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 1974 television movie featuring Martin Sheen, Ned Beatty and Gary Busey concerns Eddie Slovik, who was executed for desertion by the United States Army in 1945, the first soldier killed for desertion since the Civil War. As reluctant a fighter as they come, Slovik was drafted into serving in World War II despite an intense fear of guns. Separated from his unit in Europe, Slovik deserts but is discovered and ordered back to the front lines. Despite there being many deserters, Slovik was the only soldier the Army decided to make an example of. Particularly trenchant during these modern times as more and more active duty personnel are expressing a desire to get the hell out. Apparently, the court-martial scene was filmed in the Grand Ballroom of the Queen Mary. The Execution of Private Slovik is screened as part of the Cal State Long Beach/SONY Premiere Film Festival. Cal State Long Beach, University Theater, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (310) 418-0367; www.csulb.edu Sat., noon. Free.
Amazing Grace. The Orange County Film Society launches its 2007 series with this Michael Apted drama concerning English antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce, who spent much of his twenties and thirties making the abolition of slavery a major issue in Parliament and was finally able to secure pass of England's first anti-slavery bill in 1807 (beating the United States out by over five decades.) Albert Finney and Ioan Gruffudd star in the film which won't be released in theaters until the following Friday. The nonprofit Film Society, which celebrates American and international cinema, screens films year round and is affiliated with the Newport Beach Film Festival (the $175 annual membership, or $300 per couple, includes multiple festival passes). Regency Lido Theater, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 673-8350; www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com. Tues., 7:30 p.m. Call for individual screening tickets, if available.
Beautiful Thing. This 1996 play adaptation, directed by Hettie MacDonald, deals with the growing relationship of two young neighbors in a working class London housing project. The film is being screened this week as part of the UCI Film and Video Center's Disaffected Youth series. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building 100, Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.filmandvideocenter.com. Sat., 7 p.m. $3-$5.
The Chumscrubber. This 2005 upper-class suburban satire is being screened this week as part of the UCI Film and Video Center's Disaffected Youth series. In a darkly humorous twist to River's Edge, teenager Dean comes across the body of his friend and neglects to tell any adults because he knows they wouldn't care anyway. Featuring an impressive cast of character actors and indie-film darlings, this movie polarized viewers, with some insisting it was genius and others maintaining it was ultimately empty and facile. Judge for yourself at the screening, where you'll also be able to pepper director Arie Posen and producer Bonnie Curtis with questions after the film. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building 100, Irvine, (949) 824-7418;www.filmandvideocenter.com. Thurs., Feb. 22, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
Ghost Rider. Yes, the Nicolas Cage film. Cal State Long Beach alumnus Mark Steven Johnson wrote and directed the film, and the university presents this preview screening as part of the Cal State Long Beach/SONY Premiere Film Festival. The story concerns a motorcyclist back from the dead to fight evil. Finally, a film I can relate to. Cal State Long Beach, University Theater, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (310) 418-0367; www.csulb.edu. Thurs., Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. Free.
Is God Green? This documentary looks at the growing disunity within the conservative evangelical Christian community surrounding the issue of environmental protection. While liberal Christians have made stewardship of the environment a priority in their ethos for some time, recently some conservative Christians have joined the fold, arguing that mankind has an obligation to care for the gifts we have been given. However, many traditional evangelicals insist that the environment is progressing they way God wants it. Will global climate change be a divisive issue among Fundamentalist voters and therefore alter the political landscape with which we've grown familiar? This documentary is being screened by the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Corporate Study Group. Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, 1259 Victoria St., Costa Mesa, (949) 400-0259. Sat., 7 p.m. Call for cost.
The Karate Kid. Believe it or not, many locals go nutso for big-screen showings of this '84 chestnut that has Pat Morita teaching Ralph Macchio to "wax on . . . wax off" and other junk that'll serve him well in the big katate chop-off ending. At least, that's the story around Regal Cinemas, which is moving its Flashback Features series from the shuttered Edwards South Coast Village to the they-better-not-shutter-or-else Edwards University across from UCI. Other films to come include Psycho (Hitch's original, not that Gus Van Sant shit), Jacob's Ladder and Bullitt. Yeah, when's the last time you saw Bullitt on a big screen? Thought so. Best of all, the theater takes Flashback requests! Edwards University, 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-8818. Tues., 9 p.m. $6.
Sofia. This documentary film from Peter Goetz concerns Sofia, a woman born in Peru's terrorist state in the '80s who found an escape in surfing. This story of an unlikely heroine who pursues the dream of becoming the first South American World Champion surfer inspired new energy in her developing nation. Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122; www.ocma.net. Thurs., Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. Free.
That Was Then... This Is Now. This 1985 film, based on the novel by S.E. Hinton and being screened as part of the UCI Film and Video Center's Disaffected Youth series, concerns the changing relationship of two boyhood friends as one gets a girlfriend, a job, and decides to grow up as the other remains, well, disaffected. Starring Craig Sheffer, Emilio Estevez and NYPD Blues star Kim Delaney and recommended for those who appreciate the Hinton oeuvre. UCI Humanities Instructional Building 100, Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.filmandvideocenter.com. Thurs., Feb. 15, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
True Grit. This film, starring Orange County's favorite adopted son, is screened by the Fox in celebration of the Academy Awards. John Wayne, in his only Oscar-winning performance, plays U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, an old cuss recruited by a young girl to avenge her father's death. John Wayne in a western? Odd. Also stars Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper. Presented as part of the Fox Theatre's "Movies on the Fox" series, True Grit will be projected outdoors on the back wall of the theater, preceded by a trivia contest, raffle, cartoon and a preview. Fox Fullerton Theatre, 221 N. Harbor Blvd., Ste. N, Fullerton, (714) 870-0069; www.foxfullerton.org. Thurs., Feb. 15, 7 p.m. Free.
The Ultimate Gift. The Garden Grove Rotary Club is presenting a private preview of this film, based upon the book by Jim Stovall. A spoiled trust funder discovers that his grandfather's gift in his will is not the chunk of cash he was hoping, but rather the opportunity to discover the true relationship between wealth and happiness. That's all well and good, but it doesn't quite buy you a new flatscreen TV, now does it? Garden Grove Rotarians hope the community finds the film's message as inspiring as they have. Gem Theater, 12852 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 901-7411. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $75; two tickets for $125.
Mail your press releases (and a videotape or disc, if available) to Special Screenings, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Or send e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.