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
Movie of the Week:
Sir! No Sir!
This compelling documentary examines the little-known movement by soldiers to end the war in Vietnam while they were enlisted. The Good Vibes Cafe, 510 E. Broadway Ave., Long Beach, (562) 590-5839. Wed., 7 p.m. Suggested donation, $2.
While it may be Terry Gilliam’s greatest achievement as a filmmaker, upon its initial release, Brazil was not treated with the reverence the masterpiece deserved. Loosely inspired by George Orwell’s 1984, Brazil takes place in a dystopic future in which mankind’s individuality has been crushed by government totalitarianism and bureaucracy. Perfectly balancing Gilliam’s penchant for goofy humor with some profound commentary and beautiful imagery, Brazil was deemed too dark by some American studio suits and given a cheesy re-edit. Luckily, the version widely available nowadays is Gilliam’s original vision. The director’s attention to detail makes this a film well worth seeing on a large screen, and its paranoid, devastating tone grows increasingly appropriate as the years go on. Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, UC Irvine, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.filmandvideocenter.com. Thurs., Aug. 28, 7 p.m. Free.
In this Jim Carrey comedy, God grants omnipotent powers to a dissatisfied TV-news reporter in an effort to teach him to appreciate his normal life more. Granada Beach, 5101 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 434-1542; www.alfredosbeachclub.com. Tues., dusk. Free.
East of Eden
James Dean made his big-screen debut in this Elia Kazan film based on John Steinbeck’s novel about sibling rivalry in the Salinas Valley. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheatre.com. Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon. & Wed., 8 p.m. $5-$8.
The First Emperor
Based on the latest research, including location photography at key sites in China, this film sheds new light on the achievements, ambitions and legacy of the enigmatic First Emperor of China who wished to reign for all eternity. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Free.
The Great Escape
This classic tough-guy action flick is based on a true story of a group of Allied POWs who organized a massive escape from their German prison during World War II. Regency South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; www.regencymovies.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.50.
A documentary about alternative treatments for cancer and why the American government views them with suspicion. Following the film, there will be a panel discussion with doctors, cancer survivors and other concerned parties. Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, Chapman University, 283 N. Cypress, Orange, (714) 390-5233; www.illegalhope.net. Sat., 6 p.m. Call for cost.
This documentary about the subsidized crop, the food system and the way we eat will give you “food” for thought. The Camp, 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; www.thecampsite.com. Sun., 8:30 p.m. Free.
The Scarlet Empress
It’s not hard to understand, even 70 years later, that there was a time when the sight of Marlene Dietrich projected on a large screen threw men worldwide into a tizzy. Famously satirized by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles, Dietrich’s Teutonic charm made her one of the few performers to successfully make the transition from silent cinema to talkies during cinema’s earlier days. The Friday Film Forum is screening The Scarlet Empress, one of her many collaborations with Josef von Sternberg. The director all but worships Dietrich in this lush, extravagant examination of the life of Catherine the Great. The film was a success upon its release and remains a classic example of a Golden Age star vehicle. Sit up close to the screen and drown in the bottomless limpid pools that Dietrich called her eyes. Long Beach School for Adults, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
With the Olympics in Beijing this year, what better time to learn a little about its cultural past? Shadow Magic, an independent Chinese film about the history of motion pictures in China, is set in Beijing at the start of the 20th Century. The plot concerns the love story between Liu, a young man who wants to make movies, and Ling, star of Beijing’s opera and daughter of a powerful lord. Inspired by a true story, the film explores the difficulties of cultural and technological change in early-20th-Century China. (Eleanor Carmichael) Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Wed., 1:30 p.m. $7; members, $5.
Under the Sun
Ubiquity Records founders Jody and Michael McFadin, along with filmmaker Cyrus Sutton, spent three years making this documentary about surfing and the contrasts between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast in Australia. Lido Theatre, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 673-8350; www.ubiquityrecords.com. Thurs., Aug. 28, 8 p.m. Call for cost.
Pink Floyd’s dark, cautionary, psychedelic tale about war, drugs, sex, rock & roll, and hero worship comes to Thursday night’s classic-film showcase. Regency Rancho Niguel Cinemas, 25471 Rancho Niguel Rd., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-4359; www.regencymovies.com. Thurs., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m. Call for cost.
Who Killed the Electric Car?
This documentary focuses on the development and eventual squashing of a remarkably efficient electric car from GM in the mid-’90s. Tustin Presbyterian Church, 225 W. Main St., Tustin, (714) 721-6554; www.progressivechristiansuniting.org. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Free.
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