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:
According to Hollywood buzzards, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (now showing locally) is among the best films of the year. Leave it to the Bay Theater to trot out this druggy little 1996 gem to remind what first got Yanks excited about the English filmmaker—while exposing us to such Brit slang as “scag,” “junkie limbo” and “YOU DOSS CUNT!” Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name, set in Edinburgh and told through the narration of Ewan McGregor’s character, Trainspotting follows a close-knit collection of friends who seemly have nothing in common other than a shared desire to get as fucked-up as possible. These heroin junkies have decided the idea of growing up, getting married, having kids and acquiring the latest appliances is total shite. Attempted sobriety, chasing the ultimate hit, ultra-violence, unfulfilled sex and death ensue as these blokes’ exploits leave our eyes and mouths wide open, laughing and wincing at the same time. Has there been another film in which Robert Carlyle, who plays merciless thug Francis Begbie, is more menacing? Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheater.com. Fri., 10:30 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m. $8.
The OC Rewind series continues with perhaps the funniest and least reverential holiday film to date, as the 243 profanities scattered throughout Terry Zwigoff’s dark comedy of ’03 propels it ahead of The Muppet Christmas Carol for the title of filthiest Christmas movie ever. Billy Bob Thornton plays an abusive, drunken, foul-mouthed shopping-mall Santa (are there any other kind?) who bounces from town to town with his pint-sized elf helper (Tony Cox) to pull off after-hours heists that fund their pathetic lives for another year. But a portly 8-year-old boy (Brett Kelly) comes along to spoil everything. Cinemafusion, 321 W. Katella, Anaheim, (714) 399-0300; www.cinemafusionanaheim.com. Thurs., Dec. 18, 7 p.m. $7.50.
This film, which came out in limited U.S. release last October, had many critics, including Village Voice Media’s J. Hoberman, concluding it was okay enough, uplifting even, just not among director Mike Leigh’s best. The title refers to the outlook of a London elementary schoolteacher named Poppy (Sally Hawkins, in what some have dubbed an Oscar-worthy performance) who refuses to look at anything other than the bright side no matter what darkness comes her way. Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheater.com. Thurs., Dec. 18, 6 & 8:15 p.m. $8.
It’s a Wonderful Life
This will probably disqualify me for life from ever writing this column again, but I’d never caught this 1946 Frank Capra classic until I was well into my 30s, when a co-worker, incredulous that I’d never seen it, brought me a copy and demanded I report to him the next day to prove I’d actually watched it. Which I did, but I think the guy was disappointed because he thought it would change my life or something. A small-town banker (Jimmy Stewart) is about to jump off a bridge when his guardian angel arrives to show him what will happen to his family and neighbors if he takes the plunge. It’s fine, although I’m more partial to Meet John Doe. Look for my byline over the lost-pets column next week. Regency Lido Theatre, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (949) 673-8350; www.regencymovies.com. Fri.-Wed., 7 p.m. $7-$9.50.
Laguna Beach Film Society presents the 2007 Cannes Camera d’Or winner about the lives of four very different women intersecting to paint an unlikely portrait of modern Israeli life. “Co-directed by the best-selling Israeli writer Etgar Keret and his wife, dramatist/director Shira Geffen, Jellyfish regards its essentially lonely characters with a gaze both tender and lethal,” writes Hoberman. “An Israeli movie with neither politics nor religion—and only one casual, if fraught, mention of the Holocaust—Jellyfish bespeaks an underlying desire for normality that’s as poignant and fantastic as Keret and Geffen’s modest, shabby Tel Aviv settings.” South Coast Cinema, 162 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-9799. Thurs., Dec. 18, 7 p.m. $15. (For $5 more, join a pre-screening potluck dinner with wine at 6 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Community Room, 260 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach.)
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 to firstname.lastname@example.org. All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.
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