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
Movies of the Week:
Under the Bombs
Since the U.S. is so preoccupied with Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, why not educate ourselves with the latest cinema from that region? Director/co-writer Philippe Aractingi’s film is set during a cease-fire in the Lebanon-Israel conflict of 2006. A Christian taxi driver brings an nontraditional Shiite woman from Beirut to the heart of the conflict in the country’s south. While they scour the rubble of local towns for her son, sent to live with her traditional family while she was staying with her husband in Dubai, they discover that despite their very different backgrounds, they have much in common. Aliso Viejo Library, 1 Journey, Aliso Viejo, (949) 360-1730. Sun., 2 p.m. Free.
Laguna Beach Film Society (LBFS) presents this new Persian film, which the Boston Globe heralded as “powerful and intelligent.” Near Iran’s border with Turkey, a young widow and mother who has flouted society by taking over her late husband’s café sits outside her restaurant as a group of men discuss what is to become of the business—and of her. You’ll see the ticket price for this screening included with the date, time and location, but for $5 more, you can attend a 6 p.m. pre-screening wine-and-hors d’oeuvres reception around the corner in the Wells Fargo community room at 260 Ocean Avenue. Better yet, the movie, reception and future screenings are free with LBFS membership. Call JoAnne Story at the number provided, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Laguna South Coast Cinema, 162 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971, ext. 201. Thurs., May 21, 7 p.m. $15.
An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong
“Industry Insider” Martha Coolidge closes out the Spring Semester series with a screening of a film she directed and was released earlier this year. It’s the story of a fourth grader and her friends dealing with bullies at school. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., May 14, 7 p.m. Free.
Bells of Capistrano
Somewhere recently, I heard someone quote Gene Autry saying he may not have been the best singing cowboy, but he was the first, so not much else matters. In any event, watch him sing about the bells of the mission that would one day be located in the same county as his beloved Major League Baseball team. San Juan Capistrano Library, 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 493-1752. Fri., 7 p.m. Free admission and popcorn.
The Big Lebowski
If you missed Lebowski Fest 2009 at the Wiltern in LA on May 7, you get another crack at Joel and Ethan Coen’s stoner-noir masterpiece of 1998 on a big screen. A pot-smoking bowler who goes by “The Dude” (Jeff Bridges) gets caught up in a mistaken-identity caper because he shares the same last name—Lebowski—as a wheelchair-bound LA power broker who is being blackmailed. This plunges the Dude into the local porn, avant-garde art and visiting German nihilist scenes—in hilarious, toe-severing, Shabbos-violating, bong-toking, and White Russian- and sarsaparilla-slurping fashion. Cinema Fusion at Anaheim’s GardenWalk, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 399-0300; www.cinemafusionanaheim.com. Wed., 7 p.m. $7.50.
Mondo Celluloid kicks off hour-earlier screenings with William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic about a little girl named Regan (Linda Blair), whom the inhabiting Devil does some simply awful things to go, including getting her to say something that sounds similar to, as the Richard Pryor-starring early Saturday Night Live skit put it, “Your mother sews socks in hell.” Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; mondocelluloid.com. Fri., 11 p.m. $10.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The library’s international-film series presents this lauded picture that begins with a Coke bottle falling out of the sky and a Kalahari bushman finding it in the desert, leading to a series of unlikely and comic events. The screening is followed by discussion led by Michael Danto of the Tesoro Reading Initiative. Rancho Santa Margarita Library, 30402 La Promesa, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 459-6094. Fri., 7 p.m. Free.
Grindhouse Presents: Death Proof
The Quentin Tarantino-directed portion of the 2007 exploitation double-bill concerns some shapely lasses terrorized on backcountry highways by a sociopathic stuntman (Kurt Russell). Stuntwoman Zoë Bell, who worked on the film and also doubled for Uma Thurman in Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and Kill Bill, Vol. 2, appears at this UC Irvine Film and Video Center presentation. The other half of Grindhouse Presents, Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, is also shown on 35mm at the same time, same place on May 21. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc/. Thurs., May 14, 7 p.m. $3.
Grindhouse Presents: Planet Terror
Director Robert Rodriguez’s half of the 2007 exploitation double-bill is about the fallout from a plague outbreak that turns citizens into cannibalistic murderers. Helping to fend off the infected is a stripper played by Rose McGowan, complete with a machine gun for a leg. UCI Film and Video Center’s presentation is shown in 35mm. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc/. Thurs., May 21, 7 p.m. $3.
The Last Waltz
There is no doubt a corner of Hell is reserved for me for writing this, but I found Martin Scorsese’s 1978 documentary on the Band tedious, and I believe, all these years later, I have finally hit on the reason: I find the Band tedious. South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; www.regencymovies.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $7.
The Last Warrior
Dave Lowry and Stephen Turnbull present the most powerful samurai warlords. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Fri. & Thurs., May 21, 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
Secrets of the Samurai Sword
This doc shares the secrets of the samurai’s most-cherished weapon. 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).
Senior Thesis Screenings
Projects from the graduating class are screened for the whole world to see. Up for this, the final week are Paul Bobadilla (Tijuaneros), Eric Soth (Mounting), Owen Svelmoe (Side Effect), Eric Lindstrom (California Coast) and Alex Lotz (Futures of Los Angeles). A brief reception follows the screenings. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Sat., 7 p.m. Free.
Stand Up 360. Apologies for not getting something up in time for Episode 1, but you can catch the second of four episodes that feature standup comedians filmed live in a New York City club and beamed live into movie theaters. Hosted by Caroline Rhea, Episode 2 features funny people Jesse Joyce, Laurie Kilmartin, Michele Balan, Ross Bennett, Esther Ku and Peyton Clarkson. Their bios are up on stand-up360.com. Check back for details on Episode 3 in the beginning of June and Episode 4 at the end of that month. Cinema City, 5635 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, (714) 970-6700; www.cinemacitytheatres.com. Tues.-Wed., 8 p.m.; also May 22-23 & 26-27. Call or visit the website for ticket prices.
West Side Story
Youngsters from the Jets and the Sharks—rival NYC gangs—fall in love. This 1961 musical won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. Raging Bull won two Oscars and lost out to Ordinary People for Best Picture. The world ain’t right. Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheatre.com. Sun. & Wed., 5 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; Wed., 5 p.m. $5-$8.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
After a woman’s lover leaves her, she seeks answers from his wife, kids and new lover, among others, in Pedro Almodovar’s confusingly hilarious romp from—geez!—1988? I am old. The screening is preceded by a performance from Dona Nicha, a Long Beach band that blends shoegazer strums and drum-heavy rock. They also apparently love this flick. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; arttheatrelongbeach.com. Thurs., May 14. Dona Nicha performs at 7:30 p.m., followed by the film. $8.
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