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Home / Articles / Arts / Film /  War is hell
. . . .
Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010

War is hell

Restrepo, a remarkable new documentary about the war in Afghanistan, and the rest of this week's San Diego movie listings

By Anders Wright
film2 Restrepo
Put aside your politics and your feelings about the war in Afghanistan before you see Restrepo, the remarkable new documentary about one platoon’s 15-month deployment in the Korengal Valley, one of the most dangerous assignments U.S. service personnel can draw. That’s what the filmmakers have done.

Sebastian Junger—the guy who wrote The Perfect Storm—and Tim Hetherinton were embedded with these young men and keep their cameras on them even though the unit was often involved in firefights on a daily basis. It’s intense stuff, and even though some of the footage is staggering, it’s not a war movie, or even a war documentary, in any traditional sense.

That’s because there’s no judgment directed at the war. The circumstances of why they are there or whether we should still be there are unimportant in these soldier’s lives.

They simply are there, and they have a job to do, and they do it as best they can. They’re shot at. Some of them are wounded. A few of them are killed—the film, like the operating post the platoon set up where much of the footage was shot, is named for a medic who died early on in his tour.

What the film does so well is ensure that it doesn’t just capture the fighting, the death and the grieving. The cameras are also with them when they’re playing guitar, dancing to bad pop music and just goofing around the way young men do. You get to know them, or at least a side of them, and to relate to them over the course of the film. It’s an eye-opening look at the nearly nine-year war. Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Documentary Prize at Sundance in January, probably won’t change your mind about the conflict. But it may make you think about it a little differently.

OPENING

Daddy Longlegs: A New York dad who gets to see his kids for two weeks every six months has to decide what kind of relationship he wants to have with them.

Great Directors: A documentary that closely examines filmmakers such as Bernardo Betalucci, David Lynch, Agnes Varda, Todd Haynes, John Sayles and others. Question is, where does director Angela Ismailos fit in?

Inception: Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to The Dark Knight is epic, complex and beautiful. In short, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

The Kids Are All Right: Decent family drama about a lesbian couple played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore whose family is altered when their children seek out the sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) who made it all possible.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: They needed someone incredible to star as the crazy wizard in this huge liveaction adaptation of the classic cartoon. Instead, they got Nic Cage. Jay Baruchal plays the broom.

Standing Ovation: Five tweens compete for a standard rich-andfamous contract.

ONE TIME ONLY

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Just in case you want to do the Time Warp, again. Presented by FilmOut at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, at the Birch North Park Theatre. (It also plays regularly at Encinitas’ La Paloma Theatre.)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills: Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler are a vacuous couple whose lives are totally transformed when they allow homeless guy Nick Nolte to move in. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.

Jaws with RiffTrax: You’re gonna need a bigger boat—Spielberg’s original summer blockbuster runs with audio commentary from the RiffTrax folks, who’ll actually make a physical appearance at this one. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido. Free.

Alla Luce del Sol (By the Light of Day): The latest in the San Diego Italian Film Festival’s anti-mafia series looks at a Sicilian priest’s attempts to give young guys something else to do besides organized crime. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

Rosemary’s Baby: Still creepy after all these years. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 15 and 16, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.

Moon Beat: Filmmaker Kevin Stirling will be on hand for the San Diego premiere of this documentary, which looks at the Apollo 11 moon mission through the eyes of the journalists who covered the event. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Space Travelers Emporium,1947 30th St. in South Park. Free.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: Squeaky clean. Screens at dusk on Saturday, July 17, at 4-S Ranch Community Park in Rancho Bernardo. Free.

Funny Face: These days, the pics fashion photographer Fred Astaire accidentally snapped of shopgirl Audrey Hepburn would just end up on Facebook. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day: When the Governator said he’d be back, he wasn’t kidding. Screens at midnight, Saturday, July 17, at the Ken Cinema.

Cocalero: Documentary about a grassroots political movement in Bolivia, created by farmers sick of the U.S. telling their government to cut down their coca crops. Can you blame them? Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.

The Eclipse: Not to be confused with the latest Twilight iteration, this romantic drama stars Ciaran Hinds as a single father in Ireland who starts seeing ghosts. It’s low-key and well-acted. Screens at 6:30 p.m., Monday, July 19, at the Central Library, downtown. Free.

Cape Fear: Scorsese’s remake—the ’62 original starred Robert Mitchum— turns De Niro into the freaky dude stalking Nick Nolte and his family. Screens at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, July 19, at the Birch North Park Theatre.

Lucky Number Slevin: This gangster film, starring Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman, is being presented as a singles mixer by the San Diego Jewish Film Festival. Oy. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.

Step Brothers: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are both dudes suffering from arrested development who become bros when their respective parents get together. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.

Fight Club: We heard about this great club, it’s called Fight Club. It’s got some rules, but we totally forgot what they are. Screens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido. Free.

NOW PLAYING

Predators: Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger is no Adrien Brody, but when it comes to action movies, Brody is no Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Despicable Me: Steve Carrell voices Gru, an animated master criminal trying to steal the moon—until he meets three little girls who think he might make a better dad than a crook.

The Girl Who Played with Fire: The second film in the massively successful Millennium trilogy gives us more of Lisbeth Salander, the ass-kicking female hacker heroine, and less originality.

Grease: Sing-Along: Is this the one that you want?

The Nature of Existence: Fitting title for the latest documentary from the guy who made Trekkies.

Wild Grass: The latest film from Alain Resnais of Hiroshima Mon Amour fame is about a wallet that is lost and then found, leading to a romantic drama. Ends July 15 at the Ken Cinema.

Cyrus: Mumblecore meisters Jay and Mark Duplass go big-time with a real studio film. John C. Reilly is a sad sack who meets Marisa Tomei, the girl of his dreams. There’s only one problem—her 21-year-old son, Jonah Hill, who still lives at home and is a little too tight with his mother.

I Am Love: Tilda Swinton is terrific as the Russian matriarch of a wealthy Italian family who falls for a chef who just happens to be her son’s best friend.

I Hate Luv Storys: Romantic comedy, Bollywood-style!

The Last Airbender: M. Night Shyamalan directs a big-screen, live-action adaptation of the hugely popular Nickelodeon animated series. That sounds so wrong. Oh, and it’s in 3-D.

The Living Sea: The latest IMAX film at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center looks at all the creepy crawlies that live down in the deep blue.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: Blah blah blah Robert Pattinson. Blah blah blah Taylor Lautner.

The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: The latest IMAX entry at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park follows super surfer Kelly Slater as he does his thing on some massive waves.

Grown Ups: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider are a bunch of dumbasses. And they’re in a movie together.

Knight and Day: Neither Tom Cruise nor Cameron Diaz has the box-office power they once did, so will a thriller starring the two of them have more or less drawing power?

Winter’s Bone: Debra Granik’s noir thriller, set in a closed meth-cooking community in the Ozarks, is as intense and grim as its name. It’s well-written and well-made and features an amazing performance from Jennifer Lawrence, a 17-year-old who has to find her deadbeat father or she and her young brother and sister will lose their home.





 
 
 
 
 
 
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