Tolkien. Dome Karukoski’s new bio-drama is about the formative years of the orphaned author J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult). Various theaters; fandango.com. Thurs., May 16; visit the website for days, show times and ticket prices; also at Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435. Fri.-Wed., 4 & 8:45 p.m.; Thurs., May 23, 4 p.m. $9-$12.
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. Thurs., May 16 at: Edwards Aliso Viejo Stadium 20, 26701 Aliso Creek Rd., Aliso Viejo, (844) 462-7342. 12:40, 3:35, 6:45 & 10:05 p.m.; Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26, 7501 E. Carson Blvd., Long Beach, (844) 462-7342. 12:55 p.m.; Regal Garden Grove, 9741 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (844) 462-7342. 9:40 p.m.; Regal Irvine Spectrum, 500 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine, (844) 462-7342. 10:40 p.m. Call theaters for ticket prices.
Meeting Gorbachev. Werner Herzog and Andre Singer’s new documentary relied on archival footage and incredible access to “the world’s greatest living politician.” Edwards University Town Center 6, 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (844) 462-7342. Thurs., May 16, 12:50, 4:30 & 10:10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 12:25 p.m.; Mon.-Thurs., May 23, 12:40 p.m. $10.20-$13.25.
Shadow. The new wuxi epic from director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) is set in China’s Three Kingdoms period, when Commander Yu (Deng Chao) uses a body double (also played by Chao) in a plot against Pei’s king (Zheng Kai). Presented in Mandarin with English subtitles. Edwards University Town Center 6, (844) 462-7342. Thurs., May 16, 1, 4, 7 & 9:45 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 4:20, 7:30 & 10:10 p.m.; Sun.-Thurs., May 23, 1:30, 4:30 & 7:45 p.m. $10.20-$13.25.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The month-long celebration of Terry Gilliam continues with his 1998 psychedelic fever dream starring Johnny Depp as author, gonzo journalist and walking medicine chest Hunter S. Thompson. Here named Raoul Duke, he is supposed to be covering a car race in the Mojave Desert, but Sin City keeps getting in the way. The Frida Cinema, 305 E. Fourth St., Ste. 100, Santa Ana, (714) 285-9422; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 16, 2, 5:30 & 8 p.m.; Sat., 10 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Mary Poppins Returns. Family Movie Night presents Rob Marshall’s 2018 family fantasy that has the magical nanny (Emily Blunt) returning to help the Banks siblings during a difficult time. Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-6327. Thurs., May 16, 6:30 p.m. Free.
Non-Fiction. Olivier Assayas’ 2018 French dramedy is about publisher Alain (Guillaume Canet); his TV-actress wife, Selena (Juliette Binoche); his novelist friend, Léonard (Vincent Macaigne); and Léonard’s companion, Valérie (Nora Hamzawi). Alain turning down Léonard’s latest manuscript complicates the relationship between the two couples. Edwards University Town Center 6, (844) 462-7342. Thurs., May 16, 7:15 & 10:10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 1:15, 4:15, 7:15 & 10 p.m.; Sun., 1:15, 4:15 & 7:45 p.m.; Mon.-Thurs., May 23, 1:30, 4:30 & 7:45 p.m. $10.20-$13.25. Also at Directors Cut Cinema at Regency Rancho Niguel, (949) 831-0446. Opens Fri.; call for show times and ticket prices.
Saga of Tanya the Evil—the Movie. In the direct sequel to the anime series, Imperial Army Major Tanya Degurechaff avoids death and a trip to hell while battling the Republic Army. Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Thurs., May 16, 7:30 p.m. $12.50.
The Exhibition Room Silent Film Series. The speakeasy, which one enters with a password and through a phone booth, and Long Beach Heritage Museum continue their semi-regular screenings of silent films. Women in silent films are celebrated on “Mimosa Day.” The Exhibition Room—Long Beach Craft Cocktails, 1117 E. Wardlow Rd., Long Beach, (562) 826-2940; www.theexhibitionroom.com. Thurs., May 16, 8 p.m. $40. 21+.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. After 25 years of starts and stops and even a documentary that chronicled near disasters during filmmaking (2002’s Lost in La Mancha), Terry Gilliam’s adventure fantasy finally arrives. A cynical advertising director (Adam Driver) is mistaken for Sancho Panza by an old Spanish shoemaker (Jonathan Pryce), who believes he is Don Quixote. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 16, 10 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Charlie Says. Mary Harron’s provocative new film is based on the lives and crimes of murderous cult leader Charles Manson (Matt Smith) and the three women who killed for him—Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon) and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón)—in the summer of ’69. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Thurs., May 16, 10:15 p.m. $7-$10.50.
The Biggest Little Farm. John Chester’s new documentary follows two dreamers with a dog and plans to bring harmony to their lives and the land. Directors Cut Cinema at Regency Rancho Niguel, 25471 Rancho Niguel Rd., Laguna Niguel, (949) 831-0446. Opens Fri.; call for show times and ticket prices.
Trial by Fire. Edward Zwick’s new drama is based on the true-life bond that formed between a Texas death-row inmate (Jack O’Connell) and a Houston mother of two (Laura Dern) fighting for his freedom. Directors Cut Cinema at Regency Rancho Niguel, (949) 831-0446. Opens Fri.; call for show times and ticket prices.
Ask Dr. Ruth. Ryan White’s new documentary is on Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America’s most famous sex therapist. Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Fri.-Thurs., May 23, 1:30 & 6:30 p.m. $9-$12.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Bi Gan’s noir-tinged, cinematic sensation centers on a solitary man (Huang Jue) in southwest China’s Guizhou province haunted by loss and regret. The story is told in two parts–the first an achronological mosaic, the second a nocturnal dream–and there’s a 59-minute-long, gravity-defying 3D sequence that plunges the protagonist (and audience) through a labyrinthine cityscape. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Edwards University Town Center 6, 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (844) 462-7342. Fri.-Sun., 1:20, 4:30 & 7:45 p.m.; Mon.-Thurs., May 23, 1:10, 4:15 & 7:30 p.m. $10.20-$13.25.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. This screening is in memory of the recently deceased Peggy Lipton, who played Double R Diner owner Norma Jennings on the Twin Peaks TV series and, in one brief appearance, this 1992 David Lynch film. Serving as a prequel to the show, the flick focuses on the last seven days of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and the investigation of a similar murder in the same region of the Northwest. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri., 4, 7 & 10 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Incredibles 2. The animated 2018 smash hit from Disney-Pixar and director Brad Bird has Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) taking care of the kids while his wife, Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), is out saving the world. Candy, popcorn and activities are free; other food is available for purchase. Street parking is limited. Marina Park, 1600 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 270-8150. Fri., 6:45 p.m. Free.
The Exorcist + The Summoners. HorrorBuzz.com presents one of the scariest films of all time and a short plucked from the HorrorBuzz Screening Room. William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece has a sweet 12-year-old (Linda Blair) exhibiting strange behavior that is soon accompanied by strange events in her Washington, D.C., home. Her actress mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks help from a medical doctor, a psychiatrist and eventually Roman Catholic priests who suspect demonic possession is afoot. Writer/director Christian Ackerman’s The Summoners has two high-school girls inviting a new friend to join their secret game of summoning spirits for the thrill of being possessed. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Sly. Kamal Tabrizi’s 2018 Iranian dramedy is about a chap (Hamed Behdad) who wants to become a member of parliament despite a reputation for recklessness and taking arbitrary action. Heck, sounds like he should be president of the U.S.! Starlight Cinema City, 5635 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 970-6700. Fri.-Thurs., May 23, 7:30 & 9:55 p.m. Call theater for ticket prices.
UHF. Jay Levey’s 1989 comedy is about an out-of-work fellow (Weird Al Yankovic) getting the deed to a local TV station owned by his uncle (Stanley Brock). Wacky programming ensues before a rival station’s bitter CEO (Kevin McCarthy) declares war. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Fri.-Sat., 11 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Private Screening 2019. Imagination Celebration and Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts present films produced by the MMET Media Team’s young editors, directors, screenwriters and cinematographers. HBAPA Studio, 1905 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 536-2514; hbapa.org/see. Sat., 6 p.m. $10.
Ralph Breaks the Internet. Phil Johnston and Rich Moore’s 2018 animated comedy picks up six years after Wreck-It Ralph, when now friends Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, which leads to a new adventure. The movie is projected onto a 20-foot inflatable screen; bring a blanket or lawn chair. Hurless Barton Park, 4601 Casa Loma Ave., Yorba Linda, (714) 961-7192. Sat., 8 p.m. Free.
Zarathustra, the Golden Star. After eight years of extensive study, hundreds of hours of filming and tens of thousands of hours of editing, what is billed as the first and most unbiased documentary on Zarathustra and the faith he founded in Iran is presented in seven parts. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Part I: Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 4, 5 & 6 p.m.; Mon.-Tues., 4 p.m. Part II: Sun., 7 p.m.; Mon., 6 p.m.; Tues., 5 p.m.; Wed., 4 p.m. Part III: Mon., 7 p.m.; Tues., 6 p.m.; Wed., 5 p.m.; Thurs., May 23, 4 p.m. Part IV: Tues., 7 p.m.; Wed., 6 p.m.; Thurs., May 23, 5 p.m. Part V: Wed., 7 p.m.; Thurs., May 23, 6 p.m.; Part VI: Thurs., May 23, 7 p.m. (Parts IV-VII also screen May 24; all parts screen May 25). $10.50.
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, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435; arttheatrelongbeach.org. Sat., 11:55 p.m. $9-$12.
Bolshoi Ballet: Carmen Suite/Petrushka. This double-bill event was captured live the same day from the Moscow stage. Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso originally conceived the one-act Carmen for legendary Bolshoi prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. Petrushka is a new creation by contemporary choreographer Edward Clug. Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Sun., 12:55 p.m. $16-$18; also at Regency South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701. Sun., 1:15 p.m. (live); Tues., 7 p.m. (encore). $14-$17.
Cléo From 5 to 7. The career of Belgian-born French director, photographer and artist Agnès Varda is celebrated with this screening of her 1962 classic. A young, carefree and somewhat spoiled semi-famous singer (Corinne Marchand) wanders through Paris and hits up friends and strangers for emotional support as she awaits test results that may confirm she has cancer. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Sun., 2, 4 & 8 p.m.; Mon.-Tues., 2, 4, 6 & 8 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Steel Magnolias. Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies presents a 30th-anniversary screening featuring a remastered print, restored audio and special commentary by a TCM host. Herbert Ross’ 1989 hit is about a newly arrived young beautician (Daryl Hannah) trying to fit in with a clique of women (who include Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts and Sally Fields) in a small Louisiana town’s hair salon. Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Sun., 4 & 7 p.m.; Tues.-Wed., 7 p.m. $12.50.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The GKIDS/Fathom Events Studio Ghibli Fest continues with Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 sci-fi fantasy anime. A young princess is passionate for all living things and understands the processes of nature, which has much to overcome in a future world decimated by atmospheric poisons and swarming with gigantic insects. Bring the kids! Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Mon., 7 p.m. (dubbed); Tues., 7 p.m. (subtitled). $12.50.
The NeverEnding Story. In Wolfgang Peterson’s 1984 family adventure, a tormented boy (Barret Oliver) slips into a book shop to escape schoolyard bullies. He “borrows” an ancient storybook about the mythical land of Fantasia, which is in desperate need of a hero. Directors Cut Cinema at Regency Rancho Niguel, (949) 831-0446. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $8.
Brazil. Frida’s Terry Gilliam month continues with the director’s cut of his 1985 sci-fi satire about a low-level, daydreaming bureaucrat (Pryce) getting caught up in a scandal surrounding a typo that led to a man’s death. Trying in vain to correct the government’s mistake is a woman (Kim Greist) he recognizes from his recurring daydreams. The Frida Cinema; thefridacinema.org. Wed.-Thurs., May 23, 2:30, 5:30 & 8:30 p.m. $7-$10.50.
Singing in Exile. UC Irvine Armenian Studies presents Nathalie Rossetti and Turi Finocchiaro’s 2015 documentary about an Armenian couple trying to preserve their ancestral chant by taking a European acting troupe to Anatolia, where the Armenian civilization has been destroyed. An audience Q&A follows. UC Irvine, McCormick Screening Room, Humanities Gateway 1070, Irvine. Wed., 5 p.m. Free.
The African Queen. John Huston’s 1951 adaptation of the C.S. Forester novel stars Oscar winner Humphrey Bogart as slovenly, gin-swilling skipper Charlie Allnut of The African Queen tramp steamer that ships supplies to East African villages during World War I. When Germans invade and a prim British missionary (Robert Morley) dies, his sister (Katharine Hepburn) catches a ride with Allnut back to civilization. Regency South Coast Village, (714) 557-5701. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $9.
Pacific Rim Uprising. Steven S. DeKnight’s sci-fi/action-adventure sequel has Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) reuniting to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots against a new Kaiju threat. Fullerton Public Library, (714) 738-6327. Thurs., May 23, 1 p.m. Free.
Bellingcat—Truth in a Post-Truth World. Cinema Orange, the collaboration between Orange County Museum of Art and the Newport Beach Film Festival, presents Hans Pool’s 2018 documentary about the revolutionary rise of Bellingcat, the “citizen investigative journalist” collective exposing the truth of impenetrable news stories around the globe, from the MH17 disaster to the Syrian Civil War to the mysterious poisoning of a Russian spy in the United Kingdom. OCMA Expand, 1661 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana; ocmaexpand.org. Thurs., May 23, 7 p.m. Free, but limited, first-come, first-served seating.
The Cold Blue. Never-before-seen color footage shot by William Wyler puts you 30,000 feet over Nazi Germany 75 years ago. The legendary Hollywood director went to Europe in 1943 to document the air war in progress, and the raw color footage was recently discovered deep in the National Archives vaults. The screening includes a making-of featurette. Various theaters; www.fathomevents.com. Thurs., May 23, 7:30 p.m. $15.
Warmthness. Writer-director Adam Von Carr’s drama is about childhood besties (played by Bryarly Bishop and Maggie Manyan) who, as adults, catch up after not seeing one another for two years. As their night together unfolds, it is obvious this relationship is more strained and complicated than either would like to admit. Art Theatre, (562) 438-5435. Thurs., May 23, 9 p.m. $9-$12.
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.