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GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS Jul 25, 2014 New mixed-media works from local artists Jaclyn Rose and Carly Ealey, which explores the trials and tribulations of womanhood in this strange new world. 84 other events on Friday, July 25
 
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Home / Articles / Arts / Film /  ‘Obvious Child’ and the comedy of sadness
. . . .
Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014

‘Obvious Child’ and the comedy of sadness

Brooklyn-set indie leads our rundown of movies screening around town

By Glenn Heath Jr.
obvious-child-140330_G_Jenny_Jake_Bar_1130_rgb Oblivious Child

Jenny Slate owns every frame of Gillian Robesperre's Obvious Child. As fledgling stand-up comic Donna Stern, a spitfire wordsmith who realizes she's pregnant after a one-night stand with a stranger, the comedienne-turned-actor instills a charming conviction and humanity to a character fraught with anxiety. Hers is a nuanced balancing act that informs themes of family, expression and, eventually, the hot button issue of abortion.

Comedy allows Donna to explore the extremes of her own experience without really grappling with the consequences. In the wonderfully laid-back opening sequence, she verbally skewers relationships while her boyfriend numbly listens from the background. When he breaks up with her moments later, after the show, confessing to an affair with a close friend, Donna descends into a booze-filled bender. Depression and drunkenness lead her into the arms (and, later, the bed) of a charming stranger named Max (Jake Lacy).

The rest of Obvious Child considers the ramifications of their one-night tryst, not just on Donna but also on Max. Both characters fumble around with their emotions, retreating to comedic banter to hide the hurt and frustration always simmering near the surface. Slate infuses this young woman with the vitality of a strong spirit feeling the kind of pressure that would overwhelm anyone facing such a life-changing decision. Lacy is equally impressive, conveying an intelligence and sincerity rarely found in the hipster romantic comedy.  

Obvious Child—which opens Friday, June 20, at Hillcrest Cinemas—never claims authority when it comes to the prickly war over abortion. Rather than using these characters to make an overt political statement, it says a great deal about its ideology through their actions. Togetherness and understanding, freedom and non-judgment are all key. It also helps to laugh at how insanely sad life can become, and how great it can be if we just keep going.


Opening

Before You Know It: Vivacious LGBT seniors, from bar-hoppers to bold activists, are the subjects of this rowdy documentary that sets out to destroy conventional wisdom about old age. Screens through June 25 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

The Dance of Reality: Alejandro Jodorowsky returns to feature filmmaking after 23 years with this highly personal and deeply political coming-of-age film set in his hometown of Tocopilla, Chile. 

Jersey Boys: Clint Eastwood adapts the popular Broadway play about the rise of musical group The Four Seasons. 

Obvious Child: A sassy stand-up comedienne gets dumped by her loser boyfriend, then has a one-night stand with a stranger, which results in an unwanted pregnancy. 

The Rover: Ten years after society collapses, a determined nomad (Guy Pearce) hunts down the three men who stole his car. It co-stars Robert Pattinson (Twilight). 

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon: Directed by actor Mike Myers and Beth Aala, this documentary goes inside the crazy life of Hollywood insider Shep Gordon.

Think Like a Man Too: Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy once again star in a mosaic of couples behaving badly, this time set in Las Vegas. It’s a sequel to the 2012 comedy Think Like a Man.

Who is Dayani Cristal?: Part narrative, part documentary, this film starring Gael Garcia Bernal tackles the complex issues surrounding the California / Mexico border by clashing genres together. Screens through June 26 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

One time only

Gilda: Classic film noir by Charles Vidor about a sinister South American casino boss who discovers that his best employee already knows his sexy new wife, played by the alluring Rita Hayworth. Screens at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at the La Jolla Community Center. 

You Will Be My Son: The owner of a vineyard in Italy tries to reconcile the problematic relationship with his son and only heir to the family business. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at the Scripps Ranch Library. 

Viewer’s Choice: Come enjoy a festive summer film to be selected by you, the viewer. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. 

L’arrivo di Wang (The Arrival of Wang): Mixing sci-fi and horror, the film concerns a Chinese interpreter who’s offered a large sum of money by a mysterious Italian to translate an interview with a secret man named “Wang.” Screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park. 

Out of the Past: The past comes back to haunt a reclusive ex-private investigator (Robert Mitchum) running a gas station in the California mountains. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, June 19 and 20, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. 

Elsa and Fred: Two senior citizens dealing with various life transitions meet cute and develop a fondness for each other in this romantic comedy. Screens at 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, at the La Jolla Community Center. 

From Russia With Love: British super-agent James Bond (Sean Connery) gets embroiled in an assassination plot involving a Russian beauty and a Soviet encryption device. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Get crazy with Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter (Tim Curry) while he tortures a newlywed couple whose car has broken down outside his creepy mansion. Screens at midnight on Saturday, June 21, at the Ken Cinema. 

American Revolutionary: Explores the life of Grace Lee Boggs, a 98-year-old Chinese-American philosopher who’s been rooted in the labor- and civil-rights movement for more than 70 years decades. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 23, at the San Diego Public Library in East Village. 

City Island: Dysfunction doesn’t get messier than it does with the Rizzo Family, a group of squabbling adults who can’t find common ground on anything in this 2009 drama. Screens at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the Point Loma / Hervey Branch Library.

The Avengers: The ultimate Marvel Universe film finds a cast of heroes battling space invaders in order to save the world. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at Arclight La Jolla. 

The Sandlot: A group of wily grade-schoolers gets together to play baseball every day for an entire summer and form a lifelong bond in the process. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station.

Raging Bull: The epic tragedy of boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) is filtered through the prismatic cinematic lens of director Martin Scorsese. Screens at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the La Jolla Community Center. 

Grand Piano: Elijah Wood stars as a concert pianist who suffers from stage fright. Immediately before his comeback performance, he finds a mysterious note that sends him down a dark rabbit hole. Screens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the Mission Valley Public Library. 

The Internet’s Own Boy: Aaron Swartz was a programming prodigy and information activist who committed suicide after being tormented by the federal government for years. This documentary examines the story behind the tragedy. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the Carlsbad Village Theater. 

Magic Mike: Ladies, beware of bulging biceps and extreme sweaty thrusts. Fainting has been known to occur. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Now playing

22 Jump Street: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return for more violent shenanigans as undercover cops trying to expose a drug ring at a local college.

Chinese Puzzle: French comedy starring Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou about a middle-aged man who moves to New York City to be closer to his children. 

The Grand Seduction: Residents of a small harbor town try to woo a hot-shot young doctor with hopes of convincing him to relocate to their rural haven. 

Heli: Amat Escalante’s violent art film explores the ramifications of one very bad decision by a police cadet that reverberates outward to affect the family of his young girlfriend. Ends June 19 at Digital Gym Cinema in North Park.

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless encounter new challenges while trying to bring their species together in harmony. 

The Signal: A group of young friends is lured into an isolated area by a computer genius, only to find out they’re trapped in a waking nightmare.

We Are the Best!: Three young teenagers living in Stockholm during the 1980s start a band with the hopes of proving punk rock will never die. Ends June 19 at the Ken Cinema. 

Edge of Tomorrow: Tom Cruise dies a thousand times in order to find the right info about an alien attack that will destroy Earth. It co-stars a very buff Emily Blunt.

The Fault in Our Stars: In a dramedy starring Shailene Woodley (Divergent), from the writers of (500) Days of Summer, young love is tested when a cancer-stricken teenager falls for her witty foil despite her serious illness. 

Bugs!: Get up close and personal with the world’s most unique insects in this groundbreaking IMAX nature film. Opened last week. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. 

Words and Pictures: Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche star as rival teachers who spark a competition between their students involving the importance of photography and prose. 

A Million Ways to Die in the West: Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to Ted is a star-studded satire that lays waste to the classic Western. There are sure to be a few penis jokes.

The Hornet’s Nest: Using real combat footage, this immersive war film experiences some of Afghanistan’s most hostile valleys through the eyes of the soldiers fighting against Taliban insurgents. 

Ida: Anna, 18, is about to become a nun in 1960s Poland. But a family secret dating back to the days of Nazi occupation threatens her faith. It’s directed by acclaimed filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski. 

Maleficent: Angelina Jolie stars as the infamous sorceress who sets her sights on the nubile young Princess Aurora in this big-budget reboot of Sleeping Beauty

Palo Alto: In Gia Coppola’s debut film, disaffected teens living in the titular Bay Area community grapple with social alienation and sexual confusion on the eve of graduation. Ends June 19 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

Blended: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore try to rekindle their box-office magic with this fish-out-of-water comedy about dumb Americans causing havoc while on vacation in Africa. 

Fed Up: This documentary addresses America’s obsession with food and how our obesity epidemic originated from corporate misconduct.

The Immigrant: A Polish emigre (Marion Cotillard) arriving at Ellis Island is separated from her sickly sister and must trust a shady theater owner (Joaquin Phoenix) in order to get on her feet in early-20th-century New York City. Ends June 19 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: The latest installment of the popular Marvel franchise finds Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) going back in time to recruit his colleagues’ younger selves in order to save mankind from the evil Sentinels. 

Belle: An illegitimate, mixed-race daughter (of a Navy admiral) being raised by aristocrats finds herself in a precarious social position in Victorian England. 

Chef: Jon Favreau returns to comedy filmmaking with this story of a well-respected chef who opens a food truck after being fired by a posh restaurateur. 

Godzilla: The gigantic mutant lizard is back and bigger than ever, ready to decimate a city near you. 

Million Dollar Arm: On a mission to find the next baseball phenom in the unlikeliest of places, a sports agent (Jon Hamm) travels to India in hopes of convincing talented cricket players to play American baseball. 

Neighbors: A newly relocated couple can’t enjoy their beautiful new residence after a rowdy fraternity moves in next door. Every homeowner’s worst nightmare comes true.

The Amazing Spiderman 2: Andrew Garfield returns as the high-flying web slinger to battle an assortment of new villains (Dane DeHaan and Jamie Foxx) while trying to save New York City and his beloved Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) from imminent destruction. 

Fading Gigolo: A failed bookstore owner (Woody Allen) convinces his blue-collar friend (John Turturro) to start sleeping with wealthy women for money. Nothing could go wrong with this idea, right?

The Other Woman: Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned. In this case three women—Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton—bound together by one cheating bastard. 

Heaven is for Real: Drama starring Greg Kinnear, whose young son dies on the operating table but is brought back to life. After waking up, the boy confesses to having been to Heaven, sharing his experience with those who are willing to listen. 

Divergent: The future is a world divided into factions based on tested virtues. A young woman (Shailene Woodley) threatens to topple this rigorous framework when she’s deemed “divergent”—an outsider who must be disappeared. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Ralph Fiennes leads an all-star cast in director Wes Anderson’s latest film, which takes place inside an elaborate European hotel populated by eccentric characters.

Journey to the South Pacific: Let the glorious scale of IMAX take you to the tropical islands of West Papua, where life under the sea is just as lush and vibrant as it is on shore. Screens at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Mysteries of the Unseen World: This amazing documentary uses high-speed and time-lapse photography to focus on things that are either too fast or two slow for the eye to see. Screens 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.




 
 
 
 
 
 
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