A November To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.

Killing of a Chinese Bookie - Photofest - H - 2016

Cure that election hangover with a Cassavetes classic, a Warren Beatty-starring sex comedy or a sense-cleansing Andy Warhol audiovisual installation.


Throughout November, the New Beverly Cinema will be presenting a sizeable 35mm retrospective of the work of independent iconoclast John Cassavetes. While it’s never a bad time to reacquaint one’s self with the director’s most revered films, such as A Woman Under the Influence (screening on a double bill with Opening Night on Nov. 11 and 12) and Faces (coupled with his groundbreaking debut Shadows on Nov. 16 and 17), this series also affords an opportunity to explore Cassavetes’ less recognized but equally incendiary accomplishments. Chief among these is a double feature of Husbands and Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Nov. 18 and 19), both starring frequent leading man Ben Gazzara, and a one-off midnight screening of the idiosyncratic romantic comedy Minnie and Moskowitz (Nov. 19), one of many showcase roles for the director’s wife and muse, Gena Rowlands. Cassavetes, who also worked as an actor to fund his low budget passion projects (see Machine Gun McCain, paired with Gloria, on Nov. 25 and 26, and The Night Holds Terror, alongside Too Late Blues, on Nov. 29), remains one of American cinema’s most personal and uncompromising artists; the decades since have done nothing to diminish the power and personality of these films.


Joan Blondell, one of pre-code cinema’s most prolific yet least acknowledged talents, receives a full scale tribute throughout the month at the Hammer Museum, care of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Throughout her half-century career, Blondell worked with an array of storied actors, matching her co-stars' celebrity with pure joie de vivre. Opening on Nov. 4 with a triple feature highlighted by 1931s Blonde Crazy, in which Blondell stars alongside James Cagney as pair of con artists posing as hotel employees, the series zigs-zags from comedic crime films such as Three on a Match (screening Nov. 5 with Three Broadway Girls), to the playfully salacious musical Dames (Nov. 12 with I’ve Got Your Number), to the Hollywood satire Stand-In (Nov. 16 with the Lloyd Bacon classic Footlight Parade), co-starring Humphrey Bogart and Leslie Howard as Blondell’s producer and would-be lover, respectively. Though Blondell would go on to work with a number of notable directors (including Elia Kazan and John Casavetes in a pair of films featured in the series’ December slate), this initial period, when under contact with Warner Bros, would prove to be her most memorable.


With his new film Rules Don’t Apply set to bow this month at the AFI Film Festival, the Egyptian Theatre pays tribute to Hollywood icon Warren Beatty with a weekend series featuring a trio of his most beloved efforts as both an actor and director. On Nov. 19, Hal Ashby’s subversive sex comedy Shampoo (screening in a 4K digital restoration), starring Beatty as a promiscuous hairdresser trying to bankroll a new salon on the eve of the 1968 Presidential election, will screen as a double feature with Beatty’s directorial debut Heaven Can Wait (screening on 35mm), in which he stars as a football player brought back to life to pursue his Super Bowl dreams in another man’s body after being accidentally killed in a car accident. Even more enticing is a 35mm presentation of Beatty’s masterpiece to date, Reds, screening on Nov. 20. An epic chronicle of love and politics that charts the rise of communism through the lives of journalist John Reed (Beatty), married socialite Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton), and playwright Eugene O’Neill (Jack Nicholson), it was the film that solidified Beatty’s status as one of American cinema’s most thoughtful and ambitious filmmakers.


Not a movie per se, but an equally immersive audio-visual experience resurrected and showcased in Los Angeles for the first time in 45 years: Andy Warhol’s ambitious 1969 installation “Rain Machine (Daisy Waterfall),” on view at Young Projects Gallery through early 2017, remerges as a digitally updated version of the late artist’s evocative melding of organic and material forms. Originally commissioned by former LACMA curator Maurice Tuchman, the reimagined “Rain Machine” utilizes laser projections created by Turkish media artist Refik Anadol to simulate the cascading water flow that in initial incarnations sprayed freely from suspended valves. Built around a wall of 65 daisy-print lenticular panels, the 3D environment in which Warhol’s piece now resides extends through the gallery’s entire 3,000-square-foot interior, a procession of projected light and aural effects that brings Warhol’s utopian vision into the digital age while subtly enhancing its ecological considerations.