24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: David Lynch

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: 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.

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Around Town: True crime, reel comedy, cowboys, aliens, rock docs and more

July 21, 2011 |  5:30 am


Crime takes over the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Bing Theatre this weekend with an eclectic roster of favorites beginning Thursday with the 1970 drama "The Honeymoon Killers," about the famed Lonely Hearts Killers Raymond Fernandez (Tony LoBianco) and Martha Beck (Shirley Stoler). Humphrey Bogart gives one of his most complex performances in Nicholas Ray's acclaimed 1950 film noir, "In a Lonely Place," screening Friday along with Robert Altman's 1973 version of Raymond Chandler's "The Long Goodbye" with Elliott Gould as gumshoe Philip Marlowe. Saturday's early evening screening is Luis Bunuel's surreal 1962 film, "The Exterminating Angel," with David Lynch's offbeat 2001 mystery thriller, "Mulholland Drive," screening later in the evening.

LACMA's Saturday monster movie matinees continue with the 1959's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," with James Mason and Pat Boone; the Tuesday matinee at LACMA features MGM's all-star 1933 comedy "Dinner At Eight," directed by George Cukor.  http://www.lacma.org

Two comedies starring Steve Martin at his wild and crazy best -- 1979's "The Jerk" and 1986's "Little Shop of Horrors" -- screen Thursday at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The laughs continue Friday evening with a series of shorts starring the great silent comedians Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

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David Lynch at AFI: Thoughts on 3-D, dreams and magical sounds

November 7, 2010 |  3:35 pm

About four decades ago, an unknown named David Lynch received a grant from the American Film Institute. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lynch, who began "Eraserhead" while at AFI and followed it with films including "Blue Velvet,"  "Mulholland Drive" and "Inland Empire," returned to his roots this weekend at AFI Fest 2010 in Hollywood. Serving as the festival's first-ever guest artistic director, he selected a special sidebar of movies for the event. On Saturday, Lynch's "Eraserhead" was presented in a double bill with one of his sidebar selections, Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard," at the Egyptian Theatre. Lynch himself appeared at intermission for a brief discussion of the craft of filmmaking.

Lynch taped a brief introduction to "Eraserhead," looming over the audience from the screen. "I dream of dark and troubling things," he said. "Enjoy the film."

Following the thundering climax of "Eraserhead," still an overwhelming experience that defies logic and description and seems to articulate much of Lynch's subsequent artistic vision, Bob Gazzale, president and chief executive of AFI, introduced Lynch and noted that the filmmaker had written, produced, directed, designed, edited, created the special effects and sound effects for and written the music to "Eraserhead."

After listing a series of images from Lynch's work –- including the severed ear of "Blue Velvet," the body wrapped in plastic of "Twin Peaks," and "the entire film you just saw" –- Gazzale introduced Lynch and the audience gave him a standing ovation as he took to the podium. Gazzale asked Lynch a series of questions submitted by fans via Twitter. The first regarded the most beautiful sound Lynch had ever heard. Wind and silence, he said.

Another question was from someone with the Twitter handle "galaxia punk" –- "my neighbors," joked Lynch in his famous deadpan -– asking if a dream had ever provided inspiration.

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David Lynch picks five films for AFI Fest

October 25, 2010 | 10:28 am


What do Ingmar Bergman's "Hour of the Wolf," Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita," Jacques Tati's "Mon Oncle," Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" have in common?

They're the films chosen by filmmaker David Lynch for a special sidebar of AFI Fest 2010, which runs from Nov. 4 to 11. Lynch, director of "Blue Velvet, "Mulholland Drive" and "Inland Empire," is the festival's first-ever guest artistic director and himself an American Film Institute alumnus.

In addition to the eclectic and unusual group of titles unveiled by Lynch on Monday, the sidebar also will  include his debut feature, "Eraserhead," begun while he was at AFI and first released in 1976.

"I love AFI. I owe them a lot, so much I can't tell you," Lynch said in a phone interview from his office in Los Angeles. "I was living in Philadelphia, and I didn't see the brightest future for myself. I applied for an independent filmmaker grant in 1968, and I won that, and it changed my life. AFI is a very, very important institution. I love supporting it."

Announcing Lynch's appointment this summer as the guest artistic director, Bob Gazzale, president and chief executive of the American Film Institute, called the director "an artist who embodies the institute's national mandate to both educate the next generation and to honor the masters."

Speaking about his selections, Lynch said, "When I was at AFI, they ran a lot of great pictures, and I got a chance to see some things that I probably wouldn't have been able to see. It was a place that was full of inspiration." As to what might tie these particular films together, he said, "There's no theme; they're just films that I happen to love."

Although Lynch has often veered toward the abstract and hard to define in his own work, he also has shown an appreciation for the genre structures of classical Hollywood filmmaking, transforming the crime thriller, the melodrama and the romance to his own ends. Among his selections are two films that likewise bend the rules of classic Hollywood, "Sunset Boulevard" and "Rear Window."

"Those films I just love," he said. "I loved being in that world. You know, a lot of cinema is a sense of place, to create a world. Billy Wilder was just a master at that, as were the directors of the other films I picked."

The Kubrick film that Lynch has chosen is comparatively overlooked next to such unassailably important works such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."

As for "Lolita," Lynch said, "James Mason, Peter Sellers, Shelley Winters and Sue Lyon, they are just great performances. It's a time and a place and a sensibility. That thrills my soul."

Lynch himself is scheduled to appear at the festival on Nov. 6 to present a double bill of "Eraserhead" and "Sunset Boulevard." He has prepared video introductions for the screenings in his program he will not attend. Lynch also created the artwork that appears on this year's festival poster, an image of a clay figure floating amid the Los Angeles skyline.

"I always say a film festival is more than a chance to see films; it's a celebration of film," Lynch said. "There's always surprises that get people going. It's real exciting. 

-- Mark Olsen

Photo: David Lynch, Credit: courtesy of AFI Fest

David Lynch will give you a T-shirt if you help someone make a documentary about him

July 13, 2010 |  2:21 pm

David Lynch has tried some unusual publicity moves in his day -- like the time he sat on a corner of Hollywood and La Brea with a cow to promote "Inland Empire" -- so we suppose it makes sense, as much as anything about David Lynch makes sense, that someone making a film about him would try something equally attention-grabbing.

The enigmatic (but still publicity-minded) filmmaker who made a documentary about the shooting of "Inland Empire" and followed it up with a documentary short about, well, the making of "Inland Empire," is making another, potentially broader doc about the "Eraserhead" auteur, titled "LYNCHthree." And he's asking people to send small donations in exchange for some artwork designed by Lynch himself and just generally feeling good/weird about yourself.

The director of the film is identified only as blackANDwhite, someone who some pundits have theorized may be Lynch himself. He's not, just a kind of protege of Lynch whose real name -- er, other pseudonym -- is Jason S., and who also co-directed Lynch's "Interview Project," in which the American Surrealist tooled around the country interviewing people.

We caught up with the producer of "LYNCHthree," a man named Jon Nguyen, who lives in Denmark (of course), to find out if this all makes as little sense as it seems to make. Nguyen was able to tell us that blackANDwhite will tail Lynch around on and off for the next year as part of "LYNCHthree." But he was Lynchian about other details.

You'd think, for instance, that a production team committing to shooting someone for a year would know what their film would be about. But they don't. Or, in Lynchian fashion, they're not telling.  "It will be a mixture of cinema verite and engagement, but we don't really know what it's about," Nguyen said. And where will they be shooting it? "We don't really know where the film will take place. A lot will take place in his compound, and if he goes anywhere we'll be willing to follow him." (Something about Nguyen's tone suggested the possibility that Lynch could actually be shooting a movie during this time -- he hasn't made a feature in four years -- but maybe that was just wishful thinking.)

It's still hard to know if this doc is some sort of conceptual joke or just a not entirely-organized independent-film project. What we do know is that there's a  publicity/social-media hook -- namely, that anyone who donates $50 to help get production going (the filmmakers are hoping the rest comes from European film funds) will receive a self-portrait from the director on either a poster or a T-shirt. Said contributors will also get to send along questions that Jason S. may ask Lynch over the course of shooting.

We have only one question ourselves. Actually, we have many more questions, but only one we have any hope of being answered: How involved is Lynch in all of this? "The kind of person he is enabled him to be more open-minded to our approach," Nguyen said. "But he's in the background." With a cow, we suspect.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: David Lynch and his cow at Hollywood and La Brea. Credit: Absurda Films


David Lynch's art show: Gritty, witty and definitely twisted

Origin of the Lynch species

David Lynch to exhibit artwork for latest Danger Mouse album

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