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 Festival of the Week:
Zero Film Festival
The Zero Film Festival, which is dedicated to self-financed, zero-budget DIY filmmaking, ends its first West Coast tour at the historic Yost Theater in Santa Ana. Screening is Luke and Brie Are On a First Date, a “mumblecore” set in Los Angeles and featuring a cameo by Aaron Katz, writer/director of Dance Party, USA and Quiet City. In production assistant-turned-director Chad Hartigan’s feature debut, Luke (George Ducker) is a wannabe journalist who meets secretary Brie (Meghan Webster) at a bar for what may or may not be a first date. It’s obvious he’d like it to be, but she’s keeping things extremely casual. Working against Luke’s wish to maintain Brie’s constant gaze are three guys initially sharing a bar booth with the couple, two attractive dudes doling out free slices of Hawaiian-style pizza and a house full of other twentysomethings at a birthday kegger Luke gets dragged to. The night wears on like an entire relationship, with fits of mutual attraction, jealousy, intimacy, misunderstanding and opportunities for infidelity. Despite a cupboard-bare budget and a slow start that has you wondering why, exactly, you’re watching Luke and Brie Are On a First Date, stick it out because Ducker and first-time actress Webster, both of whom co-wrote the script with Hartigan, are naturals in front of the camera, and their chemistry is infectious. The fest also features a collection of “audience-choice award-winning shorts,” including writer/director Pamela Green’s Compact Only, which finds a fellow (John Poulos) jonesing so much for L&L Barbecue that he parks his black full-size car in a nearby shopping-center lot just so he will be within the required delivery area. As he scarfs down his lunch behind the wheel, he discovers what happens in a shopping-center parking lot is much more entertaining than anything on TV. Filmmakers attend the screenings, which are followed by a closing-night party featuring live performances by such Orange County bands as Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, the Living Suns, Voxhaul Broadcast, and the Growlers. Yost Theater, 307 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana, (206) 697-4821; zerofilmfest.com. Sat. Films, 7:30 p.m.; music, 9:30 p.m. $8-$10. All ages.
A Century of Quilts
The best 100 quilts of the 20th century—and the stories behind them—are presented. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Tues., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
A 9-year-old boy embarks on his first camel caravan through the Sahara. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Wed., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
The Independent Film Series continues with Bouli Lanners’ look at two aimlessly wandering loners: Yvan, a quick-tempered 40-year-old vintage-car dealer, and Elie, a young burglar and ex-junkie. This screening is not recommended for children under 17. Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6326; fullertonlibrary.org. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Free.
From Here to Eternity
If you just missed this screen adaptation of the James Jones novel on Turner Classic Movies, TiVo American Idol and head out to see Burt Lancaster, Monty Clift, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Warden in this 1953 drama that picked up eight Oscars for making a soap opera out of American military life in Hawaii just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Cinema Fusion at Anaheim’s GardenWalk, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 399-0300; www.cinemafusionanaheim.com. Wed., 7 p.m. $7.50.
Paramount Pictures’ completely remastered print of the Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece is screened, as is a completely remastered print of its possibly greater sequel (see below). Based on Mario Puzo’s novel and screenplay, it follows the transition of a Sicilian-American crime family from its aging patriarch Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) to his reluctant son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino, never again as catatonic). So much of this film is woven into popular culture that you know the plot even if you are among the few who have not seen it. However, a whole bunch of us were too young (or not yet born) when it first hit the big screen in 1972, so this is a rare chance to see a crisp print the way it was intended to be seen. If you can stick around or come back for Part II, all the better. Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheatre.com. Fri., Mon. & Wed., 7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m. $5-$8.
The Godfather: Part II
If you took in part one and your butt and wallet can still take it (separate admissions are charged for each film), why not experience all 375 minutes of two of America’s greatest cinematic achievements? Part II tells the parallel stories (in more ways than one) of young Vito (Robert DeNiro) and, decades later, his son and rising mob boss, Michael (Al Pacino). Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheatre.com. Sat.-Sun., Tues. & Thurs., March 12, 7 p.m. $5-$8.
If These Walls Could Talk 2
Chapman University’s free and open-to-the-public Industry Insiders series features a Hollywood player leading screenings of select films. This spring’s insider is Martha Coolidge, the director of Valley Girl, Real Genius and Lost in Yonkers. She also directed a segment in this follow-up to If These Walls Could Talk, which dealt with abortion. Here, the topic is lesbianism, with three sets of stories from different occupants of the same house over a 40-year span. Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Perkins were among the stars of the 2000 film, which screens with Not a Pretty Picture (see below) and is followed by a Q&A with Coolidge. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., March 12, 7 p.m. Free.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
As part of Chapman University’s Industry Insiders series, Martha Coolidge presents her 1999 TV biopic on the African-American singer/dancer/actress, portrayed by Halle Berry before her Oscar. The screening is followed by a Q&A with Coolidge. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., March 5, 7 p.m. Free.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Wear your scary clown makeup and you’ll be let in for half off to Mondo Celluloid’s presentation of this rarely screened 35mm print of the 1988 “kamp klassic.” Students Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Synder) are getting to, ahem, know each other at Make-Out Point when they notice what appears to be a star plummeting to Earth. But when they drive a few miles outside town to, erm, probe, they discover a glowing circus tent. Inside are not your typical Ringling Bros. clowns—and the answer to what’s creepier: aliens or clowns? This flick was topped only by Evil Dead 2 and Plan 9 From Outer Space in a recent all-time B-movie poll. Director Stephen Chiodo and writers Charles and Ed Chiodo are scheduled to appear. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; www.mondocelluloid.com. Fri., 11:59 p.m. $9.75.
The Neverending Story
Greatest false advertising in a movie title ever! This Wolfgang Peterson fantasy from 1984 did end after 97 minutes or 104 minutes, depending on which version you caught. Bastian (Barret Oliver) is a bullied 10-year-old who really gets into the book he’s reading. It transports him to the mystical land of Fantasia, which is in desperate need of a hero. Will Bastian answer the call? Find out at Classic Film Night. South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; www.regencymovies.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.50.
Not a Pretty Picture
As part of Chapman University’s Industry Insiders series, Martha Coolidge presents her 1976 genre bender that addressed something that was not even considered a topic yet: date rape. Coolidge tells a victim’s story by mixing narrative and documentary filming techniques. It screens with If These Walls Could Talk 2 (see above) and is followed by a Q&A with Coolidge. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., March 12, 7 p.m. Free.
Nothing Like the Holidays
A Puerto Rican-American family spread across the country descends on mami and papi’s house in west Chicago for Christmas, but the matriarch (Elizabeth Pena) informs la familia she is dumping dad (Alfred Molina) in this film from Mexican-born Alfredo De Villa, who will be present at this UC Irvine Film and Video Center “Cosecha Latina/Latin Harvest” presentation to answer questions. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., March 5. Reception, 6:30 p.m.; screening, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
A Powerful Noise
Sheila C. Johnson’s documentary presents an HIV-positive widow in Vietnam, a survivor of the Bosnian war and a worker in Mali’s Bamako slums to demonstrate the power of women on International Women’s Day. A town-hall discussion follows. AMC at the Block, 20 City Blvd. W., Orange, (714) 769-4288; AMC Tustin Legacy, 2457 Park Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-7036; Century Bella Terra, 7777 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 373-4573; Century Stadium, 1701 W. Katella Ave., Orange, (714) 532-9558; Regency Irvine Spectrum, 65 Fortune, Irvine, (949) 450-4920; www.apowerfulnoise.org. Thurs., March 5, 8 p.m. $12.50-$15.
Two women journey between bustling cities and East Africa’s golden plains. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Fri., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts was originally going to screen Confessions of a Shopaholic, a new film starring Isla Fisher. That got canceled, so instead we get this 2008 film starring Amy Adams, the actress everyone mixes up with Fisher. Thanks, Chapman! It’s the story of a young mom who, wanting to raise money to send her young son to private school, starts a biohazard removal/crime-scene cleanup service—with her unreliable sister. Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin co-star. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6765. Mon., 7 p.m. Free, but reservations are required by phone, e-mail (email@example.com) or by filling out an online form (fs18.formsite.com/dcfma/sunshine/index.html).
For the opening of Zach Snyder’s highly anticipated adaptation of Alan Moore’s landmark comic-book series, Uni is throwing a dress-up party. Show up costumed as your favorite Watchmen character (or any character from a comic book, graphic novel, or video or computer game) and vie for prizes related to the picture. Posters will be given away, trivia contests will be held, and photographs will be taken for Warner Bros. promotional purposes (so long as you sign a waiver). What better way to break out what you’ll be wearing to Comic-Con? Edwards University Town Center 6, 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-8818. Fri., 10:30 p.m. Free. (If you want to see the 10:55 p.m. movie, purchasing the $7.50-$11 tickets in advance is strongly recommended, as a sell-out is anticipated.)