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:
Vietnamese International Film Festival
The fourth biennial Vietnamese International Film Festival (VIFF) opens Thursday, April 2, at Edwards University in Irvine and continues through April 12 at various Orange County locations—with a single-day stand in Westwood. More than 60 short and feature-length films will be screened, and there will be panel discussions, a closing-night awards ceremony and a special spotlight for actor Dustin Nguyen, who co-stars with Cate Blanchett in Little Fish. “Boy, do we have a treat for you,” Huy T. Tran, veteran co-chairman of VIFF’s screening committee, said at a recent Bowers Museum press conference that was covered by the Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley on the staff news Navel Gazing blog. “I’ve been with VIFF since the beginning. These are the most outstanding films we’ve ever had.” Films from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, USA and, of course, Vietnam are shown during the run, which begins with guest arrivals at 6 p.m. April 2 for the 7:30 p.m. screening of Footy Legends by acclaimed, up-and-coming Australian director Khoa Do, who will attend and field questions. An opening gala begins at 9:30 p.m. at Chakra Restaurant, which is in Irvine’s Town Center, across from UCI. Screenings move on to Bowers, UC Irvine and UCLA. Included are Sad Fish by Le-Van Kiet, All About Dad by Mark Tran, the world premiere of the documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam by Tammy Nguyen Lee, Saigon Heat by Andy Vu and Danny Do, Vietnam Overtures by Stephane Gauger, In the Dark by Nadine Truong, and The Hot Kiss by Nguyen Quang Dung. Various locations, (714) 893-6145; vietfilmfest.com. April 2-12. Call or log on for show times, locations, in-depth film descriptions and ticket prices.
Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the only survivor on a ship that had been to planet LV-426, is discovered in deep sleep half a century later by a salvage ship. No one believes her horrific story of aliens, and she is taken back to Earth. But when contact is lost with a human colony on LV-426, Ripley, a team of Marines and a slimy salvage-company rep (Paul Reiser) are sent to the planet to save any survivors. Weaver resisted every Fox Studios offer to reprise her role as Ripley, fearing the sequel would be poorly written and detract from Ridley’s Scott’s 1979 original, Alien. But she was won over by director James Cameron’s script, especially the mother-daughter bond that develops between Ripley and Newt (Carrie Henn). UC Irvine Film and Video Center offers an added incentive to get your butt in a theater seat for this 1986 sci-fright: a brand-new 35mm print. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., April 9, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
Geena Davis plays Angie Scacciapensieri, who dreams of a better life beyond everyone she knows in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst section, in this 1994 dramedy directed by Martha Coolidge, Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Television’s spring semester “Industry Insider.” Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., April 2, 7 p.m. Free.
Blood and Oil
Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare narrates this documentary about the link between U.S. military power and the control of oil. Unitarian Universalist Church, 511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 758-1050. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Free.
Animated tale about a spoiled German shepherd who stars in his own action TV show. When he is accidentally abandoned, he discovers he has no superpowers. Some friends he meets on the way back home help him discover his true self. San Juan Capistrano Library, 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 493-1752. Sat., 11 a.m. Free admission and popcorn.
Born Manó Kertész Kaminer in Hungary, Michael Curtiz would later direct two bona-fide classics—this 1942 wartime drama and 1945’s Mildred Pierce—and 10 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Paul Muni, John Garfield, James Cagney, Walter Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Eve Arden and William Powell. But John Meredyth Lucas said of his stepfather Curtiz that he spoke five languages, all of them badly. During the filming of Casablanca (1942), he asked a set dresser, in his thick Hungarian accent, for a “poodle.” It was later discovered he wanted a “puddle” of water. Chewing out an assistant on another picture, he yelled, “The next time I want an idiot to do this, I’ll do it myself!” And he famously berated David Niven on set, declaring, “You think you know fuck everything and I know fuck nothing. Well, let me tell you, I know fuck all!” See how much fuck all he knew 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.
Walter Salles’ 1998 Brazilian drama and Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee about a dour old woman named Dora (Fernanda Montenegro) who works at Rio de Janeiro’s central train station writing and mailing letters for customers she considers “trash.” When a woman who has been having Dora write her husband dies in a car accident, Dora takes the deceased’s 9-year-old son, Josue (Vinícius de Oliveira), on a trip to find his father. Irvine Heritage Park Library, 14361 Yale Ave., Irvine, (949) 936-4040. Sat., 11 a.m. Free.
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).
Happy Go Lucky
First Friday Film presents Mike Leigh’s 2008 film about a relentlessly upbeat 30-year-old kindergarten teacher in North London. Poppy (Sally Hawkins, in a Golden Globe-winning performance) is so relentlessly upbeat that her optimism tends to exasperate those around her. San Juan Capistrano Library, 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 493-1752. Fri., 7 p.m. $2 donation suggested.
Fernando Eimbcke’s 2008 Mexican indie about a teenager named Juan (Duck Season’s Diego Cataño) who crashes his family’s red Nissan into a telegraph pole on the outskirts of town, and then scours the streets for someone to help him fix the car. Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6334; fullertonlibrary.org. Mon, 6:30 p.m. Free.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
It’s Oregon in 1850, andAdam (Howard Keel), the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town and comes back with a wife. Returning to their backwoods cabin, new wife Millie (Jane Powell) discovers his six brothers all live with them. She sets out to reform the uncouth siblings so they can get wives of their own. Stanley Donen’s lavish 1954 musical took home two Oscars. Cinema Fusion at Anaheim’s GardenWalk, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 399-0300; www.cinemafusionanaheim.com. Wed., 7 p.m. $7.50.
Alejandro Jodorowsky plays the title character in his own Mexican art film. Gunfighter El Topo (“The Mole”) and his young son ride through a desert to a village, whose inhabitants have been massacred. He leaves his son with a group of monks while setting off on a rescue mission but is ultimately left wounded in the desert. Awakening years later, he returns to find the town run by a vicious sheriff and home to a bizarre religious cult. His son, now a man, is also a monk there. That would sum up what’s fairly normal about the plot. Just sprinkle in a whole lot more weirdness, and you’ve got the flick kicking off Mondo Celluloid’s two-week Jodorowsky retrospective, which concludes April 10 with The Holy Mountain. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; www.mondocelluloid.com. Fri., 11:59 p.m. $10.
Viva La Causa
Fiesta Marketplace and the Dolores Huerta Foundation present the Orange County debut of Bill Brummel and Alonso Filomeno Mayo’s 2008 documentary on the movement for social justice led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Comedian George Lopez narrates. Yost Theater, 307 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana; koos.org/yosttheatre. Sat., 5 p.m. Free.
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