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
Foreign films don't get much more foreign than Jang Jun-Hwan's Korean oddity Save the Green Planet; it feels less like the product of another country than some errant transmission beamed in from a far-off dimension. When we're first introduced to Byeong-gu (Ha-kyun Shin), he seems like a comic, harmless loser. Convinced that the sorry state of his life is the result of a plot by nefarious aliens who have infiltrated human society and that it's up to him to save the world, he kidnaps his former boss, high-powered exec Baek Yun-shik (Kang Man-shik). The tone of the film seems pretty goofy—but then Byeong-gu begins to torture the exec, stripping the skin from his feet and coating them with a mentholated cream. Holy crap. Suddenly we find ourselves caught in a gruesome, suspenseful thriller, but as the picture goes on, it will make more abrupt left turns into drama, trippy sci-fi—even romance. By the time Byeong-gu is wielding a gun against a swarm of angry bees, you'll either be convinced you're witnessing the debut of a genius filmmaker or you'll be outside angrily demanding your ticket price back. Either way, you'll be much relieved afterward to find your way back to your own Earthbound reality. UC Irvine Film and Video Center, Humanities Instruction Bldg., Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., March 9, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
Ball of Fire. Howard Hawks' classic farce stars Barbara Stanwyck as a burlesque performer sharing a house with a group of addled professors in a freewheeling, modern version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Local film authority Dr. Arthur Taussig hosts the screening and discussion afterward. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
Brazil. Although Terry Gilliam's 1985 sci-fi masterpiece is set "somewhere in the 20th Century," its backdrop of government-sanctioned torture, terrorist attacks and pervasive paranoia couldn't be more tragically contemporary. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, 117 N. Sycamore, Santa Ana, (714) 667-1517; www.occca.org. Fri., 8 p.m. Free.
Enter Imbroglio. A new documentary video starring local surfers Micah Byrne, Brett Simpson, Jesse Evans and Ted Navarro, who will be at the shows for Q&A's. Plus, there will be raffles for DVS shoes, CarveBoards, surfboards and other stuff. Cowabunga. Mann's Pierside Pavilion, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-3151; www.bigredprod.com. Thurs., March 9, 7 & 9 p.m. $9.25.
The Exorcist. Still somewhat dazed and confused following the raucous party that was the '60s, many of the boomers (i.e., your parents) were ill-prepared in the early '70s for the 24/7 horror show that is a newborn baby, and they looked around at your poop smeared on their paisley wallpaper and your vomit encrusted in their shag carpets and thus was born the movie genre of the Demon Child. Your parents dropped you off with a sitter and rushed out to see Rosemary's Baby, The Omen and The Exorcist again and again. Then, after a few years of tending to their li'l barfin'-and-poopin' machine, they got divorced. Coincidence? Whatever you say, Damien. All the crappy sequels and prequels aside, The Exorcist remains one of the scariest pictures of all time. It is also, arguably, a family album in which you are the unwitting star. 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.
Palindromes. Todd Solondz's peculiar 2004 comic drama follows Aviva, a pregnant 13-year-old girl who must decide whether or not to have an abortion. Aviva is portrayed by a variety of different actors (including Jennifer Jason Leigh), and the plot is constantly rearranging itself before your eyes, as Solondz introduces you to characters on either side of the abortion debate, leads you to draw your conclusions about them, and then flips the whole thing to reveal the good points of the bad guys and vice versa. It all makes for an exhausting but fascinating evening. Solondz appears at the screening. UCI Film and Video Center, Humanities Instruction Bldg., Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., March 2, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
The Wind. Lillian Gish stars in Victor Sjöström's classic, 1928 silent melodrama about a girl who moves from the East to the wilds of Texas and faces endless hardships. Gish put up with ridiculously arduous conditions on the film's Mojave shoot, with temperatures so high she burned the flesh off one hand when she touched a scalding-hot doorknob. The crew used eight roaring aircraft propellers for wind machines, and the resulting sandstorms were so dangerous the crew wore thick clothes and goggles while Gish was left struggling to emote in front of the camera while being pelted with rocks and other crap. Take that, Mr. Robert "I deserve an Oscar because I ate a lot of cheese and got fat for Raging Bull" DeNiro. Long Beach School for Adults Auditorium, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000, ext. 7198. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
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.