Summer Lovin’ [Special Screenings, May 24-31]

Grease. Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures

Kiss the Joy: The Story of Joan Lind Van Blom. Jean Strauss’ documentary is about a flag girl who walked into a Long Beach boathouse to learn how to be a sculler. Even though she had never before been a competitive athlete, Blom rose to the top of U.S. women’s rowing before taking on the sport’s top men. Following her Olympic career, the Long Beach native became a long time educator in the Long Beach Unified School District and continued her passion with indoor rowing and masters’ level sculling competitions. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435. Thurs., May 24, 5:45 p.m. $8.50-$11.50 (and free to all LBUSD students who present an ID).

Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story. Director Ashley Bell’s documentary is on conservationist Lek Chailert leading a team of rescuers on a 48-hour, 500-mile mission across Thailand to free from captivity a 70-year-old blind Asian elephant. Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Thurs., May 24, 7:30 p.m. $8.50-$11.50.

Phantom of the Paradise. The Directors Series focus on Brian De Palma continues with his 1974 cult horror/musical classic starring songwriter/sometime actor/’70s-’80s game-show celebrity Paul Williams as a record producer who not only steals the music of a songwriter (William Finley), but also ruins his life. That sets in motion a chain of events that finds the songwriter disfigured—and out for revenge. The Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 24 & Sat., 8 p.m. $7-$10.

Revenge. The run has been extended for Coralie Fargeat’s ultra-violent thriller that begins with Jen (Matilda Lutz of Rings) and her well-off boyfriend ready to take off on a romantic holiday. But then his sleazy friends arrive unannounced for a hunting trip, a shocking incident finds Jen left for dead, and she goes on to not only survive, but also seek revenge. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 24, 9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. and Mon.-Thurs., May 28-31, 10 p.m.; Sun., 8 p.m. $7-$10.

You Were Never Really Here. Lynne Ramsay’s 2017 Cannes winner for Best Actor and Best Screenplay stars Joaquin Phoenix as a traumatized Gulf War veteran who is desensitized to violence. That makes him the perfect gun-for-hire to track down missing girls, including an ambitious New York senator’s 13-year-old daughter. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri.-Sat. and Mon.-Thurs., May 28-31, 2, 4 and 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., Mon.-Tues. and Thurs., May 31, 6 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., noon; Sun., 5 p.m. $7-$10.

La La Land. Photo courtesy Lionsgate

La La Land. The Source OC mall launched a free weekly movie night. Included is Damien Chazelle’s musical starring Ryan Gosling as a struggling jazz piano man and Emma Stone as a struggling actress. With the City of Angels as their oyster, the pair fall in toe-tapping love. But can the relationship survive their respective careers taking off? Attendees can take advantage of coupons and discounts to neighboring stores, but movie seating is first-come, first-served. The Source OC, 6940 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 521-8858; www.thesourceoc.com. Fri., 7 p.m. Free.

Fright Night. Horrible Imaginings Film Festival comes to Frida AND brings along Tom Holland, the writer/director of this 1985 classic vampire tale—AND it’s free! Horror-cinema junkie Charley (William Ragsdale) is convinced his new neighbor Jerry (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. Everyone except Charley’s best friend “Evil” Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) thinks Charley is nuts, so for help, the pals turn to washed-up local-cable horror host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). Peter comes to suspect the boys are right—just as Charley’s virginal girlfriend, Amy (Amanda Bearse), comes under Jerry’s spell. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri., 8 p.m. Free.

Fury of the Fist and the Golden Fleece. Frida is billing this film as the freakout that puts the freakout in OC Weekly’s Friday Night Freakouts. The Fist (Sean Stone, Oliver’s son) was the most popular porn star of the 1970s, but now he is barely getting by working at a diner. After Superfly (Friday’s Tiny Lister) roughs up diner customers, the Fist and friends fight back—and discover a sinister plot to emasculate men with meat pumped full of estrogen. Among the co-stars are Richard Grieco, Sam J. Jones, Tommy Davidson, Ron Jeremy and Bianca Van Damme (Jean-Claude’s daughter). The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri., 11 p.m. $7-$10.

The Last Unicorn. Photo courtesy ITV Global Entertainment

The Last Unicorn. It’s a rare showing on the big screen of the animated Rankin/Bass classic that is based on Peter S. Beagle’s 1968 fantasy novel. The last remaining unicorn (voiced by Mia Farrow) leaves home in the woods in hopes of finding another like her. She is discovered by a fledgling wizard (Alan Arkin), who leads her on a wondrous adventure. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Sat.-Sun., 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. $7; Sat., 5 p.m. and Sun., 4 and 7 p.m. $7-$10.

Despicable Me 3. The latest from the animated franchise has the Minions wanting their old crime boss, the fired Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell), back, but he considers himself retired as he travels to Freedonia to meet his long-lost twin brother. Beachfront Cinema at Huntington State Beach, PCH and Newland St., Huntington Beach; beachfrontcinema.com. Sat., 5 p.m. (gates open). $9.99-$49.99.

The Room. Did you know that on the last Saturday of every month in 2018, the Frida screens the odd 2003 indie thriller written, directed and produced by star Tommy Wiseau? Consider yourselves warned. He plays an amiable banker having a grand old time in a gorgeously shot San Francisco with his fiancée (Juliette Danielle)—until his conflicted best friend (Greg Sestero) joins in to form a love triangle. Sestero’s tell-all book about the project inspired James Franco’s film The Disaster Artist. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Sat., 11 p.m. $7-$10.

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.” Shadow cast Midnight Insanity performs in front of the screen. Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Sat., 11:55 p.m. $8.50-$11.50.

A Very Carrie Prom. HorrorBuzz.com presents Brian de Palma’s 1976 horror classic Carrie, which was adapted from Stephen King’s novel, as well as decorations, spiked punch, slow-dance classics of the 1970s, and the crowning of the prom king and queen (look out for the pig’s blood!). Then-barely known Sissy Spacek stars as the title character, who tries to fit in with her fellow high-school students despite her sheltered, abusive upbringing by her pious and psycho mother (Piper Laurie). Campus hunk Tommy (William Katt) invites Carrie to be his prom date, but bullies plot to make it a night she’ll never forget. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Mon., 8 p.m. $7-$10.

Batman. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Batman. It was mentioned here last week that 1978’s Superman helped usher in the comic-book superhero takeover of today’s cinema. Tim Burton’s 1989 flick really got that notion cooking with gas—bat gas. Billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) battles his inner demons and, as the Dark Knight, the Joker (Jack Nicholson), who unknowingly spawned the inner demons—bat inner demons. Directors Cut Cinema at Regency Rancho Niguel, 25471 Rancho Niguel Rd., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-0446. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $8.

Grease. It’s a 40th-anniversary screening of director Randal Kleiser’s hit musical—AND it’s free AND you can win stuff. Before the movie rolls, there’s a film trivia contest; visit the website below to register a team with no more than six people ASAP because space is limited. Winners receive passes for free movies at the Frida Cinema and vouchers for free food at various Fourth Street eateries. As for the picture, Aussie exchange student Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and bad-boy gang leader Danny (John Travolta) hook up during summer. Things change once school starts, as their respective cliques make romance near impossible. 4th Street Market, 201 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; www.4thstreetmarket.com/trivianight. Wed., trivia contest, 7 p.m.; screening, 8:30 p.m. Free.

Fiddler On the Roof. Norman Jewison’s 1971 musical is set in pre-revolutionary Russia, where a poor Jewish peasant (Topol) must contend with marrying off his three daughters while anti-Semitism threatens his home. Regency South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $9.

A Chance In the World. Mark Vadik wrote and directed this bio-drama that is based on Steve Pemberton’s autobiography. Steve (Terrell Ransom Jr.), who is mentally and physically tortured by his foster family from age 5 through 16, finds hope from a high-school teacher (Tom Sizemore). The film is followed by the simulcast of a panel discussion that includes Pemberton and adoption advocates. 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; Cinemark at the Pike Theaters, 99 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 435-5754; 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; www.fathomevents.com. Wed., 8 p.m. $15.

Hairspray. John Waters’ 1988 musical comedy finds overweight teen Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake) becoming the star of a popular teen dance show, and then pushing for more racial integration of the program. You can integrate light snacks and covered beverages into this screening, but alcohol is not allowed. Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6327. Thurs., May 31, 1 p.m. Free.

Andy Irons: Kissed By God. Three-time surfing world champion Andy Irons’ struggles with bipolar disorder and opioid addiction are covered in this Teton Gravity Research documentary. The one-night-only event includes a special introduction and Q&A with the filmmakers, Irons’ friends and family, and an addiction specialist. AMC Orange 30 at the Outlets, (714) 769-4288; Cinemark Century Stadium 25, (714) 532-9558; Cinemark Century 20 Huntington Beach, (714) 373-4573; Cinemark at the Pike Theaters, (562) 435-5754; Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Big Newport 6, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Brea Stadium West 10, (714) 672-4136; Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, (844) 462-7342; Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26, (844) 462-7342; www.fathomevents.com. Thurs., May 31, 7 p.m. $12.50.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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