2 posts categorized "Art House"

October 06, 2016

THE DIRECTORS VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: BY COLE SMITHEY

AKIRA KUROSAWA: PIONEER

TAKESHI KITANO: RENAISSANCE MAN

SOFIA COPPOLA: AUTEUR

 ROBERT ALTMAN: SATIRIST

 JIM JARMUSCH: OUTLIER

 SAM PECKINPAH: LIBERATOR

 KEN LOACH: SOCIAL REALIST

 JOE CARNAHAN: THE BEST-KEPT SECRET

 CATHERINE BREILLAT: TRANSGRESSOR

 WERNER HERZOG: MENSCH

DAVID FINCHER: MODERNIST

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN: THE MUSCLE

JOHN CASSAVETES: INDIE ICON

PAUL VERHOEVEN: REBEL

LARS VON TRIER: PROVOCATEUR

QUENTIN TARANTINO: MAVERICK

 ALFRED HITCHCOCK: MASTER OF SUSPENSE

 LUIS BUNUEL: FETISHIST


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February 08, 2015

Notes From the New Beverly: Monday, December 22, 2014

By Cole Smithey

NewBev1The New Beverly cinema wasn’t on my radar until word that Quentin Tarantino was purchasing the property and taking the cinema over as his own.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tarantino during my first visit to the Cannes Film Festival. It was 1992 in the back halls of the Grand Palais, in front of the rows of little mail boxes that each journalist has his or her own box for receiving daily updates and press materials. I'd just seen the first public screening of "Reservoir Dogs" the night before. I gushed about how his movie had "kicked my ass." Tarantino replied, "That's just what I want to hear!"

But I digress.  

Having grown up in Richmond, Virginia during the ‘60s and ‘70s, I loved seeing movies at my neighborhood art house, The Biograph on West Grace Street, just a couple of blocks from my house. I’ll never forget using a fake high school ID to see “The Autobiography of a Flea,” an X-rated porno flick from 1976 starring the infamous John Holmes (a.k.a. Johnny Wadd). I saw my first Marx Brothers movies there, along with such instant classics as Philippe de Broca's "King of Hearts," Hal Ashby's “Harold and Maude” and Mel Brooks's “Young Frankenstein.”

When I moved to San Diego to major in Drama at San Diego State, the Ken cinema became my second home. Seeing "A Clockwork Orange," “Salo” and “200 Motels” at the Ken made big impressions on me. Later, San Francisco fed my art house addiction. The sadly now-closed Red Vic Movie House, and the still-operating Roxie Cinema allowed my to see films like Polanski’s “Repulsion” and Dusan Makavejev’s “Sweet Movie,” not to mention William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer” (at The Roxie) with Friedkin himself in attendance to chat with after the movie — what a thrill.

Newbeverly-tarantinoMy recent vacation to California brought me in striking distance to pay a visit to the New Beverly. My wife and I booked a hotel for a night (Monday, December 22) in L.A. with a plan to visit the La Brea Tar Pits, have a beer at Rosewood Tavern, and then walk over to the New Beverly for a 7:00 screening of “The Deep,” a film I hadn’t seen since its 1977 release. Katherine had read the book, but never seen the movie. Rumored to be a four-track mag print of “The Deep,” pulled straight from Tarantino’s personal collection of celluloid, the screening held more than a little allure. We were not disappointed.

Armed with our medium bag of popcorn, two sliders, and a couple of bottles of water (total cost: $9.50), we sat down in our choice back row seats. The medium sized cinema was spotless, the chairs comfortable, and every fixture looked brand-new. A 12 minute making-of-featurette for “The Poseidon Adventure” set the tone for our screening experience. Cheesy in the best possible of ways, the '70s era promo reel had Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, and Shelley Winters describing their experiences (direct-to-camera) about making the big budget Hollywood movie that would become one of the the decade's early blockbusters.

A Happy New Year short predicted that 1977 would be the best year yet. A trailer for the Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup,” and we were '70s primed for “The Deep.”

If you’ve ever seen the movie you know that the first 15 minutes are all about Jacqueline Bisset’s breasts. Director Peter Yates labors over Bisset’s erect nipples that push at the thin cotton of her transparent t-shirt as she skin dives with Nick Nolte off the coast of Bermuda. It matters little that Nolte and Bisset don’t share an iota of screen chemistry as boyfriend/girlfriend. What's important is that the movie features Robert Shaw (fresh off the massive success of “Jaws”). Shaw’s character Romer Treece lives in a lighthouse that delivers on one of the film’s more explosive plot elements. Shaw tears up the screen with his trademark grit. Talk about a powerhouse actor; Robert Shaw is in full form as the salty treasure diver Treece. 

Of the sixty or so moviegoers in the audience, there were a handful of regular fiends happy to applaud or cheer when inspired. At $8.00 for a ticket good for the daily double feature, The New Beverly is a classy Los Angeles art house for real movie lovers. You can always head back over to Fairfax like we did for a couple more beers at Rosewood Tavern, and then a hot pastrami sandwich right across the street at Canters Deli.

All I know is I’ve got my favorite art house cinema in L.A. scoped out. Anytime I’m in L.A. I'll be back at the New Beverly — sliders, popcorn, and water in hand.

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