Animation Showcase. Cutting-edge works from student and pro animators, including The Fan and the Flower, the story of an ill-fated love between a fan and a flower that was directed by Bill Plympton (Guard Dog) written by Dan O’Shannon (Cheers, Frasier) and narrated by Paul Giamatti (Sideways); Chapman University alum Chris Mais’ comic toy-room adventureSmile; and, finally, award-winning filmmaker Henry Selick’s (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach) moon-journey computer-graphic fantasy Moongirl. Cinema Orange at the Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122; www.ocma.net; www.newportbeachfilmfest.com. Thurs., Aug. 24, 8:30 p.m. Free.
The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock’s classic screen adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s novel of killer birdies on the rampage. Scarier than it sounds, believe me, even if some of the special effects probably looked a bit dicey all the way back in 1963. Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor and Jessica Tandy are among the humans on the run from the nasty little peckers. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon., 8 p.m.; Wed., 6 p.m. $6-$8. ?Darwin’s Nightmare. Hubert Sauper’s documentary about the grim conditions in Tanzania, where the locals desperately struggle to feed themselves while their waters are emptied of perch by wealthier nations. It’s the latest show in the Water and Earth: Ocean Cinema series. Aquarium of the Pacific, Honda Theater, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, (562) 590-3100. Fri., 8 p.m. $10-$12.
First Chapter. This documentary follows Dane Reynolds, a 20-year-old surfer from Ventura, as he journeys to seldom-surfed spots all over the map. It’s the latest entry in the Balboa Performing Arts Theater’s free Family Movie Nite. Giant screen set up in Peninsula Park, next to the Balboa Pier, Main St. & Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 673-0895. Fri., 8 p.m. Free, but burgers, kettle corn, chips, candy and water are sold with all proceeds benefiting the theater.
The Endless Summer. Bruce Brown’s 1966 documentary about hodads searching for the perfect wave. You kids run along and have your summertime fun, but personally I plan to spend the evening locked away indoors with the air conditioner running at full blast, preferably until the ozone layer burns away in one great whoosh. UCI Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-5493. Thurs., Aug. 31, 6:30 p.m. Free.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Terry Gilliam films Hunter S. Thompson’s unfilmable tale of drug-fueled madness in the Sin City of the early ‘70s. Go in sober as a judge, and you’ll stagger out feeling like you’ve done enough acid to kill a hippo. Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3358. Tues., 9 p.m. $6; Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-1970. Wed., 9 p.m. $6.
Playtime. French director/actor Jacques Tati returns as Monsieur Hulot in this classic, near-wordless comedy. Hulot is just trying to contact an official in a futuristic, highly mechanized Paris, only to find the gadgets surrounding him do nothing to simplify life—in fact, the infernal machines almost seem to take a fiendish pleasure in making everything vastly more complicated. But faced with this rise of the machines, Hulot has weapons of his own. . . . UCI Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-5493. Thurs., Aug. 24, 6:30 p.m. Free.?Shrek 2. This loud, crass sequel to the mega-hit CGI Dreamworks comedy is just about as good as the loud, crass original, which is to say that once again, I really wanted to hate it but couldn’t quite pull it off. Julie Andrews and John Cleese are aboard this time as the voices of Cameron Diaz’s parents. Funny how she could have been raised by two of the most resolutely English people alive, and yet she ended up talking like a Valley girl, huh? This is an outdoor, evening screening, so dress warm and bring some chairs and blankets. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-DUNE. Fri., dusk. Free; parking, $10. ?The Scar. Paul Henreid stars in this rarely screened noir about a sleazy gambler who is on the lam from the mob and cooks up a scheme to take the place of a look-alike psychiatrist (also portrayed by Henreid). Discussion will be hosted by local film authority Dr. H. Arthur Taussig. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
Sir! No Sir! David Zeiger’s documentary looks at the GI anti-war movement during the Vietnam war, a movement that swung from the most benign of actions (such as coffeehouse poetry readings) to the most desperate (such as the “fragging” of officers in the fields). The film also examines the question of why this once-burgeoning movement has now become so obscure, replaced by the myth of the spat-upon, returning veteran. Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, 1259 Victoria St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-8772. Sat., 7:30 p.m. Free.
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The critics raved about this one when it first came out, although frankly this was probably a case of expectations being so lowered after the first two prequels that anything without Jar Jar Binks would have seemed like a work of genius. This movie has some actual conflict, and the Emperor is actually creepy, making this easily the best of the prequels. But does it come within spitting distance of the original trilogy? Please.For all its flaws, even Return of the Jedi mops up the floor with this thing. This is an outdoor, evening screening, so bring some chairs and blankets. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-DUNE. Sat., dusk. Free; parking, $10.
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