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Win Tickets To Rare Screening Of ‘Rottweiler’ in 3-D

August 26, 2010 in Contests, Downtown, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers

08/28/10 EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

We’re giving away tickets to an ultra-rare 3-D screening of the 80s indie horror film Rottweiler: Dogs of Hell. The event is being presented by the LA3DClub this coming Sunday, August 29 at 7:30 pm at the Downtown Independent. Lenny Lipton and Chris Condon, the two legendary 3-D experts behind this production, will appear for a Q&A following the movie. This one-time only screening is a unique opportunity to see one of the few indie feature films from the wave of stereoscopic movies in the 1980s.

I strongly encourage anyone who has not been to the Downtown Independent, L.A.’s only indie-friendly 3-D cinema, to do so. They host a wide variety of interesting programming and and events.

If you would like to win a pair of tickets to the Rottweiler screening, leave a comment telling me why you want to see the movie, or, tell me what your favorite 80s 3-D movie is. I’ll notify one lucky winner by email this Saturday morning.

Click here for more information on this Sunday’s events, which, in addition to the feature film, include a free 3-D short film showcase and potluck barbecue at the theater’s rooftop bar.

L.A. Plays Itself In The Movies: Valley Girl (1983)

April 19, 2010 in Fictional LA, Hollywood, Movies, The Valley

She’s cool.
He’s hot.
She’s from the Valley.
He’s not.

Julie (Deborah Foreman) and Randy (a very young Nicolas Cage) are geography-crossed teenagers in love in 1983 Los Angeles. Not long after dumping her popular boyfriend, Tommy, Julie falls for Randy, who is from Hollywood. Her friends do not approve because, like oh my gawd, he’s “different.” He wears red and black instead of pastels, he slums it in a loud, dirty bar, and has friends who look like Sid Vicious. Grody to the max. I’m so sure.

In spite of how much Julie likes Randy, her bitchy “friends” convince her to “do the right thing,” which is break up with Randy and get back together with Tommy. They threaten her with the prospect of losing all of them and her social status. While truly conflicted, the desire to be popular prevails. What a total bummer. Randy is crushed and tries really hard to win Julie back, but she won’t give in.

In one last ditch effort to get the girl, Randy and his best friend crash the Valley High prom and make quite a scene disrupting the coronation of Prom King and Queen, Tommy and Julie. Fists fly and Randy and Julie steal away in the limo that brought her to the dance. Off they go, up the 405, to spend what can only have been an amazing night at the Valley Sheraton.

The premise of this movie, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, depends on Los Angeles playing a strong supporting role. You could even look at the L.A. portrayed in Valley Girl as multiple characters: The Valley, Hollywood, and The Beach. Now that I live in L.A., I definitely suffer from the problem of noticing, and often pointing out, the liberties that are taken in presenting the city. It’s something I didn’t think about before moving here in 1994. I find it fascinating to see how parts of Los Angeles are stitched together to create a version of the city that suits the needs of the storyteller.

L.A. is actually the first character you see and hear about as Valley Girl starts. A radio announcer says, “…they’ll be playing at the Hollywood Bowl…” as we hover above the Lake Hollywood reservoir looking toward Hollywood. We then head over the hills that house the famous sign for a reveal of The Valley. Well, it’s Burbank, but close enough. What I do find amusing is that instead of panning west into The Valley proper, we pan east into Glendale. Anyway, what-EVER! The first place where we encounter the Valley girls is The Mall. Duh. The location used for the opening sequence is the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, not the Sherman Oaks Galleria which is often misstated on various websites. In addition to official location lists, there is a clear shot of a door handle at the mall that says Del Amo on it.

Click through to read more and see the trailer

L.A. Plays Itself in the Movies: Swingers (1996)

April 14, 2010 in Entertainment, Fictional LA, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Movies

Vegas, baby. Vegas.”

The film that spawned one of the most overused Vegas quotes of our time isn’t about Las Vegas at all. Swingers is so L.A.

Location. Location. Location. For me, the thrill of watching Swingers is noticing all of the familiar locations around town. The characters in this film never stay in one spot for long, always on the move from one bar to another bar, to a Hollywood Hills party, then to a coffee shop for a late night breakfast. All in their own separate cars of course. It’s laughable, but even today I notice that most of my friends in L.A. drive separately, despite that we all live in close proximity of each other and are meeting at the same place.

When I relocated to L.A. in 2003, the very first bar a friend took me to was The Dresden Restaurant to see Marty and Elayne perform. Immortalized by the film, The Dresden remains one of my favorite lounges in L.A. Located at 1760 North Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz, The Dresden makes its appearance in the scene where Mike (Jon Read the rest of this entry →

Jeff and Erin’s Epic LA Wedding “Save the Date” Video

January 24, 2010 in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, People

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

If you’ve been to as many weddings as I have, then you’ve also received your fair share of “Save the Date” notices. Though I’ve seen some really creative ones cross my desk, I’ve never seen a “Save the Date” as EPIC as Jeff & Erin’s!

Jeff Wong & Erin Martin met while they were in college in SoCal in 2000, but their love has landed them down-under– Sydney, Australia. Ten years after they first met, they are tying the knot in the Los Angeles area, and they’ve created a wedding website, a “teaser poster” and a “wedding trailer” to lead up to the wedding date. Since Jeff did some video production in college, they “started with a simple idea that was going to be a weekend project.” But then, in their own words, they “just got a little carried away.”

With all the attention that they are getting on this trailer– they’ve been written up in HuffPo & Boing Boing– I am guessing there are going to be high expectations for their wedding. (No pressure, guys!)

I’m also guessing that they’re going to have to lockdown parts of their website which was originally started just for their friends and family. The site is already being innundated by visits from strangers who are congratulating them — and wanting to know where this wedding is going to be so they can crash it– who is with me on this one!?!? (Kidding!)

Anyway, congrats to Jeff and Erin and best wishes on their big day!

Definitive New 35mm Restoration of RASHOMON at the Nuart

September 30, 2009 in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, West Side

RashomonI try not to take for granted the vast number of cool events that happen in Los Angeles. I know that a screening of an almost 60 year-old Japanese movie doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that you can only find in L.A., but it is! The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is presenting a stunning new restoration of Akira Kurosawa’s classic “Rashomon,” taken from a 35mm print created in 1962 from the original camera negative.

The truth of the matter is that because the heart of the film industry is here in Los Angeles, so is the heart of film restoration efforts. Film restoration is extremely tedious and costly, and many of our film treasures are being lost at a rapid rate. Because are we lucky enough to be in a city where much of the restoration is done, occasionally beautifully restored films are publicly screened here!

In this case, we’ll get to see the groundbreaking Kurosawa masterpiece Rashomon, starring Toshiro Mifune in the role that catapulted him to stardom. The film depicts the rape of a woman and the apparent murder of her husband through the widely differing accounts of four witnesses, including the rapist and the dead man (through a medium). The stories are mutually contradictory, leaving the viewer to determine which, if any, is the truth. Rashomon has become synonymous with the unknowability of truth, and spawned the term the “Rashomon Effect.” regarding the subjectivity of perception on recollection.

Regarding this particular restoration:

While the [35mm print from 1962] print itself was in good physical condition, the source material from which it was made was extremely battered. Due to the extensive printing and handling it had received over its lifetime, many shots were already starting to shrink and warp, and there were numerous scratches, dust, and dirt in the damaged negative. Scanned at 4k resolution, that 47-year-old print has been meticulously cleaned both digitally and by hand, complete with a new, seamless soundtrack. This essential restoration has been made possible by the Academy Film Archive, the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and Kadokawa Pictures, Inc., with funding provided by Kadokawa Cultural Promotion Foundation and Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation.

Rashomon opens Friday, October 2, 2009 at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre, showing through Thursday, October 8 for an exclusive one-week engagement. Showtimes: Fri-Sun at 12:00, 2:30, 5:00, 7:30 & 10:00; Mon-Thu at 5:00, 7:30 & 10:00. Landmark’s Nuart Theatre is at 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, just west of the 405 Freeway, in West Los Angeles. Program information: 310-281-8223; www.landmarktheatres.com

Crumbling infrastructure? All in a day’s work for Godzilla.

July 30, 2009 in Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers

gmk_poster

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high tension wires down
Godzilla!

Hey, Angelenos! Put down that copy of G-Fan, take the needle off that Blue Oyster Cult LP, and put on your favorite pair of Pumas.

Why? Because American Cinematheque is screening Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) tonight at 7:30 pm at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Not only is the film, in this humble writer’s opinion, the very best Godzilla flick after Ishirō Honda’s original from 1954, but it’s also being followed by Honda’s Battle in Outer Space (1959), a rarely-screened Toho gem that partially inspired Star Wars.

That is all. And now, back to California’s regularly scheduled budget cuts.

Image: Poster art for Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Courtesy of the American Cinematheque.

NYT Covers Bourgie Industry Kids Playing Music, Smoking

June 25, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Music, Rants

nytkidsmusic

I read this story in the NYT a few days ago, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind, accompanied by a weird distaste. The writer ID’s a “trend” among the children of Hollywood elites: playing music, having shows in each other’s luxe backyards, slumming at thrift stores for hipster threads.

Indie music has a long and storied history in Southern California…continuing today at popular all-age sites like the Smell in downtown Los Angeles and Pehrspace near Echo Park.

But to veterans of this scene and the latest crop of show-going kids, elements of the city’s music landscape have lately been skewing even younger and emanating from tonier enclaves, like Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and Hancock Park.

Really?

Where is this animosity in me coming from? Am I just jealous of how these trust-fund kids can pursue their PBR wishes and record-crate dreams? Or am I annoyed because this doesn’t…seem…newsworthy?

When I was working in print, they’d say “Three makes a trend.” Writer Jennifer Bleyer definitely name-checks more than three Industry spawn: Tallulah Willis (of Bruce); “Keely Dowd, the daughter of Jeff Dowd, a producer on whom the Coen brothers based the main character of ‘The Big Lebowski,’”; apparently the girls from The Like all sprang from the loins of Industry (music and movie) players; and, oh yes, “Michael Shuman, the bassist for Queens of the Stone Age who went to Campbell Hall, is the son of Ira Shuman, a producer of ‘Night at the Museum’ and the new ‘Pink Panther’ films.

Bleyer tells a tale of a successful screenwriter who’s arranged for his son to continue his drum lessons during their summers in Italy. Which is great. Right? Good for him.

So why am I so annoyed? Am I just jealous? Should this article ever have been written? Haven’t the rich been indulging their kids’ dilettantisms for millenia? This isn’t a “trend.” This is business as usual.

I’m calling on the NYT to actually cover newsworthy scenes producing quality art–be it music or any other creative efflorescence–in LA. Stop going for the low-hanging fruit that only underscores your lack of familiarity with the cultural terrain. If this story even deserves to exist, it should have been about the music–not the pedigrees.

So What Happened at the Anvil Screening?

May 7, 2009 in Announcements, Celebrity, Entertainment, Music

Friend of the blog, Eric (@es on twitter) sent us this picture taken after the screening of Anvil: The Story of Anvil this past Wednesday at the Landmark Theater in Westwood.

The band asked Eric how he heard about the screening and he said Metblogs. Thanks for the shout out, man! Then the band sent me a direct message on twitter to thank me for spreading the word (my previous post here). How cool is that?

Anvil and Eric Schlissel

Here are some soundbytes Eric clipped during the Q&A with the band and the director after the movie:

- A lot of people turned out for the screening, the top of the theater was packed

- The band is being managed by the manager of the Scorpions now

- EMI Canada recently changed their minds and decided to press a few CDs for the band (after rejecting them in the movie)

- Anvil brought their last Sundance poster for some guy named Oscar (a dude in the audience who was having a birthday)

- They couldn’t get distribution for the movie, even though everyone at Sundance loved them, so they’re doing it on their own

- They will have three tracks on Rock Band soon

- Audience Question: “Why dildo’s?” Anvil Answer: “They were $3 each”

Thanks again for the follow up, Eric!

Meet Anvil This Wednesday

May 4, 2009 in Announcements, Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Music

I just saw Anvil! The Story of Anvil last night and I am so totally enraptured that I would gladly endure another sweltering, crowded, reeling from motion sickness car ride from Silver Lake to Westwood to see it again. I would.

In fact, I may be doing that because I just found out that Anvil will be making a live appearance at the 7:50 PM screening of the film this Wednesday at The Landmark Theater in Westwood! You can buy tickets in advance here.

For those unfamiliar, Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a documentary about the Canadian heavy metal band, Anvil. This is not one of those Spinal Tap-ish fake documentaries, these dudes are painfully real. The film is directed by Sacha Gervasi and I would tell you more about it, but it won’t be as good as you just watching the trailer, so check it out:

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Anvil! The Story of Anvil is only showing at one theater in LA, Read the rest of this entry →

Avatar of Burns!

by Burns!

Win Free Tickets To Tokyo!

March 16, 2009 in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, West Side

tokyo_city_11x17_72dpiI’ve got free tickets to Tokyo!, and you won’t even need a passport. No, not that Tokyo. I’m talking about the new movie from directors Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind,”) Leos Carax (“Lovers On The Bridge,”) and Bong Joon-Ho (“The Host.”)

Last week I was invited to a VIP screening of Tokyo! at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood. I should say right here that my motivation for attending wasn’t that Sapporo was sponsoring the event. Well, not my sole motivation. I was looking forward to seeing the movie, and an opportunity to chat with Michel Gondry, who was also in attendance.

Tokyo! is a triptych (the whole is comprised of three separate shorts,) each director offering his own surreal interpretation of life in that huge, bustling city. Gondry’s “Interior Design” follows a young woman who experiences a transformation. In Carax’s “Merde,” a bizarre man spreads panic in the streets of the city. Bong’s “Shaking Tokyo” is the story of a hikikomori, a shut-in, who falls in love.

Beyond the cut you’ll find my thoughts on the movie and how you can win your very own tickets to see Tokyo! when it begins it’s limited engagement at the Nuart on Friday, March 20. Click it!

Read the rest of this entry →

It’s A Wonderful Life, the 1967 Echo park Xmas parade on Super-8, & Doug Harvey’s Moldy Slides!

December 19, 2008 in Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, History, Holidays, Seasonal

It’s that time of the year again! Time to drag out the classics. From the Echo Park Film Center, whose last date of operation before it closes for the holidays is this Satruday (they won’t re-open until January):

What a wacky and wonderful year it’s been! Join us for EPFC’s last event of 2009… our annual screening of that ol’ holiday classic, It’s A Wonderful Life. Sentimental sobbing encouraged.

Also on the bill, a very rare and special treat: incredible Super 8 footage of the 1967 Echo Park Christmas Parade shot by the one and only Mr. Al Kasselman! Neighborhood history at its finest!

And for those who have been both naughty and nice, a very special presentation of Doug Harvey’s Moldy Slide Show.

The event is free, with eggnog, cookies & reindeer treats in attendance, as well as your lovely visage.