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» Earth week

The Do Something Reel Film Festival and the rest of this week's movies
by Anders Wright, published on Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There’s no shortage of environment-themed documentaries these days. There are reasons for this, of course. First, it’s cheaper than ever to make documentaries. Second, there are stories that filmmakers feel must be told, even if they’re tough for viewers to digest. The thing is, getting films like this into an actual theater is almost impossible. But six green films will get their time on the big screen when the Do Something Reel Film Festival, a traveling collection of socially minded, enviro-friendly docs, kicks off a weeklong run in San Diego on Earth Day proper (Friday, April 22) at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas. All films screen at 6 p.m.

The first one, Planeat, explores what our lives would be like if we’d only eat our veggies instead of focusing on tasty things like meat and cheese. On Saturday, April 23, you can catch On Coal River, which examines the effects of strip-mining on communities. On Sunday, April 24, brown-bag it to Lunchline, which focuses on school lunches. And choose paper for Bag It, which takes on plastic and screened at last year’s San Diego Film Festival, on Tuesday, April 26. Wednesday, April 27, features Urban Roots, a documentary about urban farmers in Detroit. The final show is The Vanishing of the Bees, screening Thursday, April 28. You can guess what the movie’s about, but you probably can’t guess that it’s narrated by Juno’s Ellen Page.

There’s more information about each film, including trailers, at dosome thingreel.com, where you’ll also learn that the festival, which plays something like 70 cities on its tour, is put together by Whole Foods. Also, it’s worth noting that part of the fest’s proceeds go into a grant program for environmental documentarians, so, if you buy a ticket, you’ll be helping more films get made.

OPENING

African Cats: A Disney jungle movie that looks at a pride of lions, just in time for Earth Day. Rated G, natch.

Ceremony: The feature debut from Max Winkler, son of Henry, has a Wes Anderson feel, as aspiring children’s book writer Michael Angarano convinces his best friend to give him a lift to the country so he can crash and hopefully destroy Uma Thurman’s wedding.

Dum Maaro Dum: Bollywood action musical about six friends who get in too deep with some drug runners.

Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold: Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) examines advertising and product placement by selling all kinds of sponsorships for his new film. It’s great when it’s oddly meta, but his critiques of the ad biz aren’t particularly new. See our review on Page 20.

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family: Once again, Tyler Perry gets dragged up as Medea, trying to support a relative with cancer and five grown children too busy to respect their elders. The Old Spice Guy also stars. Really.

Water for Elephants: Robert Pattinson tries to break out of his own Twilight shadow by joining a circus and wooing Reese Witherspoon in this adaptation of Sara Gruen’s beloved novel.

White Irish Drinkers: In Brooklyn, 1975, two brothers rob a theater the night The Rolling Stones play, hoping to make enough money to escape their alcoholic father—who is both white and Irish.

ONE TIME ONLY

No One Knows About Persian Cats: Two teenagers try to start a rock band in Iran, where rock ’n’ roll can get you killed. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at the Central Library, Downtown.

Violet Tendencies: FilmOut presents the San Diego premiere of this comedy about a longtime fag hag who finally decides she wants to hang with a straight man—as in his sexuality, not his ability to set up her punch lines. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at the Birch North Park Theatre.

The Grateful Dead Movie: Jerry Garcia directed this 1977 film, sort of a freeform take on a five-night series of shows in 1974, featuring as much footage of Deadheads as it does of the band itself. It screens at several area theaters at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20. Visit fathomevents.com for locations and ticket info.

Caddyshack: This movie is the best thing about golf. Ever. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

Moon: The feature debut from Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie, and director of the film Source Code, is impressive. Sam Rockwell is a lonely miner on the moon whose tour of duty is almost done. That is, until the day he has to go out on the surface, where he finds something that puts everything he knows in doubt. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, on the Price Center Plaza Lawn at UCSD. Free.

The Viceroys: The San Diego Italian Film Festival presents this look at a noble family trying to weather Italy’s political storms in the 19th century. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

New Garage Explosion!: In Love with the Times: Takes a look at the latest version of garage bands, like Black Lips, Jay Reatard and more. It screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at Hillcrest Cinemas. Free.

The King’s Speech: Hey, it just won Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Actor. That’s not too shabby. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.

You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack in question is Kevorkian, and he’s played by Al Pacino in this made-for-HBO film. Screens at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 23, at Scripps Miramar Ranch Library. Free.

Girls on the Wall: Documentary about girls in prison who are given the opportunity to create a musical about their own lives. Screens at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

The Ten Commandments: Edward G. Robinson, as Pharaoh, delivers the greatest line of all time in this one. “Where’s your God now, Moses? Nyaaah.” Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.

The Goonies: Whatever happened to the kid who played Data in this one and Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Screens at midnight, Saturday, April 23, at the Ken Cinema.

Broken Dreams: Documentary about the growing number of young Somali men raised in Minneapolis who return to Somalia to join terror groups. (Get details on Page 11.) Screens at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at the East African Cultural Center, 4061 Fairmount Ave. in City Heights.

Rabbit Hole: Nicole Kidman earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination playing a woman trying to get over the death of her son. Aaron Eckhart plays her husband. As you might imagine, it’s tough to watch. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, at the Central Library, Downtown.

Her Name is Sabine: The French actress Sandrine Bonnaire directs a documentary about her autistic sister, Sabine. Part of a French film series, it screens at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, in Room 125 in Markstein Hall on the campus of California State University, San Marcos.

Easter Parade: It’s tough to go wrong with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Reading Gaslamp Cinemas.

Sunset Boulevard: One of Billy Wilder’s masterpieces. William Holden finds himself writing a screenplay for Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a faded silent film star who’s ready for her comeback and her close-up. Presented by the Mission Hills Garden Club at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at United Church of Christ in Mission Hills, 4070 Jackdaw St.

The Tingler: Schlocky Vincent Price horror flick that shouldn’t be confused with a sex toy—unless, you know, you’re into that kind of thing. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at the Central Library, Downtown.

Sex and the City: Self-absorbed New York City women talk about sex and shoes before making Sex and the City 2, one of last year’s worst movies. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.

NOW PLAYING

Atlas Shrugged: An adaptation of Ayn Rand’s massive dystopian novel that celebrates the power of the creative individual to fight against the machine. Or something like that.

Carancho: An ambulance-chasing lawyer (Ricardo Darin, from last year’s The Secret in Their Eyes) romances an overworked doctor in Argentina, where traffic accidents are the No. 1 cause of death. Ends April 21 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

The Conspirator: Robert Redford takes the trial of John Wilkes Booth’s conspirators and turns it into a dull, standard courtroom drama starring James McAvoy and Robin Wright.

Potiche: Catherine Deneuve takes over the family business when striking employees take her husband hostage, and she does a damn good job at running things, at least until her former lover (Gerard Depardieu) shows up. Um, it’s French.

Rio: Sadly, this has nothing to do with the Duran Duran album. Instead, it’s a 3-D animated movie about birds flying south for the winter that features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway.

Scream 4: Ghostface is back! And so are Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette—and a bunch of soonto-be-dead, good-looking young folks.

Super: Rainn Wilson (The Office) becomes a cut-rate superhero with violent tendencies when his addict wife (Liv Tyler) hooks up with a drug lord (Kevin Bacon). Ellen Page is brilliant as the sociopathic comic-book-store employee who becomes his kid sidekick.

Desert Flower: A fashion model recounts her own circumcision to a magazine reporter who finally gets her to open up.

In a Better World: Suzanne Biers’ new film just won the Best Foreign Language Oscar. A Swedish doctor living in Denmark splits his time between his fractured marriage and working in an African refugee camp. Both are incredibly stressful, violent situations, and each forces him to examine his experience in the other.

8 Murders a Day: Charlie Minn’s documentary is about murders in Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, where there were upwards of 3,000 killings in 2010. Showing at Otay Mesa’s Palm Promenade.

Bill Cunningham New York: Film about the legendary New York Times shutterbug and cultural anthropologist who has chronicled fashion and high society for decades.

Arthur: This remake features Russell Brand as the rich, drunken idiot (originally played by Dudley Moore) who’s kept in check by his, um, womanservant. John Gielgud would probably have approved of Helen Mirren taking on his part.

Mysteries of Egypt: IMAX-peep the Nile River as it travels from Ethiopia to Egypt. Screens Fridays at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Born to be Wild 3-D: Despite sounding like yet another animated animal movie, this is an IMAX film about baby elephants and orangutans and the people who love them. Oh, and it’s narrated by Morgan Freeman. Collective sigh for the baby monkeys, please.

Hanna: Director Joe Wright helped get Saoirse Ronan a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination when they teamed up for Atonement. She stars in his new one as a 16-year-old trained killer who has to escape a rogue CIA agent (Cate Blanchett) and integrate herself into society all at the same time.

Soul Surfer: Faith-friendly biopic about Bethany Hamilton, the teen surfer who lost an arm to a shark. Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid star as her parents, and the film marks the acting debut of Carrie Underwood.

Your Highness: James Franco and Danny McBride are bumbling knights trying to save a princess (Zoe Deschanel) with help from warrior Natalie Portman, who shows more skin here than she did in her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan.

Hop: Russell Brand voices E.B., the Easter Bunny’s teenage son, who packs up the truck and heads to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a rock star. Along the way, he becomes buddies with slacker Fred O’Hare (James Marsden). Lessons are probably learned.

Insidious: Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne try to save their kid from demons in the new one from James Wan, who cut his teeth on the Saw franchise. Not, you know, literally.

Nora’s Will: A woman designs a Machiavellian plot to force her ex-husband to take care of her funeral arrangements after her suicide.

Source Code: Duncan Jones follows up his terrific Moon with this time-bending trip. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as an Air Force captain who wakes up in the body of a man on a train that’s about to blow up. He returns again and again, trying to sort out who planted the bomb and wondering if he can save the other passengers in an alternate reality.

Under the Sea: IMAX film takes you into all kinds of ecosystems that we’re gradually destroying. Screens Fridays at 7 p.m. at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Win Win: The latest one from Thomas McCarthy stars Paul Giamatti as a lawyer who puts an old man in a home to collect a monthly fee and then has to deal with the consequences when the man’s grandson shows up. It’s sweet and good-natured, an interesting take on our post-economic-meltdown world.

Winter in Wartime: Late in WWII, a 14-year-old German boy comes to the aid of a British soldier without understanding the ramifications of his actions. Ends April 14 at Hillcrest Cinemas.

Certified Copy: In Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s first feature made outside of Iran, Juliette Binoche plays a gallery owner who spends the day with a British intellectual, arguing over the value of original art versus reproductions. Ends April 21 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules: The wimpy kid returns. This time, it’s his older brother he has to watch out for.

Sucker Punch: The new one from Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) features a whole lot of skimpily clad young things beating the hell out of the bad guys in an effort to bust out of the loony bin.

Jane Eyre: Director Cary Fukunaga’s new take on Charlotte Bronte’s proto-feminist classic is dark and gothic, featuring terrific performances from Mia Wasikowsla and Michael Fassbender as Jane and Rochester, respectively.

I Am: After a near-death experience, director Tom Shadyac—who also made films like Ace Ventura, Patch Adams and Bruce Almighty—changes direction, making a documentary that asks some of the world’s political and spiritual leaders why we’re so messed up.

Limitless: Bradley Cooper takes a drug that allows him to use 100 percent of his brain. Basically, he becomes Charlie Sheen.

The Lincoln Lawyer: Matthew McConaughey is a sleazy lawyer whose office is the back of his town car.

Paul: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s new ode to Spielberg doesn’t have the same energy as their collaborations with Edgar Wright, but it’s packed full of jokes and references the sci-fi faithful will treasure.

Tornado Alley: This new IMAX film, which travels into twisters with some professional storm chasers, has to be better than Twister, the movie.

Battle: Los Angeles: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Ne-Yo fight off an alien invasion. That’s not meant to be an immigration allegory.

Of Gods and Men: Based on the actual events, Xavier Beauvois’ film about eight French monks serving in Algeria during the rise of Islamic extremism is an extraordinarily insightful and moving examination into the nature of faith, shot through a secular lens.

Even the Rain: A crew of filmmakers, including Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar, is making a movie in Bolivia about Christopher Columbus. Getting in their way is a local uprising about water rights, which just happens to parallel the Indians’ struggle against the Spanish 500 years prior.

Cedar Rapids: Yes, it’s another raunchy, R-rated film, but Ed Helms brings a lot of heart to his first leading role. It’s occasionally predicable, but this story of an insurance salesman who’s finally leaving his small town for the bright lights of Cedar Rapids, isn’t stupid. John C. Reilly shines as a dirty-joke factory.

Galapagos: An IMAX look at the islands and the animals that made Charles Darwin famous. We’re most fond of the blue-footed boobie. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at Saturn’s rings. Just stay away from Uranus. 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.

Source: www.sdcitybeat.com

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