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
It is Los Angeles, the early 21st century, and a sad-sack cop named Deckard (Harrison Ford, as cool as he'd ever get) has been charged with the task of hunting down and killing replicants, spookily human-like cyborgs who are as beautiful as they are dangerous. It would be a loathsome job at the best of times, but it's made worse by Deckard's dawning realization that the replicants may be more alive than he is. The picture that Blade Runner paints of LA (in what was, at the time of the film's 1982 release, the distant future) as a very vertical, perpetually nocturnal, deco-punk dystopia abounding with Asian immigrants and beetle-like flying police cars is utterly persuasive. So much so, in fact, that the reality of contemporary LA—with its endless horizontal sprawl, sun-bleached days and largely Latino population—almost seems like an abstraction by persuasion. The film premiered to mostly dire reviews, but over the years, it has gradually been accepted as the true classic it is. Director Ridley Scott has always been a master stylist, but Blade Runner is one of the few films on his résumé on which his style was put in the service of a first-rate script. The result is near-perfection, arguably one of the great sci-fi pictures of all time. This screening is hosted by Signe Johnson. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5154. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
Blazing Saddles.Mel Brooks' vulgar, hysterical, hysterically vulgar Western spoof features, among countless other delights, the late Madeline Kahn in a priceless parody of Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again, which would be one for the ages even if you've never seen the original. The plot kind of melts in the last couple of reels, but in the meantime, there's much to delight goofy 12-year-old boys of all ages and genders. Pierside Surfcity, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-3151. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $7.
Chasing the Lotus. A new surf documentary featuring decades of rare footage from filmmakers Greg Weaver and Spyder Wills. Pierside Surfcity, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-3151; www.bigredprod.com. Thurs., Dec. 14, 7 & 9 p.m. $8.
Great Expectations. John Mills stars in David Lean's 1946 film based on Charles Dickens' classic tale of Pip, an orphan who becomes a gentleman thanks to a mysterious benefactor. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; Wed., 8 p.m. $5-$8.
The Maltese FalconandThe Falcon Takes Over. If you went to this double feature when we listed it last week, we can only offer our sincerest apologies. The School for Adults folks skipped a week in their lineup, and we didn't notice because we suck. Look on the bright side: here's another chance for you to catch this 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. Then, classic screen grouch 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 Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Midnight Insanity gang presents shipboard screenings of Richard O'Brien's glam-rock, musical-comedy, horror thing, preceded by live bands. This week: the Quirks. For safety reasons, guests are searched at the door, so leave that crack pipe at home, bitch. 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 examines the GI anti-war movement during the Vietnam War. St. Matthias Episcopal Church, 7056 Washington Ave., Whittier, (562) 698-9154. Thurs., Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Free. RSVP required.
Who's Camus Anyway? Mitsuo Yanagimachi's 2005 dramedy chronicles tumult on the set of a misfortune-plagued, Japanese student film. "Energy and comedy are in large supply," sez The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt. San Clemente Library, 242 Ave. del Mar, San Clemente, (949) 492-3493. Fri., 7 p.m. Free.
The Wizard of Oz. A children's classic that makes Torch Song Trilogylook butch. It's kind of amazing that it took America so long to realize what a screaming queen of a movie this is . . . although perhaps the filmmakers were trying to tell us something with their original tagline: "Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!" They pretty much pegged it, didn't they? Cinema City, 5635 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, (714) 970-6700. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $7.50.
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.