Friday, August 25, 2017

LA Film Screenings Galore

Here's what's playing in LA theaters on (mostly) photo-chemical 35mm... (mmm, yummy)

This is just what's on my personal radar. But, wait, you say, what if I'm a stupid guy with the worst taste? Isn't there much cooler stuff?
Just browse the LA Film Calendars links on my side bar yerself. → → →

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

Note that I will leave Cinefamily off my selections until we find out more (See LA Times story, Jezebel, and related links from there), will resume if enough is done to positively resolve the situation.

Aero Theatre
Woman of the Dunes (1964, Hiroshi Teshigahara) 
The Face of Another (1966, Hiroshi Teshigahara)
Friday (tonight) 7:30pm
This great mini-fest of  Japanese classics continues at the Aero Theatre with these two AMAZING films by the mind-bending Hiroshi Teshigahara. These two are the most modernist of the Japanese Arthouse Classics mini-festival, so if you lean towards the French New Wave and a '60s style of more open experimentation in film, these two are definitely the ones to see at this event. This is basically the screening of the week for me. Especially if you live near the West side, take note of this one. Of Woman of the Dunes, a true arthouse classic, Aero says:
"Eiji Okada, an entomologist searching for rare insects in remote sand dunes, asks villagers for shelter. They bring him to a house at the bottom of a large pit, inhabited by a lonely woman (Kyoko Kishida). When he awakens the next day, he finds the ladder out of the hole has been removed..."
I cut that off there, because the blurb reveals too much fun stuff. That's enough goodness!

Of The Face of Another the Aero says:
"Teshigahara imbues this film with striking imagery and an unsettling atmosphere that recalls the creepiest corners of 'The Twilight Zone.'"
Twilight Zone is almost too tame of a reference, as this is weightier stuff.

New Beverly Cinema
Dark Star (1974, John Carpenter)
The Thing (1982, John Carpenter) 
Friday (tonight) Aug 25 and Saturday Aug 26 
They showed the Dark Star trailer recently and it seems crazy bad in a good way (old-looking, clunky effects, half-assed, on purpose, and weird), and you know The Thing is not bad. Side question, how many chances in LA do you get to see The Thing? Answer: A lot! apparently. But not along with Dark Star.

Aero Theatre
Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu) 
An Autumn Afternoon (1962, Yasujiro Ozu)
Saturday Aug 26 7:30pm
Here we have the classiest of classy art film directing greats, Yasujiro Ozu, with his immortal Tokyo Story and the absolute last film he ever made An Autumn Afternoon. Tokyo Story is often among the #1 or top five films of all time in the snootiest of film critic polls. Aero says:

"Revered master director Yasujirô Ozu dealt with the pathos, poetry and humor of everyday family life in Japan, and his most highly regarded masterwork is, without question, this heart-rending drama of elderly parents (Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama) leaving their provincial home village to visit their indifferent grown-up children in the city. As in all of Ozu’s pictures, there is a deceptively simple presentation of commonplace events that nevertheless, by the end, have drawn on deep wellsprings of emotion. One of Ozu’s greatest talents was in showing these feelings as universal, as part of the human condition and not specific to Japan; and it is well nigh impossible not to be moved by his films. Named the greatest film of all time by directors in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll."

Of An Autumn Afternoon, Aero says:

"...a widower who lives contentedly with his daughter and youngest son. But a night out drinking with a former teacher prompts Hirayama to wonder if he has consigned his daughter to a life of spinsterhood. One of Ozu’s few color films, this understated drama puts his famously meticulous shot compositions to excellent use."

Guys, what I'm saying is Ozu is good. See below images of the classic super-frontal and totally unique style he uses. (It's different than when Wes Anderson does it.)

Aero Theatre
The Queen of Spain (2017, Fernando Trueba) 
The Princess Bride (1987, Rob Reiner) Cary Elwes in person
Sun Aug 27 7:30pm
The connection here is that Cary Elwes is in both of these (and, whoa, appearing in person!). I'm posting this mainly for a heads-up about The Princess Bride, which would be pure fun to see in a theater. Regarding the first film, I haven't been huge on Fernando Trueba personally, but it's always a cultural delight to see a modern major-release film from another country by a prominent director (this is an advance screening no less). I've seen so many valuable and interesting Spanish films at the Spanish series at the Egyptian that at least I can promise this will be interesting, plus it stars Penelope Cruz, along with Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin. And then you get to see The Princess Bride after. Win-win
(This screening DCP)

Aero Theatre
Wonder Woman (2017, Patty Jenkins) in 70mm
Thursday Aug 31 7:30pm
Very cool, here is 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.

New Beverly Cinema
They Live (1988, John Carpenter)
Saturday Aug 26 11:59 pm
Definitely a midnight type of movie. When a film's not necessarily a great cinematic treasure, and has a lot of crazy-ass shit and cool sci-fi/horror stuff in it, it goes down even better at midnight. This currently says it is sold out, but they allow a standby line the night of the show for any seats that become available.

CINECON (held at Egyptian Theatre)
A Plethora of Ultra-rare Silent/Sound Screenings
Thur Aug 31 - Sept 4
9:00 am - Midnight 
all day long each day (Except Thursday 5pm-midnight, and Monday ends early around 8pm)
Okay, CINECON is coming up Labor Day weekend as always, and since this technically starts on Thursday, I'm including it in this week's list. (This takes place at the Egyptian but is a separate entity).

This is on my radar, but be warned, this is strictly a power-nerd outing for people who like really old extremely rare films that no one has shown on TCM or perhaps even anywhere since they came out, including at least 40% to 50% super-rare silent films. Often the films suck. Sometimes there's gems. I mean, among many others, they're showing a super-rare Lon Chaney film from 1914, a 1920 silent with Constance Talmadge (She's great! A big silent film star no one knows), a 1926 silent western starring "Hoot" Gibson, plus Josef von Sternberg's rare (although very occasionally shown) The Salvation Hunters from 1925.

Plus if you like 35mm, have you heard of nitrate? The far-higher-in-silver-content version of 35mm that existed in cinema's classic era (and is extremely flammable so it's hard to preserve, and only very reputable theaters can screen it due to FIRE risk!), which glistens on the screen because of the extra silver? So, yeah, they have a special nitrate night as well.

It's nothing short of amazing—well, for the truly, truly nerdy.

Are these films good? Not necessarily!
Are they rare? Yes!

Get the picture?

It's a treasure chest of humanity's industrial entertainment of a bygone era.

People fly in from out of town to see this.
You'll see individual silent feature films (some shorts) from these years:
1920 (two films)
1923 (two films)

That's 13 silent films, plus some additional shorts.

There are even excellent dealer rooms over at the Loews Hollywood Hotel full of nerdy super-old film memorabilia. I've been before, it's fun.

If you don't go whole hog with the full festival pass, the smallest thing you can buy is a day pass.

Seriously, this is well worth a dabble for at least one day to see where the darkest, dustiest cabinets of cinephilia reach, and who lives there. This is where the bottom of the cinephile well is, and where I used to live. So see what my life was like.
(Passes at door also very easily. Link has day pass info at bottom. Day pass is the least you can buy.)


Constance Talmadge 

Egyptian Theatre
Quick note that I'm neglecting the Egyptian because there's a lot of horror coming up at the Egyptian that I don't care about, but for your info:

Friday (tonight) Creepshow/Cat's Eye/Creepshow 2
Saturday Cujo/Pet Sematary/Graveyard Shift
Sunday Misery/The Dark Half

Ughhh. Sorry I don't like that stuff.
Info at their site:

Billy Wilder Theatre (UCLA Film & TV Archive)
Prizzi's Honor (1985, John Huston)
The Dead (1987, John Huston)
Sun Aug 27 7:00 pm
I just really put this here for me because I want to see Prizzi's Honor since I've never seen it, and 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. Both in glorious 35mm.

A Star is Born (1954, George Cukor)  
Tuesday Aug 29 2:00pm
At this mostly blue-hair 2:00 pm Tuesday matinee you can see A Star is Born in extravagant 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. Packed with emotion and wonderful songs, one of the great Hollywood tales.

Old Town Music Hall
Tarantula (1955, Jack Arnold) — Friday 8:15 pm
It Came from Outer Space (1953, Jack Arnold) — Saturday 2:30 pm
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959, Ed Wood) — Saturday 8:15 pm
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957, Jack Arnold) — Sunday 2:30 pm
Man, if you live by the beach, this is a great little festival featuring four sci-fi flicks of the 1950s. Also, who's director Jack Arnold? Well, guess you'll know after seeing three of his films. At this quaint little theater, every show begins with music played on the pipe organ, an audience sing-along, and a comedy short.

Eye on the Future
LACMA will have a special screening (special because they rarely show stuff ) of the great classic The Red Shoes (1948, Powell & Pressburger) Sept.  2. In a theater on 35mm? Worth it. This is the film that had basically the first musical sequence of a backstage musical to "pretend" the dance sequences were no longer stagebound, which Gene Kelly apparently saw and was inspired by for, you know, Singing in the Rain. The mad quest for art in this one is truly inspiring.

New Beverly has The War of the Gargantuans (1966, Ishiro Honda) and Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965, Ishiro Honda) Sept 1 and 2. We're really in mega-fanboy territory here, but it's in 35mm (and second film is in 16mm), a joy to behold with an appreciative crowd. Russ Tamblyn's in the first one, so kind of fun.

Also they have Alligator (1980, Lewis Teague) with Tarantino's Jackie Brown at their Tuesday Sept. 5 Grindhouse night, both starring Robert Forster. It's part of a 20th anniversary celebration of Jackie Brown, paired with different goodies throughout the week. There are a plethora of great pairings with Jackie, check them out at the site.

This is intriguing: Next week they'll start showing major Hitchcock classics in 35mm at 2:00 PM on Wednesdays. Why? No idea. (Retiree crowd?) So if you're a loser with no job (or a lovely nice retired person), you'll feel happy. (Strangers on a Train Sept. 6, then in future weeks: Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Rebecca.)

Aero Theatre will have 2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm Sept. 1. (Shot in 70mm.)  'Nuff said. Kind of a weird movie though, right?!

The Academy (as in the Oscars) has a stupendous theater on Wilshire Blvd (and very low ticket prices) that I've been eager to highlight as soon as they show something. Not quite yet, but they finally have something at their equally extravagant theater, the Linwood Dunn Theater (inside the Mary Pickford Center) on Vine just by the Arclight. Sept. 7 they are showing Charles Burnett's To Sleep with Anger (1990) starring Danny Glover, along with a lecture on Charles Burnett's cinematic oeuvre from a film scholar. It's currently sold out, but there will be a stand-by line with numbers given out starting at approximately 5:30 pm, they say.

The Red Shoes

The War of the  Gargantuans

Frankenstein Conquers the World


Jackie Brown

Strangers on a Train

2001: A Space Odyssey

To Sleep with Anger

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