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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Menu -- the Noir of Nick Ray, Balloon Animals and the Nouveau "Rocky Horror"

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-- Weep softly that you didn't get into tonight's sold-out, special screening of Dreamgirls at LACMA. Now dry your tears and pick up the pieces. If you're desperate to pay $25 to see a movie, you can catch Dreamgirls at the Arclight in its "Pre-Release Exclusive Engagement," which runs Dec. 15-24. Your "event-priced ticket" includes a "souvenir program" and a commemorative Dreamgirls' lithograph available only during this 10-day engagement (and forever after on eBay).

-- On Saturday the New Beverly hosts the Festival of Fun Trailers: Part 3, a 90-minute program of movie trailers from the 60s to the 80s. The noon screening is totally family-friendly and features fun extras like a bubble wrap red carpet, face painting and magic as well as a pre-show performance from Crunchy the Kid and his menagerie of balloon animals. The midnight show is preceded by performance from Miss La Diva and features more... ahem... adult delights.

-- The American Cinematheque begins a mini-showcase of Rebel Without A Cause director Nicholas Ray's films. For my money the best bets are the hilariously campy Western Johnny Guitar, which stars Joan Crawford as a saloon-owner fending off encroaching ranchers and the advances of Mercedes McCambridge (Fri. Dec. 15 @ 7:30pm in a double feature with True Story of Jesse James); and the double feature (Sat. Dec. 16 @ 6:00pm) of They Live By Night, a dark story of young lovers on the run in depression-era America, followed by On Dangerous Ground, a thriller about a hard-bitten cop who falls in love with the blind sister (Ida Lupino) of a murder suspect. The Rebellious Cinema of Nicholas Ray runs Dec. 15-20 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.

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-- If you want a new camp classic, check out Saturday's midnight screening of The Room, a movie that defies all conventions of logical plotting, naturalistic acting and appealing visual aesthetics in favor of unintentionally comedic melodrama that's so over-the-top it makes Crash (the Paul Haggis film, not the David Cronenberg one) look like a Kiarostami film. Writer/director/producer/actor Tommy Wiseau screens The Room once a month at Laemmle's Sunset 5, and it's always an event with exuberant fans dressing in costumes, flinging props, shouting out lines ("Lisa, you're tearing me apart!") and acting out scenes from the film in a Rocky Horror Picture Show-esque environment.

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