David Lean's most celebrated epic spends four mesmerizing, exhausting hours chronicling the brief but eventful life of T.E. Lawrence, the Englishman who fought alongside the Bedouins in World War I. We're given hints of Lawrence's sadomasochism, megalomania and racism, but Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) remains a distant, enigmatic desert mirage from first frame to last, fascinating but ultimately unknowable. The production was almost as epic as the finished film, with months of shooting dragging on as the cast and crew suffered various illnesses and a few actors were replaced. O'Toole once remarked that a relatively simple scene where Lawrence and General Allenby walk down a staircase was completed a full year after Lean began shooting it, so O'Toole ages a year in a few seconds of screen time. O'Toole's aristocratic cool and Bowie-esque handsomeness made him a superstar following this picture—Noel Coward quipped that if O'Toole had been any prettier, the film would've been re-titled Florence of Arabia—although nobody has ever explained to my satisfaction why Lawrence is such a brilliant shade of orange in this film. (Seriously, was it hepatitis, some freaky case of sunburn, or what?) You have to be in the right mood to appreciate this endless caravan of a movie, but when Maurice Jarre's magnificent score strikes up and the camera pans across those storybook desert vistas, you know you're in the presence of one of cinema's true greats. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 4 p.m.; Mon., 6 p.m. $6-$8.
Barely Legal. Chapman University student Ryan Witherspoon screens his internet porn morality tale and two other films. See Film feature. The Captain Blood's Village Theater, 1140 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 808-0400. Fri. Reception, 8 p.m.; screening, 9 p.m. Free.
The Celestine Prophecy. The Goddess Temple presents a special sneak-preview screening of the film version of James Redfield's blockbuster best-selling potboiler about the discovery of nine ancient scrolls containing insights that bring about a new era of human spirituality. The Goddess Temple, 17905 Sky Park Circle, Ste. A, Irvine, (877) N-TEMPLE. Sat., noon, 4 & 8 p.m. The Temple requests no children under 15 attend the 8 p.m. show. $10.
Hermanas (Sisters). Two sisters flee their ancestral home in Argentina and set out to lead very different lives: one travels the world searching for clues to her lover's death, the other settles down as an American housewife. Valeria Bertuccelli and Ingrid Rubio star. In Spanish with English subtitles. Cultural Stage of Art, 410-B W. Fourth St., Ste. 4, Santa Ana, (714) 543-0613. Sat., 6 p.m. $1 donation suggested.
Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside). Santiago Canyon College's Free International Film Festival concludes with this 2004 docudrama about Spanish quadriplegic Ramon Sampedro's 30-year battle to end his own life. Santiago Canyon College, D-101, 8045 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 628-4927. Fri., 6 p.m. Free.
Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. That annual tsunami of cartoon doodie humor and eyeball gougings comes sloshing back into town to delight and amaze arrested adolescents of all ages. Personally, it kind of depresses me that this show exists at all (man, this is some nasty, nihilistic stuff), but if you're keen to see such fare as Horned Grandmaand The Zit, get your scabies-ridden carcass to this show without delay. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435. Thurs., March 30, 7:30 & 9:15 p.m.; Fri., midnight. $8.50.
The Venetian Dilemma. Carole and Richard Rifkind's documentary, last screened here at the 2005 Newport Beach Film Festival, looks at the problems of Venice, where annual tourist traffic outnumbers the resident population by more than 200 to 1. Sounds a bit like living in the middle of Disneyland—except in the case of Venice only (maybe only), there's the added twist that the whole place is sinking farther and farther under water. This is the latest entry in the Landscape Projections Film Series. Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122. Thurs., April 6, 7:30 p.m. Free.
Young Frankenstein. Mel Brooks' greatest picture, an affectionate homage/vicious skewering of those great old James Whale horror flicks of the '30s. Gene Wilder turns in a hilarious, fearsomely intense, superbly over-the-top performance as Victor Von Fronk-en-steen Jr., a mad genius who attempts to follow in his famous grandfather's "footshteps." Peter Boyle is a wonder as the monster, a shambling lug with a bald head and a zipper in his neck. See this movie once, and for the rest of your life, you will be sent into giggle fits by the words "Abby Normal." Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3358. Tues., 8 p.m. $6; Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-1970. Wed., 8 p.m. $6.
Mail your press releases (and a videotape, if available) to Special Screenings,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Or send e-mail to email@example.com. All materials must be received at least two weeks before ?the screening.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.