August 8, 2019: Apocalypse Now… and Again and Again

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We saw One Child Nation at the True/False documentary film festival in Columbia, MO back in February, and were completely devastated by it. That film opens in theaters this week, and will eventually make its way to Amazon. (We can’t recommend True/False highly enough, by the way. An excellent festival!)

As the headline suggests, we’re also looking at the latest edit of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which plays several different theaters over the next couple weeks. And the Aero’s mini-retrospective of the films of Abbas Kiarostami is under way all this weekend. The giallo programming at USC continues in the next couple weeks, too — we’ll probably be returning to that next week, as well, as one of our favorite nasty gialli is coming up in that series.


One Child Nation (2019) Documentary CR: Amazon Studios

dir. Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

Opens on August 9 at the Laemmle Royal

Documentarians Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang journey across China to report the story of the country’s one-child policy, which was in effect from 1979 to 2015. Their findings draw a harrowing portrait of infanticide — which, in the context of the film, reads like a slow, controlled genocide — with participants from many strata of Chinese life. Wang and Zhang’s filmmaking, which features interviews with people in Wang’s own family and home village, tying the film to her personal experience, is patient and observant, a contrast to the absolutely horrifying stories recounted by their subjects. It’s easy to make One Child Nation sound as if it revels in misery, but this is a compassionate film about processing grief and reckoning with a deeply institutionalized misogyny.



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dir. Abbas Kiarostami

August 10, 7:30 PM at the Aero Theatre

The re-opened Aero has an excellent program of films by the late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami running over four nights. If you only have time for one evening out, however, make it the August 10 presentation of Close-Up, in which the director recounts the true story of a man who impersonated a filmmaker and then conned a family into thinking they would be featured in his next movie. Kiarostami cast his movie with the real people involved in the story. Close-Up understands that truth and fiction can be indivisible, and approaches the story from a deeply empathetic perspective.



dir. Sergio Martino

April 13, 6:00 PM / 8:00 PM at the The Ray Stark Family Theatre, USC

USC, in collaboration with Arrow Video, has been playing a handful of 4K remasters of giallo standouts over the past month. Films by Dario Argento and Mario Bava get a lot of attention, but audiences new to the grimy pleasures of the genre should also pay attention to filmmaker Sergio Martino, whose movies often look more like conventional thrillers until they erupt in bursts of strange and grotesque violence. Martino’s Torso, on this bill, is pretty far on the sleazy end of the giallo spectrum, and as such it also stands as more of a prototype slasher movie than most.
Digital | INFO (The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail) | TICKETS (Torso)


dir. Francis Ford Coppola

August 15, 7:00 PM at the TCL Chinese / AMC Universal CityWalk / AMC Burbank 16

Yes, it’s a new edit of Francis Ford Coppola’s hallucinogenic war film. This time, it’s cut to be more expansive than the original release version and shorter than the hour-longer Apocalypse Now Redux, from 2001. Coppola’s continued tinkering with his movie makes it a living document; the new 4K master is a new opportunity to revel in Vittorio Storaro’s stupendous cinematography. After these first shows on the 15th, Final Cut will continue to play around town in theaters such as the Pacific Theatres at The Grove and multiple Arclight locations.

JURASSIC PARK (with live score) (1993)

dir. Steven Spielberg

August 16 + 17, 8:00 PM at the Hollywood Bowl

When you want the score to be as big as the dinosaurs, head over to the Hollywood Bowl for either of these L.A. Philharmonic performances of the John Williams score, performed live to picture. (Or go to both! It’s your money.) One thing, though: If there’s no rendition of the main theme on a recorder, the entire audience should storm right out of the amphitheater.
Digital | INFO + TICKETS


dir. Esfir Shub / Carl Th. Dreyer

August 16, 8:00 PM at the Echo Park Film Center

Two very different films are on this bill: Komsomol, from the first days of sound filmmaking in the Soviet Union, explores the relationship between electricity and the workers building a new hydro-electric dam that will bring power to the people. The film is directed by Esfir Shub, one of the few women working in the early days of Soviet film. Two People, meanwhile, is a one-room drama in which a doctor accused of plagiarism seeks refuge at home — and fails to find it.
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dir. Roberta Findlay

August 13, 9:00 PM at the Alamo Drafthouse

Roberta Findlay’s apartment-block thriller is the very picture of urban exploitation. When the residents of a tenement building try to push out a drug-dealing gang that has occupied the basement, they face an excessively violent retaliation… and then the conflict escalates. Hosted by House of Psychotic Women author Kier-La Janisse.

August 1, 2019: Remembering Rutger Hauer

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This week, director Mary Lambert is honored at a UCLA retrospective at the Billy Wilder, complete with in-person appearances from Ellen Barkin and Jodie Foster, as well as Lambert, for a screening of Siesta. The Egyptian has a four-day slate honoring the late Rutger Hauer, and Quentin Tarantino’s personal vision of 1969 Hollywood plays the New Beverly in 35mm.

SIESTA (1987)

Siesta at the Billy Wilder

dir. Mary Lambert

August 4, 7:00 PM at the Billy Wilder Theater

The Billy Wilder has a great “Weekend with Mary Lambert” program coming up, with a double-feature of her two Pet Sematary films — plus this very rare screening of arthouse erotic thriller Siesta, Lambert’s first feature, in which Ellen Barkin plays a skydiver whose fractured memory is as hazy as the film’s narrative. Barkin will appear at this screening, along with co-star Jodie Foster and Lambert, editor Glenn Morgan, and executive producer Julio Caro. That lineup makes this one of August’s most essential film events.

35mm |  INFO | TICKETS

Rutger Hauer Remembered

Rutger Hauer Remembered at the Egyptian Theatre, August 8-11

August 8-11 at the Egyptian Theatre

Rutger Hauer, who died on July 19, could humanize nearly any character, whether murderous android, romantic fantasy figure, or a blinded veteran-turned-swordsman. Throughout his five-decade career, one of the great and consistent pleasures of watching the Dutch actor at work was the potential to be surprised by the ways in which he could add robust dimension with little more than a shrug or a glance. Beyond Fest and the American Cinematheque are honoring Hauer with four days of screenings of his 1980s American genre work. There’s a DCP of Blade Runner and 35mm prints of a string of his 1980s genre work, including Ladyhawke, The Hitcher, Blind Fury (the aforementioned film about a blind swordsman, loosely based on the 17th Zatoichi movie, Zatoichi Challenged) and one later film, 2011’s Hobo With a Shotgun.

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Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival

Runs through August 4 at the TCL Chinese and TCL Chinese 6

In the second year of its relaunched state, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival boasts a slate of 17 features — more than half of which are directed by women — highlighting the breadth of voice and experience in the Latinx community. Founder Edward James Olmos, who got the fest off the ground in 1997, directs the closing night feature, The Devil Has a Name. For a more in-depth guide to the festival, check out the L.A. Times feature on the lineup.


dir. Quentin Tarantino

Plays Through August 31 at the New Beverly Cinema

Quentin Tarantino’s vision of late-‘60s Hollywood — a hangout movie about two friends coming to terms with a changing world, in which things get truly crazy — is seductive and wonderfully divisive. It’s playing on 35mm at a few theaters, such as the Vista and the new Alamo Drafthouse, and on 70mm at the Cinerama Dome. The 35mm projection at the director’s own theater, the New Beverly, is particularly good, however, and supported by some unique pre-show elements. Alternately, you can catch the show at the Bruin in Westwood Village, a theater which (spoiler alert!) has some significant screen time in the movie.


dir. Billy Wilder / Preston Sturges

August 2, 7:30 PM at the Aero Theatre

The Aero reopens after being closed for most of July for a handful of improvements. This double feature of masterpieces by Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges — two very different movies about broken Hollywood dreams — is a great way to get back to the theater. The Aero will also be doing midnight shows, starting with the original Child’s Play on August 2.


dir. Agnès Varda

August 2, 5:50 PM at the Norton Simon Museum

This is among Agnès Varda’s greatest films. It opens on a dead body, then rolls back, episodically and occasionally in documentary style, through the last weeks of the woman’s life. The exceptional Sandrine Bonnaire plays this woman, Mona, who is never truly known. Her identity steadily dissipates even as she reveals much about those who come into contact with her. (Speaking of Varda, on August 6, her earlier film, Cleo From 5 to 7, plays at the Skirball Cultural Center.)
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WALKER (1987)

dir. Alex Cox

July 27, 7:30 PM at the Ahrya Fine Arts

Repo Man filmmaker Alex Cox blended mid-‘80s attitudes and period storytelling to create this nasty satire of democratic imperialism. Ed Harris stars as a heavily fictionalized version of American mercenary William Walker who, funded by a wealthy industrialist and backed by hired guns, seizes control of Nicaragua. Cox litters the movie with anachronisms (a helicopter and computer monitors are seen in this 1850s-set story, for instance) to make explicit links between past and present. Walker sees the director in his most furiously anarchic mode.

July 25, 2019: L.A.’s Alamo Drafthouse Is Finally Open

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This week, the long-awaited Los Angeles expansion of the Alamo Drafthouse has finally opened downtown, just in time to present 35mm screenings of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Outfest 2019 is in full swing, with an amazingly broad slate of features; and Shakedown, a noir which isn’t often screened, plays on 16mm at the Bootleg Theater.

Outfest 2019

Outfest 2019

Runs through July 28 at the TCL Chinese 6 + Additional Theaters

The last days of the amazingly huge Outfest are coming up, and fortunately the festival still has a number of debuts planned, including Vita & Virginia, (featuring Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf), the trans vampire tale Bit, and several documentaries, including the Judy Garland-focused Sid & JudyYou Don’t Nomi, which explores the legacy of the film Showgirls; and For They Know Not What They Do, which follows four families as they learn to accept their LGBTQ children. If the 200-feature lineup seems daunting, check out The Advocate’s guide to essential Outfest programming.


Alamo Drafthouse “Sneak Peek”

Fast Color at the Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles July 2019

Ongoing into August at the Alamo Drafthouse DTLA

After years of development, the Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse chain has finally opened in Los Angeles and is running in “sneak peek” mode with a few food and drink bargains. The downtown spot — situated in The Bloc development at 700 S Flower St., formerly the site of Macy’s Plaza — has 12 screens and will feature a mixture of first-run, event, and repertory programming. Alamo is already running a 35mm print of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and starting on July 26 will begin a week-long engagement of Fast Color (above), which had a too-limited first run in theaters earlier this year. In August, the Terror Tuesday series will feature a 4K restoration of Chopping Mall, as well as Night of the Comet, the original 1974 Black Christmas, and Roberta Findlay’s Tenement, while the Kids Camp series will feature low-price tickets for family-oriented screenings of Paddington 2 and The Iron Giant.



dir. Dario Argento

July 26, 10:00 PM at the Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth

Jennifer Connelly stars as a young woman who gets involved with a criminal investigation thanks to her ability to communicate with insects. Director Dario Argento applies many of the hallmarks of his giallo films to a story that plays out as much like an off-kilter fairy tale as it does a crime thriller, with squirm-inducing sequences that take advantage of the insect-oriented plot.


dir. Roman Polanski

July 29, 7:30 PM at the Arclight Culver City and Arclight Pasadena

Los Angeles theaters have run a lot of programming in anticipation of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, but most of the films in question haven’t actually featured one central figure: Sharon Tate. That’s because Tate didn’t make many movies. Among the few is this wacky and weird horror comedy directed by and starring her future husband, Roman Polanski. The director is disgraced as a convicted rapist who fled the U.S. to avoid his sentence; this film, however, has a notable place in the history of Hollywood, and is specifically important to the story that is revived in Tarantino’s movie. Also plays the Hollywood Arclight on August 5.
Digital | INFO + TICKETS


dir. Joseph Pevney

July 28, 6:30 PM at the Bootleg Theater

Media meets the mob in a hard-boiled noir in which a shell-shocked and morally compromised photographer (played by The Naked City’s Howard Duff) becomes a star shooter for a San Francisco paper after he starts posing and directing his crime scene photos. Then he gets into real trouble when he begins to use his work to help out a local crime boss. Plays with the short film Autumn Fire, from 1931.

Vimeo Staff Picks with Live Director Commentary

July 30, 7:30 PM at the Downtown Independent

It’s right there in the title. Short films, for many viewers, are often seen online, especially through the efforts of companies like Vimeo. This is a chance to see a set of recent Vimeo staff picks on the big screen, with live commentary from the filmmakers. The selection includes David Lewandowski’s Late for Meeting and Time for Sushi; Sean Buckelew’s Lovestreams; Patrick Bresnan’s The Rabbit Hunt; Jeron Braxton’s Octane; and Anna Kerrigan’s Hot Seat.


dir. Joseph Zito

July 27, 7:30 PM at the Ahrya Fine Arts

Slasher films regularly trade in pretty basic shocks — which was especially true as the genre wound deep into sequel territory — and the Friday the 13th films are perfect examples. But this entry stands out thanks to an unusually effective climax powered by Corey Feldman’s eerie performance and the work of effects maestro Tom Savini. Director Joseph Zito and actors Judie Aronson, Camilla More and Carey More will be in attendance.

July 10, 2019: Extra grimy and super sensuous screenings

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Last Year at Marienbad

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.



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.


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.
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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!
Blu | INFO


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.
Digital | INFO


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.
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