If you haven't seen a Svankmajer film yet, do yourself a favor and check this one out. The UCI Film and Video Center continues its winter series with Lunacy, Svankmajer's newest film and the Czech Republic's official entry to the 2007 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film. Loosely based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, Lunacy utilizes surrealist imagery and stop-motion animation in an unsettling yet darkly funny portrayal of lunatics taking over an asylum. The film is being screened in conjunction with the UCI Visual Studies Graduate Student Association's conference "Decadence: Excess, Erosion, and Transgression." UCI, Humanities Instructional Building 100, Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.filmandvideocenter.com. Thurs., March 1, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
Best Picture Showcase. In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, AMC Theatres countrywide are featuring a one-day marathon of all five best picture nominees for one lowish price. Beginning with Babel at 11 a.m and ending with Little Miss Sunshine at 9:45 p.m., this showcase will be a true test of your commitment to the rather arbitrary whims of the Academy. One ticket gets you a free large popcorn, a free large drink, and unlimited refills throughout the day. B.Y.O. cold pack for your eyes and book an appointment with the chiropractor for Sunday. After sitting on your ass in a theater seat for 12 hours, you're going to need them. AMC 30 at the Block, 20 City Blvd. West, Orange, (714) 769-4262. Sat., 11 a.m. $30.
The Chumscrubber. This 2005 upper-class suburban satire closes out the UCI Film and Video Center's "Disaffected Youth" series. In a darkly humorous twist to River's Edge, teenager Dean comes across the body of his friend and neglects to tell any adults because he knows they wouldn't care anyway. Featuring an impressive cast of character actors and indie-film darlings, this movie polarized viewers, with some insisting it was genius and others maintaining it was ultimately empty and facile. Judge for yourself at the screening, where you'll also be able to pepper director Arie Posen and producer Bonnie Curtis with questions after the film. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building 100, Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.filmandvideocenter.com. Thurs., Feb. 22: Reception, 6:30 p.m.; screening, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
In the Heat of the Night. This film, starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, has been heralded as a landmark representation of race relations in America in the late '60s when the film was released. Poitier plays a Philadelphia homicide detective who becomes embroiled in a murder case in a small Mississippi town. Mr. "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs" himself faces discrimination as he works to forge an alliance with Steiger's reluctant sheriff. The film was honored with Oscars for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Long Beach School for Adults, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
Jurassic Park 3. Ah, capitalism. The final (so far) entry into the wildly popular sci-fi series was clearly just an excuse for the filmmakers to take another trip to the bank, but taken on its own, Jurassic Park 3 is a reasonably entertaining B-movie. The first of the series to not be helmed by Steven Spielberg, JP3 stars William H. Macy, Tea Leoni and Sam Neill, reprising his role from the first two films. It's about dinosaurs wreaking havoc on an island. What more do I need to say? Jurassic Park 3 is being screened as part of Edwards University's Flashback Features series. Edwards University Town Center 6, 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-8818. Tues., 9 p.m. $6.
The Postman Always Rings Twice. This 1946 film is an outstanding example of film noir. John Garfield plays a drifter who falls for a waitress in a roadside cafe. When the waitress convinces Garfield to help her kill her husband, things turn sour. Based on a novel by James M. Cain, the basic story has been mined for a number of films, including Luchino Visconti's tremendous Ossessione, which actually preceded the American version of the film by several years. Lana Turner's performance as the femme fatale waitress in this 1946 noir will still elevate your temperature. The screening is introduced by Dr. H. Arthur Taussig. For those interested, a discussion will follow. Orange Coast College, Fine Arts Building, Room 119, 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5599. Fri., 6:30 p.m. $5-$6.
Rocky Horror Picture Show.Haven't already seen this movie a million goddamn times? Then come on out to the Queen Mary this Saturday for the requisite midnight screening. Royal Theater aboard the Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, (562) 684-4411; www.qmxroyal.com. Sat., 11 p.m. $8.
The Son of the Sheik/Daydreams of Rudolph Valentino. Bowers Museum presents these two screenings as a post-Valentine's Day gift to swooning cinephiles everywhere. Rudolph Valentino's final film, Son of the Sheik, is Valentino at his finest, playing a suave young Arab forced to battle some Moors for the love of a dancing girl. The film has politically incorrect '20s era caricatures all over it, but taken as a snapshot of cinematic culture at the beginning of the 20th century, it remains a landmark. The screening will have live piano accompaniment courtesy of pianist Bob Mitchell. Daydreams of Rudolph Valentino is a short film from director Vlad Kozlov offering an imagining of Valentino's final days in the hospital, reflecting on his career and his relationship with his wife. It is screened prior to the feature. Original costumes from The Son of the Sheik will be on view in the museum. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Sun., 2:30 p.m. $15.
Within Our Gates/The Scar of Shame. In observation of Black History Month, the Found Theatre presents a free screening of those two rarely seen films. Both are examples of the "Race Movie" genre—films featuring black actors and made for a segregated audience. While many mainstream American films of the time continued to utilize racist portrayals of African-Americans, Race Movies afforded black filmmakers with an opportunity to speak to an audience that could relate to what was really going on in the country. Flying reasonably under the radar of the white audience, Race Movies occasionally tackled harder hitting issues than their mainstream counterparts could get away with. The Found Theatre, 599 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 433-3363; www.foundtheatre.org. Mon., 6 p.m. Free.
Xanadu. Greek muses, Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelley, and disco roller rinks. Electric Light Orchestra contributes to the soundtrack and cocaine contributes to the mise-en-scene. Well intentioned perhaps, but greeted with critical raspberries upon its release, Xanadu features Kelley's final cinematic dance numbers. As lead actor Michael Beck once said regarding his career, "The Warriors opened a lot of doors in film for me, which Xanadu then closed." Like Rocky Horror, you probably already know if you'll like this film or not, but with the right mindset, it can be quite an experience. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; www.baytheatre.com. Sun., 6 p.m. & Mon. & Wed., 8 p.m. $5-$8.
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