[Special Screenings] 'Rats Is a Four-Letter Word,' 'Gandhi, My Father,' 'The Toxic Avenger,' More

Movies of the Week:

Rats Is a Four-Letter Word
Santa Ana film maker/impresario Bob Pece returns with a mini-festival of hilarious, twisted and educational shorts from the Rat Powered Films’ vault. Jim Munroe’s My Trip to Liberty City turns the violent video game Grand Theft Auto into a travelogue. Michael Mohan’s Interrogation series follows a high-school guidance counselor investigating school violence--quite badly. Mohan’s You Can Awesome! and T. Arthur Cottam’s Dirty Words: The Letter C mine the same mock Sesame Street territory traveled far better by MTV2’s Wonder Showzen. Maurice Chauvet’s Three-Fifty proves why it may be better to just go ahead and pay an unjust video-store late fee. Brent Green’s animated Hadacol Christmas makes The Nightmare Before Christmas seem like a Care Bears movie in comparison. Matthew Lessner’s Darling, Darling features Michael Cera further honing the confused, uptight teen id he’d developed in TV’s Arrested Development and mastered by the time Juno and Superbad hit cineplexes. Among those profiled in serious excerpts from Primer—Santa Ana-based Akorn Productions’ feature-length documentary on local artists, historians and all-around characters—are Joseph Musil, who creates intricate, miniature theater sets in the Santa Ana Artists’ Village space he has inhabited for 12 years, and Tim Rush, a “refugee of Irvine” who has adopted Santa Ana as his hometown and become a historian and expert on downtown architecture. To help viewers know how to fit in with “hep” downtown SanTana, Pece ends with the primer Being Crosby. So you have no excuse to miss this. Yost Theater, 307 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana; Thurs., April 30, 7 p.m. Free.

Also Showing:


Bolinao 52
A Vietnamese boat person comes to grips two decades later with her perilous South China Sea journey to freedom. The title of Duc Nguyen’s documentary is that of the boat that departed with 110 refugees in May 1988 and spent 19 days adrift and ignored by passing ships, including a U.S. Naval vessel whose captain refused to allow the dying passengers aboard. They eventually resorted to cannibalism, and after 37 days at sea, only 52 people survived. Nguyen and special guests answer your questions and attend a reception after the screening. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; Sun., 1 p.m. $12-$15.

Gandhi, My Father
Feroz Abbas Khan’s drama about the troubled relationship between Mahatma Gandhi (Darshan Jariwala) and his son Harilal (Akshaye Khanna) screens as part of “An Evening with Anil Kapoor,” the Bollywood star you just saw in Slumdog Millionaire and Gandhi, My Father’s producer. Kapoor will talk about the film, his career and Gandhi’s continued role in Indian culture. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711; Fri., 6:30 p.m. Free, but RSVP required.

Lost In Yonkers
Martha Coolidge’s next Industry Insiders screening is her 1993 film, Neil Simon’s adaptation of his own play. The coming-of-age tale focuses on two boys sent to live with their grandma and aunt in Yonkers, New York, following the death of their mother. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., April 23, 7 p.m. Free.

Midnight Cowboy
John Schlesinger’s heart-wrenching drama from 1969 is among the films cited when they talk about American cinema’s greatest era. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman turn in memorable performances that have forever woven themselves into popular culture. South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.50.

Newport Beach Film Festival
The 10th-anniversary run kicks off Thursday, April 23, with Derick Martini’s dark dramedy Lymelife and goes on to present more than 400 films from 45 countries through Thursday, April 30. Among them: Carlos Cuarón’s Rudo y Cursi, which reteams Y Tu Mamá También’s Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna; pride of San Clemente Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo; and Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Thanks to the shitty economy, there are more free events this year. Various locations, Newport Beach, (949) 253-2880; Thurs., April 23-Thurs., April 30. See the website for specific titles, show times and ticket prices. Most are $8-$12, but parties cost extra.

Nightmare on Elm Street
See the excellent Wes Craven original that spawned a series of sucky sequels. Cinema Fusion at Anaheim’s GardenWalk, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 399-0300; Wed., 7 p.m. $7.50.

Polvo nuestro que estás en los cielos (Our Dust, Who Art in Heaven)
The 10th-annual Latin American Film Festival presented by UC Irvine’s Film and Video Center continues with Uruguan director Beatriz Flores Silva’s intriguing tale about an illegitimate 7-year-old girl who is forced to live with her father, a highly influential politician, following the death of her mother. Silva will be in attendance. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; Thurs., April 23, reception in Humanities Hall 344, 5:30 p.m.; screening in HIB 100, 7 p.m. $2. The festival continues through Sat.

The Prince and Me
Spring semester Industry Insider Martha Coolidge presents her 2004 rom-com about a farmer’s daughter at a Wisconsin university (Julia Stiles) pursuing her possible true love, an odd Danish exchange student (Luke Mably) who is also a prince. Aren’t they all? Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Thurs., April 30, 7 p.m. Free.

Samurai Japan
This 50-minute doc shows how Buddhism and the code of bushido (way of the warrior) helped create feudal Japan. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; Fri., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).

Secretos de la lucha (Secrets of Combat)
A woman journeys back to Uruguay to find out what happened to her parents during a brutal dictatorship in Maiana Bidegain’s 2007 French documentary that closes the Film and Video Center’s 10th Latin American Film Festival. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; Sat., 7 p.m. $2.

Senior Thesis Screenings
Projects from the graduating class are screened for the whole world to see. Up this week: Candace Lewis (City of Lights), Arthur Fishel (James Warwick), Ryan Rozar (Hand Prints), Joe Dietsch (The 4th Horseman), Adam Fox (The Devil of Inchcape Hill), Kenichi Sono (The Price of Progress), and Rhiannon Gutierrez (When I’m Not Alone). A brief reception follows the screenings. Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater, 11283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6711. Sat., 7 p.m. Free.

Sunset Blvd.
Billy Wilder’s 1950 noir-comic classic is the first picture I remember being narrated by a dead character. He’s played by William Holden, a screenwriter-turned-kept man of aging starlet Gloria Swanson, whose “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” line has far outlived her. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; Thurs., April 30, 7 p.m. $2.

Top Hat
The classic 1953 musical featuring the songs of Irving Berlin and the graceful moves of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is shown at about the most appropriate venue in Orange County for such a slice of historic American cinema. Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon. & Wed., 8 p.m. $5-$8.

The Toxic Avenger
Mondo Celluloid brings Lloyd Kaufman, the Troma founder and writer/co-director of this 1984 action-comedy-horror pic about a mutated mop-boy who goes on an ass-kicking spree. Mondo calls Kaufman “the genius responsible for such cinematic masterpieces as Tromeo and Juliet, Surf Nazis Must Die and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.” Come dressed as your favorite character from one of those or any other Troma film and compete for DVD prizes. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; Fri., 11:55 p.m. $9.50.

A via láctea (The Milky Way)
The puzzling issue of death is thrown at viewers in this 2007 Brazilian film from Lina Chamie that attempts to re-create what happens in the final moments of one’s life. Presented in Portuguese with English subtitles, this is the second-to-the-last film in the Latin American Film Festival. UCI, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; Fri., 7 p.m. $2. The festival ends Sat.

Chapman University’s Student and Campus Life presents Darrell Roodt’s 2004 feature and Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film that was made with the support of Nelson Mandela and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It follows Yesterday (Leleti Khumalo), who learns she is HIV-positive after falling ill. With her husband in denial and a young child to care for, Yesterday dreams only of living long enough to see her child enter school. Chapman University, Irvine/Hashinger Hall, 346 N. Center St., Orange, (714) 997-6894. Thurs., April 23, 7 p.m. Free.



Mail your press releases (and a videotape or disc, if available) to Special Screenings, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste. 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or send e-mail to All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.

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