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
In this masterpiece of 1930s filmmaking, we follow the intertwined lives of five characters: an aging, suicidal, lonely-for-love Russian ballerina; a noble Baron who is in reality a bankrupt jewel thief; an ambitious stenographer; a terminally ill bookkeeper and factory clerk enjoying one last luxurious vacation; and an unpleasant industrial magnate. As one character observes regarding the true nature of this ultimately metaphoric hotel, "What do you do in the Grand Hotel? Eat. Sleep. Loaf around. Flirt a little. Dance a little. A hundred doors leading to one hall, and no one knows anything about the person next to them. And when you leave, someone occupies your room, lies in your bed, and that's the end." Featuring Greta Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery. A true classic of early Hollywood. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
Animation Showcase.Featuring a unique collection of short animated films, including hand-drawn and computer-generated works created by cutting-edge and traditional animators from around the world. Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122; www.ocma.net. Thurs., Aug. 2, 8:30 p.m. Free
Because of Winn-Dixie.A stray dog aids a girl in rekindling a relationship with her nearly estranged father in this family-friendly film. Bring a blanket and warm clothes for this outdoor, beachside screening. Newport Dunes Resort Beach, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-3863; www.newportdunes.com. Sat., dusk. Parking, $10.
Blazing Saddles.Next to Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles remains Mel Brooks' greatest cinematic acheivement. The film is a Western spoof with an added edge of racial satire. Featuring the talents of Gene Wilder and an extraordinary comic performance by Cleavon Little in the lead role. Edwards University Theater, 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-8818. Tues., 9 p.m. $6.
Blow-Up.A bored fashion photographer, Thomas (David Hemmings), happens upon a distraught woman, Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), and her lover in an empty London park. Voyeuristically photographing the clandestine couple, Thomas' peeping turns to mystery as the images he snapped later reveal hidden meaning and suspicious circumstances. Drawn into Jane's mystery and curious about her illicit affair, Thomas constantly revisits the photographs of that day and increasingly suspects he was witness to a murder. But which memory holds the truth: His own or the camera's? Director Michelangelo Antonioni passed away on July 30, and this film remains one of his best-known works. Humanities Instructional Building 100, Campus & Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-5493; www.summer.uci.edu. Thurs., Aug. 9, 7 p.m. Free.
The Gods Must Be Crazy.The film begins with a Coke bottle descending from heaven to the Kalahari Desert and onto the path of a Xhosa tribal bushman who is on a hunting expedition. Taking this strange, revered gift from the gods back to his tribe, it only instigates antagonism. He decides he must return the bottle to the gods. The film will be preceded by a themed dinner at Tangata Restaurant (provided at additional cost). Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3679; www.bowers.org. Thurs., Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m. $8-$10. For reservations to the prefilm dinner, call Tangata Restaurant at (714) 550-0906.
Melody Ranch.This 1940 film features Gene Autry, Hollywood cowboy superstar, playing . . . Gene Autry, Hollywood cowboy superstar. Returning to his hometown of Torpedo to be a guest of honor in the town's Frontier Days Celebration, Autry is confronted by his childhood nemeses, the Wildhack brothers, now fully grown into gangsters. Autry must overcome the softness that Hollywood has instilled within him in order to confront the brothers in a physical confrontation. Tough as Autry may get, he's still hanging on to those embroidered ranch shirts. The film will be accompanied by a screening of Joseph H. Lewis' My Name is Julia Ross. The Friday Film Forum will present a preshow program of shorts, cartoons and surprises. Long Beach School for Adults, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
Open Season.A bear and a deer unite to evade hunters during open season in this family-friendly animated film. Featuring the vocal talents of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher. Bring a blanket and warm clothes for this outdoor, beachside screening. Newport Dunes Resort Beach, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-3863; www.newportdunes.com. Fri., dusk. Parking, $10.
Pink Flamingos.This early landmark of bad-taste filmmaking set a standard for gross-out imagery that is still rarely matched. Directed by John Waters, the film concerns the efforts of a Baltimore trailer gal, played by Divine, to defend her title of filthiest person alive against the efforts of sleazeball couple Connie and Raymond Marble. There's something in this film to offend everyone, from authentic blowjobs to the infamous consumption of dog shit. I can watch almost anything, and even I get uncomfortable during the scene in which a chicken is incorporated into "lovemaking" and, in the process, mauled to death. Not a great date movie, unless you really want to test the mettle of your prospective partner. Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, 117 N. Sycamore, Santa Ana, (714) 667-1517; www.occca.org. Fri., 8 p.m. Free.
Scarface.This deliriously over-the-top gangster film, directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone, features Al Pacino in an iconic performance as Cuban coke kingpin Tony Montana. Ridiculously entertaining, if you're a fan of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and have a taste for violent, stylized cinema. If you're fresh out of rehab, though, stay far away from this film. Regency South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.
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