50 posts categorized "Film"

January 26, 2017

Undermining The Nazis On FilmStruck Streaming With Cole Smithey

Elem Klimov's communist parents constructed his first name as an acronym taken from Engels, Lenin, and Marx. During his 70 years, Elem Klimov made only five films: "Welcome, or No Trespassing" (1964), "The Adventures of a Dentist" (1965), "Agony" (1975) and "Farewell" (1981). "Come and See" was his astounding final picture that would finally establish Klimov as a storyteller of untold narrative depth and intuitive filmic sensitivity.

For the film, Klimov fashioned a detailed visual vernacular of dialectic form. His original, rigorous narrative format compresses the overwhelming heartbreak of Hitler's War. We experience its many jolts, shocks, and horrors. By the film's end, we witness a young boy's soul so terribly ravaged by the war's horrors that he resembles an old man.

Objectively, "Come and See" is Elem Klimov's brave attempt to cinematically compartmentalize and contextualize his own wartime experiences as a child escaping the battle of Stalingrad, in the company of his mother and younger brother, by raft across the Volga while the city burned to the ground behind them. Klimov said of the indelible event, in relation to "Come and See," "Had I included everything I knew, and shown the whole truth, even I could not have watched it."

Francois Truffaut’s third to last film, "The Lat Metro," draws on his childhood experiences growing up in Paris during the Nazi occupation between 1940 and 1944. Truffaut was born in 1932. Both his uncle and grandfather were active in the French Resistance.

THE LAST METRO

For the most popular of his later films (“The Last Metro” won 10 César Awards), Truffaut spent years piecing together the script with details taken from newspaper stories or anecdotal experiences. The passive resistance of his characters exudes a confidence of purpose that they discreetly understate, and yet astutely pronounce with their clandestine actions, hidden in plain sight. That Truffaut wrote the film’s leading role of Marion specifically for Catherine Deneuve is transparent as it is rewarding.

Much like “Casablanca,” “The Last Metro” (1980) is a wartime romantic drama guided by the magnificent charisma of their similarly exquisite onscreen couplings. The ideal pairing of Gerard Depardieu (working at the height of his powers) with Catherine Deneuve is a cinematic treat every bit as enticing and fulfilling as seeing Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman fulfill their characters' ethical obligations. If Truffaut owes a great debt to “Casablanca,” he couldn’t have paid it back with any more style, integrity, wit, authenticity, and nostalgic romance as he creates with "The Last Metro."

The Marriage of Maria Braun

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s bold depiction of postwar Germany in “The Marriage of Maria Braun” shares a theme of womanly independence to that of Barbara Stanwyck’s implacable character in the pre-code classic “Baby Face” (Alfred E. Green, 1933). Guided by his frequent muse Hanna Schygulla (“The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant”), Fassbinder takes a dryly neo-realist approach that combines documentary techniques with formal compositions to underpin the drama. Michael Ballhaus’s brilliant cinematography is two parts raw and refined.

As Maria partners with a wealthy industrialist, to whom she also serves as his mistress, she accumulates the wealth she seeks to provide for her Nazi soldier husband upon his release from prison. The war has transmogrifies her heart into a ball of repressed emotion. Maria and her husband are victims of a war whose effects will continue to be passed for many generations to come. The economics of war is always a lose/lose proposition; regardless of how much money it drives.

The Night Porter

It has taken decades for the shocks of controversy surrounding Liliana Cavani’s magnificent picture “The Night Porter” (1974) to catch up with the uncomfortable intimate truths that Cavani illuminates. Liliana Cavani was 40 years ahead of her time.

If the plot sounds like a pure sexploitation picture along the lines of “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS,” it proves every bit as transgressive, but all the more political in its provocations.

Charlotte Rampling is Lucia, a leftist (non-Jewish) Holocaust survivor who carried on a BDSM relationship with one of her Nazi guards during her time spent starving in the concentration camps. Lucia played the part of a submissive who received protection in return from her SS dom lover Max (Dirk Bogard).

It is 1957 when Lucia, now married to an American orchestra conductor, discovers her former SS master working as a night porter in the Vienna hotel where she and her husband stay. Soon the former lovers are up to their old games of master-and-slave.

Cavani doesn’t merely flirt with the taboo subject matter of a prisoner and guard carrying out their roles within the context of obsessive fetishized sex, she grabs it by the throat and listens to the body gasping for air. Sex allows Max and Lucia to breathe.

People will always find ways to express themselves regardless of the physical or mental restraints placed on them. If those expressions take on an intrinsically dark and primal reflection then you know you have hit the animal nerve that sex brings out in all of us. Freedom is a construct of the mind that allows the body to follow down any hallway, no matter how dark.

January 10, 2017

FEMINIST THEORIES ARE STREAMING ON FILMSTRUCK

Although condemned by some cultural gatekeepers and critics as indecent (even after And God Created Woman was edited, and dubbed, for its U.S. release), Brigitte Bardot's stunning portrayal of a freethinking woman became the celebrated subject of Simone de Beauvoir's 1959 essay The Lolita Syndrome. In it, de Beauvoir described Brigitte Bardot as a "locomotive of women's history" for good reason. The petite but curvy French actress captured the collective global imaginations of women and men alike. Still, the picture adds up to more than merely Bardot's obvious physical allure and headstrong attitude. It is a timeless social document of the ways that a young woman's allure can fuel, destroy, and build the dreams of men who fall under her spell. If Helen of Troy was "the face that launched a thousand ships," Brigitte Bardot was the girl who incited a sea change of sexual liberation in Western culture.

Fat Girl

Originally entitled A Ma Soeur! (To My Sister), this film's inapt English title Fat Girl (2001) does the picture an injustice. This obvious public relations ploy, to stir controversy with a derogatory term, cheapens writer-director Catherine Breillat'sbold thematic statements regarding budding female sexuality in the modern world, and feminist ideals at large.

Anaïs Reboux plays Anaïs Pingot, the Rubenesque 12-year-old sister to the lithe Elena (Roxane Mesquida) who, at the age of 15, is anxious to lose her virginity. Anaïs's observant, if pokerfaced, vantage points on morality and social conditions enable her to survive a traumatic event through the brutal life lessons she vicariously learns from the world around her. Fat Girl is an understated picture that doesn't shy away from any of the ambitious feminist heights that Breillat fearlessly mounts with surgical precision. Breillat's ear for naturalistic dialogue is especially exact during an extended seduction scene that is a centerpiece of the film. Like Catherine Breillat's watershed debut feature (A Real Young Girl) Fat Girl is a masterpiece awaiting inspection from audiences prepared to grapple with its unveiled meanings and insightful commentary on womanhood.

Story of Women

Claude Chabrol's Story Of Women delves into the difficult conditions of a Nazi-occupied French town that transforms a mother of two into a hardened opportunist. Isabelle Huppertwalks a fine line as an anti-heroine whose broken relationship with her PTSD-suffering husband (François Cluzet) culminates in a betrayal of epic proportions. Marie's motivations shift as she lifts her family out of poverty by providing soap-induced abortions to local prostitutes with whom she carries on friendships. Because abortions were criminalized in France — from 1920 to 1975 — due to a grievous loss of French men during World War I and II, Marie-Louise Giraud became an ideal scapegoat for a French court looking to send a message to the French populace at large.

Zero Motivation

Writer-director Talya Lavie takes inspiration from Jean Vigo's once banned 1933 film Zero For Conduct, about a bourgeoning rebellion in an all boys boarding school, to transpose a narrative drawn from her experiences serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Although Zero Motivation might play as a light comedy to Israeli audiences, the film echoes systemic abuses suffered by female soldiers in the America military where rape is a common occurrence. When our defiant heroine soldier Zohar (Dana Ivgy) attempts to lose her virginity to a fellow soldier, she requests that he "be more gentle." His callous response, "I'm combat, baby" speaks volumes about the sexist effects of his military training. From a feminist perspective Zero Motivation is possibly the most challenging film of the four titles included in this brief survey of feminist themed films currently streaming on FilmStruck.

Turner's subscription movie service FilmStruck is an online streaming service, managed by Turner Classic Movies,  that offers an exhaustive collection of current and classic arthouse films, and is the exclusive streaming site for the Criterion Collection. FilmStruck is currently available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, on the web, as well as on iOS and Android devices. FilmStuck will soon be available for access on Roku and Google Chromecast.

And God Created Woman_10

December 04, 2016

THE 10 BEST FILMS OF 2016

13th

While Ava DuVernay’s documentary doesn’t fully articulate the incremental genocide of blacks in America, she does spell out the country’s ongoing slavery of blacks in its prisons. Get schooled.

13th

 

Ma Loute

Bruno Dumont’s devilish French period farce of class conflict and cannibalism draws delicate lines of surrealism, satire and magical realism over the film’s explicit use of slapstick humor. This is one sophisticated high-wire cinematic act.

Ma Loute

 

Hell or High Water

David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water is a politically motivated neo-western torn from the pages of Sam Shepherd’s playbook. Gritty performances from Ben Foster, Chris Pine, and Jeff Bridges make movie magic happen.

Hell-or-Hight-Water

 

Summertime

Co-screenwriter/director Catherine Corsini crafts a fine romantic lesbian drama filled with organic feminine passion and ethical import. Audiences looking for female-led dramas that are genuine by design need only seek out this impressive film.

Summertime

 

Paterson

“Paterson” is the kind of movie that you walk out of a different person. The film purifies the viewer in a gentle and loving way. It reminds us that we are all poets if we invest a little of our experiences into words and supportive actions.

Paterson

 

I Am Not Your Negro

Samuel L. Jackson’s pitch-perfect rendition of James Baldwin’s unmistakable voice is as pure as Baldwin’s recollections of his murdered civil rights peers Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. collected in his unfinished manuscript “Remember This House.”  

James Baldwin

 

The Handmaiden

Erotic, social, emotional, and political intrigue attend Park Chan-Wook’s baroque psychological thriller set in Korea under Japanese colonial rule during the early to mid 20th century. Stunning.  

Handmaiden

  

Manchester By The Sea

Proof that Casey Affleck is the finest actor of his generation, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s familial drama breathes with pain, humor, and grit. See this movie on the big screen with an audience. You’ll never forget it.

Manchester

 

Elle

“Elle” is a diabolically gleeful black comedy brimming with sly social commentary and traumatically induced sexual fetishes. Verhoeven’s masterful direction, Isabelle Huppert’s nuanced performance, and David Birke’s unfiltered adaptation of Philippe Dijan’s novel combine to form a perfect film. 

Elle

 

I, Daniel Blake

Dramatically understated, and yet precisely composed, "I, Daniel Blake" presents a pointed call to political social and political action. Long live Ken Loach.

I-Daniel-Blake

October 06, 2016

THE DIRECTORS VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: BY COLE SMITHEY

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

May 31, 2016

Soul Corruption: Why It’s Time to Boycott Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD

Box office reports that were once the province of trade papers such as Variety and Hollywood Reporter have been used as advertising bait for so long that no one remembers the days when such information was carefully guarded. In no other country are box office receipts used to lure audiences to see movies. If anything, predictions that “Captain America: Civil War” will earn $1.3 billion in the international market, should make audiences want to look elsewhere for their movie entertainment. It’s not as if you the viewer are getting a cut of the profits by purchasing a ticket.

It’s a crass mentality that befits Donald Trump. “See how much freaking money I make. You should want to give me more cash to add to my collection.” The logic is so ludicrous because there is no logic to it. If you’re into paying for public humiliation, there are better ways to get off.

Box Office Mojo

Sites like Box Office Mojo keep running tallies of box office reports as if such information were part of a stock market for readers who can’t invest in it. Sports Betting Dime pits superhero tripe (Captain America) against other would-be Hollywood blockbusters for betting purposes.

Having just returned from the 69th Cannes Film Festival, where I watched 23 international films (along with only one Hollywood title — the predictably disappointing “Money Monster”), I can categorically state that Hollywood’s fixation on profit has led to an inauthentic cinema that all thinking audiences should ignore with a vengeance.

When Hollywood dares to brag about how many billions of dollars they made on some superhero garbage, while 50 million America citizens go hungry every day, it’s time to show the industry the door. Boycott Hollywood and its insidious methods of public humiliation. Don’t give these vulgar creators of violence indoctrination pap anymore of your money.

There is plenty of authentic cinema to be had in the form of foreign, independent, and documentary features. Watching countless people being beaten and shot to death to the strains of pop songs in Hollywood films like “Suicide Squad” isn’t just bad for your psyche, it’s a corruption of the human soul. Boycott Hollywood.

Cole Smithey

July 03, 2015

The Best Films of 2015 So Far

By Cole Smithey

It’s a stretch to call “Mad Max: Fury Road” a Hollywood picture but we'll pretend so the left coast isn’t utterly left out of contributing to the best films of 2015, so far.

5. Ex Machina

Ex-machinaScience fiction has been a dying film genre in recent years. Largely this is because there are too few screenwriters or filmmakers with the imaginations to create compelling futuristic stories. Alex Garland has been an exception to the rule.

Smart, sexy, and back-loaded with a terrific twist ending, “Ex Machina” is an elegant sci-fi movie that considers the possibilities of artificial intelligence in thought-provoking ways. The stark narrative is essentially a three-hander for actors Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander to play out their diametrically opposed characters in an isolated “No Exit” game of winner-take-all.

4. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad-max-fury-road“Mad Max Fury Road” makes up for what it lacks in storyline and character development with a groundbreaking blend of feminist politics and action-movie tropes in a broad physical spectacle featuring death-defying stunts atop and between a constantly moving canvas of motor-driven insanity. “Fury Road” is to cinema as the Ramones’s “Teenage Lobotomy” was to rock ‘n’ roll. The picture’s deceptive depth lies in its blistering backbeat of fast-paced action fulfilled by a cast of gnarly Wild West-inspired characters “living to die and dying to live.” A lack of water and oil has turned humanity into hordes of people living by their primal instincts.

Miller proudly announces the movie as a feminist think piece. Charlize Theron’s implacable bionic-armed heroine Imperator Furiosa leads the lion’s share of the action. The steely Furiosa turns a fuel-delivery (via the giant oil truck she drives) into a rescue mission to transport five “wives” to Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne in a franchise return), the demonic despot who controls the flow of water to the starving masses. The Australian filmmaker balances the motherly power of femininity with tougher aspects of womanhood, namely a cold-blooded will to kick serious ass LAMF. Instant cult classic? You bet.

3. Amy

Amy_The must-see-documentary at this year’s Cannes Film Festival was Asif Kapadia’s ambitious biography of Amy Winehouse. It’s a devastating look at how some of the people closest to the singer/songwriter contributed to her untimely demise. By sticking with his voiceover-only narration (rather than taking the standard talking-head approach) Kapadia stays out of the way of his fascinating subject. The method is so much the better for rapt audiences to absorb Winehouse’s raw talent and sophisticated mastery of melody, songcraft, and delivery.

Most captivating are studio-recording sessions in which Winehouse delivers her unique voice and phrasing with a stark honesty that charms all. Watching her record her famous song “Back to Black” is nothing short of stunning. A duet recording session with her hero Tony Bennett reveals much about Winehouse’s craftsmanship as a singer and about the high standards to which she held herself. The instant rapport that she shares with a glowing Tony Bennett is a dreamlike moment of musical delight.

2. What Happened Miss Simone?

What_happened_simoneDirector Liz Garbus (“Bobby Fischer Against the World,” 2011) eloquently sets the film’s tone with an eerie quote from Maya Angelou.

“Miss Simone, you are idolized, even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?”

It proves to be a provocative question about a complex woman caught in a web of domestic and social abuse. Through dazzling archive performance and interview clips, and upfront contributions from the likes of Simone’s articulate daughter Lisa, Garbus hits every note in a biography that, like Nina Simone’s dynamic vocal range, goes from gravel to frosting. Intelligent audio interviews allow the outspoken singer to narrate in her own inimitable voice. Documentaries don't get much more intimate than this.

The rich narrative and musical material on display allows Garbus to work the audience into a compulsive lather of mixed emotions. The film flashes to modern day relevance over Simone’s scalding protest song “Mississippi Goddam,” a response to forty churches burned in Birmingham, Alabama.

Simone sings with a fury that explodes, “Alabama’s gotten me so upset, Tennessee made me lost my rest, And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam.“

From a political perspective, “What Happened Miss Simone” arrives at a key moment of crisis for Blacks in America, when the ongoing incremental genocide of Blacks is on the rise.

Nina Simone’s definition of freedom rings with the same truth as is found in her music.

“What is freedom? No fear.”

1. Girlhood

GirlhoodYou might read the title “Girlhood” and think that some ambitious (perhaps female) filmmaker is taking on Richard Linklater at his most recent game. Indeed, if you consider Céline Sciamma’s substantial pedigree, as the masterful writer-director behind such youth-centric LGBT triumphs as “Water Lilies” and “Tomboy,” you could arrive at the conclusion that Richard Linklater has been taking some notes from her.

When compared to her first two tour de force films, “Girlhood” reveals itself to be every bit as insightful and authentic a cinematic representation of a personal female coming-of-age experience in modern-day France. For the record, “Girlhood” stands up well opposite Linklater’s “Boyhood” as another essential filmic chapter in the global political, socioeconomic, and cultural challenges facing young people in the 21st century, albeit from vastly different cultural backgrounds. “Girlhood” is a stunner.

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May 13, 2015

CANNES 2015 — DAY 1

During the festival there are more exotic fast cars per square kilometer in Cannes than anywhere else in the world. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens, and Maseratis ostentatiously rev their engines through Cannes’s crowded narrow streets. Scooters and motorcycles somehow manage to slip past. Driven by brawny young men busy talking on cellphone headsets, or by statuesque women with big hair, the flashy cars embody all of the glamour, celebrity culture, and excess of Hollywood on the Rivera.

Cannes Day 1
It’s ironic then that the film that opened this year’s festival should be a reflection of France’s unsteady future in the face of rampant unemployment. Following the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks, the festival heads made a conscious decision to deviate from its usual habit of giving the opening night slot to a piece of Hollywood tripe in favor of “La Tete Haute” (“Standing Tall”), a French social realist drama from director Emmanuelle Bercot. “Tete” avoids clichés as it digs into deep-seeded problems of psychological and social conditions. The powerhouse casting of Catherine Deneuve as a juvenile detention judge centers the film. Benoit Magimel more than pulls his weight as Yann, a counselor assigned to guide the rehabilitation process of Malony, a troubled victim of terrible parenting. The fiction that all mothers are innately good people is given a proper trouncing here.

Newcomer Rod Paradot is a revelation as Malony. His gut-wrenching naturalistic performance is as good as it gets. Paradot owns the movie with an instinctive portrayal that’s up there with Marlon Brando’s best work. If some critics recoil from “Standing Tall,” it says more about their inability to grapple with the genre than it does about the movie. “Standing Tall” is the kind of uncompromising film Ken Loach would love.

Cole with Peanuts
There were fireworks on the first night, but the cumulative emotional power of the films in this year’s festival promises to leave indelible memories and lessons far greater than burning bits of paper in a night sky.

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February 08, 2015

BAFTA 2015 AWARD WINNERS — FULL LIST

 

Bafta-awards-trophy

BEST FILM
BOYHOOD
Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland

LEADING ACTRESS
JULIANNE MOORE
Still Alice

LEADING ACTOR
EDDIE REDMAYNE
The Theory of Everything 

DIRECTOR
BOYHOOD
Richard Linklater 

RISING STAR
Jack O’Connell

COSTUME DESIGN
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Milena Canonero

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Anthony McCarten

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
IDA
Pawel Pawlikowski, Eric Abraham, Piotr Dzieciol, Ewa Puszczynska

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Wes Anderson 

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
STEPHEN BERESFORD (Writer), DAVID LIVINGSTONE (Producer)
Pride

CINEMATOGRAPHY
BIRDMAN
Emmanuel Lubezki

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
PATRICIA ARQUETTE
Boyhood

SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K. SIMMONS
Whiplash 

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
INTERSTELLAR
Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter

ANIMATED FILM
THE LEGO MOVIE
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller 

SOUND
WHIPLASH
Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann 

EDITING
WHIPLASH
Tom Cross

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs, Jennifer Majka

BRITISH SHORT FILM
BOOGALOO AND GRAHAM
Brian J. Falconer, Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock

MAKE UP & HAIR
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Frances Hannon

DOCUMENTARY
CITIZENFOUR
Laura Poitras 

ORIGINAL MUSIC
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Alexandre Desplat

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
James Marsh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten


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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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January 10, 2015

The 21 Films I Look Forward to the Most In 2015 By Cole Smithey

Gaspar_Noe Love (No Release Date Yet)
Enfant terrible Gaspar Noé returns with his first feature since 2009’s earth-shattering film “Enter the Void.” “Love” is sexual melodrama about a boy and a girl and another girl. It's a love story that celebrates sex in a joyous way.

 

SarahI Smile Back (January 25)
All is not right in suburbia. Sarah Silverman plays Laney Brooks, a horny wife and mother on the edge, who has stopped taking her meds, substituting recreational drugs and the wrong men instead. Beneath the surface of her privileged and perfect life Laney is a prisoner of her demons and the same dark impulses that seem to have become a family tradition. With the destruction of her family looming, Laney makes a last, desperate attempt at redemption, but it's no easy road.

 

 

 

 

 

CarolCarol (No Release Date Yet)
Todd Haynes adapts Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian romance. Set in ‘50s era New York, Rooney Mara plays a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman played by Cate Blanchett.

 

The Lobster (March 2015)
Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (“Alps”) creates a meta love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. They must to find a mate within 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into animals and released into the woods.

 

Far From the Maddening CrowdFar From the Maddening Crowd (No Release Date Yet)
In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor. Juno Temple, Michael Sheen, Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts star.

 

 

Our Brand Is Crisis (No Release Date Yet)
George Clooney produces this political comedy based on the documentary of the same title about American political campaign strategies in South America. Sandra Bullock stars as “Calamity” Jane Bodine, an American campaign director hired by a Bolivian presidential candidate. Billy Bob Thonton and Anthony Mackie also star.

 

Child 44Child 44 (April 17)
Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, a disgraced MGB agent (Tom Hardy) is dispatched to investigate a series of child murders — a case that begins to connect with the very top of party leadership.

 

 

 

The Early Years (May 2015)
Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino returns after his 2013 stunner ‘The Great Beauty” to make his first English language film. Fred (Michael Caine) and Mick (Paul Dano) are two old friends on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is still working. They look with curiosity and tenderness on their children's confused lives, Micks enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. But someone wants at all costs to hear him conduct again.

 

GrimsbyGrimsby (July 31)
A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother. Writer-actor Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife Isla Fisher promise big laughs. Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Gabourey Sidibe star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RickiRicki and the Flash (August 6)
Meryl Streep plays Ricki, an aging rocker attempting to reunite the family she abandoned years earlier in search of fame, with Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer plays Julie, one of Ricki’s children. Jonathan Demme directs Diablo Cody’s screenplay. Kevin Kline and Rick Springfield star.

 

 

Elle (No Release Date Yet)
Two words: Paul Verhoeven. When Michelle (Isabelle Huppert) is attacked in her home she refuses to let it alter her carefully ordered life. Michelle manages crises involving her elderly sex-kitten mother, her imprisoned mass-murderer father, her spoiled son, her ex-husband, and her lover, all with the same icy equanimity. She brings the same attitude to the situation when it appears that her assailant is not finished with her. While the mysterious stalker hovers in the shadows of her life Michelle cooly stalks him back. What emerges between Michelle and her stalker is a a game that spirals out of control. Bitchin’.

 

Mad Max Fury RoadMad Max: Fury Road (No Release Date Yet)
George Miller (director of the first “Mad Max” movies) adds another installment to his storied franchise. In a post-apocalyptic world, two rebels might be able to restore order. Max (Tom Hardy) seeks peace of mind following the loss of his family. Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is a woman of action who believes her path to survival might be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

 

 

 

 

EverestEverest (October 2015)
Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightly, and Sam Worthington play Everest climbers on a disastrous 1996 expedition. Robin Wright also stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crimson PeakCrimson Peak (October 16)
Guillermo del Toro returns to directing horror. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers. Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam, and Jessica Chastain star.

 

 

 

 

 

Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight (November 13)

Quentin Tarantino’s long-awaited “Hateful Hate” has a release date. In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Who, if any, will survive?

 

 

The Martian (November 25)
Ridley Scott visits Mars where astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is trapped. Kate Mara, Kristen, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain star.

 

  

Sisters


Sisters (December 18)

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play two sisters who decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home. Maya Rudolph, John Leguizamo, James Brolin, and Dianne Wiest star.

 

 

 

 

Flashmob (No Release Date Yet)
“Flashmob” is Michael Haneke’s first film since “Amour.” The movie A story that tracks a group of people who come together via the Internet to stage a flashmob.

 

ScientologyGoing Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (No Release Date Yet)
Alex Gibney’s new documentary, backed by HBO, promises to give Scientology the royal reaming it so richly deserves. Shit will hit fan.

 

 

Life (No Release Date Yet)
A photographer (Robert Pattinson) for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean (Dane DeHaan). Anton Corbijn (“Control”) directs.

 

Mission Impossible 5 (December 25)
“Jack Reacher” director Chris McQuarrie works with Tom Cruise again on the fifth and possibly final installment of the Cruise-led “Mission Impossible” franchise. The storyline is being kept under raps but we know that Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Alex Baldwin, Ving Rhames, and Jingchu Zhang all co-star.

 

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