A December To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.
Movie lovers tired of awards bait can check out a Kubrick classic, a Leonard Cohen concert film or an early Jim Jarmusch indie this holiday season in L.A.
HOLIDAY ODDITIES AND KUBRICK CLASSICS AT THE NEW BEV | 7165 Beverly Blvd.
December is traditionally a month for prestige pics and holiday movies. The New Beverly is adding to the Christmas cheer in their own idiosyncratic way with a number of seasonally tied films: First up are two midnight screenings of Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story (Dec. 10 and 17), followed throughout the month by a double bill of the Bill Murray classic Scrooged and the animated Adam Sandler comedy Eight Crazy Nights (Dec. 22), a double feature of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Dec. 23), a Christmas Eve matinee featuring the '60s sci-fi oddity Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Dec. 24), and a double bill later the same evening that brings together the yuletide crime films Die Hard and Silent Partner (Dec. 24). And for those with a taste for something a little less seasonal, there will be a small series of Stanley Kubrick films running throughout the month. Included are Barry Lyndon (Dec. 7, 8, and 10, paired each night with the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures), double bills of Lolita and The Killing (Dec. 11, 12), as well as multinight showcases of A Clockwork Orange (Dec. 14, 15, and 16) and The Shining (Dec. 28, 29, 30), each likewise coupled with A Life in Pictures.
LEONARD COHEN FILMS AT CINEFAMILY | 611 N. Fairfax Ave.
When Leonard Cohen passed away last month at the age of 82, he left behind a sterling collection of music, as well as a less remarked upon series of cinematic endeavors. Cinefamily pays tribute to Cohen’s filmic legacy this month with a series of evenings that bring together a trio of works that illuminate the singer-songwriter’s life as both a touring musician and his pre-fame life as a poet and novelist living in Canada. In Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen, screening Dec. 9 and 11 with the concert film Live at the Isle of Wight 1970, we watch as a precocious young Cohen gains recognition for his literary efforts before finally deciding to set his poetic ruminations to song. And in Tony Palmer’s excellent 1974 tour documentary Bird on a Wire (Dec. 8 and 11), Cohen’s backstage life and full-band stage show is captured in all its simultaneously troubled yet triumphant glory. Of additional note: Accompanying the Bird on a Wire shows will be 35mm presentations of Derek May’s 1966 short film Angel, which pairs wintry, monochromatic images of the snow-capped Canadian landscape with music written by Cohen and performed by the early psychedelic folk-rock band The Stormy Clovers.
CINEPHILE FAVORITES AT THE EGYPTIAN | 6712 Hollywood Blvd.
With no series or retrospective to draw attention to this month, the programmers at the Egyptian Theatre have instead brought together a broad selection of perennial cinephile favorites –– not holiday movies per se, but films never not worth reacquainting oneself with. On Dec. 7, a double feature of Jim Jarmusch’s indie touchstone Stranger Than Paradise and its somewhat underrated follow-up, the tripartite urban immigrant comedy Mystery Train, will screen on 35mm. And later in the month, on Dec. 26, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre (its title translating to "Holy Blood," lest anyone confuse it for a jolly tale of Ol' Saint Nick), a hallucinatory coming-of-age portrait of a young boy growing up in Mexico, will likewise be presented in 35mm. Finally, not to be outdone by these enduring cult items, two inarguable classics –– Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (receiving a multinight stand on Dec. 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18), and David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (Dec. 30) –– will each screen as headline events in the most optimal format possible: 70mm.
MARJORIE KELLER PROGRAM AT THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH | 301 Orange Grove
On Dec. 10, Los Angeles Filmforum returns to its original home at the Neighborhood Unitarian Church in Pasadena for a free, one-night program dedicated to the late experimental filmmaker and activist Marjorie Keller. Working for much of her career in the 8mm format, Keller (whose films haven't screened in Los Angeles in many years) made intimate, diary-like films centered on friends, family, and quotidian life, not unlike the work of her mentors and inspirations Saul Levine and Stan Brakhage. Drawing primarily from Keller's prolific 1970s period, Fimforum's six-film program will comprised 8mm and 16mm blow-up prints of such modest, poetic masterpieces as Misconception, Part IV: Green Hill, and Ancient Parts and Foreign Parts.