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

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