Annihilation. Alex Garland’s 2018 horror flick, which he adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, is about an ex-soldier biologist (Natalie Portman) landing in a mysterious zone where the laws of nature do not apply. (Lido Isle?) The Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., April 25, 2:30, 5 & 7:30 p.m. $7-$10.
Big Fish. I’ve yet to succeed getting into this 2003 adventure fantasy from Daniel Webster’s novel and Frida director of the month Tim Burton. A son (Billy Crudup) tries to separate fact from fiction in the life story told by his dying father (Albert Finney and, as a younger man, Ewan McGregor). The Frida Cinema;
thefridacinema.org. Thurs., April 25, 2:30, 5 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 & 8 p.m. $7-$10.
Satan & Adam. Shot over 20 years, V. Scott Balcerek’s 2018 documentary is about the unlikely pairing of harmonica master Adam Gussow and one-man band Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee after they met on a Harlem street corner in 1986. A chance encounter with U2 members and a celebrated record debut launch the duo to international acclaim—before Mr. Satan suddenly disappears. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435; arttheatrelongbeach.org. Thurs., April 25, 7 p.m. $9-$12.
Senior Thesis Documentary Screenings. Student-made documentaries premiere and are also live streamed. (Go to the website below, scroll to the screening event and click on the link.) Chapman University, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theatre, 283 N. Cypress St., Orange, (714) 997-6765; chapman.edu/dodge/. Thurs., April 25, 7 p.m. Free.
Newport Beach Film Festival. The 20th-anniversary cinextravaganza kicks off with Julius Onah’s new drama, Luce, which is followed by more than 300 films from 50 countries screening daily through May 2. There are also special parties, seminars and free events, all at various locations. Newport Beach Film Festival Opening Night at Edwards Big Newport, 300 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach; www.newportbeachfilmfest.org. Thurs., April 25, 7:30 p.m. $225 (includes entrance to Opening Night Gala at Fashion Island; film-only tickets are sold out).
Babylon. Franco Rosso’s 1980 drama, which rarely screens in the U.S., exposes the trials and tribulations of black youth in early-1980s London, as seen through the eyes of a reggae sound system’s front man (Brinsley Forde). The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., April 25, 10 p.m. $7-$10.
Sleepy Hollow. Celebrating Tim Burton continues with his 1999 horror-mystery about Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) being sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate three decapitations blamed on an apparition, the Headless Horseman. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., April 25, 10 p.m.; Sun., 10:30 p.m. $7-$10.
Red Joan. In Trevor Nunn’s 2018 bio-drama, Judi Dench and Sophie Cookson play Joan Stanley at different stages of the British government employee’s life. Recruited by the KGB in the 1930s, she was finally exposed after spying for the Russians for more than half a century. Directors Cut Cinema at Regency Rancho Niguel, 25471 Rancho Niguel Rd., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-0446; Edwards Westpark 8, 3735 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, (844) 462-7342. Opens Fri.; call theaters for show times and ticket prices.
High Life. In Claire Denis’ 2018 horror-drama, a father (Robert Pattinson) and baby daughter live in isolation in deep space, where they struggle to survive. Art Theatre; arttheatrelongbeach.org. Fri.-Thurs., May 2, 1:30, 4, 6:30 & 9 p.m. $9-$12.
Little Woods. In Nia DaCosta’s 2018 opioid-crisis thriller, an ex-con (Tessa Thompson) must decide whether to resume smuggling illegal pills so she can save the family home from foreclosure as her sister (Lily James) reels from an unplanned pregnancy. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri. & Mon.-Thurs., May 2, 2, 5 & 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 5 p.m. $7-$10.
Bioscience Theater 3000: World War Z. Santiago Canyon College’s Biotechnology Department takes a page from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 playbook and has biotechnology professors riffing as the 2013 sci-fi epic screens. Marc Forster’s film is about a former UN employee (Brad Pitt) seeking to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening the world. Santiago Canyon College, Room H-106, 8045 E. Chapman Ave., Orange; ocbiotecheducation.org. Fri., doors open, 6 p.m.; screening, 6:30 p.m. Free, but first come, first seated.
2019 International Film Festival. As part of Santiago Canyon College’s Celebration of Diversity Month, the Modern Languages Department and Associated Student Government present films on three consecutive Fridays. Up this week is A Quiet Place, John Krasinski’s very effective 2018 horror flick in which he and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, star as parents trying to protect children from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing in a post-apocalyptic world. Parking is free, and refreshments are served. The festival ends with La Famille Bélier on May 3. Santiago Canyon College, Building D-101, (714) 628-4938; sccollege.edu/internationalfilmfestival. Fri., 6 p.m. Free.
October 13, 1937. The UC Irvine Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture’s Docunight: Iranian Documentary Series continues with Baktash Abtin’s review of the life and works of celebrated Iranian-Armenian composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian. Presented in Persian with English subtitles, the film is followed by a discussion and audience Q&A, wine, and treats. UC Irvine, Room HG 1070, 4100 Humanities Gateway, Irvine, (949) 824-6117. Fri., 6:30 p.m. Free, but RSVP required.
Bali: Beats of Paradise. As part of the Indonesian Cultural Celebration, Outdoor Movie Night features Livi Zheng’s documentary in which Grammy winner Judith Hill and Indonesian composer Nyoman Wenten pull back the curtain on Gamelan, a traditional Indonesian music. A post-screening panel includes Zheng and executive producer Julia Gouw. The Source OC, 6988 Beach Blvd., Buena Park; thesourceoc.com. Fri., 7 p.m. Free.
Senior Thesis Cycle 6 Film Screenings. These films premiere, but not necessarily in this order: Ignis Fatuus; Instinct; Kid Hero; Little Apollo; Marketa in the Desert; The Lightning Man; and Two Paper Nightingales. Titles are subject to change, and the films are also live streamed. (Go to the website below, scroll to the screening event and click the link.) Chapman University, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater; chapman.edu/dodge/. Fri., 7 p.m. Free.
Fury Failed Entertainment Release Party. We liked this listing so much last week that we decided to bring it back for its correct date. See on the big screen the Orange County hardcore band’s 16mm music video for “Angels Over Berlin” from their new album, Failed Entertainment, as well as a film they handpicked. An exclusive Orange (County) vinyl of the LP is available at the event for the first and likely last time. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $10-$25.
Police Story + Police Story 2 Double Feature. In Jackie Chan and Chi-Hwa Chen’s 1985 martial-arts original, which Janus Films has restored, A Hong Kong police inspector (Chan), who is framed for murder, takes on a crime syndicate to capture its leader and clear his name. In Chan’s 1988 sequel, the now-disillusioned cop is about to walk away from law enforcement when he stumbles into a terrorist plot to bomb crowded parts of Hong Kong. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri.-Sat., 10 p.m. $7-$10.
I Trapped the Devil. In writer/director/producer/editor Josh Lobo’s feature debut, a couple (AJ Bowen and Susan Burke) arrive uninvited on Christmas at the home of his brother (Scott Poythress). They discover someone trapped in the basement who may be . . . SATAN! The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m.; Sun.-Thurs., May 2, 10 p.m. $7-$10.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. + Live Accompaniment. Orange County film collective Flickrhappy presents Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent classic as Wurlitzer whiz Dean Mora performs the soundtrack live. The son of a Mississippi riverboat captain (Keaton) falls for a rival’s daughter (Marion Byron). The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Sat., 4 p.m. $7-$10.
Bombs Away Live! Presents Plan 9 From Outer Space. The Bombs Away Live! podcast presents a 60th-anniversary screening of Ed Wood’s so-bad-it’s-still-awful horror/sci-fi flick about aliens reanimating the dead to destroy the Earth’s living. Stay after for the live podcast with audience participation. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Sat., 7 p.m. $15.
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; arttheatrelongbeach.org. Sat., 11:55 p.m. $9-$12.
Kingdom Men Rising: No More Excuses. Is the man of today countered by God’s original design? This documentary seems to think so as it shares the opinions of pastor/author/speaker Tony Evans, Grammy winner Kirk Franklin, retired Raider Tim Brown and others. Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Mon.-Tues., 7 p.m. $12.50.
Beetlejuice. Nostalgic Nebula presents Frida honoree Tim Burton’s 1988 paranormal comedy that begins with a couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) dying much too young when their car plunges into a river. Stunned, they return home to Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a mischievous, coarse, obnoxious ghost who supplies a hellraising hereafter. The cosplay-friendly film-lovers transform the Frida lobby into Delia Deetz’s art gallery, and a string-quartet musical tribute precedes the screening. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Mon., 8 p.m. $15.
A Star Is Born. FPL Arthouse presents Bradley Cooper’s 2018 feature directorial debut, which has him playing a seasoned musician who discovers and falls in love with a struggling artist (Lady Gaga). As her career takes off, he fights his inner demons. Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6327. Wed., 6 p.m. Free.
BroadwayHD Presents: 42nd Street—The Musical. The largest-ever production of the Broadway musical is captured for the big screen. Peggy Sawyer, a fresh new talent from Allentown, Pennsylvania, is tasked with saving the show when the leading lady, who is jealous of the upstart, suffers an injury. Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Wed., 7 p.m. $18.
High Noon. In Fred Zinnemann’s classic 1952 western, Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) disregards the pleadings of townsfolk and his own new bride (Grace Kelly) when he faces a gang of killers and their leader (Ian MacDonald), whom the lawman sent up years earlier. Starlight Cinema City, 5635 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 970-6700; also at Starlight 4 Star Cinemas, 12111 Valley View St., Garden Grove, (714) 934-6377; and Starlight Triangle Cinemas, 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 650-4300; starlightcinemas.com. Wed., 7 p.m. See website for ticket price.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In Alfonso Cuarón’s 2004 fantasy for the franchise that adapts J.K. Rowling books, Convicted murderer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) breaks out of Wizards Prison and comes after Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). Regency South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $9.
Made for a Purpose: Gospel Patrons Film Night. Gospel Patrons began as a discussion group about business people who, hundreds of years ago, found their parts to play in God’s kingdom. Those stories spread, were collected in a bright-blue book and became the basis for short films. Four shorts screen at this event, which is followed by a mixer. Yost Theater, 307 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana; gospelpatrons.org. Thurs., May 2, 6:30 p.m. Free.
Community Voices Documentary Film Screening. Each semester, Chapman University film students produce short, character-driven portrait documentaries that highlight the causes of Orange County-based partner organizations. Some Community Voices productions have gone on to win awards and television airings. Chapman University, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Marion Knott Studios, Folino Theater; chapman.edu/dodge/. Thurs., May 2, 7 p.m. Free.
El Chicano. Ben Hernandez Bray’s 2018 drama is about East LA twin brothers (Raúl Castillo in a dual role) choosing to live their lives differently and winding up on opposite sides of the law. Starlight Cinema City, (714) 970-6700; also at Starlight Triangle Cinemas, (714) 650-4300; starlightcinemas.com. Thurs., May 2, 7 & 9:40 p.m. Visit website for ticket prices.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief 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 alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.