By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Akira Kurosawa's 1985 screen adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear is a gorgeously ferocious epic, made all the more impressive by the circumstances of its creation. By 1985, Kurosawa, the director of such masterpieces as Rashomon and The Seven Samurai, had fallen from grace and was reduced to begging for funds to complete his increasingly rare films. He hatched the idea for Ran in 1975 but couldn't interest financiers, so in 1980 he made the medieval epic Kagemusha as what he called a "rehearsal" while he waited for the chance to direct his dream project. By the time that chance finally came Kurosawa was all but blind and had assistants set up shots based on the drawings and painting he'd made during the film's endless pre-production. Ran, like Lear, is the story of an old man who ends up staggering through the carnage brought about by his own stubborn pride. But in his own life, Kurosawa proved that sometimes an old man's stubborn pride can be a wonderful thing. UCI Film and Video Center, Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., Feb. 9, 7 p.m. Free.
Blessed Event. Back in 1932, the posters for Roy Del Ruth's hit picture proclaimed it "The scandalous comedy of a scandal columnist who rose FROM A KEYHOLE TO A NATIONAL INSTITUTION!" It would be difficult for anything to live up to such quaintly prurient hype, but while this movie is of course considerably less shocking today, there's still plenty of naughty wit in this tale of ill-timed pregnancy, blackmail, murder and other celebrity shenanigans. Lee Tracy stars as a Walter Winchell-ish gossip columnist whose endlessly wagging tongue gets him in trouble with the mob. Unfortunately, the mob didn't count on our boy being as smart as he is sleazy. Short subjects, cartoons and other goodies are also on the bill. Long Beach School for Adults Auditorium, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000, ext. 7198. Dec. 16, 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
La Suerte Esta Echada (The Die is Cast). Sebastian Borensztein's Argentinean black comedy follows two half-brothers, living seemingly cursed lives, who are called to the bedside of their dying father. He tells them strange tales of his colorful youth, and makes a dying wish: he wants to snort some coke before he croaks. His sons dutifully attempt to score some drugs for their papa, but their mission is complicated by their never-ending streak of bad luck. Producer Octavio Nadal introduces the film. Cultural Stage of Art, 410-B W. Fourth St., Ste. 4, Santa Ana, (714) 543-0613. Sat. 6 p.m. Free.
Road to Bali. The last, and strangest, of the cheerfully surreal musical comedy series teaming Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and the underrated Dorothy Lamour. This 1962 entry, which takes the old boys from Bali all the way to outer space, dispenses with the fourth wall even more than usual, featuring copious asides to the audience, cameos from dozens of celebs and plenty of (seemingly) improvised wit from the boys. Local film authority Dr. Arthur Taussig hosts the screening and discussion afterward. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room116, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri. 6:30 p.m. $5-6.
Sixteen Candles. Reasonably charming John Hughes teen comedy of the '80s, considered a classic by some but marred by such baffling cruelties as the egregiously stereotypical Asian foreign exchange student Long Duck Dong and a running gag about some poor kid in a neck brace. Molly Ringwald does give classic pout, though. Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3358. Tues., 8 p.m. $6; Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (800) 326-3264. Wed., 8 p.m., $6.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. William Greaves' 1968 documentary-drama employs different viewpoints of a series of screen tests in New York's Central Park, along with the chaos behind the scenes. Introduction by Ed Dimenberg, UCI professor of Film and Media Studies. UCI Film and Video Center, Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., Feb. 2, 7 p.m. Free.
Mail your press releases (and a videotape, if available) to Special Screenings, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.
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