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
Cal State Long Beach's University Art Museum presents Robert Wiene's 1920 acid-trippy tale of a sinister hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who roams from town to town using his somnambulist slave (Conrad Veidt) to commit a series of brutal murders. The story's tenuous connection to humdrum reality is undermined by more than just the wildly off-kilter visuals; Caligari has a framing sequence, set in a mental institution, which casts very serious doubts on the sanity of the film's narrator. This plot element was dropped in by the film's director, Robert Wiene, over the objections of screenwriters Hans Janowitz and Carl Meyer, and although it can be said that Reine's framing device cheapened the film (after all, the it-was-all-a-dream ending was a cliché back when Lewis Carroll used it for the Alice books), Caligari is actually made infinitely more creepy by the fact that the sequences set in the ostensible real world look just as otherworldly as the scenes set in crazyland. Like the film's narrator, it's impossible for us to know where reality ends and where we're just being toyed with by a mad genius. The film screens with Käthe Kollwitz, a 1986 documentary portrait of the influential German artist. It's the latest entry in the German Expressionist Film Series. Cal State Long Beach University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 985-5761. Fri.-Sat., noon. Free.
The Anime Expo 2006.See This Week in Gooey Tentacle Porn. Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 937-2994; anime-expo.org. Sat.-Tues. Call for times. Full four days, $55; one day only, $30; two days only, $45; age 12 and under for all four days, $25.
Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film. Ric Burns' portrait of the famed photographer is preceded by a screening of Lip, a 1999 video collaboration between Australian artist Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg that examines the narrow roles for black women in Hollywood. It's the latest entry in Cal State Long Beach's Photography Film Series. Cal State Long Beach University Art Museum, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 985-5761. Fri.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Free.
Curious George. After literally decades in development limbo, this film version of the classic children's books finally premiered to so-so reviews and sluggy box-office returns. Kinda sad, really. This matinee screening, sponsored by French 75, offers treats and prizes in the lobby . . . and if you go get lunch at French 75 next door, you get one free chocolate soufflé per family. So if the movie makes your kids drowsy, the chocolate should get 'em all wound up again. Edwards Tustin Marketplace 6, 2961 El Camino Real Ave., Tustin, (714) 669-9279. Wed., 10 a.m. $7-$8.
Goonies. Never seen it, and I've no particular desire to do so, but oh, my lord in heaven, do my fellow Gen-Xers seem to worship this kiddie adventure tale from the misty days of the 1980s. At the mere mention of the name Chunk, they get a faraway look in their eyes and make sweet, fluttering sounds of joy. If you're one of the graying, Chunk-obsessed legions, here's your chance to catch this thing on the big screen. Go nuts. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon. and Wed., 8 p.m. $6-$8.
Island In the Sky. John Wayne stars in William Wellman's 1953 thriller about the crew of a World War II-era DC-3 struggling to survive after they crash-land in Canada in the middle of a freezing winter and without sufficient food. 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. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
Lilo & Stitch. This reasonably diverting tale of a little girl and her blue alien pal was one last semi-hit before Disney hand-drawn animation went under for good. Your kids'll probably like it fine. This is an outdoor, beachside screening, so do be sure to dress warm and bring some comfortable chairs. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Dunes, (949) 729-DUNE. Fri., dusk. Free; parking, $10.
Junebug. UC Irvine presents this 2005, Oscar-nominated comic drama about an art dealer who travels to the South for a tense meeting with her husband's family, none of whom are particularly welcoming with the exception of her very pregnant sister-in-law. It's the debut film in the college's Summer Senses series. There will be a prize drawing, and refreshments provided by Kochee Kabob will be served at 6:30 pm. UC Irvine Film and Video Center, Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., June 6, 6:30 p.m. $3-$5.
Moulin Rouge. The words "over the top" don't do this thing justice. Baz Luhrmann's musical extravaganza wants to be funny, sexy, heartbreaking, etc., etc., all at once. It succeeds in being impressive but absolutely exhausting; it left me feeling dehydrated and irritable about three minutes in. And while Nicole Kidman looks damn fine in a corset, who told her it was a good idea to spend half the movie cooing and squealing like Miss Piggy? Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3340. Tues., 8 p.m. $6; Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-1970. Wed., 8 p.m. $6.
Secondhand Lions. Haley Joel Osment stars in this already rather obscure 2003 comic adventure about a kid whose hapless mother (Kyra Sedgwick) sends him to live with his colorful, enigmatic uncles (Robert Duvall, Michael Caine) in Texas. Critics and audiences alike were underwhelmed, but doesn't a summer evening screening on the beach sound nice? Be sure to dress warm and bring chairs. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Dunes, (949) 729-DUNE. Sat., dusk. Free; parking, $10.
What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole. An advanced screening of the expanded, "director's cut" of this "quantum fable." Marlee Matlin stars as Amanda, a wedding photographer who gets a new lease on life through the wonders of science and a lot of New Age hooey, brought to her courtesy of CGI, a chatty pre-adolescent basketball player, water that flows backward into a fountain and all sorts of other weird stuff. Every now and again, her story turns into a documentary, and we get talking-head segments with thinkers, gurus and quacks, including Amit Goswami and Ramtha. Life, apparently, is quite literally what you make it: nothing is real, save for what you imagine, and there's nothing to get hung about. Please pass the bong. Koo's Art Center, 530 E. Broadway Ave., Long Beach, (310) 455-2847. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $15, with proceeds aiding the refurbishment of Koo's. RSVP suggested.
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.
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!