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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Around Town

Around Town: Snow White, Casablanca at Oscars Outdoors

June 14, 2012 |  6:00 am


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduces its "Oscars Outdoors" screening series  Friday evening with the 1942 Oscar-winning romantic classic "Casablanca," followed by Walt Disney's seminal 1937 animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'' Saturday evening.

The screenings take place at the academy's new open-air theater on its Hollywood campus. All of the June screenings are sold out, but there will be a standby line the day of the event.  http://www.oscars.org

Cinespia's outdoor screening series at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is in full swing this summer with Cheech and Chong's highly combustible 1978 comedy, "Up in Smoke," scheduled for Saturday evening. http://www.cinespia.org

New Beverly Cinema kicks off the weekend with the antic 1944 Frank Capra comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace," based on the long-running Broadway hit. The film, which stars Cary Grant, screens Friday and Saturday.

With Woody Allen's latest, "To Rome with Love," opening next week, the New Bev presents two of the his "early funny ones" Sunday and Monday: 1975's "Love and Death" and 1972's "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask)." http://www.newbevcinema.com

The UCLA Film & Television Archive's celebration of Universal's 100-year anniversary presents the granddaddy of all-star disaster films, 1970's "Airport," on Friday evening at the Billy Wilder Theater. George Seaton wrote and directed this Oscar-best-film nominee based on the novel by Arthur Hailey about a suicidal bomber (Van Heflin) aboard a transatlantic flight. Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Jean Seberg and Helen Hayes, who won the supporting actress Oscar as a stowaway, are among the many stars. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Veronica Gelakoksa, author of "Pig 'n  Whistle," and Los Angeles Magazine columnist/preservation and vintage culture expert Chris Nichols will talk about the famed L.A restaurants of the 1920s-'40s after a screening Saturday afternoon of the 1945 film noir classic "Mildred Pierce" at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre. Joan Crawford won her Academy Award for her role.

The 1945 theme continues early Sunday evening at the Egyptian with the Art Directors Guild Film Society's screening of MGM's lavish all-star musical "Ziegfeld Follies," which was directed by several of the studio's directors, including Vincente Minnelli. Guests include Oscar-nominated costume designer Bob Mackie and cinematographer Michael Lonzo.

The Cinematheque's Aero Theatre's latest installment in its "Grit and Whimsy III: The Best of Recent Belgian Cinema" continues Wednesday with the 2009 drama "Altiplano." http://www.americancinematheque.com

Oscar-winning composer and sometimes actor Paul Williams will be on hand Friday evening at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre's tribute, which features two films for which he composed the scores: 1979's "The Muppet Movie," which includes the tune "The Rainbow Connection," and 1974's "The Phantom of Paradise."

Cinefamily also celebrates the 45th anniversary of the milestone Monterey International Pop Music Festival with a screening Sunday evening of D.A. Pennebaker's 1968 classic documentary "Monterey Pop." The film's producer, Lou Adler, and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas (who appear in the film) will be on hand. http://www.cinefamily.org

Los Angeles Filmforum presents Peter Greenaway's 2007 drama "Nightwatching," starring Martin Freeman as Rembrant, Sunday at the Egyptian Theatre. http://www.lafilmforum.org

The Los Angeles Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats present a 1942 Mexican comedy "Los Tres Mosqueteros," starring the legendary Mario Moreno — best known to the world as Cantinflas — Wednesday evening at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. There will also be a pre-show panel. http://www.laconservancy.org


"Movie academy goes casual with plan for outdoor summer screenings"



Susan King

Photo: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" screens Saturday at "Oscar Outdoors." Credit: Disney.



Around Town: Return to 'Brokeback Mountain'

June 7, 2012 |  6:00 am



Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and producer James Schamus will be on hand at the Film Independent at LACMA screening Thursday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theater of their seminal 2005 drama "Brokeback Mountain."

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana also earned an Oscar for the screenplay adaptation of Annie Proulx' short story about the love affair that develops between two young cowboys (Heath Ledger, who was nominated for lead actor Oscar, and supporting nominee Jake Gyllenhaal). Gustova Santaolalla won the Oscar for his haunting score.

In conjunction with the exhibition, "Fracture: Daido Moriyama," LACMA is continuing its "High and Low: Postwar Japan in Black and White" this Friday and Saturday. The series begins Friday evening with 1962's "Pigs and Battleships," directed by Shohei Imamura, followed by Imamura's 1966 "The Pornographers." Saturday's offerings are Toshio Matsumoto's 1969 "Funeral Parade of Roses" and Akira Kurosawa's 1963 thriller "High and Low," starring Toshira Mifune. http://www.lacma.org

The fourth annual Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival continues through Sunday at the Egyptian Theatre. The festival highlights both feature-length and short films from up-and-coming filmmakers from the South American country. Admission is free for the majority of films, but reservations have to be made online at http://www.hbrfest.eventbrite.com

The New Beverly presents two Martin Scorsese rock documentaries -- 1978's "The Last Waltz," featuring the Band, and 2008's "Shine a Light," starring the Rolling Stones. http://newbevcinema.com

UCLA Film & Television Archive's celebrating of Universal Pictures' 100th anniversary is presenting a new print Friday evening at the Billy Wilder Theater of James Whale's landmark 1931 horror film "Frankenstein," starring Colin Clive as the not-so-good doctor and Boris Karloff in his star-making role as the monster. Karloff also scares up some frights in the second feature, 1932's "The Mummy," directed by Karl Freund, who later became the cinematographer on "I Love Lucy." Historian James Curtis, author of "James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters," will be on hand. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Starting Friday, Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre is presenting a week-long engagement of a new 35mm print of the 1974 Jacques Rivette French classic "Celine and Julie Go Boating," starring Dominique Labourier and Juliet Berto. http://www.cinefamily.org

Gregory Peck stars as the title character in 1950's "The Gunfighter," Henry King's landmark Western, screening Saturday at the Autry. http://www.theautry.org

Laura Dern, Cuba Gooding Jr., Greg Kinnear and Mena Suvari are scheduled to present at the 39th Student Academy Awards, Saturday evening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The ceremony honors outstanding filmmakers from both the United States and abroad. Past award winners include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter, Pete Docter and Trey Parker. Tickets are free but must be reserved at http://www.oscars.org

Long before he became Tim Burton's muse, Johnny Depp played one of the victims of villain Freddy Krueger, who wears a glove adorned with razors, in Wes Craven's 1984 horror favorite "Nightmare on Elm Street." It screens Saturday evening at Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. http://cinespia.org/calendar

Richard Linklater's cult favorite, 1993's "Dazed and Confused," screens Saturday evening at Devil's Night Drive-In in downtown Los Angeles. http://www.devilsnight.com/drivein.htm

Grauman's Chinese Theatre is offering movies at the legendary movie palace for just 25 cents on Monday evenings in celebration of the theater's 85th anniversary. This Monday, the Chinese Theatre is screening the 1960 epic "Spartacus." Before the screening, star Kirk Douglas will be on hand for the unveiling of his refurbished hand/foot/chin prints and sign copies of his new book, "I Am Spartacus! Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist." http://www.chinesetheatres.com 

The third annual New Media Film Festival visits the Landmark Theatre in West Los Angeles on Tuesday and Wednesday. Among the opening night films is the Los Angeles premiere of the short "Ray Bradbury's Kaleidoscope." The author, who died on Tuesday, was to have been there in person to receive the Legend Award.  http://www.newmediafilmfestival.com

The Skirball's free Tuesday matinee features the 1946 Warner Bros. romantic melodrama "Humoresque," with Joan Crawford as a wealthy socialite who sets her sights on a young violinist (John Garfield). http://www.skirball.org

Pat Boone will be on hand along with author Roland Kibbey to sign copies of "Pat Boone: The Hollywood Years"  before the screening Wednesday at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre of his 1962 musical romance "State Fair." Boone and his white bucks will chat about his experiences after the film.

The Cinematheque's Aero Theatre serves up the L.A. premiere Wednesday of the 2010 documentary "Music from the Big House," which follows Canadian blues singer's Rita Chiarelli's journey to the birth of the blues -- Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, a.k.a. Angola Prison. There will be a performance and discussion with Chiarelli after the screening. http://www.americancinematheque.com


Can 'Brokeback Mountain' move the heartland?

-- Susan King

Photo: "Brokeback Mountain" screens Thursday at LACMA. Photo: Kimberly French / Focus Features

Around Town: Marilyn, Lucy and Kristy McNichol hit the big screen

May 31, 2012 |  6:00 am

James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood star in "Rebel Without a Cause."

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is presenting a two-day retrospective, "Grand Designs: Mid-Century Life in the Movies," at the Leo S. Bing Theater, in conjunction with the closing weekend of the exhibition "California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way."

The festival opens Friday with the 1957 romantic comedy "Desk Set," with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, about the computer age invading a TV network, followed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as newlyweds honeymooning in an Airstream in Vincente Minnelli's 1954 comedy "The Long, Long Trailer."

On tap for early Saturday evening is the English-language version of Jacques Tati's Oscar-winning 1958 comedy "My Uncle," in which Mr. Hulot encounters an uber modern world in French suburbia.

The evening concludes with Nicholas Ray's classic 1955 tale of disenchanted youth "Rebel Without a Cause," starring James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and the Griffith Park Observatory.


The indie film festival "Dances With Films" celebrates its 15th anniversary Thursday evening through June 7 at the Mann's Chinese 6. The festival includes features, shorts, documentaries and music videos. The opening-night programs are "Attack of the Bat Monsters" and "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life." The closing night feature is "Eye of the Hurricane," with Campbell Scott. http://www.danceswithfilms.com

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, is also commemorating  the 86th birthday of the late Marilyn Monroe with a weeklong film festival that begins Friday evening with Billy Wilder's 1959 gender-bender comedy "Some Like It Hot." Screening Saturday is 1954's "There's No Business Like Show Business," followed by 1953's "How to Marry a Millionaire" on Sunday; 1955's "The Seven Year Itch" on Monday; 1956's "Bus Stop" on Tuesday; and 1961's "The Misfits," her final film, on Wednesday. http://www.chinesetheatres.com

Film Independent at LACMA presents a preview screening Thursday of Corinna Betz's documentary, "Gerhard Richter Painting," which profiles the 80-year-old German painter.

And on Tuesday evening, Film Independent at LACMA welcomes screenwriter and USC professor Howard A. Rodman to chat about Sam Fuller's controversial 1982 drama "White Dog" at the 30th anniversary screening of the film about an actress (played by Kristy McNichol) who adopts a stray white German shepherd only to discover it has been trained to attack African Americans. http://www.lacma.org

Before he "Made 'Em Laugh" in 1952's "Singin' in the Rain," Donald O'Connor was a teen idol who appeared in several youth-oriented musicals at Universal in the 1940s. UCLA Film & Television Archive's current centennial celebration of the studio presents a new print Sunday afternoon at the Billy Wilder Theater of his 1944 musical comedy "Chip Off the Old Block," which also stars Peggy Ryan.

And on Sunday, the archive and Outfest present the 1991 drama "The Hour and Times," directed by Christopher Munch about a holiday John Lennon took with the Beatles' gay manager Brian Epstein. Director Munch and actor Ian Hart will appear. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Director Whit Stillman will appear to take part in the Cinefamily Pajama Party screening Saturday of his 1998 comedy drama "The Last Days of Disco" at the Silent Movie Theatre.

Cinefamily 's Wednesday silent movie is a real rarity -- 1928's "The Showdown," a romantic soap opera set in South America starring George Bancroft, Fred Kohler and Evelyn Brent. http://www.cinefamily.org

The Assn. of Moving Image Archivists UCLA Student Chapter presents its monthly screening Sunday and Monday at the New Beverly Cinema with "These Are the Damned," the 1963 sequel to "Village of the Damned" and the 2011 British cult film "Attack the Block." http://www.newbevcinema.com

The Skirball's free Tuesday matinee features 1949's "The Barkleys of Broadway," the glossy MGM musical that reunited Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in a tale about a bickering show business couple. http://www.skirball.org

Geena Davis is scheduled to appear at the Los Angeles Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" screening Wednesday evening of the 1982 comedy "Tootsie," in which she had one of her first major roles. The film, which earned 10 Oscar nominations and won supporting actress for Jessica Lange, will screen at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. http://www.laconservancy.org


"Review: 'California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way' at LACMA"

--Susan King

Photo: James Dean, left, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood star in "Rebel Without a Cause." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures 

Around Town: 'Paper Moon' shines on downtown festival

May 24, 2012 |  6:00 am

  "Paper Moon"
The Los Angeles Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats festival that showcases the historic movie palaces on Broadway in downtown L.A. returns this Wednesday with Peter Bogdanovich's 1973 comedy "Paper Moon." The movie, which stars Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum, who won the supporting actress Oscar for the role, screens at the 1931 Los Angeles Theatre. Bogdanovich will be on hand to introduce the film.

Last Remaining Seats continues Wednesdays through June. Other features on tap include a 30th anniversary screening of "Tootise," June 6 at the 1926 Orpheum Theatre, and 1922's "Robin Hood," with Douglas Fairbanks, scheduled for June 27 at the Orpheum. http://www.laconservancy.org/remaining/2012.php

The UCLA Film and Television Archive's Wednesday programming at the Million Dollar Theater downtown features the archive's restoration of 1948's "The Red Shoes," Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Technicolor romantic drama set in the world of ballet. The series will go on hiatus in June and return in July. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

The New Beverly Cinema ushers in Memorial Day weekend with a retrospective of films by iconoclastic director David Lynch, beginning Friday and Saturday with his first feature, the 1977 cult favorite "Eraserhead," followed by his Oscar-nominated 1980 drama "The Elephant Man," with Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt.

Scheduled for Sunday and Monday are his controversial 1986 thriller "Blue Velvet," with Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern, and Lynch's only G-rated film, the 1999 "The Straight Story," starring Richard Farnsworth in his Oscar-nominated role as an elderly man who goes on an epic journey on a lawnmower.

Tuesday and Wednesday's offerings are 1997's "Lost Highway" with Bill Pullman and Robert Blake, and the award-winning 2001 noir "Mulholland Drive" with Naomi Watts and Laura Harring. http://newbevcinema.com

Steven Spielberg earned his second best director Oscar for his powerful 1998 World War II drama, "Saving Private Ryan," which screens Thursday evening at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in honor of Memorial Day. Steven Jay Rubin, author of "Combat Films: American Realism, 1945-2010," will be signing copies and leading a discussion before the film with actor Adam Goldberg.

A new digitally restored print with eight minutes of never-before-seen footage of Richard Donner's 1978 blockbuster "Superman" soars into the Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre on Friday evening. Also screening is Richard Lester's "Superman II," which was released in Europe in 1980 and in the U.S. in 1981. http://www.americancinematheque.com

.The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "The Sun Sets in the West: Mid-Century California Noir" festival continues Friday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theatre with the 1950 Joan Crawford noir favorite "The Damned Don't Cry," directed by Vincent Sherman. Crawford plays Ethel Whithead, an ambitious woman who goes from housewife to gangster moll. David Brian also stars.

Two seminal Universal horror flicks directed by James Whale -- 1933's "The Invisible Man," which marked the film debut of Claude Rains, and 1935's "The Bride of Frankenstien" -- are set for LACMA's Tuesday matinee. http://www.lacma.org

Audrey Hepburn earned her second best actress Oscar nomination as the title character in "Sabrina," Billy Wilder's 1954 romantic comedy about two wealthy brothers (Humphrey Bogart and William Holden) who fall for the daughter of the family's chauffeur. It screens Saturday evening at Cinespia's outdoor series at Hollywood Forever. http://www.cinespia.org

Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater presents "T.J. Miller's Hangover Matinee" Sunday morning with brunch on the patio, live entertainment, a screening of vintage shorts followed by W.C. Fields' 1940 comedy "The Bank Dick."

On tap for Wednesday evening is the latest installment of comic Doug Benson's "Movie Interruption." This time around, Benson and his friend wax comedic during a screening of this year's box office dud, "John Carter." http://www.cinefamily.org

The Aero Theatre hosts the Rural Route Film Festival Shorts program Wednesday that features "films by and about rural people and places." http://www.americancinematheque.com


"A tribute to Peter Bogdanovich"

"Mind &  Body: Five Questions"

--Susan King

Photo: "Paper Moon" opens Last Remaining Seats festival. Credit: Paramount Pictures


Around Town: 'Mean Streets' pays tribute to Fellini film

May 17, 2012 |  6:00 am


 "I Vitelloni," a 1953 semi-autobiographical drama about five male friends living in a small Italian town, is considered one of the watershed moments in Federico Fellini's career. The film is screening Friday through Wednesday at the New Beverly Cinema with a variety of second features that all tip their hats to "I Vitelloni."

Martin Scorsese's 1973 "Mean Streets"  is on tap Friday and Saturday. Another coming-of-age film from 1973, George Lucas' "American Graffiti" joins the Italian drama on Sunday and Monday. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, Barry Levinson's nostalgia-tinged 1982 buddy movie "Diner," screens with the Fellini film. http://www.newbevcinema.com

The Art Directors Guild Film Society and the American Cinemathque celebrate the guild's 75th anniversary and its 2012 Film Series with 1929's "The Iron Mask," Douglas Fairbanks' last silent film, early Sunday evening at the Egyptian Theatre.

Allan Dwan helmed this sequel to "The Three Musketeers," which features the production design of Maurice Leloir. Fairbanks went to Paris to cajole the then-74-year-old Leloir to come to Hollywood to do the film. The only 35-millimeter print known to exist, restored by Kevin Brownlow, is being flown in from London for the event. http://www.americancinematheque.com

On Thursday evening, Film Independent at LACMA's monthly "100 Years of Paramount Pictures" presents two films starring a young Michael Caine: the original 1969 version of the caper flick "The Italian Job" and 1966's "Funeral in Berlin," which marked the British actor's second outing as British spy Harry Palmer. And on Sunday, Film Independent is presenting a sneak preview of Wes Anderson's latest film, "Moonrise Kingdom." This event is sold out, but there will be a stand-by line. http://www.lacma.org

Though critics and audiences weren't exactly enthused about the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp version of "Dark Shadows," the director and actor have hit pay dirt with a number of their collaborations. Screenwriters Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander will be chatting about their experiences working with Burton and Depp on the 1994 charmer "Ed Wood," after a screening of the film Thursday evening at the Egyptian Theatre. Their discussion is followed by a screening of the first collaboration between Burton and Depp -- 1990's "Edward Scissorhands."

The intimate Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre presents the 1917 silent serial "The Mystery of the Double Cross" this weekend. The first eight chapters will be shown on Friday evening, the remaining seven on Saturday evening. "Double Cross"  is one of just a few serials from the silent era that still exist in complete form. 

The Cinematheque's Aero Theatre continues its "The Poetry of Precision: A Robert Bresson Retrospective." Two of his earliest films screen Saturday evening: 1943's "Les Anges du Peche," based on the Diderot novel, and 1945's "Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne," which was penned by Jean Cocteau. http://www.americancinematheque.com

The Echo Park Film Center presents "PXL: This 21" Thursday night. The 21st annual toy camera film festival features Pixelvision films made with the Fisher-Price PXL 2000 camcorder.http://www.echoparkfilmcenter.org.

A traveling exhibition of new Czech films is visiting Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre. The opening night program Thursday evening is 2010's "Walking Too Fast." Director Radim Spacek will do a Q&A after the screening of the movie, followed by "Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer." http://www.cinefamily.org

Historian and author Miles Kruger will chat about the 1936 version of the Oscar Hammerstein II-Jerome Kern musical "Showboat" on Sunday afternoon at the Billy Wilder Theater as part of the UCLA Film & Television Archive's centennial celebration of Universal. Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Paul Robeson and Helen Morgan star. James Whale of "Frankenstein" fame directed.

The archive's Wednesday evening programming at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles presents two collaborations between director Nicholas Ray and Humphrey Bogart: 1949's "Knock on Any Day" and the 1950 film noir classic "In a Lonely Place," with Gloria Grahame and Frank Lovejoy. http://cinema.ucla.edu

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents "The Development of the Digital Animator" on Monday evening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The 18th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation evening will be moderated by animator and historian Tom Sisto.  http://www.oscars.org

REDCAT presents "New Day at 40: A Community's Celebration" on Monday evening. The program honors the 40th anniversary of indie New Day Films with a screening of work by two of its L.A. members: Anayansi Prado and Adele Horne. http://www.redcat.org


"Douglas Fairbanks' 'Thief of Bagdad," "Iron Mask" to screen at Samuel Goldwyn Theater"


 -- Susan King

Photo: Robert DeNiro (left) and Harvey Keitel star in "Mean Streets" Credit: Warner Bros.

Around Town: The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' gets a makeover

May 10, 2012 |  6:00 am


The 1968 animated Beatles musical "Yellow Submarine" has just been restored frame by frame and will screen Friday evening and Sunday afternoon at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre. The Beatles introduced the tune "All Together Now" in the movie that was penned by a team that included "Love Story" author Erich Segal.

The Cinematheque' Egyptian Theatre presents a centenary salute to writer-director Richard Brooks on Saturday evening with a double bill of gritty dramas.

Brooks earned Oscar nominations for director and adapted screenplay for 1967's "In Cold Blood" based on Truman Capote's bestseller starring Robert Blake and Scott Wilson as murderers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock.

"Blood" is followed by the solid 1952 newspaper drama "Deadline U.S.A." with Humphrey Bogart as a newspaper editor. Kim Hunter, Ethel Barrymore and Ed Begley also star.

The Aero Theatre kicks off the weekend with "The Poetry of Precision: A Robert Bresson Retrospective." The French filmmaker's 1956 "A Man Escaped," based on resistance leader Andre Devigny's story of how he escaped a Nazi prison just before he was to be executed, as well Bresson's own tale of his 18 months in a German POW camp, screens Thursday evening.

The festival continues Saturday with 1959's "Pickpocket" and 1983's "L'Argent." Sunday's double bill opens with 1966's "Au Hasard Balthazar" about a Christ-like donkey and 1967's "Mouchette." 

Three of the "children" from the 1965 Oscar-winning "The Sound of Music" — Charmian Carr, Angela Cartwright and Kym Karath — will be introducing a screening of the film and signing "The Sound of Music Scrapbook"  late afternoon Sunday at the Egyptian Theatre.


Film Independent at LACMA presents Russian auteur Aleksei German's 1998 film, "Khrustalyov, My Car!," Thursday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theater.

LACMA also kicks off its "High and Low: Postwar Japan in Black and White" retrospective Friday evening with Hiroshi Teshigahara's 1966 drama "The Face of Another," followed by Susumu Hani's 1968 drama "Nanami: The Inferno of First Love." Screening early Saturday evening is Nagisa Oshima's 1969 drama "Diary of a Shinjuku Thief," with Akira Kurosawa's 1949 noir "Stray Dog" screening later in the evening.


UCLA Film & Televison Archive and Outfest's continuing series "NQC@20: Revisiting Queer Cinema" features Todd Haynes' first film, 1991's "Poison," Saturday evening at the Billy Wilder Theater.  Haynes will appear along with scholar B. Ruby Rich.

Two years before collaborating on the classic "Bonnie & Clyde," director Arthur Penn teamed with Warren Beatty for the underrated 1965 noir "Mickey One." That film screens at the archive's Wednesday evening presentation at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The second feature is the rarely seen 1961 noir, "Blast of Silence," directed by Allen Baron.


Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial 1976 epic "1900" screens Saturday and Sunday at the New Beverly Cinema. The theater is showing the 1991 uncut edition rated NC-17.  http://www.newbevcinema.com


REDCAT's International Children's Film Festival continues Saturday and Sunday. Films to be screened include "A Journey Beyond," "Fire and Ice" and "Fight Delighted." http://www.redcat.org


"Beatles Buffed, Polished in a Vibrant Yellow"


— Susan King


 Photo: "Yellow Submarine." Credit: Subafilms LTD/AP.

Universal Pictures salute showcases century of crowd-pleasing fare

May 3, 2012 |  8:00 am


Hollywood's golden age saw MGM celebrated for its glamour, Warner Bros. for its grit and social conscience and Paramount for its easy sophistication, but Universal was known for ... what exactly? The studio that today is synonymous with tours and theme parks did not have a signature house style or genre (unless you count horror films like “Dracula” and “Frankenstein,” which are more of a presence in retrospect than they were at the time).

Those looking for an answer, or just looking for a good time, are directed toward “Universal Pictures: Celebrating 100 Years,” a fascinating UCLA Film & Television Archive series starting Friday at the Hammer Museum's Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood that offers a glimpse into that crowd-pleasing catalog.

Universal, unlike entities like MGM and Paramount, did not own a nationwide theater chain. Without guaranteed screens, the studio had to concentrate on making each film as accessible as possible and not worry about prestige or awards. Seen in that light, the studio's move to theme parks was perhaps inevitable.

As its title indicates, this massive 36-film series, scheduled to run through the end of June, is being put on to celebrate what UCLA describes as “the oldest continuously operating film producer and distributor in the United States.”

Continue reading »

Around Town: Marvel legend Stan Lee hosts 'Avengers' screening

May 3, 2012 |  6:00 am


Marvel Comics' guru Stan Lee will be honored with the Ronald Reagan Foundation's "Great Communicator" award and will host a screening of "The Avengers," which is opening theatrically this weekend, at the Catalina Film Festival. The festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at the venerable Avalon Theatre, will feature more than 75 films.

The opening night program is the North American premiere of Rob Reiner's "The Magic of Belle Isle" with Morgan Freeman. Other films include the North American premiere of "Bel Ami" with Robert Pattinson. http://www.catalinafilm.org

The South East European Film Festival kicks off Thursday at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles with the Romanian romantic comedy "Hello! How Are You?" and the animated short "Five Minutes Each." The festival, which continues through Monday, will feature 33 films including "Balkan Melodie" and "Do Not Forget Me Istanbul." The closing evening feature, "Future Lasts Forever," screens at the James Bridges Theater at UCLA.  http://www.seefilmla.org

The L.A. Harbor International Film Festival at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro kicks off Thursday evening and continues through Sunday. The non-competitive festival highlights films that deal with harbor life, including shipping, fishing, water sports and sailing. http://www.laharborfilmfest.com

Three years before she became a sensation in Josef von Sternberg's 1930 German blockbuster "The Blue Angel," Marlene Dietrich played a wealthy party girl named Emi in the silent film "Cafe Electric," directed by Gustav Ucicky. The film will be screening Thursday at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre with Gehard Gruber performing musical accompaniment on the piano.

Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg will discuss his late mother, actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, at the screening of two of her film noirs from 1946, "Three Strangers" and "Nobody Lives Forever," Saturday at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre.

Veteran director Arthur Hiller will be on hand Tuesday at the Aero Theatre for a talk after the screening of his popular 1979 comedy "The In-Laws," which starred Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. After the discussion, there will be a screening of Paul Mazurksy's 1988 comedy "Moon Over Parador" with Richard Dreyfuss. http://www.americancinematheque.com

In conjunction with its current exhibition, "Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States," the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents "Female Surreal Cinema: Animation," followed by "Female Surrealist Cinema: Performance and Montage," Thursday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theater.

LACMA's Tuesday matinee is Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 dark comedy "The Trouble With Harry," which marked the feature film debut of Shirley MacLaine. http://www.lacma.org

The New Beverly Cinema presents John Frankenheimer's nightmarish 1966 thriller "Seconds," with Rock Hudson in one of his most well-received performances, on Friday evening. James Wong Howe did the black-and-white cinematography. The second bill is John Woo's 1997 "Face/Off" with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. Screenwriters Mike Werb and Michael Colleary are scheduled to appear in person. http://www.newbevcinema.com

The Autry presents two films Saturday afternoon starring the museum's namesake-singing cowboy,  Gene Autry: 1941's "Down Mexico Way" and 1949's "The Big Sombrero."  http://theautry.org

UCLA Film & Television Archive is collaborating with the California State Parks Foundation and Environmental Media Assn. to present The ParkFilm Fest, a daylong festival of movies Saturday at the Paramount Theatre on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.  The festival, which celebrates the use of California state parks as locales in films, will present a marathon screening of the first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films directed by Gore Verbinski. http://www.calparks.org/filmfest.

The archive's current celebration of Universal's centenary at the Billy Wilder Theatre features two of the studio's silent film classics Sunday evening: 1919's "Blind Husbands," starring Erich von Stroheim, who also made his directorial debut with the hit, followed by the 1925 version of "The Phantom of the Opera" starring Lon Chaney in his seminal role.

The archive's Wednesday night programming at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown L.A. presents Billy Wilder's classic 1959 gender-bender comedy "Some Like It Hot," with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

Hollywood Heritage Museum's Evening @ the Barn presents a look at "Homes of the Stars in Hollywood and Beverly Hills" Wednesday evening. Author Mike Oldham will show his vintage postcards in a video presentation.  http://www.hollywoodheritage.org

The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre's Wednesday evening vintage flick is an early one from William Wyler -- the 1929 romantic comedy "The Love Trap" -- plus Vitaphone shorts. http://www.cinefamily.org


Stan Lee to host 'Avengers' screening at the Catalina Film Festival

-- Susan King

Photo: Stan Lee will be receiving an award at the Catalina Film Festival this weekend. Photo: Matt Sayles/Associated Press

Around Town: Legendary films and Herb Ritts photos

April 26, 2012 |  6:00 am

In conjunction with its current photography exhibition, "Herb Ritts: L.A. Style," the Getty presents a new film series, "What Becomes a Legend," which opens Saturday afternoon with the famed 1921 romance "The Sheik," starring silent screen heartthrob Rudolph Valentino in one of his seminal roles.

Another iconic figure from the silent era, Louise Brooks, headlines the evening's feature, G.W. Pabst's 1929 classic, "Pandora's Box," in which Brooks plays the sexual gadfly Lulu.

Sunday afternoon's offering is 1930's romantic melodrama "Morocco," Josef von Sternberg's first film in the U.S. with his muse, Marlene Dietrich. She received her first and only best actress Oscar nomination for the film, which also stars Gary Cooper.

The evening screening is the 1946 film noir "Gilda," starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. The series continues May 5-6.  http://www.gettyedu.

The American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre celebrates "Midnight in Paris: A Tribute to Jacques Prevert and Marcel Carne." Screenwriter Prevert and director Carne introduced "poetic realism" to French cinema in the 1930s. The three-film festival opens Friday with the 1960 short film "Paris la belle," co-written by Prevert and directed by his brother Pierre, and one of Prevert and Carne's memorable collaborations, 1938's "Le Jour Se Leve," starring Jean Gabin as a foundry employee who ends up committing murder.

Saturday evening the Aero presents the L.A. premiere of the newly restored 1945 "Children of Paradise," which is Prevert and Carne's best-known work. "Paradise" is a three-hour plus epic set in 19th century France about a theater troupe. Jean-Louis Barrault stars as an ill-fated mime named Baptiste. http://www.americancinematheque.com

The New Beverly Cinema celebrates the comedic genius of Peter Sellers on Sunday and Monday with two comedies he made in 1968: Blake Edwards' "The Party" and "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas," which was written by Paul Mazursky & Larry Tucker.


It's animation domination this weekend at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Film Independent at LACMA at the Leo S. Bing Theater continues its "100 Years of Paramount Pictures" retrospective with a look at the studio's animation division. First up is the Oscar-nominated 1999 comedy "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut," followed by several shorts, from the Fleischer Studios' "Betty Boop" cartoons to George Pal's Puppetoons.

In conjunction with LACMA's "California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way" exhibition, LACMA and the Center for Visual Music present two avant-garde programs Friday evening: "Optical Poetry: An Oskar Fischinger Retrospective" and "Color and Form: Modernist Animation in California." http://www.lacma.org

The Alex Film Society's latest presentation, Alfred Hitchcock's birds-run-amok 1963 thriller "The Birds," screens Saturday afternoon and evening at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. The film's star, Tippi Hedren, will be on hand for the evening presentation. http://www.alexfilmsociety.org 

UCLA's Film & Television Archive's Wednesday programming at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown L.A. features two early Brian DePalma films -- 1973's "Sisters," a thriller starring Margot Kidder as Siamese twins separated at birth, and "Phantom of Paradise," his 1974 rock twist on "The Phantom of the Opera," starring Paul Williams.  http://www.cinema.ucla.edu



"Noir City: Hollywood, 14th Annual Festival of Film Noir," American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre. http://www.americancinematheque.com

"UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema," Billy Wilder Theater. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

-- Susan King


 "Classic Hollywood: Getty Research Institute honors Fred Zinnemann"

Photo: Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper star in "Morocco," screening Sunday at the Getty. Credit: File photo


Around Town: Happy 85th to Grauman's Chinese Theatre

April 19, 2012 |  6:00 am


One of Hollywood's most venerable movie palaces, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, is celebrating its 85th birthday this year. And as part of the theater's celebrations, the Chinese is offering a "25 Cent Movie Mondays" series. The first movie screening this Monday evening is Blake Edwards' delightful 1961 romantic-comedy drama "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal and Orangey the cat. http:///www.chinesetheatres.com

"Noir City: Hollywood, 14th Annual Festival of Film Noir" opens Friday at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre with a real rarity: the 1949 version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," with Alan Ladd, followed by the film that made him a star -- 1942's "This Gun for Hire," which also stars Veronica Lake and Robert Preston.

Saturday's noirs are 1953's "Naked Alibi," with Gene Berry, Sterling Hayden and Glorida Grahame, and the newly restored 1954 chiller "Suddenly," with Frank Sinatra as a hired killer.

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