Friday, August 18, 2017

Cool LA Film Screenings in Super-cool AC

Here's what's playing in LA theaters on (mostly) 35mm, which is basically organic, right? At least compared to digital, although it's technically a bunch of layers of photo-reactive chemicals.

Here's what's on my radar. There's other stuff too.
Curious? Browse the LA Film Calendars links on my side bar  → → →

As usual, a couple of these choices are tonight, FYI, and not necessarily listed first.

Aero Theatre
Ugetsu (1953, Kenji Mizoguchi) 
The Life of Oharu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Thursday Aug 24 7:30pm
Late in the week might be the best thing, when the classic Japanese festival kicks off Thursday Aug 24 at the Aero Theatre with this pair of films by the great Kenji Mizoguchi. I say "festival" but it seems to be just three double features over three days, but, hey, that's 6 movies. It continues with more Japanese classics into the following week. These two here to kick it off are classically cited as among the greatest films of all time. I've been watching lesser-known Mizoguchi films for the past month ("Masters of Cinema" British DVD releases), and even those let's say "secondary" films of his have been an utter joy, so imagine how good going to see two of his most famous films is. Ugetsu is a ghost story of a whimsical contemplative type (my description is not doing it justice, I should be fired), and Life of Oharu is a harrowing tale of a woman's struggles in a horrible male-dominated society, on Mizoguchi's favorite subject of prostitution (or often geishas). His sister in real life, whom he was very close to, was sold into "geishadom" and supported the family. The aching quality of that loss suffuses all his films on this subject. Plus you can think about how these are only 7 and 8 years after losing World War II and Hiroshima/Nagasaki, plus American occupation, so there's a lot that may be going on here when viewing a Japanese film from this period.
(Ugetsu is DCP, Life of Oharu is 35mm)

Tokyo Drifter (1966, Seijun Suzuki)
Sun Aug 20 10:00 pm
Mon Aug 21 7:30 pm
This is a great Seijun Suzuki movie Tokyo Drifter (1966) in beautiful 35mm, a stunning, transgressive classic of the gangster genre. Seijun Suzuki was the master of bending the rules of the basic genres to inject his own compelling artistic elements into them. I first was introduced to Suzuki at a major festival that toured the country (saw in Boston), and each of his films has unbridled artistry, energy and sometimes machismo of certain characters bursting off the screen. If you've never seen a Seijun Suzuki movie, this is really something to go see in 35mm. His use of color and extravagant set designs for a gangster film in particular are of note to watch.
Side Note: Cinefamily also has a lot more of their "Zanzibar" films series that earlier I recommended The Inner Scar (1972, Philippe Garel) from, but I don't know much else about what "Zanzibar films" are, so check the Cinefamily site out for more info.

New Beverly Cinema
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, Lewis Gilbert)
Moonraker (1979, Lewis Gilbert)
Fri Aug 18
Sat Aug 19
Some "classic" Roger Moore Bond in 35mm: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, in a double feature on 35mm. I had the pleasure of seeing the Moonraker trailer there this week, and feel like this is a suuuuper fun outing. Can you really still see films where a car is realistically a submarine?  Have you really seen anything this campy in a while? The Bond theme song lifts even the worst Bond movie to another level and they used the theme more liberally back in this era.

Aero Theatre
70mm Festival
Various Films (see below)
More 70mm film goodness at the Aero. These films themselves aren't up my alley, so the below list is just a public service. None of these were shot on 70mm, but blow-ups to 70mm I guess can still be extremely nice, and they're rarely shown on film anyway, so it is a treat regardless. Actually, Tron shot a lot in 70mm. I'm not sure how much, maybe all live-action scenes. So that one kind of upgrades to more of a must-see. (Or maybe-see, depending how much you like boring movies!)

Fri (tonight) 7:30pm Hook (1991, Spielberg) and Back to the Future II (1989, Robert Zemeckis) LINK

Sat Aug 19 7:30pm Tron (1982, Steven Lisberger [or maybe a computer]) LINK Actually Lisberger appears in person!

Sun Aug 20 2:00 pm E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982, Spielberg) LINK

Sun  Aug 20 7:30 pm Always (1989, Spielberg) LINK

But, none of those are "good" movies (like high art, as opposed to pop culture icons), so really you should be ashamed! (But go anyway! But not to Always, I mean, come on.))

Photo Caption: "Shall we go see movies in 70mm together?"

Egyptian Theatre
Black Sunday (1960, Mario Bava) 
Lisa and the Devil (1972, Mario Bava) 
Fri (tonight) 7:30pm
I say see Black Sunday and skip dreary Lisa and the Devil. (Both in 35mm though!) This Mario Bava festival continues at the Egyptian Theatre, with basically only Black Sunday (1960) on my radar, since, I'm sorry, I don't really like his except for this one film, starring Barbara Steele. Fine, I'm a curmudgeon. Planet of the Vampires was mildly interesting, at best. He barely has a style, it's a real light touch. However, if you are interested, check out the many other films playing here, such as Saturday's Blood and Black Lace/A Bay of Blood/Evil Eye triple feature, and Sunday's Black Sabbath/Kill, Baby...Kill! double.
(Note: Black Sunday is an English dubbed print, which if I recall is not a negative aspect for this film.)

Billy Wilder Theatre (UCLA Film & TV Archive)
Eyes of Laura Mars (1978, Irvin Kershner) 
Hickey & Boggs (1972, Robert Culp)
Friday (tonight) 7:30 pm
Both in lovely 35mm at an actual leading film preservation archive. These aren't suuuper on my radar, but hey, you're always raving about how The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film, so why not see the film Irvin Kershner made just two years before?? It must be good with him at the helm right? And starring Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, and more. UCLA says: "Irvin Kershner’s homage to Italian giallo films provides 'a celebration of sleaze as high chic.'" Plus it has a script co-written by John Carpenter. So, Hickey & Boggs, well, it stars Robert Culp, and, oh, shit, Bill Cosby. So maybe leave after Eyes. But it has a script by Walter Hill. I'm not knowledgeable on this film. Hard to leave if you're already there.

Eye on the Future
That mini-fest of  Japanese classics continuing at the Aero Theatre can't be beat with Woman in the Dunes/The Face of Another on Fri Aug 25 both by the mind-bending Hiroshi Teshigahara, followed by the classiest of classy art film directing greats, Yasujiro Ozu on Sat Aug 26 with the immortal Tokyo Story and An Autumn Afternoon. Tokyo Story is often among the #1 or top five films of all time in the snootiest of film critic polls.

As if that wasn't enough, they also have a Princess Bride screening that week and a 70mm screening of the new Wonder Woman, which unlike many movies today, is that rare breed that was actually shot on film. Albeit 35mm, but the blow-up to 70mm in this modern era should be quite nice.

There's a lot of horror coming up at the Egyptian that I don't care about, but for your info: Christine/Maximum Overdrive, Creepshow/Cat's Eye/Creepshow 2, Cujo/Pet Sematary/Graveyard Shift, Misery/The Dark Half. Ughhh.

Billy Wilder Theatre will have Prizzi's Honor (1985, John Huston) and The Dead (1987, John Huston) on Sun Aug 27 in glorious 35mm. I just really put this here for me because I want to see Prizzi's Honor since I've never seen it, so on the big screen in 35mm sounds good. I don't really like what little bits I've seen of The Dead, but maybe I'll give it a chance.

At LACMA's blue-hair 2:00 pm Tuesday matinee Aug 29 they'll have A Star is Born (1954, George Cukor), which looks extravagant in proper CinemaScope on the big screen, especially (and I can't confirm this) if they show it in the lovely wider 2.55:1 aspect ratio that the film originated in. They are definitely showing it in 35mm. This film is bigger than big-screen, and it's worth going to an odd screening time (for very cheap) to catch it.

Cinefamily will host Night of the Living Dead at at the Vista Theatre Aug 26 at midnight, in 35mm. To my knowledge this is the first opportunity since his passing to see this film on the big-screen in lovely 35mm (or in any format). Plus they're also reviving Jodorowsky's recent Endless Poetry if you missed it, and they have Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (1971) on Aug. 31.

New Beverly will have a Dark Star/The Thing double feature Aug. 25/26 that seems pretty choice. They showed the Dark Star trailer last week and it seems crazy bad in a good way, and you know The Thing is not bad. Plus a They Live midnight screening Aug 26 (currently shows as sold out), definitely a midnight type movie. Lastly a Sun/Mon late-period Kevin Smith double feature of Red State and Tusk in 35mm Aug 27 and 28.

Old Town Music Hall comes back to my list with four sci-fi flicks of the 1950s Aug 25, 26, 27: Tarantula (1954), It Came from Outer Space (1953), Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959, Ed Wood), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) Plus every show begins with music played on the pipe organ, an audience sing along, and a comedy short. (Recommended if you live near the beach.)

Woman in the Dunes

Face of Another

Tokyo Story

An Autumn Afternoon

Princess Bride

Wonder Woman

Prizzi's Honor

A Star is Born

Night of the Living Dead

Endless Poetry

200 Motels

Dark Star

The Thing

They Live


It Came from Outer Space

Plan 9 from Outer Space

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Friday, August 11, 2017

Keep it Hotsy-Totsy with LA Film Screenings in Air-Conditioning

It's toasty in LA, but we can keep it hotsy-totsy (i.e. "comfortably stable or secure") by attending the hottest screenings that movie theater air-conditioning can handle.

So what's playing in LA theaters on 35mm (mostly) in this hot, hot weather, you ask? Here's my list!

It's just what's on my radar. There's other stuff too.
Curious? Browse the LA Film Calendars links on my side bar  → → →

As usual, a couple of these choices are tonight, FYI.

Egyptian Theatre
Le Doulos (1962, Jean-Pierre Melville) 
Sat Aug 12 7:30pm
The Melville retrospective (granddaddy of the French New Wave) continues at the Egyptian, and I have my eye as usual on the less-talked-about gems, like Le Doulos. Check the Egyptian Calendar for more of the Melville that's showing, but this and Bob le Flambeur (below) are my main two pics. It was superb seeing Le Deuxième Souffle (1966) getting the big-screen treatment last week, wow, and on 35mm, so great to see, albeit a loooong movie. Things like Le Samouraï (playing Sunday) pop up around town quite a bit, and, yes, the Egyptian is possibly the best screen to see it on (and in 35mm), but stuff like Le Doulos starring the superb Jean-Paul Belmondo does not come up as often. And in glorious 35mm black and white!

Egyptian Theater
Bob le Flambeur (1956, Jean-Pierre Melville)
Sun Aug 13 7:30 pm 
No, that doesn't mean Bob the Flamer or Bob the Flammable, it means "Bob the Gambler," and, man, does this guy have a gambling problem. You just have to see it to believe it..! Plus there's a heist? Believe me when I tell you this movie has everything, including sadness and ennui (it's a French thing).  I continue to adore Bob le Flambeur, highly recommend it as a great classic film to see in the theater. In 35mm.
(I haven't mentioned it, but of course this same night Le Samouraï (1967) is playing at 5:00 pm)

Aero Theatre
The Thing (1982, John Carpenter) in 70mm
Friday (tonight!) 7:30 pm
So tonight the 70mm series at the Aero continues with The Thing (1982, John Carpenter.) I am not on the same page with every fanboy and fangirl in the world who adore this movie, but it's pretty good, and should be fun in 70mm. Now, I don't entirely know what the point is of seeing a 35mm film blown up to 70mm, as opposed to Lawrence of Arabia or 2001: A Space Odyssey that were actually shot in 70mm, but I did see Aliens at the Egyptian once on 70mm (another one blown up from 35mm), and it was a pretty tight experience, so if this movie is your jam, and those special effects benefit from the higher resolution, then go, go, go to this! Plus, it's rare just to see anything projected on film anyway.
There is a lot more playing in 70mm, check the Aero Calendar for this week, including Baraka (1992, Ron Fricke) Thursday Aug 17, the only one that was actually shot on 70mm.

New Beverly Cinema
King Kong (1933, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
Okja (2017,  Bong Joon-Ho)
Fri (tonight) 7:00pm/9:10pm
Sat Aug 12 7:00pm/9:10pm
It's fun to see this brand-new film Okja in a special 35mm print struck just for the New Beverly Cinema! Plus it has been paired with unique double features in the great New Beverly tradition all week long, culminating stupendously this weekend with the original 1933 King Kong, all of these in 35mm, because otherwise Kong will get angry. Also it goes without saying that it's required viewing to see this landmark in the development of special effects that took a huge leap toward what we'd eventually be seeing today when we go to see, like, I guess Valerian, right?

Billy Wilder Theatre (UCLA Film & TV Archive)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
Vanishing Point (1971, Richard C. Sarafian)
Sat Aug 12 7:30 pm
This is a ballsy kick-ass prime car chase movie double feature, both in sweet archival 35mm from, you know, an actual archive. This is some high-octane fun, and, yes, that's the only time "high-octane" can be associated with James Taylor (and yes, he really is in this movie). If you are also an aging Guns 'N' Roses fan, you'll recognize a particular monologue by Cleavon Little as being spoken by Axl Rose on their song "Breakdown" from User Your Illusion II. So a bit of curiosity factor there.

The Evil Dead (1981, Sam Raimi)
Friday (tonight!) Midnight
This is great, Cinefamily has a nice midnight screening of The Evil Dead (1981) tonight, ooh, in 35mm.

Variety (or Varieté) (1925, E.A. Dupont)
Sat Aug 12 2:00 pm
Big-time silent film nerd alert here!! This is E.A. Dupont's hard-to-see Variety (or Varieté) (1925) with live musical accompaniment. I saw it once on a dusty VHS, and I found it sort of weirdly infuriating. It has huge production values for the time period, and maybe it was too edgy for me when I first saw it—or too cliché, can't recall! (I'm leaning toward the latter.) But rarity in silent films trumps everything, and this is an opportunity to see it in what used to be LA's one-and-only Silent Movie Theatre before Cinefamily took over many years ago. But they pay their respects and keep the light burning for silent movies! (This screening DCP)

Billy Wilder Theatre (UCLA Film & TV Archive)
The Lost Man (1969, Robert Alan Arthur)
Edge of the City (1956, Martin Ritt)
Friday (tonight!) 7:30 pm
This Sidney Poitier double feature looks like it could be extremely good. In The Lost Man he's "a Black militant on the run from the establishment." Plus "Featuring an innovative jazz and funk-tinged score by Quincy Jones"!!
Then in the second feature, he is paired with the always exciting John Cassavetes. It says here Poitier "brings power and grace to the film as counterpoint to the nervous, edgy intensity of co-star John Cassavetes"—Wow, sign me up!—in this social drama about "the racist working conditions faced by African-American longshoremen in New York."
Both in glorious 35mm.

Billy Wilder Theatre (UCLA Film & TV Archive)
Foxy Brown (1974, Jack Hill)
Coffy (1973, Jack Hill)
Monday Aug 14 7:30pm
Well, this is exactly what your Monday night needs, an in-your-face kickoff to the week with a double dose of vintage original Pam Grier. On a Monday night, seriously? Yup, totally let's do it. Both are in 35mm. It also may be the weirdest venue to see these in (not a raucous crowd!), but they will have the best possible prints because it's a film archive! I haven't seen these in a while, what's wrong with me? Gems.

The Inner Scar (1972, Philippe Garrel)
Chromo Sud (1968, Etienne O'Leary)
Friday (tonight!) 10:00 pm
Sun Aug 13 10:15 pm 
Weirdo alert!
Cinefamily has something weird, it's Philippe Garrel's The Inner Scar (1972) starring the Velvet Underground's Nico. It's DCP but quite rare to see. I've seen it before, and it's hella weird, well worth checking out. Plus the second "unearthed treasure" (one hopes) on the double feature is Chromo Sud (1968, Etienne O'Leary) is 16mm, which Cinefamily describes as:
Though he only made three films, Etienne O’Leary’s work is an impactful feat of editing. Peripheral to the Zanzibar group, but an ideal companion, Chromo Sud is a pulsing, psychedelic drug fueled freakout in which shots from the barricades of May '68 protests become a single, layered, flashing, collage for 21 vital minutes.

Jules et Jim (1962, François Truffaut)
Monday Aug 14 7:30 pm
Jeanne Moreau just died, and there happens to be a perfectly timed screening to see one of her prime performances, the classic early French New Wave hit from François Truffaut. In stunning 35mm of course.

New Beverly Cinema
Michael Parks movies all week
Okay, who is Michael Parks and why do you want to see these films? He's a Tarantino fave, and you'll see him most memorably in From Dusk Till Dawn as the sheriff in that opening super-long conversation in the gas station before shit gets real weird fast, in one of the best-acted scenes I've ever seen. Secondly, he's also the (same?) sheriff in Kill Bill, Texas Ranger Earl McGraw, who shows up to the bloody scene at the wedding party. Remember him now!? So, okay, this week answers the question, "Who is this guy and where are all the movies he was in before that?!" It's a plethora of (hopefully?) delights:

Sun Aug 13 6:30pm/8:40pm
Mon Aug 14 7:30pm/9:40pm
Wild Seed (1965, Brian G. Hutton) w/Michael Parks
The Idol (1966, Daniel Petrie) w/Michael Parks, Jennifer Jones

Tue Aug 15
The Evictors (1979, Charles B. Pierce) w/Michael Parks, Jessica Harper
Love and the Midnight Auto Supply (1977, James Polakof) w/Michael Parks, Colleen Camp

Wed Aug 16
Thur Aug 17
The Happening (1967, Elliot Silverstein) w/Anthony Quinn, Michael Parks, Faye Dunaway
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977, Larry Cohen) w/Broderick Crawford, Parks

Egyptian Theatre (presented by Los Angeles Film Forum)
Limite (1931, Mário Peixoto)
Sun Aug 13 7:30pm (Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian)
It says it's restored by the Film Foundation, so I have to presume this is a film print, since I can't see on the site what format it is showing in. A film that Scorsese has championed, and his taste in these matters is usually unassailable, the Los Angeles Film Forum's own blurb sums it up best:

Filmforum presents the remarkable 1931 Brazilian experimental feature Limite.  An astonishing creation, Limite is the only feature by the Brazilian director and author Mário Peixoto, made when he was just twenty-two years old. Inspired by a haunting André Kertész photograph on the cover of a French magazine, this avant-garde silent master­piece centers on a man and two women lost at sea, their pasts unfolding through flashbacks propelled by the music of Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and others. An early work of independent Latin American filmmaking, Limite was famously difficult to see for most of the twentieth century. It is a pioneering achievement that continues to captivate with its timeless visual poetry.  Possibly the Los Angeles premiere!

Eye on the Future
Late next week, a prime classic Japanese festival kicks off Thursday Aug 24 at the Aero Theatre with a Ugetsu/The Life of Oharu double feature (both by the great Kenj Mizoguchi) and continuing with more Japanese classics into the following week. These two are classically cited as among the greatest films of all time.

A Mario Bava festival continues at the Egyptian Theatre, with basically only Black Sunday (1960) on my radar on Friday Aug 18, as I don't really like his except for that one film, starring Barbara Steele. But you can look up the others..!

Next week, Sunday Aug 20 and Monday Aug 21, Cinefamily has a great Seijun Suzuki movie Tokyo Drifter (1966) in beautiful 35mm. This is a stunning, transgressive classic of the gangster genre, as Seijun Suzuki was the master of bending the rules of the basic genres to inject his own compelling artistic elements into them.

New Beverly Cinema will have some classic Roger Moore Bond in 35mm: The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker Aug 18 and Aug 19, in a double feature.


The Life of Oharu

Black Sunday

Tokyo Drifter

The Spy Who Loved Me