Get ready for over a week of Semitic cinema from around the globe, including 15 features and a handful of short films—it's a veritable Jewsapalooza! If you're reading this on Thursday, Feb. 16, you still have time to slap on your most fetching yarmulke and race over to Irvine's Jewish Community Center for a preview screening of Haim Hecht's One Flight for Us, concerning an Israeli Air Force general who flies a jet over Auschwitz to make a statement in the sky. Hecht appears at the screening. If you miss the show, don't start kvetching about it; you can still catch the fest's official opening-night show on Saturday, featuring Jeff Hare's 2005 dramedy Checking Out, in which the ever-great Peter Falk stars as a stage veteran who decides to make his final call at his next birthday party, much to his family's consternation. (Producer Mark Lane attends the show.) It screens with the animated short The Loser Who Won and is followed a few hours later by Campfire, Joseph Cedar's 2004 drama about a widow with two teenage daughters who attempt to convince the acceptance committee to let them join a new religious settlement in the West Bank of 1981. The festival continues until Feb. 26, so don't be a putz and miss it. Jewish Community Center, Myers Theater, One Federation Way, Irvine, (949) 435-3400. For full schedule, visit www.jccoc.org. $10-$12.
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. The GeoCinema Festival 2006 presents Rick Ray's travel doc, with Ray appearing in person. Regency Lido, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (760) 946-4841. Sat., 10:30 a.m. $8.
Grief Becomes Me. Christine Fugate's short film explores the grieving process of poet Donna Hilbert following the death of her husband. Fugate and Hilbert take part in a panel discussion. Aquarium of the Pacific, Honda Theater, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, (562) 590-3100. Thurs., Feb. 23, 7 p.m. Free.
King Kong. The 1933 version that, legend has it, inspired little Peter Jackson of New Zealand to become a filmmaker (and go on to foist KK's 2005 remake) is screened on the side of a building to raise funds for the Fox Fullerton remake. Fox Fullerton, 131 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 870-0069; www.foxfullerton.org. Thurs., Feb. 16, 7 p.m. Free.
Tale of Cinema. Arty and highly elliptical tale of two men and a woman brought together via their love for the movies. Korean "new wave" director Hong Sangsoo appears in person, with an introduction by Akira Mizuta Lippit, professor of Critical Studies (Cinema-Television) and Comparative Literature at USC. UCI Film and Video Center, Humanities Instructional Bldg., Room 100, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc. Thurs., Feb. 16, 7 p.m. $5; students, $3.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The original 1984 thriller The Terminator was scary, funny, sad and very punk, while the much-higher-profile 1991 sequel was noisy, dopey and terribly, tragically Guns N' Roses. In comparing the two films, we see evidence of what has come to be known in medical circles as James Cameron Disease, a tragic syndrome that afflicts many once-promising directors who have done interesting work on low budgets. Once the cash starts rolling in, they begin to leave behind all of the stuff that made their original films special, replacing it with an overabundance of CGI spectacle. In Cameron's case, the syndrome was fatal, but the sad plight of directors such as Peter Jackson shows we're still a long way from a cure. 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, (800) 326-3264. Wed., 8 p.m. $6.
The Unforgiven. No, this is not the ass-kickin' Clint Eastwood western. But it is a 1960 John Huston western that was rather celebrated in its day. Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn star. Short subjects, cartoons and other goodies are also on the bill, so get over your disappointment and give it a chance. Long Beach School for Adults Auditorium, 3701 E. Willow St. Long Beach, (562) 997-8000, ext. 7198. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
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