Special Screenings

The 1969 caper comedy The Italian Job isn't widely known in this country, but in its native England, it is an object of worship. And no wonder: this is one incredibly English movie, featuring not just Michael Caine, not just Noel Coward, but also Benny Hill, a jaunty little squad of Mini Coopers, Union Jack colors all over the damn place, and a swingin' '60s cheekiness so pervasive you keep expecting Austin Powers to rise up out of the Thames and ask one of the passing lovelies, “Do I make you horny, baby?” Caine (younger than you ever thought it was possible for him to be) stars as Charlie Croker, a stylish mobster fresh out of jail who sets to work assembling a gang for a gold bullion robbery in Turin. It's an adventure that will send them racing across Europe toward an ending that's as startling as ever, 37 years later. In recent years, The Italian Job has spawned a cult following in the U.S., with a 2002 PlayStation game and a quickly forgotten 2003 remake with Mark Wahlberg as a pale substitute for Caine. But it'll probably be another 37 years before the deliriously fun, fast-moving original gets another public screening, so I strongly suggest you throw on your swinger threads and “get a bloomin' move on” to this show. Short subjects, cartoons and other goodies are also on the bill. Long Beach School for Adults Auditorium, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000, ext. 7198. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.

also showing

Animal House. Frat-house comedy featuring lots of boozin' and smokin' and pukin' and pokin'. After a couple of decades of relative obscurity, the picture recently exploded back into view, and now you can hardly turn on the TV without catching the thing on cable. You could stay home and wait for it to inevitably turn up on TV, or get good and liquored-up and stagger over to this show. Go ahead and wear a toga—what the hell. Bay Theatre, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988. Sun., 8 p.m.; Mon., 6 p.m.; Wed., 8 p.m. $6-$8.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.An entertaining, Lord of the Rings-esque adventure for the wee folk, this film is, thankfully, not quite the Christian-propaganda exercise reasonable people were dreading. Still, here's hoping this movie doesn't become a Special Screenings regular because, man, that title is kind of a bitch to type. Be sure to dress warm and bring chairs. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Dunes, (949) 729-DUNE. Sat., dusk. Free; parking, $10.

A Hard Day's Night. Richard Lester's zippy musical comedy charts a “typical” day in the life of the Beatles during the first blush of Beatlemania, and it's almost impossible not to be charmed by the four lads from Liverpool in the first, goofy bloom of their youthful genius. This is an outdoor screening, and proceeds go to benefit the restoration of the historic Fox Fullerton Theatre. Snacks will be available, but seating will not be provided, so be sure to bring chairs and lots of blankets to keep warm. Film screens on the rear, exterior wall of the Fox Fullerton Theatre, viewing area in Angelo's N Vinci's Ristorante parking lot, 500 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 870-0069. Thurs., July 13, 7:30 p.m. Free.

High Fidelity. Regal Cinemas' Santa Ana and Rancho Santa Margarita theaters present this hit, 2000 comic drama based on Nick Hornby's 1995 novel about a record-store owner (John Cusack in the film) who struggles to commit to an adult relationship. Jack Black's spirited performance as one of the record-shop employees took him from being “that fat guy from Mr. Show” and made him a star. Edwards Rancho Santa Margarita, 30632 Santa Margarita Pkwy., Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 888-3340. Tues., 9 p.m. $6; Edwards South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-1970. Wed., 9 p.m. $6.

Knife in the Water.Andrzej (Leon Niemczyk), a middle-aged sportswriter; his much younger, sexpot wife Krystyna (Jolanta Umecka); and a volatile, college-age hitchhiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz, although director Roman Polanski dubs his voice) share a very tense afternoon aboard a boat in this classic, 1962 thriller. It was the first Polish film to be nominated for a foreign-language Oscar, and it landed Polanksi on the cover of Timemagazine. Refreshments provided by Kochee Kabob are served at 6:30 p.m. UC Irvine, Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus N W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-5493. Thurs., July 13, 6:30 p.m. Free.

The Man Without a Past. UC Irvine presents Aki Kaurismäki's 2002 drama about a man who loses his memory after a mugging and is forced to rely on the charity of strangers as he attempts to rebuild his life. Refreshments provided by Kochee Kabob will be served at 6:30 p.m. UC Irvine, Humanities Instruction Building, Room 100, Campus N W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-5493. Thurs., July 20, 6:30 p.m. Free.

Riding Giants. The Balboa Performing Arts Theater continues its free Family Movie Nite series with Stacy Peralta's surfing documentary. The event also features food booths, signings by Quiksilver athletes, a drawing for two trips to Hawaii and other prizes. BYO chairs. Peninsula Park, next to Balboa Pier, Balboa Blvd. N Main St., Balboa, (949) 673-0895. Thurs., July 20. Event, 6:30 p.m.; film, 8 p.m. Free.

Robots. It's a whole planet of robots, robots given voice by people such as Ewan McGregor and Robin Williams. That's pretty much all you need to know. Hollywood keeps cranking out these CGI family comedies, and most of them make a bajillion dollars and some of them don't. This one didn't. At least the toys looked cute on the shelves at Target. This is an outdoor, beachside screening, so do be sure to dress warm and bring some comfortable chairs. Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Dunes, (949) 729-DUNE. Fri., dusk. Free; parking, $10.

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 gr*******@ea*******.net. All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.

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