10 Little Independents

Films to hunt down in this year's Newport Beach International Film Festival

Anarchy TV. Frank Zappa's noisy but endearing kids Dweezil, Moon Unit, Ahmet and Diva share the bill with Alan Thicke, George Wendt, Apollonia, Mink Stole, the pre-dead Timothy Leary, and more. What's the film about? It's a mess--a group of anarchists struggling to keep their public-access series on the air--but with a cast this fascinatingly bizarre, who really cares? Oh, there's also a nifty soundtrack featuring music from Iggy Pop, White Zombie, and a host of other performers whose tunes would give your mom a stroke. Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Sun., 9:30 p.m. $5.50-$7.50; Captain Blood's Village Theatre, 1140 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 538-3545. Wed., 9 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Big Monday. When Brian DePalma's Snake Eyes was released some months back, critics were all a-twitter about the film's opening scene, which consisted of one incredibly long, unbroken shot. Well, Michael Rehfield has done DePalma one better in Big Monday: he writes, directs and stars in this feature-length story about a guy on his way to a job interview that could affect the course of his life, and the entire film is one long shot. Any filmmaker who can trump DePalma in the gimmicks department is one to watch. Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Mon., 8 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Forgotten Fires. Michael Chandler's documentary look at the church-burning South suffers from a mild case of PBS-itis (chief symptoms: proliferation of talking heads, somewhat logey pacing, and one of those oppressive, weepy soundtracks). But the film is thoughtful and pretty, and its portrait of Timothy Welch, a white man who bought the Klan's message and lived to regret it, is unforgettable. Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Mon., 2:30 p.m. $5.50-$7.50.Free Enterprise. Robert and Mark are two fellas obsessed with all things sci-fi, especially the original Star Trek series. Their geeky illusions are shattered when they meet their idol--ladies and gentlemen, Mr. William Shatner (playing himself)--and find he's hawking (brace yourself) a musical-film version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in which he will play all the parts. A must-see, if only for Shatner's duet with rapper Rated R, surely the former Enterprise captain's finest musical moment since his spine-tingling rendition of Rocket Man on The Merv Griffin Show so many, many years ago. The film has its faults, but honestly, this sort of thing restores my will to live. (See also "Shat Chat" with director Robert Burnett at left.) Captain Blood's Village Theatre, 1140 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 538-3545. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 4 p.m.; Mon., 6 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Get a Job.Jay is a cheerful ne'er-do-well who is currently unemployed . . . and he likes it that way. Unfortunately, in order to collect the inheritance his father has left him, Jay will have to do the unthinkable: he'll have to find gainful employment. What's a slacker to do? The solution Jay dreams up is as inspired as it is reprehensible. I still can't figure out whether this guy is a hero or a dork. Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Tues., 8 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. My Lazy White Friends.Dean Ishida's documentary takes a bleakly unsentimental look at the post-collegiate lives of his sad-sack former dorm buddies. What Ishida lacks in human compassion he makes up for in cruel wit. I like his film . . . but I sure wouldn't want him for a friend. Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Tues., 4 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Nana.Four female filmmakers from around the world thoughtfully explore their relationships with their eternally unpredictable and utterly lovable grandmas. All grandmothers receive free admission to this film with a paying adult. Isn't that sweet? Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Tues., 2 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Race to Save 100 Years.As you read these words, films from the first half of this century are disintegrating at a truly depressing rate. Using a mix of film clips and interviews with assorted film experts (including an endearingly motor-mouthed Martin Scorsese), this compelling Warner Bros. documentary reminds us what we stand to lose if we let these films slip away forever. Edwards Island Cinemas, 999 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-1780. Mon., 4 p.m.; Tues., 2:30 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Road Dogs.Panther (Glenn Plummer) and his old pal Ray (Chris Spencer) give up the LA gangsta life and split for Washington, D.C., where they plan to open a barbershop. They hit the road, and their odyssey across the United States is sometimes funny, sometimes thrilling, but always tinged with the sadness of two guys who seem born to lose. A promising new film (making its world premiere) from Detdrich McClure. Captain Blood's Village Theatre, 1140 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 538-3545. Sun., 8 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. Wicked.Michael Steinberg, co-director of The Waterdance and director of Bodies, Rest & Motion, brings us this unsettling Gothic drama about a small high-desert town crammed to burstin' with dark secrets. The film's about as subtle as a punch in the chops, but it's also blessed with a commendably lurid streak and the kind of sexual politics that would send Freud into cardiac arrest. Captain Blood's Village Theatre, 1140 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 538-3545. Tues., 8 p.m. $5.50-$7.50. For a complete guide to the Newport Beach International Film Festival, visit the festival Web site (www.nbiff.org) or call (949) 851-6555.

 
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