Like Riding a Psychotic Horse . . . [Special Screenings, Dec. 20-27]

The Birdcage. Photo courtesy United Artists

Roma. Alfonso Cuarón’s new, semi-autobiographical and (based on the trailers) gorgeously shot black-and-white drama follows a year in the life of a young domestic worker (Yalitza Aparicio) and the middle-class Mexico City family she works for in the early 1970s. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435; Thurs., Dec. 20, noon, 3, 6 & 9 p.m. $8.50-$11.50; also at Regency South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701. Thurs., Dec. 20, noon, 3:15 & 10 p.m. $8-$11.

The Favourite. In Yorgos Lanthimos’ new bio-dramedy, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) secretly governs early-18th-century England for her close friend Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman), who is in ill health and bad temper. When servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, a charmed Sarah takes her under her wing, which the newcomer sees as giving her a shot at returning to her aristocratic roots. Regency South Coast Village, (714) 557-5701. Thurs., Dec. 20, 1, 4, 7 & 9:55 p.m. $8-$11; also at Art Theatre; Fri.-Thurs., Dec. 27, 1:30, 4, 6:30 & 9 p.m. $8.50-$11.50.

The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows. Four of the 15 animated shorts presented this year in a 98-minute chunk have qualified for Oscar consideration. In order of appearance are: The Green Bird (France), directed by Maximilien Bougeois, Quentin Dubois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen and Pierre Perveyrie; One Small Step (U.S.), from Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas; Alain Biet’s Grands Canons (France); Barry (U.S.), by Anchi Shen; Super Girl (U.S.), from Nancy Kangas and Josh Kun; Veronica Solomon’s Love Me, Fear Me (Germany); Business Meeting (Brazil), directed by Guy Charnaux; Flower Found! (The Netherlands), from Jorn Leeuwerink; Bullets (U.S.), by Nancy Kangas and Josh Kun; Nicolás Petelski’s A Table Game (Argentina); Carlotta’s Face (Germany), by Valentin Riedl and Frédéric Schuld; Age of Sail (U.S.), from John Kahrs; Polaris (U.S.), directed by Hikari Toriumi; My Moon (U.S.), by Eusong Lee; and Weekends (U.S.), from Trevor Jimenez. The Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; Thurs., Dec. 20, 2, 4 & 8 p.m. $7-$10.

Die Hard. John McClane (Bruce Willis, in the role that made him an action-movie superstar) tries to stop a terrorist plot to take everyone hostage at the company Christmas party of his ex-wife (Bonnie Bedelia) in a downtown Los Angeles high-rise. Go see it, if only to determine whether you agree with Willis that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. The Frida Cinema; Thurs., Dec. 20, 2:30, 5 & 8 p.m. $7-$10.

The Boss Baby. This 2017 DreamWorks Animation production is actually quite well-done, thanks to Michael McCullers’ inventive adaptation of Marla Frazee’s picture book; director Tom McGrath’s expert pacing that’ll keep the eyes of adults and children on the screen; and the vocal talents of Miles Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire and especially Alec Baldwin as the title character. Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6327. Thurs., Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m. Free.

The House That Jack Built. Lars von Trier’s new horror-thriller looks at five incidents that shaped the development of an American serial killer (Matt Dillon) in the 1970s. The Frida Cinema; Thurs., Dec. 20, 10 p.m. $7-$10.

L’Atalante. Photo courtesy the Criterion Collection

L’Atalante. Frida Volunteer of the Month Ruby Velasco’s programming pick is Jean Vigo’s 1934 masterpiece, presented in a 2017 4K restoration and in French and Russian with English subtitles. A newlywed captain (Jean Dasté) and his innocent country-girl wife (Dita Parlo) climb aboard his barge L’Atalante to begin their new life, accompanied only by his earthy first mate (Michel Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats. The Frida Cinema; Fri., 2, 4 & 6 p.m.; Sat., noon, 2, 5 & 7:30 p.m. $7-$10.

OC LGBT Pride Presents The Birdcage. The organizers of Orange County’s annual gay-pride celebration return to Frida to present Mike Nichols’ remake of the classic Oscar-nominated French farce La Cage aux Folles. The late, great Robin Williams stars as the popular Miami drag club The Birdcage’s gay owner Armand Goldman, whose son (Dan Futterman) reveals he is marrying the daughter (Calista Flockhart) of a controversial Republican senator (Gene Hackman). Caught up in a sex scandal, the conservative politician and his wife (Dianne Wiest) decide to hide from the press at the home of Goldman, unaware of his flamboyant husband (Nathan Lane). The Frida Cinema; Fri., 7:30 p.m. $7-$10.

Dolls. In the 1987 horror flick from Stuart Gordon, groups of people find their cars breaking down on a dark and stormy night in the middle of the forest. They find shelter in the same creepy castle, where they are welcomed by the elderly owner/doll maker (Guy Rolfe) and his wife (Hilary Mason). One visitor, a well-mannered girl (Carrie Lorraine), begins playing with the dolls, unaware that they have minds of their own and a gruesome lack of patience for rude and inconsiderate people such as her parents. The Frida Cinema; Fri.-Sat., 10 p.m. $7-$10.

The Polar Express. Robert Zemeckis directed and co-wrote (from Chris Van Allsburg’s book) this 2004 computer-animated family film. A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the train Polar Express. Tom Hanks voiced Hero Boy, the father, the conductor, a hobo, Scrooge and Santa Claus. Art Theatre; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m. $8.50-$11.50.

Wolf Guy. Photo courtesy Arrow Video

The Visitor + Wolf Guy Double Feature Fundraiser Screening. This double-feature screening aims to raise funds that would help make the nonprofit American Genre Film Archives’ dream of sending the nonprofit Frida Cinema to next year’s Art House Convergence come true. The annual event brings hundreds of exhibitors, festivals and allied organizations together to discuss independent films and strategies to keep showing them. As for the benefit flicks, Giulio Paradisi’s psychedelic and psychotic 1979 sci-fi/horror epic The Visitor is about a young girl with telekinetic powers being fought over by God and the Devil. Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s 1975 karate-horror mashup Wolf Guy is about an ancient werewolf clan’s only survivor (Sonny Chiba) clashing with dark forces that want to harvest his blood and steal his supernatural, crime-solving powers. The Frida Cinema; Sat., 7:30 p.m. $10 (with donations also accepted if you can’t attend).

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The pioneering midnight movie starts with the car of sweethearts Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) breaking down near the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). The transvestite scientist’s home also hosts a rocking biker (Meat Loaf), a creepy butler (Richard O’Brien) and assorted freaks, including a hunk of beefcake named “Rocky.” Live shadow-cast troupe Midnight Insanity performs. Art Theatre; Sat., 11:55 p.m. $8.50-$11.50.

Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker. Talk about collusion: Captured live from a same-day performance on the Moscow stage and cinemacast in U.S. theaters is the beloved ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s score. The story begins on Christmas Eve, when Marie’s wooden doll transforms into a prince. AMC Orange 30 at the Outlets, 20 City Blvd. W., Orange, (714) 769-4288; Cinemark Century Stadium 25, 1701 W. Katella Ave., Orange, (714) 532-9558; Cinemark Century 20 Huntington Beach, 7777 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (800) 967-1932; Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20, 26701 Aliso Creek Rd., Aliso Viejo, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Big Newport 6, 300 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Brea Stadium West 10, 255 W. Birch St., Brea, (714) 672-4136; Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, 65 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26, 7501 E. Carson, Long Beach, (844) 462-7342; Regal Garden Grove Stadium 16, 9741 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (844) 462-7342; Sun., 12:55 p.m. $18; also at Regency South Coast Village, (714) 557-5701. Sun., 1:15 p.m. $14-$17.

It’s a Wonderful Life. In Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday classic, a banker (Jimmy Stewart) is on the brink of suicide after losing his town’s money. He finds out what life would be like without him from an angel without wings (Henry Travers). The Frida Cinema; Sun., 1:30, 4:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Mon., 2 p.m. $7-$10.

Dial Code Santa Claus. Photo courtesy Lauren Films

Fangoria Presents Holiday Horror Triple Feature. As part of the daily Holiday Horror Countdown curated by writer/director Sam Wineman (The Quiet Room), three holiday-tinged horror films are shown back to back to back. The titles of the first two are a mystery, as are the names of the first movie’s director and the second’s lead actor, who participate in audience Q&As. The third attraction is American Genre Film Archives’ new restoration of René Manzor’s Dial Code Santa Claus (which is also known as Père Noël and Game Over). Considered a twist on Home Alone even though it came out a year before, the 1989 French horror thriller is about a resourceful boy spending Christmas Eve with his fragile grandfather when a psychopath dressed as Santa Claus breaks into their mansion. The Frida Cinema; Sun., doors open, 7 p.m.; first film, 7:30 p.m.; second film, 9:30 p.m.; Dial Code Santa Claus, 11:30 p.m.$15 for all.

The Deer Hunter 40th Anniversary. Michael Cimino’s breath-vacuuming 1978 Vietnam War film is about three Pennsylvania deer-hunting pals and steelworkers (Robert DeNiro, John Savage and Christopher Walken) whose lives change forever after they enlist, get captured by the Viet Cong and are subjected to great torments, including one fucked-up (and forever-mocked) game of Russian roulette. MAO! MAO! The Frida Cinema; Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 26-27, 12:30, 4 and 8 p.m. $7-$10.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. See one of the late, great Gene Wilder’s best performances, as the recluse who gives five lucky people a chance to win a lifetime supply of Wonka candy, tour his chocolate factory and learn his secrets. Oompa loompa doompety dee, mofos! Regency South Coast Village, (714) 557-5701. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $9.

They Shall Not Grow Old. Fathom Events and Warner Bros. present Peter Jackson’s “most personal” film, a World War I documentary culled from archival footage and 600 hours of BBC interviews. Through colorization, 3D technologies and state-of-the-art restoration, Jackson aims to present the authentic experiences of the British soldiers who lived them. The filmmaker recorded a special introduction, and his film is followed by a making-of featurette. Some theaters present both 3D and non-3D versions. AMC Fullerton 20, 1001 S. Lemon St., Fullerton, (714) 992-6962; AMC Orange 30 at the Outlets, (714) 769-4288; AMC Tustin Legacy at the District, 2457 Park Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-7036; Cinemark Century Stadium 25, (714) 532-9558; Cinemark Century 20 Huntington Beach, (800) 967-1932; Cinemark at the Pike Theaters, 99 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 435-5754; Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Big Newport 6, 300 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Brea Stadium West 10, (714) 672-4136; Edwards Foothill Towne Center Stadium 22, 26602 Towne Center Dr., Foothill Ranch, (949) 588-9402; Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Market Place Stadium 10, 13782 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Metro Pointe Stadium 12, 901 South Coast Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 428-0962; Regal Garden Grove Stadium 16, (844) 462-7342; Regal La Habra Stadium 16, 1351 W. Imperial Hwy., La Habra, (562) 690-4909; Thurs., Dec. 27, 4 & 7 p.m. $15.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *