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
This 2001 film version of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's long-running, off-Broadway, glam-rock stage musical follows Hansel (Mitchell), a "little slip of a girlyboy" whose scheme to escape Soviet-era East Germany and come to America leads to a botched sex-change operation. He emerges as Hedwig, an internationally ignored song stylist whose genitals . . . well, the film's title pretty much says it all. It's much less gross and scary than it sounds, although when it is gross and scary, it is marvelously so. Hedwig arrived amid such raves from the critics there was serious talk that despite the film's scandalous subject matter, it had a real shot at making its way out of the art houses and into suburban multiplexes across the nation. Obviously, this did not happen, and Hedwig ended up being a dismal commercial failure even by art house standards. Its incredible songs aren't played on the radio, while Justin Timberlake—even now, in 2000 and freaking 6! —remains just about inescapable. The film was shut out at the Oscars, while its gifted cast has since gone on to gigs in dreadful sitcoms such as Inside Schwartzand Sandra Bullock movies such as Murder by Numbers. When this sort of thing is allowed to happen, we are forced to conclude that ours is a godless cosmos. Hedwig will rock the socks right off you. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Fri., 10: 15 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m. $5-$8.
Duck Soup. A Marx Brothers gem featuring Groucho, Chico and Harpo at their crazy best, the film bombed big at the box office in 1933, but it's delighted generations of viewers in the decades since. Groucho stars as a fast-talking incompetent who somehow winds up as dictator of the nation of Freedonia and proceeds to hire Chico and Harpo as spies. The film features several peerlessly silly scenes that have burned themselves into the collective unconscious (the often-imitated mirror sequence, for one), and the fun slows down only occasionally for Zeppo to croon a tune in his milky tenor. Discussion is hosted by Dr. Arthur Taussig. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher. Two Orange County churches that went from tiny chapels to worldwide movements have largely forgotten the hippie who put them on the map and sparked the early '70s "Jesus freak" movement. Why? Because Lonnie Frisbee frequented gay clubs and eventually died of AIDS. Attended by director David Di Sabatino. Vanguard University, Lyceum Theatre, 55 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-3610. Mon., 7 p.m. Free.
The Maltese FalconandThe Falcon Takes Over. A double feature of interesting mystery oddities. First, the original, 1931 version of The Maltese Falcon, spun from the same Dashiell Hammett story that inspired the better-known, 1941 John Huston film. It's not a classic on the order of Huston's version, but it's a fascinating curio. Then, waspish screen great George Sanders stars in the unrelated 1942 picture The Falcon Takes Over. 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.
The President's Last Bang. Hailed as "disarmingly funny" by LA Weekly's Scott Foundas, Sang-soo Im's 2005 black comedy chronicles the 1979 assassination of South Korea's President Park Chun-hee by the disgruntled director of the KCIA. UCI Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., Nov. 30, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
Red. Cinemania presents the concluding film in Krzysztof Kielowski's much-celebrated Three Colors trilogy. Irene Jacob stars as a young model who forms an unlikely friendship with a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant). This entry mostly stands on its own, although at one point events briefly bring together the characters from all three films. Cultural Stage of Art, 410-B W. Fourth St., Ste. 4, Santa Ana, (714) 543-0613. Sat., 6 p.m. $1 suggested donation.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Midnight Insanity troupe presents shipboard screenings of Richard O'Brien's cult classic comic-horror musical, preceded by live bands. This week: Tokyo Showdown. For safety reasons, guests are searched at the door, so don't bring anything too illegal. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 694-4411 or (562) 235-8053; www.midnightinsanity.com. Sat. Band, 11:30 p.m.; screening, midnight. $8 tickets go on sale at 10:30 p.m.
Sir! No Sir! David Zeiger's documentary looks at the GI anti-war movement during the Vietnam war, a movement that swung from the most benign of actions (such as coffeehouse poetry readings) to the most desperate (such as the "fragging" of officers in the fields). The film also examines the question of why this once-burgeoning movement has now become so obscure, replaced by the myth of the spat-upon, returning veteran. St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 7056 Washington Ave., Whittier, (562) 587-6270. Thurs., Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Free.?The Warriors. The Warriors come out to plaaay-ayyyyy. Can you dig it? Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, 117 N. Sycamore Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 667-1517. Fri., 8 p.m. Free.
The Wizard of Oz. Most of us grew up seeing this thing ritually presented every year on TV, but this screening offers the rare opportunity to catch it on the big screen. And if ever a movie was meant to be seen big, this is it. Maybe this time you'll finally be able to see if those persistent rumors about the munchkin who hung himself on the set are true. Pierside Surfcity, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-3151. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $7.
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. Visit Greg's website at www.gregstacy.wordpress.com.
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