The Nuart: “I see you shiver with anticipation.”

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“I see you shiver with anticipation.” Photo by: Matt Average

The legendary Nuart Theatre switched up their marquee recently with this quote from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, “I see you shiver with anticipation.”

For those who don’t know, The Nuart was one of the first movie theatres to begin showing Rocky Horror on a regular basis back in 1976. I have yet to attend a screening of that movie there, but I do know the line tends to wind around the building, and the crowd is full of hardcore fans. When we are finally able to return to the movie theatres safely I will definitely go and get in line

I’m also missing seeing this beautiful marquee lit up at night, and look forward to the nights when it’s lit up advertising whatever movie is playing on the screen, as well as their Friday midnight programming. Someday…..  (MA)

DIS-ENCHANTED APRIL / THE LOVELY MONTH OF MAY

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While the movie theaters remain closed, The Laemmle Royal marquee remains active with weekly updates that offer commentary on what’s happening, sometimes with movie titles, as you will see in some future posts coming up soon.

It’s certainly a bleak time for those of us who love going to the theater, but these marquees give me a boost when I see them and make it slightly easier to keep on keeping on until the doors reopen and we can all sit down and shut out the world via the big screen.  (MA)

THE BROOD (1979) / SCALPEL (1977)

The Brood : Scalpel
The Brood / Scalpel double bill at the New Beverly, March 10, 2020. Photo: Matt Average

THE BROOD (1979)

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle

SCALPEL (1977)

Director: John Grissmer

Starring: Robert Lansing, Judith Chapman, Arlen Dean Snyder, Sandy Martin

Before the world went down the toilet, and all the movie theaters were temporarily closed,  I was able to catch the double bill of The Brood, and Scalpel at the New Beverly. This was part of their month long series of double bills as they originally played in Los Angeles. The Brood print was pretty good, despite how old it is. Scalpel was the surprise of the night for me. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s entertaining, and one I would watch again. 

I look forward to the time when the theaters reopen and we can all sit in the dark and escape from daily life, with a soda at hand, and a couple of vegan hotdogs. (MA)

 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL ARTEMIS (2018)

HOTEL ARTEMIS

2018, US

Director: Drew Pearce

Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Not bad

In the near future, city-wide riots erupt in Los Angeles over the privatization of water and the streets are literally ablaze. Amid this disturbingly plausible scenario, a rogues gallery of casualties from LA’s criminal underworld admit themselves into a high-tech, underground clinic for villains called the Hotel Artemis where the drama plays out.

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After re-watching Blade Runner (for the millionth time) I had a hankering for similar futuristic neo-noir and this fit the bill. It’s a flawed film, but it does try. It’s more of a character and dialogue driven stage production than an action film and it succeeds on that level. The performances and characterization are all pretty solid and these are the film’s strengths amid a muddled plot.

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Jodie Foster is great as the clinic’s tormented nurse. Sterling K. Brown is excellent as always as a wounded, noble bank robber. Charlie Day is obnoxiously sleazy as a creepy arms dealer. Jeff Goldblum makes a walk-on performance as a powerful Malibu mob lord with Zachary Quinto, in an uncharacteristically aggressive role, as his ruthless son. And for a little bit of badass, hand to hand combat action we get Dave Bautista as a monster orderly and Sophia Boutella as an ass-kicking acrobatic assassin.

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Overall, the actors and their relationships hold the film together, but unfortunately, the off-kilter story crumbles into an uneven climax with an abrupt open ending. I can’t really imagine a reason for a sequel to this film. I mean it doesn’t have as much edge as, say, John Wick, which seems to be the movie’s main influence. Still, it is watchable and it is set in a cool, dark world.

(AD)

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)

Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time… In  Hollywood, at the New Beverly. Photo: Matt Average

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (2019)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry

It’s rare, but I do go see a new movie now and then. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is not one I’d miss out on seeing in the theatre. Tarantino is one of the few directors today that I think makes movies worth seeing. Even if you don’t like everything he’s done you still talk about those movies. I still remember seeing Reservoir Dogs when it opened at the now long gone Lumiere Theatre in San Francisco. I was blown away, and went back to see it many more times before it left. Sometimes twice in the same day, if it was on a weekend. I even dragged all my friends to see it, and convincing them repeated viewings were worth their time. The acting was great, the dialog was smart, and the soundtrack was perfect. And it was a much needed breath of fresh air in the shitty shitty state of genre cinema at the time. 

All the reviews for Once Upon A Time… are out, so you know who’s who and what’s what. I’ll just mention that Brad Pitt is great as Cliff Booth. I’d love to see more about him somewhere down the line. I’d even settle a series of novels about his past, present, and future. 

Also, I recommend seeing this at the New Beverly, and it’s playing all through September, so there’s time. Before the movie they play the broadcasts from KHJ that you hear throughout the movie when DiCaprio and Pitt are driving around LA, then you get the trailers that are also shown in the movie, as well some props from the movie on display in the lobby and back of the theatre.

Will I go see this again? Definitely.  (MA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) / THE WILD BUNCH (1969)

 

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Double feature of Seven Samurai, and The Wild Bunch at the Aero, April 27, 2019. Photo: Matt Average

 

SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) 

Director: Akira Akurosawa

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, 

THE WILD BUNCH (1969)

Director: Sam Peckinpah

Starring: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan

Played at the Aero on April 27, 2019 as part of their Cowboys and Samurai series that ends this Sunday.

MAD BOMBER (1973)

THE MAD BOMBER (aka The Police Connection) (1973)

Director: Bert I. Gordon

Starring:  Chuck Connors (William Dorn), Vince Edwards (Lt. Geronimo Minneli), Neville Brand (George Fromley)

Music: Michel Mention

USA

Viewed:  Streaming, Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality: Good

MadBomber

It’s people like you who make our world filthy my friend. You’re a pig.

—William Dorn

Bert I. Gordon’s (Necromancy, Food of the Gods) film opens with a cool street shot of early 70s LA and a very Lurch-esque Chuck Connors (yes, The Rifleman) storming down the boulevard, physically confronting a litterer, and setting him straight with the line above. Connors pulls off a masterful performance here as William Dorn, the Mad Bomber…the sociopath you just can’t help but fall in love with. You’ll immediately notice how much Connor’s Dorn must have been an influence on Michael Douglas in Joel Schumacher’s 1993 film, Falling Down. Similar to Douglas’ character, you can’t help but gleefully live through Dorn as he confronts purveyors of society’s ills with a puritanical and righteous insanity. Whether he’s taking a Porsche owner’s keys (albeit a 914) and depositing them in a nearby mailbox, laying into the supermarket clerk for denying him the sale price on a can of peaches, or kicking a couple street toughs’ asses when they try to mug him for his grocery bag, he’s every man’s hero. Only problem is, that grocery bag always has a bomb in it.

As with most films I love, the coolest thing about this movie is how it outdoes itself with ridiculousness at every turn. It’s the kind of infectious insanity that makes you just want to believe it could all be possible. Like when Dorn returns home from his litter policing, grabs an already ticking alarm clock (out of a cupboard full of them, haha) and throws together a bomb in 30 seconds with some sticks of dynamite he just leaves laying around on his kitchen table…all while eating a donut. Or, when he steals a bright yellow motorcycle with a sidecar from some hippies to make a bomb run. On top of all this, he’s gotta be the most conspicuous guy in LA. I mean, look at that picture. Yet, he still manages to elude suspicion.

The true stroke of ludicrous genius in the plot of this film is that the only one who can ID the bomber is a serial rapist who just happens to see Dorn bringing a bomb into a hospital while he’s busy attacking a woman in a storage closet. This sets off an almost transcendental assault on reason that involves Lieutenant Geronimo Minneli (Vince Edwards…you know, Dr. Ben Casey!), an overzealous cop armed with a police super computer who enlists an army of scantily clad policewomen to roam the streets “just asking to be raped” in order to net the witness. Two interesting facts learned from these sequences: First, circa 1973 the LAPD had a seemingly unlimited supply of hot young female officers. Second, if you were a male out after dark in LA in 1973, you were most definitely a rapist. Every woman they put out on the streets gets attacked in matter of seconds as the cops scoop up the suspects. Naturally, none of the creeps they catch the first night match, so they have to do it again a second night. Eventually they get their man, the cool, calm, collected, and sexually twisted dude, George Fromley, quite brilliantly portrayed by Neville Brand. All of this culminates in an amazing composite drawing scene where the sketch artist produces a photo quality rendering of the bomber from Fromley’s hazy description. It’s just undescribably good.

Ok, I’ve spoiled enough of this for you already. It’s a must-see in my opinion.

Plus, the ending is a real BLAST! Har har… (DC)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average