surf Shed. Tickets include the film and food from Daphne’s California Greek. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co will be on hand offering samples to those 21 and older.
Sunset Boulevard: Nobody screws with movie icon Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), especially some no-good Hollywood screenwriter like Joe Gillis (William Holden). Watch out for the pool, Joe. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, through Saturday, Oct. 12, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Frenzy: Neckties have never been more horrifying than they are in Alfred Hitchcock’s late-era serial-killer film. Screens at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Reading Town Square Cinemas in Clairemont.
Undersea Film Exhibition: Now in its 14th year, San Diego’s premiere exhibition of undersea video returns with new films from around the world. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12, at Irwin Jacobs M. Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley.
The Room: Not just your usual mess of a screening. Writer / director / producer Tommy Wiseau in person! Screens at midnight Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12.
Get Stoked Film Tour: Ski and snowboarding films invade San Diego in this special presentation. Daredevils welcome. Screens at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Unfinished Song: A grumpy old Englishman finds a bit of happiness after his wife convinces him to join a choir for the elderly. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Hervey Branch Library in Point Loma.
Ghostbusters: Slimer is ready for you. Screens at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Arc-light La Jolla.
The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alfred Hitchcock remakes his own film with James Stewart and Doris Day as a vacationing couple who stumble upon a conspiracy in sweaty Morocco. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, and Tuesday, Oct. 15, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.
Stuck in Love: The complexities of love torment an acclaimed novelist, his ex-wife and their teenaged children. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at the new San Diego Public Library in East Village.
North by Northwest: Watch Roger Thornhill’s (Cary Grant) life get turned upside down in one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at Reading Town Square Cinemas in Clairemont.
The Missing Piece: An amazing documentary that examines the history behind the man who stole the Mona Lisa in 1911 and his daughter who for years defended his actions as patriotic. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15 and 16 (Wednesday screening includes Skype Q&A with director Joe Medeiros), at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Born to be Wild: Morgan Freeman narrates this stunning IMAX wildlife documentary about scientists trying to save elephants in Kenya and orangutans in Borneo. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Deep Sea: A glorious ocean exploration with Del Mar’s own veteran underwater filmmakers and explorers, Howard and Michele Hall. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Blue Caprice: A dramatic re-telling of the story of two men responsible for the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings that claimed the lives of 10 people in October 2002. Screens through Oct. 10 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.
Gravity: Sandra Bullock plays a marooned astronaut struggling to survive an epic space disaster in Alfonso Cuarón’s breathless adventure film.
Parkland: Intimately follows the lives of various people wrapped up in the events leading to and after the JFK assassination in Dallas, 1963.
Runner Runner: Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake star in this thriller about a gambling prodigy who hunts down the gangster responsible for sending him to the poor house.
When Comedy Went to School: A historical exploration of Jewish comedy featuring interviews with everyone from Larry King to Hugh Hefner. Ends Oct. 10 at the Ken Cinema.
Don Jon: Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and stars in this coming-of-age story about a young New Jersey lothario addicted to the fantasy world of pornography.
Enough Said: The latest slice of modern melodrama from director Nicole Holofcener (Please Give) features a mosaic of confused couples. Stars James Gandolfini in his last screen role.
Haute Cuisine: A fictional take on the story of Danièle Delpeuch, who was appointed as the private chef for François Mitterrand, the former president of France.
Inequality for All: Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich uses the documentary as platform to raise awareness of the country’s widening economic gap.
On the Job: Corrupt officials in the Philippines use convicted prisoners to carry out public assassinations in order to cover their tracks in this high-octane thriller from director Erik Matti.
Rush: Ron Howard’s biopic about the bitter rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), who battled for track supremacy throughout the 1970s.
Wadjda: In this first film shot completely in Saudi Arabia, an enterprising Saudi girl competes in her school’s Koran-recitation contest to raise the remaining funds she needs for a green bicycle that has captured her interest.
Battle of the Year: Get your groove on with a bunch of fit young people competing for bragging rights in the ultimate dance competition.
Museum Hours: The Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna becomes the backdrop of a burgeoning friendship between a museum guard and Canadian woman visiting an estranged relative. Ends Oct. 10 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Prisoners: A desperate father (Hugh Jackman) takes the law into his own hands after his daughter disappears, despite the ongoing investigation by a dedicated police officer (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Thanks for Sharing: Romantic comedy about three friends who meet in a 12-step program for sex addicts. Awkwardness ensues. Stars Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Gwyneth Paltrow. Ends Oct. 10 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
The Family: Robert De Niro’s career continues to plummet in this dark comedy about a New York City family of mobsters living in France under false identities.
Insidious Chapter 2: More horrific and ghostly images from director James Wan, the devious auteur behind Saw, The Conjuring and, of course, Insidious.
Short Term 12: SDSU alum Dustin Cretton directs this award-winning film about the complex relationships populating a foster-care facility. Starring Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now) and John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom).
Riddick: Vin Diesel returns as the titular criminal badass who must battle an alien race of predators and brutal mercenaries.
Instructions Not Included: A smarmy playboy (Eugenio Derbez) gets a rude awakening when an ex-flame drops off a baby at his doorstep, forcing him to become an unlikely father figure.
Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation: The venerable edgy ’toon-fest has returned to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla location with a 20th-anniversary show that runs through Nov. 23.
The World’s End: The creative team behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz return with this sci-fi comedy about a group of estranged childhood friends who reunite for an epic pub-crawl, only to find a menacing alien presence occupying their home town.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler: Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) serves as a butler in the White House for seven consecutive presidents, witnessing shifts in civil rights and foreign policy from a fascinating vantage point.
Elysium: After being diagnosed with a terminal disease, a factory worker (Matt Damon) attempts to infiltrate a manmade space habitat where the world’s wealthy now live in permanent luxury. Directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9).
We’re the Millers: In order to sneak a huge Mexican weed shipment into the U.S., a veteran pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) creates a fake family in hopes of bypassing authorities. Co-starring Jennifer Aniston.
2 Guns: Plenty of bullets will be spent in this action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington as dueling law-enforcement officers trying to clear their names.
Blue Jasmine: Woody Allen’s latest comedy showcases the amazing Cate Blanchett as an entitled 1-percenter who experiences a harrowing fall from grace. Ends Oct. 10 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Smurfs 2: Another Smurfs movie, because why not?
Despicable Me 2: Gru (Steve Carell) and his army of minions attempt to transcend their roles as villains and save the world in this sequel to the popular 2010 animated film.
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.
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.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.