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Around Town: Edgar Wright shows his stuff and aliens attack

December 8, 2011 |  5:16 am

A scene from "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Aki Kaurismäki films, a 1950s sci-fi double feature and a program curated by Edgar Wright are among this week’s film highlights.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art shines a spotlight on the Finnish filmmaker Kaurismäki with screenings of two of his films Thursday evening. The first is 1992’s “La Vie de Bohème,” a deadpan comedy about three artists scratching out a living in Paris; the second, “Drifting Clouds” (1996), tells the story of a working-class couple trying to make ends meet after both lose their jobs.

On Saturday, LACMA will show the 1951 Hindi film “Awaara” (“The Vagabond”), directed by Raj Kapoor. A global star who died in 1988, Kapoor also produced the film and plays the lead role, a tramp who is ignorant of his upper-class heritage.

Tuesday’s matinee screening is Frank Capra’s 1934 madcap classic “It Happened One Night,” starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. www.lacma.org/film

The New Beverly pays a birthday tribute to the late David Carradine on Thursday with a program of two of the actor’s films: the Quentin Tarantino revenge pastiche “Kill Bill: Volume 2” and the singer-songwriter tale “American Reel.”

British writer-director Edgar Wright returns to the New Beverly for the "Wright Stuff III," his third stint as a guest programmer. Beginning Friday, his selections focus on great films he’s never seen, including “Steamboat Bill Jr.,” “Modern Times” and “The Bank Dick” on Saturday; “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “Chungking Express” on Monday; and “White Heat” and “Throne of Blood” on Tuesday. Wright will also introduce a midnight screening of his fanboy comedy “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” on Friday.

Saturday at midnight, the Grindhouse Film Festival presents the 1980 cult slasher film “Christmas Evil.” www.newbevcinema.com

The American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood commemorates the centennial of actor Lee J. Cobb’s birth on Thursday with a double feature of Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront” (1954) and William Wyler’s “The Liberation of L.B. Jones” (1970).

A Friday David Lynch double bill pairs his 1986 surrealist noir film “Blue Velvet,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination for directing, with 1992’s “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” his prequel to the acclaimed television series.

The actress Piper Laurie will appear at the Egyptian on Saturday for a presentation of the 1961 drama “The Hustler,” in which she stars opposite Paul Newman, and the 1976 horror movie “Carrie,” with Sissy Spacek. Afterward, Laurie will discuss her work.

Emmanuel Lubezki, the Academy Award-nominated cinematographer of “The New World” and “Children of Men,” will visit the Egyptian on Sunday for a screening of his most recent film, Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” A reel of highlights from Lubezki’s career will precede the film, and a discussion will follow.

A second centennial pays tribute to filmmaker Jules Dassin on Wednesday with a program of the 1955 French film noir “Rififi” and the 1964 heist film “Topkapi.” www.americancinematheque.com

The Los Angeles Filmforum presents the 2011 edition of the Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour — Program B at the Egyptian on Sunday. It includes recent documentary, animated, independent and experimental films. www.lafilmforum.org

The UCLA Film & Television Archive continues its series L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, playing at the Billy Wilder Theater. Featured works include the 1976 Ethiopian film “Harvest: 3,000 Years” on Friday, the 1977 film “Passing Through” with the short film “When It Rains” (1995) on Saturday, Charles Burnett’s 2001 film “The Annihilation of Fish” on Sunday and “Compensation” (1999) with the short “Dark Exodus” (1985) on Wednesday.

On Sunday morning, the archive’s Family Flicks series offers a free screening of the 1945 MGM musical “Meet Me in St. Louis,” starring Judy Garland and featuring “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

The weekly Wednesday screening series at the historic Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles continues with a sci-fi double feature of 1951’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” the Cold War parable about an alien’s warnings to Earthlings falling on deaf ears, and 1955’s “This Island Earth,” a tale of extraterrestrials kidnapping human scientists. www.cinema.ucla.edu

A free sneak preview of the new documentary “Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel” plays Thursday at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre. Seating is first come, first served, and pre-registration is required. The film opens Dec. 16 in Los Angeles. www.cinefamily.org

Friday and Saturday, Landmark’s Regent Theatre indulges in retro kitsch with midnight screenings of Santa’s Cool Holiday Film Festival, featuring vintage cartoons and trailers and anchored by the 1964 B-movie “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” www.santamartiansmovie.com

The Echo Park Film Center celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend with a kickoff party at Stories bookstore on Friday, workshops and an open house at the film center on Saturday, punk music and movies at the Smell on Sunday afternoon and a closing reception at the Downtown Independent on Sunday evening featuring the premiere of “City of Angels 11: An EPFC Youth Film Project.” www.echoparkfilmcenter.org

The American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica goes big with a weekend of 70mm screenings: “Playtime” on Thursday, “Lawrence of Arabia” on Friday,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Saturday, “Hook” on Sunday afternoon and a double bill of “Last Action Hero” with “Cliffhanger” on Sunday evening.

Also playing at the Aero are double features focusing on Wim Wenders on Monday (“The American Friend” and “Alice in the Cities”) and Alexander Payne on Wednesday (“The Descendants” and “Election”). www.americancinematheque.com

The experimental filmmaker Naomi Uman will be on hand at REDCAT on Monday to present and discuss her silent short film “Kalendar” and the longer work “Videodiary 2-1-2006 to Present,” both of which she shot in her ancestral homeland of Ukraine. www.redcat.org


The 'L.A. Rebellion' returns

Edgar Wright struts his stuff at the New Beverly

A Second Look: 'Le Havre' director Aki Kaurismaki

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” screening Wednesday at the Million Dollar Theater. Credit: 20th Century Fox

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