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The L.A. Rep-port: 5/26 to 6/1, by Scott Nye

25 May

The American Cinematheque, through their Egyptian and Aero Theatres, are showing a couple of knock-down bonafide classics on film this weekend – Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954, 35mm) shows Friday at the Egyptian in Hollywood, while David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962, 70mm) shows in its famous gigantic print on Sunday at the Aero.

Cinefamily kicks off their “Fairy Tales for Adults” series with Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys (1987, 35mm) late Saturday night. I’ve actually never seen The Lost Boys, but it sure seems to be a thing for a great many people.
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Alien: Covenant: Safe Spaces, by Scott Nye

18 May

Alien: Covenant was not screened for critics in 3D (though it will be released that way), and for that I am grateful. Whereas Prometheus – one of the great modern 3D films – patiently explored space and depth in carefully-controlled shots meant to let the viewer consider the divine, Covenant is a much more intimate affair. The mix of camerawork style and resolution shows Ridley Scott in more unusual digital territory, giving up tight control in favor of chaos. If only the film had been so bold. Its intimacy is limited to the body and what surrounds it. It nearly shuts out all the pretentious tussles with man’s search for purpose that so frustrated many in Prometheus. Those moviegoers will be delighted to hear that Covenant is more focused, more sensible, and contains a whole lot more action. However, I have rarely found “focused and sensible”, while admirable in a person, to be as compelling in art, least of all a horror movie.
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The L.A. Rep-port: 5/12 to 5/19, by Scott Nye

12 May

The Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the city.

On Saturday, The Silent Treatment at Cinefamily is showing my favorite silent Ozu film (and one I actually wrote about for this very site), Tokyo Chorus (1931, 35mm). I’ve been waiting so very long for a chance to see Yasujiro Ozu on film (and yeah, I know I had my chance a few weeks ago with the even-rarer Days of Youth, but sorry, I was busy), and short of one of his color masterpieces, this is as lovely an opportunity as could await. The film is about an insurance salesman forced to juggle his dignity at the office with his responsibility to bring home a paycheck. It’s a lovely mix of comedy and drama, beautifully performed, and really brings into stark relief how direct the influence of Western culture was in Japan – they not only wear Western-style clothes and play Western sports, but the Great Depression was hitting there too at the same time.

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New to Home Video 5/9/17

9 May

Review

Review

Review

New to Home Video 5/2/17

2 May

Review

Review

Review

Home Video Hovel: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Scott Nye

28 Apr

No, sorry, this isn’t the new prestige show with Elizabeth Moss and some fetching bonnets. Instead, let me take you back to 1990, when an acclaimed director, writer, composer, and cast made a very uninteresting movie. You see Volker Schlöndorff working from a screenplay by Harold Pinter, based on a major novel by Margaret Atwood, with an acclaimed cast (Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Aidan Quinn) headed by one of the most viable young actresses on the scene (Natasha Richardson) and a score by one of the screen’s most interesting composers (Ryuichi Sakamoto) and you think…oh wait a minute, there’s probably a reason this doesn’t get talked about much anymore. There is indeed.

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The L.A. Rep-port: 4/28 to 5/5, by Scott Nye

27 Apr

UCLA concludes their spectacular series pairing silent and early sound Japanese and American films. On Friday they have Yasujiro Shimazu’s First Steps Ashore (1932, 35mm) alongside Josef von Sternberg’s life-changing The Docks of New York (1928, 35mm). Then on Sunday, they shine a spotlight on cinematographer/director Henry Kotani with fragments of two films he shot – Told in the Hills (1919, 35mm) and Johnny Get Your Gun (1919, 35mm), as well as the short feature Light of Sympathy (1926, 35mm). The films are preceded by a lecture by film historian Daisuke Miyao, who curated the series.

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New to Home Video 4/18/17

18 Apr

Review

Review

Review

EPISODE 526: TCM Classic Film Festival 2017

16 Apr

In this episode, David and Scott are joined by Jake Bart to discuss this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival.

The L.A. Rep-port: 3/14 to 3/20, by Scott Nye

13 Apr

As David mentioned on the podcast, I’ve been unusually preoccupied these past few weeks, so apologies for the lack of columns, but there was no question, none at all, that I would carve out time to spotlight UCLA’s Friday night double feature of Orochi (1925, 35mm) and The Mark of Zorro (1920, 35mm). Now the chance to see the Wayne-family-killing Zorro on film with live accompaniment by Cliff Retallick is special enough, but samurai film Orochi is the real draw. In the silent era in Japan, instead of the piano accompaniment we’re used to, films were narrated by benshi, who would explain the major actions in the film and even talk back to the screen when they saw fit. Major stars even grew out of this tradition. For all the obvious reasons, such performances don’t really happen anymore, but UCLA’s bringing it back, along with a composed score performed live with traditional Japanese instruments. This is an insanely rare, and very cool opportunity.

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