Monday, January 16, 2017

JACQUES DEMY IN LA LA LAND, by Scott Nye

Opening with an iris-out shot of a pumpjack plumbing the beach for oil, which moves into a long tracking shot along thoroughly unglamorous oceanside property, Model Shop instantly dispels the glamour one might assume from Jacques Demy moving to Los Angeles. It is an almost-total inversion of the opening shot of his 1963 film Bay of Angels, in which an iris-out of Jeanne Moreau’s face traveled along a luxurious boardwalk in the South of France. There, the sea was positioned to the right of the frame; in Model Shop, it is to the left. One need hardly elaborate on the cosmetic difference between an oil pump and Moreau’s visage.


The director who made Cherbourg look like a studio backlot and repainted Rochefort to match his pastel-hued fantasy brokers no illusions about one of America’s great mythic cities. To him, it is a place where people work and live, where industry and machines rule the landscape and any harmony must be viewed from afar. But coming from the filmmaker who viewed working-class cities in France so lovingly, this - not Hollywood - made Los Angeles beautiful.

Friday, January 6, 2017

HOOKERS, BAMBINAS, SINGLE MOTHERS, AND...PICKLES: FOCUS ON FEMALE FILMMAKERS 2017, by Heidi Honeycutt

The idea that women directors are an increasingly important part of mainstream film and television has gained so much traction over the past five years that rarely a week goes by without some mention of the enormous accomplishments of women creatives taking place at film festivals, awards ceremonies, and at studios. The concept of genre parity, or gender equality, has been the subject of many debates at these film festivals, surrounding the Oscars, and regarding hiring practices for mainstream media, particularly regarding the statistic that the number of women directing film and TV is a shockingly low 16%, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. Entire organizations such as Women in Film, The DGA Women’s Steering Committee, and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, as well as publications like Women in Hollywood, focus entirely on the role and function of women in the film industry. And there are smaller organizations as well, such as the Alliance of Women Directors, Film Fatales, and Cinefemme (to name only a few) that are wholeheartedly dedicated to promoting women directors. 


Despite their best efforts, these movements don’t provide half the promotion or educational value that the Focus on Female Directors event at the Egyptian Theatre does. On January 18, 2017, the 12th annual lineup of short films directed by women will screen to a hungry audience that is consistently blown away by the quality of programming curated by Kim Adelman, Andrew Crane, and Andrea Richards.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SUSAN'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION THAT SHE ALWAYS KEEPS, by Susan King

It’s time for my New Year’s resolutions that I never keep such as losing weight (yeah, right) or perhaps not swearing as much when I drive. All I can say to the latter is “hell, no!”

But one resolution I always keep is to try to watch more movies, especially vintage flicks.

And I’m already circling the eclectic films screening in January at the Egyptian and Aero Theatres that I’m interested in seeing.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

MARTIN SCORSESE AND IRWIN WINKLER IN CONVERSATION, by Susan King

If people could have been allowed to hang from the rafters at the Egyptian Theater the early evening of December 2, 2016, they would have hung on for dear life to witness the conversation between cinematic royalty: Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese and Oscar-winning producer Irwin Winkler.


Photo courtesy of Deverill Weekes
The two gathered for a Q&A lead by writer/director Jim Hemphill to discuss their 40-year collaboration that began with the 1977 musical drama New York, New York, with Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli, and is still going strong with Scorsese’s recent passion project Silence, which opens December 23.

Monday, December 19, 2016

SCREWBALL TOGETHER NOW, by Scott Nye

Any casual discussion about American movies in the 1930s makes some acknowledgement that audiences flocked to comedy, musical, adventure, suspense, and romance films to escape from the pressures of the Great Depression and looming threat of world war. What is interesting is not so much that these types of films succeeded - why wouldn’t you want to see King Kong in 1933? - but that even within those broad genres, audiences were quite willing to acknowledge their collective plight. In the midst of our own uncertain time in America, it is interesting to look back at what once brought people together. The six comedies showing during the Aero’s annual screwball comedy series do just that.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

FROM TECHNOLOGY TO SPIRITUALITY: THE EPIC CONTRADICTIONS AND PLEASURES OF 2001, by Jim Hemphill

Editor’s note: 2001: A Space Odyssey will screen in a brand new 70mm print that was made exclusively for the American Cinematheque, on December 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 26 & 27, 2017 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.



Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a rarity in the history of Hollywood movies: one of the few films that appears regularly on lists of the all-time greatest that was appreciated right from the start (and appreciated by virtually everybody). It was an enormous box office success that was largely well-reviewed; a few influential New York critics didn't care for it (a fact that is largely responsible for the misconception that it was poorly received), but they were in the minority. The movie was embraced in its time, and its reputation only improved with every passing year – by 1972, just four years after its release, it was already polling among the top twenty-five films ever made in Sight & Sound magazine. Five years after that, its influence changed the American cinema forever in the form of two films made by Kubrick disciples (George Lucas’ Star Wars and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Some literal-minded viewers may complain that it’s too open to interpretation – Pauline Kael once compared it to the experience of watching a blank screen – or even “difficult,” but it wasn’t too difficult for mass audiences in 1968, and its influence can be felt in many of the most successful movies of all time – not just the aforementioned Star Wars and Close Encounters, but The Terminator, E.T., and Avatar.