There’s nothing like stepping into a warm theater on a rainy afternoon. But even in a sunny Santa Barbara winter, the following films are worth the price of admission.
The Notebook The Alzheimer’s Association presents a benefit screening of the crowd-pleasing melodrama from 2004 starring Gena Rowlands, James Garner, Ryan Gosling, and Rachel McAdams. An interview and Q&A with Rowlands will follow. Sun., Jan. 14, 6:30pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. $27.50‑$127.50. 963‑0761. Quinceañeara This crowd-pleaser and critically acclaimed drama about the trials and travails of a young Mexican-American girl, Magdalena, on the cusp of womanhood had a limited release late last summer. But if you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance. Tue., Jan. 16, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $5‑$6. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Marie Antoinette Sofia Coppola’s love-it-or-hate-it spectacle returns to Isla Vista courtesy the Magic Lantern film series for two encore screenings. Is it a knowing indictment of excess and vanity or simply an example of such qualities? See it again and decide for yourself. Fri., Jan. 19, 7:30 and 9:30pm. Isla Vista Theater. $4. myspace.com/magiclantern.
22nd Annual S.B. Film Fest The S.B. Film Festival returns, and this year’s honors include Will Smith for the Modern Masters Award, Helen Mirren for the Outstanding Performance Award, Forest Whitaker for the American Riviera Award, and Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim for the Attenborough Award. Thu., Jan. 25 ‑ Sun., Feb. 4. Various venues. sbiff.org.
Waiting to Inhale The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) cohosts this screening of a documentary about the controversy surrounding medical marijuana legislation. Director Jed Riffe will attend. Sat., Jan. 27, 8pm. Isla Vista Theater. $4. myspace.com/magiclantern.
Army of Shadows Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1969 masterwork — never released in the U.S. — is a taut thriller set in Vichy, France. Certainly the most acclaimed rerelease of 2006, Army of Shadows is not to be missed by even the most casual film fan. Thu., Feb. 1, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $5‑$6. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Renaissance This animated science-fiction thriller is a European co-production set in Paris 2054. The film’s visuals are even sharper and more stylized than its most obvious predecessor, Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City, and it features the voice talents of Daniel Craig, Ian Holm, and Jonathon Pryce. Fri., Feb. 2, 7 and 9:30pm. Isla Vista Theater. $4. myspace.com/magiclantern.
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles Yimou Zhang (House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower) directs this story of a Japanese man whose estranged Chinese son dies, prompting him to go on a journey to learn more about himself and his son’s life. Thu., Feb. 8, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $5‑$6. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Borat! At once hilarious and repulsive, Sacha Baron Cohen’s massively popular mockumentary receives a much-needed encore. Very nice! Fri., Feb. 9, 7 and 9:30pm. Isla Vista Theater. $4. myspace.com/magiclantern.
31st Annual Banff Film Fest In two nights of the finest films on mountain subjects, the series will screen both the audience award and the grand jury prize winners from this year’s festival. Tue., Feb. 20 and Wed., Feb. 21, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $10 ‑$12. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Stranger than Fiction This intermittently brilliant and frustrating film about the power of the creative process stars Will Ferrell in a Truman Show-esque turn as a man whose life is being controlled by novelist Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) as she finishes a book in which he is a central character. Fri., Feb. 23, 7 and 9:30pm. Isla Vista Theater. $4. myspace.com/magiclantern.
Central Asia Film Day In conjuncture with UCSB’s Winter Quarter Silk Road Encounters series of lectures and events, Arts & Lectures presents a day of films from Central Asia, including Beshkempir: The Adopted Son from Kyrgyzstan, Travellers & Magicians from Bhutan, the Mongolian/German coproductions Cave of the Yellow Dog and The Story of the Weeping Camel. Sat., Feb. 24, 2‑11pm. Victoria Hall Theater, 33 W. Victoria St. Individual films $6‑$8, day passes $15‑$20. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Flags of Our Fathers Clint Eastwood’s profound and understated chronicle of the lives of the men who raised the flag over Iwo Jima is one of the best films of 2006 and a must-see on the big screen. Thu., Mar. 1, 7:30 and 10pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $5‑$6. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Happy Feet Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, and Hugh Jackman all give voice to various singing and dancing penguins in one of the highest-grossing films of all time about singing, dancing penguins. Fri., Mar. 2, 7 and 9:30pm. Isla Vista Theater. $4. myspace.com/magiclantern.
Into Great Silence Fresh from its New York premiere which will take place just one week prior to the Arts & Lectures screening, this French/German/Swiss co-production is a documentary about life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the reclusive Carthusian Order in France. Mon., Mar. 5, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $8‑$10, 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
S.B. Jewish Film Festival The festival features six American and international films that showcase Jewish themes and universal struggles. Thu., Mar. 8 - Sun., Mar. 11. Plaza de Oro Twin Theatres, 1317 State St. sbjff.com.
Climate The Turkish film which took home the FIPRESCI award from the Cannes International Jury this year is a contemporary drama about a self-absorbed university professor, his unstable wife, and his girlfriend. Thu., Mar. 15, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. $5‑$6. 893‑3535 or www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.