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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: French New Wave

Around Town: Films, screenings and more in L.A. this week

January 4, 2012 | 12:17 pm


This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

With Gary Oldman getting strong reviews and Oscar buzz for his performance as spy George Smiley in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” the Arclight in Hollywood is offering a six-film retrospective of the British actor’s career beginning Monday with 1986’s “Sid and Nancy,” in which he played punk rocker Sid Vicious, followed by Oliver Stone’s 1991 “J.F.K.,” which features his tenacious performance as Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oldman’s performance as a U.S. congressman in 2000’s “The Contender” is on display on Tuesday, along with his “biting” turn as the most famous vampire in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 “Dracula.” Scheduled for Wednesday is his turn as playwright Joe Orton in 1987’s “Prick Up Your Ears,” directed by Stephen Frears, followed by “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

After the "Tinker, Tailor" screening, Oldman will participate in a Q&A with Matt Holzman, host of KCRW’s “Matt’s Movies.” The admission to the retrospective is free, but tickets are only available via RSVP through www.OldmanRSVP.com. www.arclightcinemas.com

The American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre concludes its annual “Screwball Comedies” Festival Thursday evening with Howard Hawks’ 1941 romantic comedy “Ball of Fire,” starring Barbara Stanwyck in her Oscar-nominated performance as a nightclub singer on the lam who hides out with a group of encyclopedia nerds. Gary Cooper plays the nerd working on slang who falls for Stanwyck.

The second feature is the 1937 classic “The Awful Truth,” for which director Leo McCarey won the best director Oscar. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, who earned an Oscar nomination, star.

On Friday, the Aero celebrates the centennial of New Mexico’s statehood with Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 Western “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” with Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn. Nick Redman, Peckinpah’s biographer and documentary filmmaker; Peckinpah’s assistant Katy Haber; editor Garth Craven; and the film’s co-star, Charles Martin Smith, will discuss the movie after the screening.

Director J.J. Abrams and members of his cast and crew will be appearing Saturday evening at the Aero Theatre for a screening of Abrams' sci-fi coming-of-age 2011 box office hit, “Super 8.” Sunday evening, the Aero presents the 2010 French comedy-drama “Eight Times Up,” which explores the topic of unemployment. Director Xabia Molia and star and co-producer Julie Gayet will appear in person.

Every year the Cinematheque presents the “Golden Globe Foreign-Language Nominee Series.” The Globes take place Jan. 15. This year's programming begins Monday evening at the Aero with Angelina Jolie’s feature film debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which is in Bosnian with English subtitles. The series continues Tuesday with Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In,” which marks a reunion with one of the Spanish director’s early muses, Antonio Banderas. The critically lauded Iranian film, “A Separation,” which has already earned several critics’ accolades, screens Wednesday.

The Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre presents its seventh annual “Focus on Female Directors” evening on Thursday. Among the films screening are Maryna Vroda’s “Cross,” which won the 2011 Palme d’Or for best short film; Jess Holzworth’s 2011 “Gamma Ray,” with Chloe Sevigny; Mitsuyo Miyazaki’s award-winning 2011 USC student film, “Tsuyako”; and Penelope Spheeris’ 1998 “No Use Walkin’ When You Can Stroll.” Spheeris and other directors featured in the program will be appearing.

Two cult coming-of-age classics, 1985’s “The Goonies” and 1986’s “Stand By Me,” are scheduled for Friday evening at the Egyptian.

On Saturday evening, Jeff Garlin of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” will be leading a discussion after the screening of “The Honeymooners: Lost Episodes 1951-1957.”

The current film “My Week with Marilyn” explores the turbulent production of the 1957 film, “The Prince and the Showgirl,” starring Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. On Sunday the Egyptian will screen “The Prince and the Showgirl,” along with the 1959 Billy Wilder comedy masterwork, “Some Like It Hot,” with Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. www.americancinematheque.com

The UCLA Film & Television Archive commences its three-month retrospective on Oscar-winning actor Spencer Tracy on Saturday evening at the Billy Wilder Theatre with “Inherit the Wind,” Stanley Kramer’s 1960 film version of the hit Broadway play based on the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, for which Tracy earned an Oscar nomination as an attorney based on Clarence Darrow. Fredric March also stars. James Curtis, author of the new Tracy biography, and “Wind” co-star Donna Anderson will be in attendance.

Scheduled for Sunday is his first feature film, 1930’s “Up the River,” which also marked the feature debut of Humphrey Bogart, followed by the 1930 Vitaphone short, “The Hard Guy.”

The archive’s Wednesday program at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles is the campy 1966 prehistoric drama “One Million Years B.C." starring Raquel Welch in very revealing outfits and the 1940 version “One Million B.C.” with Victor Mature. www.cinema.ucla.edu

Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 satire “Weekend” visits the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre on Thursday through Wednesday in a new 35mm print. On Monday, Cinefamily presents a feature length edition of Season One of David Cross’ IFC series “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret,” followed by a Q&A with the actor (“Arrested Development”), who created and writes the series, which begins its second season Friday evening. www.cinefamily.org

And on Saturday the Los Angeles Filmforum teams up with Cinefamily to present “Wallace Berman’s Underground Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, Screening 9." Toni Bail and Russ Tamblyn are scheduled to appear in person, schedule permitting. www. lafilmforum.org

The New Beverly Cinema showcases Werner Herzog’s latest documentary, “Into the Abyss,” on Thursday evening, followed by Errol Morris’ 1999 doc, “Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr." Two by Pedro Almodovar are featured Friday and Saturday -- his 2011 drama “The Skin I Live In” followed by 2009’s “Broken Embraces” with Penelope Cruz. Saturday’s midnight movie is David Fincher’s 1999 “Fight Club,” with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

Sunday and Monday’s offerings are Luc Besson’s 1997 action-adventure “The Fifth Element,” with Bruce Willis and Chris Tucker, as well as 2001’s “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.”

Mark Romanek, schedule permitting, will appear in person Wednesday at the New Beverly for a screening of his 2010 drama, “Never Let Me Go.” Also screening is Francois Truffaut’s only English-language film, 1966’s “Fahrenheit 451,” based on the novel by Ray Bradbury. www.newbevcinema.com

The 7th Annual Santa Clarita Valley Film Festival kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday at the Repertory East Playhouse in Old Town Newhall and features comedies, dramas, animation and shorts, plus works by budding filmmakers in junior high and high school. www.SCVFilmFestival.com

The 9th Annual Venice Film Festival, which explores the history of films made in Venice, Calif., takes place Thursday at the Seven Dudley Cinema at Beyond Baroque. laughters.com/7dudleycinema.html.

The Free Tunisia Organization is presenting the New Tunisian Film Festival Tuesday through Thursday at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. The festival also marks the one-year anniversary of the Tunisian uprising. Among the films to be screened are “Fallaga 2011,” “Making of,” “Fausse Note” and “Rouge Parole.” www.levantinecenter.org/event/tunisian-film-festival.

Stanley Donen directed the acclaimed 1967 romantic comedy-drama “Two for the Road,” with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, which screens Tuesday afternoon at the Skirball Cultural Center. www.skirball.org

[For the record, 4:03 p.m. Jan. 5: This post originally listed Spencer Tracy's retrospective as a two-month engagement launching on Friday. The retrospective is three months and launches Saturday.]


'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy': Betsy Sharkey's film pick

-- Susan King

Photo: Tom Hardy, left, and Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" Credit: Jack English/Focus Features

Around Town: 'Mad, Mad World' and other comedy classics

December 29, 2011 |  6:00 pm

"Animal Crackers" at the Aero Theatre

The American Cinematheque is ringing in the New Year with some wild and crazy comedy classics.

The Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre is serving up a 70-millimeter print of Stanley Kramer’s lengthy, wacky all-star 1963 comedy, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” starring such comedy legends as Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Edie Adams, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Dick Shawn,  Phil Silvers, Don Knotts, Carl Reiner, Terry-Thomas and even Spencer Tracy. They're all embroiled in a cross-country chase to find $350,000 in stolen money. Kramer’s widow, Karen Sharpe Kramer, and his daughter, Kat Kramer, will introduce the film.

The Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre continues its annual “Screwball Comedy Classics" with two Preston Sturges gems he made in 1941: “Sullivan’s Travels,” with Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, and “The Lady Eve,” starring Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda and Charles Coburn. The genius of Carole Lombard is on display Friday evening at the Aero with the 1936 screwball classic “My Man Godfrey,” for which she received her only Oscar nomination. The film also stars her ex-husband, Willilam Powell, who also earned a lead actor nod. She’s even funnier in the second feature, the 1934 Howard Hawks’ comedy, “20th Century,” in which she matches wits and quips with John Barrymore

And the Aero goes Marxist on New Year’s Day with a Marx Brothers double bill: 1932’s “Horse Feathers” and 1930’s “Animal Crackers,” in which Groucho sings “Hooray for Captain Spaulding.” Wednesday’s screwball offerings are William Wyler’s enchanting and rarely screened 1935 comedy, “The Good Fairy,” starring Margaret Sullavan and penned by Preston Sturges, and 1936’s “Theodora Goes Wild,” with Irene Dunne in her Oscar-nominated turn as a young woman from a small town who writes sexy bestsellers. www.americancinematheque.com

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Tuesday matinee also features a Howard Hawks masterwork, 1940’s “His Girl Friday,” with a perfectly cast Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Ralph Bellamy. www.lacma.org

For those looking for a bit more dramatic fare, the Egyptian is presenting a 70mm print of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most acclaimed thrillers, 1958’s “Vertigo,” with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. Bernard Herrmann supplied the evocative score, parts of which pop up in the current hit “The Artist.” On Sunday, the Egyptian is offering a triple bill of Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” trilogy, starring Michael J. Fox as the irrepressible time traveler Marty McFly. www.americancinematheque.com

Francois Truffaut’s homages to Alfred Hitchcock, 1968’s “The Bride Wore Black” and 1969’s “Mississippi Mermaid,” screen Thursday and Friday at the New Beverly. The acclaimed “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and the documentary “Project Nim” are scheduled for Sunday through Tuesday. Werner Herzog’s documentary “Into the Abyss” and Errol Morris’ 1999 “Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter” are on tap for Wednesday. www.newbevcinema.com

The controversial 2000 Japanese film “Battle Royale,” directed by Kinji Fukasaku, continues through Tuesday at Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theatre. Scheduled for Wednesday is the 1927 silent “The Loves of Casanova,” directed by Alexandre Volkoff. www.cinefamily.org



"Reliving the Madness"

— Susan King

Photo: Harp Marx, center, gets his point across in "Animal Crackers." Credit: Universal.

Around Town: Superman flies again and the New Wave returns

December 1, 2011 |  7:00 am


A Francois Truffaut retrospective, an animation festival and a screening of 1978’s “Superman” are among this week’s highlights.

The American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre celebrates the legacy of one of the founders of France’s New Wave cinema, Francois Truffaut, who died at the age of 52 in 1984. “The Film Lover: A Francois Truffaut Retrospective” commences Friday evening with his first feature film, 1959’s “The 400 Blows,” his critically acclaimed autobiographical drama about a troubled young boy, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud in a stunning performance). The second feature is Truffaut’s third entry in the Antoine Doinel series, the 1968 romantic comedy “Stolen Kisses,” with Leaud and Delphine Seyrig.

Truffaut pays homage to one of his icons, Alfred Hitchcock, in his 1968 mystery thriller “The Bride Wore Black,” starring Jeanne Moreau in the title role, which screens Saturday. Also on tap is his 1962 masterwork, “Jules and Jim” with Moreau and Oskar Werner. The retrospective concludes Sunday with his 1960 film noir, “Shoot the Piano Player” with Charles Aznavour, and 1980’s World War II drama “The Last Metro,” with Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. http://www.americancinematheque.com

Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theatre gets highly animated this week. The “Animation Breakdown” begins with “An Evening With Don Hertzfeldt” on Thursday, featuring the L.A. premiere of his latest animated short, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day.” The filmmaker will be appearing in person. On Friday, Cinefamily shines the spotlight on Polish animation with several shorts by noted animators including an exclusive presentation of the Brothers Quays’ latest film, “Maska.” Saturday afternoon’s offering is a sneak preview of Pixar’s newest short film, “La Luna,” six months before its theatrical release. Later in the afternoon, Cinefamily presents a cast and crew reunion of the Cartoon Network series “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.”

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Around Town: Movies from Mexico, France

September 8, 2011 |  6:00 pm

I"The 400 Blows"

It's a foreign affair this week with screenings around town of movies from Mexico, Slovenia and France. 

Thursday through Sunday at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre is Mexican Cinema: Guadalajara International Film Festival in Los Angeles. Among the films set to screen are the dramas "The Prize" and "Jean Gentile" and the comedy "Between Us." The opening night program is "Tequila: The Story of a Passion." Director Sergio Sanchez and actress Daniela Schmidt are expected to attend.

The Egyptian moves to France on Wednesday with two comedies from comic actor-writer-director Dany Boon : 2010’s "Nothing to Declare" and 2008’s "Welcome to the Sticks." Boon is scheduled to be on hand to discuss his box office hits. www.americancinematheque.com

Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre welcomes the weekend with New Wave French director François Truffaut’s award-winning 1959 film debut, "The 400 Blows," on Friday evening. Jean-Pierre Léaud stars as Truffaut’s alter-ego, Antoine Doinel,  Also screening is "Johnny Tough," Horace Jackson’s 1974 film about a troubled kid in L.A. www.cinefamily.org.

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Around Town: Rock docs, disco tributes, sci-fi favorites and more

July 14, 2011 |  6:00 am


The American Cinematheque screens "Barry Lyndon," Stanley Kubrick's lavish 1975 epic, at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday evening in Hollywood. The drama, based on William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, stars Ryan O'Neal in the title role and won four Academy Awards, including one for John Alcott's cinematography. On Friday, the Egyptian celebrates the 25th anniversary of David Cronenberg's revisionist take on the sci-fi classic "The Fly," starring Jeff Goldblum in the title role, with a screening that's part of a double bill with John Carpenter's 1982 film "The Thing." On Saturday, the Egyptian presents its yearly tiki celebration with a screening of the 1951 South Sea melodrama "Bird of Paradise," starring Debra Paget, Louis Jourdan and Jeff Chandler, in addition to live music and a fashion show.

The Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in Santa Monica celebrates the 1991 film "Hudson Hawk" on Thursday evening with special guests, including director Michael Lehman and writer Daniel Waters, schedules permitting. On Friday, the Aero kicks off its three-day centenary celebration of Ginger Rogers -- "Backwards and in High Heels" -- with two of her best musicals with Fred Astaire from 1936: "Swing Time" and "Follow the Fleet." On tap for Saturday are 1935's "Top Hat" and 1937's "Shall We Dance"; Sunday's offerings are 1934's "The Gay Divorcee" and 1938's "Carefree." http://www.americancinematheque.com

"The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye," a film about Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV founder Genesis P-Orridge and his unique relationship with his late wife, opens this year's "Don't Knock the Rock" music festival Thursday at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre. The festival, founded by filmmaker Allison Anders and her daughter Tiffany Anders, runs through late August. Highlights include the world premiere of "Rhino Resurrected: The Incredibly Strange Story of the World's Most Famous Record Store."

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French New Wave director Eric Rohmer: R.I.P

January 11, 2010 | 11:43 am

EricRohmer Director Eric Rohmer, one of the founders of the French New Wave film movement, has died, his production company confirmed Monday.

Born Maurice Henri Joseph Scherer in 1920, Rohmer fashioned his screen name after actor-director Erich von Stroheim (“Sunset Boulevard”) and the English novelist Sax Rohmer. From 1957 to 1963, he was the editor of the influential periodical Cahiers du Cinema and ultimately joined his onetime Cahiers colleagues Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut as a director. 

Rohmer didn’t have the flash and sizzle of the more famous Godard and Truffaut, but he was very much their equal, creating deceptively simple fables about the human condition, with haunting performances and a particular obsession for the messy vagaries of love and betrayal. He made his directorial debut in 1959 with "Le Signe du Lion," but it was his third film, 1969’s “My Night at Maud’s,” that catapulted him to international attention and earned two Oscar nominations.

Rohmer directed more than 50 films, including such notable works as “Claire’s Knee,” the Cannes Jury Prize grand winner “The Marquise of O” and “Pauline at the Beach,” the last of which memorably portrayed a teenager ensnared in the romantic games of her aunt. His last film was 2007’s “The Romance of Astree and Celadon.” Rohmer was 89.

-- Rachel Abramowitz

Photo: Eric Rohmer in 1981. Credit: Pierre Verdy / Associated Press


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