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Around Town: Black cinema, Sidney Lumet, monster movies and more

October 6, 2011 |  6:00 am



Halloween is coming early to the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre and Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theater.

Director John Landis looks at monsters in the movies Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at the Egyptian. The director of 1978’s “Animal House,” the influential 1981 horror film “An American Werewolf in London” and Michael Jackson’s 1983 music video “Thriller” has written a book, “Monsters in the Movies.” Landis opens the monster mash with two pre-code classics: 1933’s “Island of Lost Souls,” based on H.G. Wells’ “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” starring Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi, and Rouben Mamoulian’s visually striking 1931 version of “ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” for which Fredric March won his first lead actor Oscar in the dual role. Landis will appear in person at the screening. On tap for Saturday is a Frankenstein triple bill: 1931’s “Frankenstein,” 1935’s superior sequel “Bride of Frankenstein” and the underrated 1939 “Son of Frankenstein.” The retrospective concludes Sunday evening with two black-and-white ghost chillers: Jack Clayton’s 1961 “The Innocents,” based on Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw,” and Robert Wise’s “The Haunting.” http://www.americancinematheque.com

Cinefamily celebrates the sequels to famous horror films Thursday night with a triple bill of 1981’s “Halloween II,” 1987’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” and 1984’s “Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter.” http://www.cinefamily.org

The UCLA Film & Television Archive launches its ambitious two-month-long retrospective “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema” Friday evening at the Billy Wilder Theatre. The festival looks at some 50 African-American filmmakers who attended UCLA from the mid-1960s through the late 1980s. Julie Dash’s 1991 drama, “Daughters of the Dust,” and her 1975 short, “Four Women,” open “L.A. Rebellion” Friday evening. Dash will attend. Scheduled for the late afternoon Saturday is Zeinabu Irene Davis’ 2011 documentary, “Spirits of Rebellion: Black Film at UCLA." On tap for Saturday evening is Haile Gerima’s 1975-79 drama “Bush Mama” and Bernard Nicolas' 1977 short, “Daydream Therapy.” Nicolas will attend. A panel of the “L.A. Rebellion” filmmakers, including Dash, Davis, Ben Caldwell and Larry Clark, is scheduled for late Sunday afternoon, followed by several experimental shorts, including Barbara McCullough’s 1979 “Water Ritual #1: An Urban Rite of Purification.”

The archive’s screening series at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles continues Wednesday with a David Cronenberg double bill: 1986’s “The Fly” with Jeff Goldblum and 1983’s “Videodrome,” starring James Woods. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

John Leguizamo, appearing at the Ricardo Montalban in “Ghetto Klown,” will be stopping by the Egyptian on Friday evening after his performance for the 10th-anniversary screening of Baz Lurhmann’s revisionist musical “Moulin Rouge!,” in which he costars with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman as painter Toulouse-Lautrec.

The Cinemathque’s Aero Theatre continues its “Mad As Hell: Sidney Lumet’s Cinema of Fighting Back” Friday evening with 1973’s “Serpico,” for which Al Pacino earned his first lead actor nomination as New York cop Frank Serpico, and 1957’s “12 Angry Men,” Reginald Rose’s courtroom drama, which marked Lumet’s feature directorial debut. Scheduled for Sunday is Lumet’s scathing 1976 black comedy about network television, “Network,” which captured Oscars for Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay, Peter Finch — the first posthumous acting winner — for lead actor as crazed newsman Howard Beale, Faye Dunaway for lead actress as the crafty network programming executive, and supporting actress Beatrice Straight as the long-suffering wife of news division president William Holden's character. Also screening is Lumet’s powerful 1965 drama, “The Pawnbroker,” starring Rod Steiger in his Oscar-nominated role as the title character — a Holocaust survivor haunted by memories of the war. The festival concludes Wednesday with the all-star mystery thriller, 1974’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” based on the Agatha Christie classic. Albert Finney earned an Oscar nomination as sleuth Hercule Poirot and Ingrid Bergman picked up her third Oscar as a high-strung Swedish governess.

 Doors drummer John Densmore will be discussing “The Doors,” Oliver Stone’s 1991 bio-pic on Jim Morrison (played by Val Kilmer), Saturday evening at the Aero in Santa Monica. http://www.americancinematheque.com

Comedian-actor Patton Oswalt is guest programming at the New Beverly Cinema, and he’s rounded up two boxing classics to screen Thursday evening: Robert Wise’s 1949 “The Set-Up,” with Robert Ryan, and John Huston’s 1972 “Fat City,” with Jeff Bridges, Stacy Keach and Susan Tyrell. http://www.newbevcinema.com

 Cinefamily is offering several screenings Friday through Tuesday of Giorgio Moroder’s 1984 restoration of Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi silent masterpiece, “Metropolis,” which features a controversial score by the electronic composer Morodor that includes pop songs performed by the likes of Adam Ant and Pat Benatar.

 Late Friday evening, Cinefamily celebrates the one-year anniversary of its popular pajama party screening series with Robert Zemeckis' 1992 “Death Becomes Her,” starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. Scheduled for Sunday at Cinefamily is a rare screening of Robert Harmon’s 1986 chiller “The Hitcher,” starring Rutger Hauer as the hitchhiker from Hades. Screenwriter Eric Red will be on hand. http://www.cinefamily.org

The Echo Park Film Center invites filmmakers to show their latest work — 10-minute maximum — Thursday night at its “Open Screen” series. http://www.echoparkfilmcenter.org

The New World F.E.S.T., Friday through Sunday at the Santa Monica Beach parking lot 5, is an outdoor eco-festival and exposition that will feature screenings of such films as the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" and Sundance award winner "Fuel." Also scheduled to be screened are "Dirt!The Movie," "Vanishing of the Bees," "Save the Farm" and "Freedom." http://www.thenewworldfest.com

 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents a free screening Saturday evening of “The Forgotten Space,” a 2010 film essay from Allan Sekula and Noel Burch that looks at various “everyday” people including displaced farmers in Holland and Belgium, struggling truck drivers in L.A. and tent city residents in Ontario, Canada. Sekula and Berenice Reynaud, co-curator of Film at REDCAT, will be on hand for a discussion.

And this week’s Tuesday matinee is Frank Perry’s complex 1968 drama, “The Swimmer,” which stars Burt Lancaster. http://www.polishfilmla.org/

The Artists for a Better World Short Film Series features short indie films late Saturday afternoon at the Celebrity Centre International. Among the films screening are Neal Fox’s documentary, “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America," and the music video “Here to Stay.” http://www.artistsforabetterworld.org

 Film at REDCAT offers “Animation of the Unconsciousness: CalArts and the Teachings of Jules Engel,” Monday evening. Engel, who died in 2003, founded and directed the CalArts Film Graphics Program, later called Experimental Animation. Among his films being presented are 1976’s “Shapes and Gestures” and 1977’s “Wet Paint.” http://www.redcat.org

The Skirball’s free Tuesday matinee is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 thriller “Saboteur,” starring Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane, Otto Kruger and Norman Lloyd. Screening later that evening is the documentary “Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam.” http://www.skirball.org

The 12th annual Polish Film Festival kicks off Tuesday at the Egyptian Theatre with a gala including the presentation of several awards — Jon Voight is receiving the Pola Negri Award — and a screening of “Black Thursday.” The festival continues through Oct. 20 at the Laemmle Sunset 5. Among the films in the festival are “The Dark Horse,” “Little Rose,” “The Rite of Passage,” “Mystification” and “Joanna.” http://www.polishfilm.la.org

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 30th annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series continues Wednesday at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood with the 2010 Oscar nominees “Sun Comes Up,” which was in contention for documentary short subject, and Lucy Walker’s “Wasteland,” a nominee in the documentary feature category. Walker will be on hand for a Q&A. http://www.oscars.org

The fourth annual Bel-Air Film Festival opens Wednesday at the Skirball with the world premiere of the feature “My Father’s Will.” There will also be tributes to the writing partners Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz (“Splash,” “A League of Their Own”), Oscar-winning producer Bob Yari (“Crash”) and actor Victor Alfieri http://www.belairfilmfestival.com


John Landis reflects on the importance of the film program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

David Cronenberg stages "The Fly" for opera

— Susan King

Photo: Fredric March in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Credit: Paramount Pictures.