Chasin' Bandits [Special Screenings May 18-25]

Smokey and the Bandit
Smokey and the Bandit
Universal Pictures

Art and the Zen of Motorcycle Racing (or Lunch With Billy Al). The documentary about artist Billy Al Bengston, who has work in the Laguna Art Museum-produced California Masters series, screens as part of the museum's 2017 Film Night program. Special guest presenter is Dale Schierholt, the film's director. Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971. Thurs., May 18, 7 p.m. Free with museum admission.

Call Me Kuchu. "Pride Night at the Art Theatre" presents the award-winning 2012 documentary about openly gay activists in Uganda working to defeat legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by death. The screening is followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A with Peter Gajdics, author of the new memoir The Inheritance of Shame, and Ellen Hartwick, clinical director at the Center Long Beach. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435. Thurs., May 18, 7 p.m. Free.

Call Me Kuchu
Call Me Kuchu
Courtesy Chicken n Egg Pictures

Young Frankenstein. The best comedy collaboration with Mel Brooks to display Gene Wilder's genius writing and comedic acting is this 1974 black-and-white feature that casts him as young neurosurgeon Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced "Fronkensteen"), who reluctantly inherits his disgraced grandfather Dr. Victor von Frankenstein's castle, laboratory and humpback assistant Igor (pronounced "Eye-gore" and played by bug eyed Marty Feldman). With the help of Freddy's hay-rolling lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr) and mysterious castle caretaker (cue the horses) Frau Blücher (Cloris Leachman), he follows his grandpappy's instructions to reanimate a monster (Peter Boyle). Of course, as great as Wilder is, the would-be bride of Fronkensteen (Madeline Kahn) nearly steals this picture, as she did Blazing Saddles. The Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 18, 8 p.m. $7-$10.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Interest dwindled between the June 10, 1991, final episode of ABC's Twin Peaks after two seasons and the Aug. 28, 1992, theatrical opening of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Yet despite being a dud with critics and at the box office, the prequel to the TV series is now regarded as one of David Lynch's better films. It will be interesting to see if the same quality, matched with nostalgia, boost Twin Peaks: The Return, which premieres as a limited series on Showtime Sunday—or two days after you can catch Fire Walk With Me on an OC big screen again. It covers the events that led up to the original series, which was a small-screen sensation as it unraveled a murder mystery in the Pacific Northwest. Need to catch up before the movie? Fire up those streaming services or the CBS app. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri., 11 p.m. $7-$10.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
New Line Cinema

Deconstructing the Beatles: Rubber Soul. Composer Scott Freeman returns to dissect another classic album from the Fab Four. Tasked in October 1965 with cranking out a new album by Christmas, the band within a month produced Rubber Soul, which is now considered among their greatest thanks to such songs as "Norwegian Wood," "In My Life" and "Nowhere Man." Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Sat., 11 a.m. Call for ticket prices.

Sunset Blvd. Whether you go for that stylized title as it appeared onscreen or the more formal Sunset Boulevard: A Hollywood Story, it's a 1950 skewering of fame and Tinsel Town from the mind of Billy Wilder. A struggling screenwriter (William Holden) finds the easy life in the mansion of faded silent film queen Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Due to Norma's escalating madness, things don't end so well for the writer, as you learn at the very beginning, in what may have been the first use of such a character narration storytelling device. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Sat.-Sun., 1:30 p.m. $7.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Pictures

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Elliott, little Drew Barrymore's scream and dudes in space suits are back for the ultimate going-home flick. Beachfront Cinema at Huntington State Beach, Newland Street and Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach; beachfrontcinema.com. Sat., 5 p.m. $7.99-$40.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The car of sweethearts Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) breaks down near the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist whose home also hosts a rocking biker (Meat Loaf), a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien) and assorted freaks who include a muscular man named "Rocky." Watch what's on and in front of the screen thanks to the Midnight Insanity shadowcast. Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Sat., 11:55 p.m. $8.50-$11.50.

La Donna Della Mia Vita (The Woman of My Life). Cinema Italiano presents this 2010 dramedy about Leonardo, who is sensitive and reliable, and his brother Giorgio, an unstable womanizer. After a suicide attempt, Leonardo meets Sara, not knowing that she is Giorgio's ex, and in time, they fall in love. The boys' mom must then try to bring them back together. Luca Lucini directs Alessandro Gassman, Luca Argentero, Stefania Sandrelli and Valentina Lodovini. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, Norma Kershaw Auditorium, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3677. Sun., 2 p.m. $12; members, free.

 

La Donna Della Mia Vita
La Donna Della Mia Vita
Courtesy Bioskop Film

Smokey and the Bandit. Would there have been The Dukes of Hazzard (2005 movie) without The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-'85 television series)? Of course not. But would there have been The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-'85 television series) without Smokey and the Bandit (1977 movie)—that is the question. Wealthy Georgian Big Enos (Pat McCormick) wants to drink Coors at a truck show, but in those days, it was illegal to sell the Colorado-brewed beer east of the Mississippi River without a permit. Bo "Bandit" Darville (Burt Reynolds) agrees to pick up 400 cases of the beer in Texas and have his trucker pal drive it nonstop to Georgia while Bo uses his black Trans Am to divert the attention of any cops (a.k.a. smokeys) on the semi's tail. But Bandit picking up hitchhiker Carrie (Sally Field) draws the attention of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), who is angry that Carrie will not marry his son. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of director Hal Needham's good ol' boy comedy, Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies Big Screen Classics simulcast the movie nationwide, with special commentary from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz. AMC Orange 30 at the Outlets, 20 City Blvd. W., Orange, (714) 769-4288; AMC Tustin Legacy at the District, 2457 Park Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-7036; Cinemark Century Stadium 25, 1701 W. Katella Ave., Orange, (714) 532-9558; Cinemark Century 20 Huntington Beach, 7777 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 373-4573; Cinemark at the Pike Theaters, 99 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach, (800) 967-1932; Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20, 26701 Aliso Creek Rd., Aliso Viejo, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, 65 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26, 7501 E. Carson, Long Beach, (844) 462-7342; fathomevents.com. Sun. & Wed., 2 & 7 p.m. $12.50.

El Tercer Espacio (The Third Place). A hundred years after the establishment of the Jewish Syrian (Damascus) Community in Mexico City, its history is revised through a number of compelling and touching stories in this documentary presented in Spanish with English subtitles. The screening is followed by a discussion with director Nejemye Tenenbaum, and after that, Mexico City's La Mar Enfortuna performs Sephardic music. The "Celebrating the Sephardic Legacy in Mexico" events are presented by UCI Illuminations and the Jewish Studies Department. UC Irvine, Humanities Gateway 1070, McCormick Screening Room, West Peltason and Campus drives, Irvine, (949) 824-6117. Sun., screening and Q&A, 4:15-6:15 p.m.; music, 6:30-8 p.m. Free.

Stop Making Sense
Stop Making Sense
Arnold Stiefel Co.

Stop Making Sense. The recently (and dearly) departed Jonathan Demme's acclaimed concert film was shot over three performances by the Talking Heads in Los Angeles in December 1983. David Byrne (in big suit), Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison are joined by Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steve Scales, Lynn Mabry and Edna Holt in running through the Heads' most memorable songs, including "Psycho Killer" "Once in a Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House." Presented on Palm Pictures' pristinely remastered 2K Restoration, the film kicks off the new "Stranger Than Fiction: Documentaries at the Frida" series. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Mon.-Tues., 8 p.m. $7-$10.

In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, CBN Documentaries presents this look at Israel's 55th Paratrooper Brigade, which risked everything to fight for its homeland after Arab nations banded together to wipe the young nation off the map. AMC Orange 30 at the Outlets, (714) 769-4288; AMC Tustin Legacy at the District, (714) 258-7036; Cinemark Century Stadium 25, (714) 532-9558; Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Big Newport 6, 300 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Brea Stadium East 12, 155 W. Birch St., Brea, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Brea Stadium West, 255 W. Birch St., Brea, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26, (844) 462-7342; fathomevents.com. Tues., 7 p.m. $12.50.

A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange
Warner Bros.

A Clockwork Orange. Stanley Kubrick's 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess mixes hyper-reality with ultra-violence as Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) and his merry band of droogs set out on a mini-crime spree across futuristic London. This eventually lands our narrator in an experimental aversion therapy program that is every bit as horrific as the droogs' offenses. As Alex discovers, karma can be a real beotch. Regency Directors Cut Cinema at Rancho Niguel, 25471 Rancho Niguel Rd., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-0446. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $8.

The Big Lebowski. Some people love this trippy-dippy Coen Brothers' flick, some don't get it, and then there are those select few who dress as characters in the movie to attend festivals dedicated to it. Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is mistaken for millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston) by goons sent to collect money from the mogul. The Dude is later hired by "the big" Lebowski to deliver a ransom to the kidnappers of his trophy wife. John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, Tara Reid, David Thewlis, Ben Gazzara, Peter Stormare, Torsten Voges and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea also star. Regency South Coast Village, 1561 Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $8.

 

High Anxiety
High Anxiety
Crossbow Productions

High Anxiety. If Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein were never made, would this 1977 Mel Brooks comedy be considered his best? I mean, if The Producers also did not exist. In this sendup of Hitchcock films (which apparently received some input from Hitch), Brooks plays a newly arrived psychiatrist at the Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very Very Nervous, where he tries to help a blonde (Madeline Kahn) get her father out alive despite two scheming staffers (Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman). You'll never guess who assumes the Norman Bates role in the hilarious shower scene. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Wed.-Thurs., May 24-25, 8 p.m. $7-$10.

Long Strange Trip: Grateful Dead Documentary. Directed by Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese (The Last Waltz), Long Strange Trip explores the fiercely independent vision, perpetual innovation and uncompromising commitment to their audience that made the Bay Area band one of the most influential musical groups of their generation. Candid interviews with the band, road crew, family members and notable Deadheads reveal the untold history of the Dead and the freewheeling psychedelic subculture that sprouted up around it. Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Thurs., May 25, 3 & 8 p.m. $8.50-$9.

JFK Remembered: 100 Years Later. Never-before-seen materials give a fresh new look at John Fitzgerald Kennedy's presidency. The Kennedy family and JFK presidential library participated in the production. Regency San Juan Capistrano, 26762 Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano, (949) 661-3456. Thurs., May 25, 6:30 p.m. $15.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Touchstone Pictures

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Wow, a week filled with Lynch, Kubrick and double doses of Brooks and the Coens? Somebody pinch me! Actually, the one who deserves pinching is Colleen Happ, a Frida board member and volunteer who is relocating to Canada. In her honor, the theater shows her favorite film, which is about three members of a Mississippi chain gang escaping in 1937 to set off for buried treasure—and cut a little ditty in a sound studio that unwittingly turns them into musical stars. George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, John Turturro, John Goodman and Holly Hunter star. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 25, 8 p.m. $7-$10.


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