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LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (1961)
dir. Alain Resnais
Opens July 12 at the Laemmle Royal + Laemmle Playhouse 7
Like an interior version of the labyrinth from The Shining, the wealthy vacationers of Last Year in Marienbad are trapped in a hotel maze. They initially seem to be poised and perpetually relaxed, but no one is actually at ease here, as the nearly-nameless characters are pieces in an unsolvable puzzle. Maybe these characters have met before; maybe something once happened between a couple of them; maybe.This movie leaps from the opposite of every commercial impulse in it. Writer/director Alain Resnais is completely uninterested in constructing this dream-state story according to any rules, which can make the Last Year at Marienbad experience — especially the first viewing — a bit trying. That’s where cinematographer Sacha Vierny steps in: His splendid imagery is as alluring as the story is obscure. Since this is a new 4K restoration, Vierny’s cinematography will be highlighted with new reverence.
DCP | INFO
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) / BALL OF FIRE (1941)
dir. Billy Wilder / Howard Hawks
July 11, 7:30 PM – Egyptian Theatre
The Egyptian bills this as the beginning of a Highball and Screwballs series. It’s a great idea to follow the bleak gut-punch of Double Indemnity with Ball of Fire, a laid-back Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs riff, with its slang-heavy silliness and stupendously magnetic lead performances by Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.
LE BONHEUR (1965)
dir. Agnès Varda
July 12, 5:50 PM – Norton Simon Museum
The late Agnès Varda is finally being widely recognized for her virtuosic filmmaking. (Fortunately, the shift began a few years before her death in March at age 90.) Le Bonheur, her third film, is a working-class drama of romance and infidelity, in which the family life between a carpenter and dressmaker (Jean-Claude Drouot and Claire Drouot) is broken when he falls for a postal worker (Marie-France Boyer). Varda’s sinuous camera and colorful, impressionistic images tell their story with sensuality and a bitterly realistic idea about what constitutes happiness.
THE TOUGH ONES aka ROME ARMED TO THE TEETH(1976)
dir. Umberto Lenzi
July 12, 8:00 PM – Hyperion Tavern
There was no genre — horror, war, Western, fantasy — that Italian director Umberto Lenzi couldn’t make just a bit more grimy than everyone else. That made him perfect for Poliziotteschi, the extra-violent cop action films that reflected the urban unease, crime and terrorism of 1970s Italy. Genre fixtures Maurizio Merli and Tomas Milian star here as cop and killer whose clash is set to a bouncy, funky score by Maestro Micalizzi. This is basically a party for Grindhouse Releasing’s new Blu-ray of the film, and it is free!
TUX AND FANNY (2019)
dir. Albert Birney
July 13, 8:00 PM – Now Instant Image Hall
Tux and Fanny is like a valium-treated cousin to the high-pitched stop-motion insanity of A Town Called Panic. Animated in the style of 16-bit video game cutscenes (mostly; there are a few other techniques at work), the film follows the surrealistic and episodic adventures of blobby humanoids Tux and Fanny, who speak in Russian (all subtitled) and live in a forest, where they meet life’s moments of hope and existential dread with a playfully grotesque sense of humor.
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (1995)
dir. Sam Raimi
July 15, 2:00 PM – New Beverly Cinema
Were the actors in Sam Raimi’s fast-paced revisionist Western assembled today, the call sheet — with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio — would read like one for a Marvel tentpole or Oscar-bait drama. In 1995, however, Raimi and Stone (who, as a producer, insisted on the director’s hire) roped together that cast for a B-movie revenge plot that was virtually guaranteed to appeal only to a niche audience. Granted, Crowe was new to Hollywood and Dicaprio hadn’t yet broken out with Romeo + Juliet, but even with that in mind, this weird shooter is a unique time capsule.
LA Shorts International Film Festival
July 17-25 – Regal LA Live + Laemmle NoHo 7
Dozens of new shorts get big-screen time during this week-long fest. Several genres and techniques are represented — there are sci-fi and animation programs, for instance, alongside sets of dramatic efforts — and the fest’s opening day is dedicated to three groups of new Chinese filmmakers.