“Shanghai” in Newport Beach

"Shanghai Calling" and other buzzy films get set to show.

Shanghai Calling

VERY BOLD, NB: While many a film festival happens in the colder months there are a few famous movie parties that set up shop right when the weather is particularly glorious. We think this is a bold move; people aren't naturally looking to burrow indoors for a few hours. Add a beach that is just steps away and you have one particularly confident festival. Even with the outdoor distractions you'll still head inside a dark theater for a few hours to consume fresh and forward-thinking cinema. Newport Beach is all confidence, of course, and its annual film festival reflects its setting. It opens on Thursday, April 26 for a film-filled week-long run.

THE MOVIES: "Jewtopia" is a headliner; other flicks catching our eye include "Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best," "Sunset Strip," "Songs for Amy," "Mariachi Gringo," and "I Am Not a Hipster" (a trio of works you'll want to see if you're like music stories in your movies). We were prepared to say that there was a certain lean toward tune-heaving films during the festival, but that isn't exactly true; straight-up drama fans'll fine plenty. As will fans of humorous heart-tuggers. Example A? "Robot and Frank" is on the grid (Frank Langella lives with a robot -- sold? Yes.) And the romcom "Shanghai Calling" is probably first on our list overall.

OUTSIDE THE THEATER: If you do happen to make it outside and to the beach that is famously in the title of the film festival, you have cool, breezy, beautiful weather. So this is the plan we suggest to you: a movie, an ice cream, a movie, a walk along the shore, a movie, a meal an outdoor cafe, a movie...

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