Film buffs win

Jill Clayburgh and Matthew Barry in "Luna"

Film repertory fans in Los Angeles rallied after LACMA announced it was pulling the plug on its four-decade-old weekend film series. And they were apparently heard. This week, Time Warner Cable and The Hollywood Foreign Press (presenter of the Golden Globes) stepped up and donated $150K to fund the series  continuously through next June. After that who knows?

For now, film buffs have scored a victory for the art of cinema and brought new life and resolve to their legions. And as summer’s final weekends dwindle down, there seems to be a cache of diverse films playing at art galleries, cemeteries, museums and, of course, movie theaters. If you’ve got blockbuster fatigue or spend the summer like I do, avoiding them, consider these:

(PICK HIT) Friday: Luna (1979) – Opera, heroin and incest, anyone?  Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial tale of a wildly successful American opera singer, played by Jill Clayburgh, and the sexual relationship that springs up between her and her 15-year-old son as she tries to help him kick his heroin habit. And it’s in English, so there are no subtitles to distract you from the histrionic melodrama. A bizarre hoot. Antebellum Gallery’s Fetish Film Fridays series; 7:30 PM; Antebellum Gallery, 1643 N. Las Palmas Ave. Los Angeles 90028; phone, 323-856-0667 for more info.

Friday: Woodstock (1970) – Are you as sick  as I am of hearing about the defining cultural moment of the latter half of the last century? No? Me neither! Just watch out for the brown acid. Aero Theater, Montana Ave. & 14th St, Santa Monica 90403

santoSaturday: Santo vs. La Invasion De Los Marcianos (1967) – Luchadores rescue Earth from invading Martians in search of human specimens. Screens in the Hammer Museum’s  film series, Aztec Mummies & Martian Invaders: Mexican Sci-Fi Classics. At the Hammer, Westwood & Wilshire Los Angeles 90024

Saturday: An American Werewolf in London (1979) – John Landis cult favorite that I liked when it was released but really, I can’t see watching it again, even if it is being screened at Cinespia’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery summer film series. I’d rather wait for…

Monday: Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Roman Polanski and William Castle team up on one of the most horrifying films ever. Satan wants a son, damn it. And skinny little Mia Farrow is his vessel for the undertaking. Filmed at New York’s spooky Dakota apartment building, with an Oscar-winning performance by Ruth Gordon as the bossy neighbor and devil-enabler. AFI/Arclight Sherman Oaks, Ventura Blvd. at Sepulveda in the Galleria Mall, Los Angeles 91403

Whenever: Redbox at 7/11s around town. Noticed the Redbox video dispensers when your blowing in for a 6-pack? It’s like you can almost hear traditional video stores dying off with each DVD these bland, impersonal, one-dollar-rental boxes spit out. I know Redbox is wrestling in court with studios to carry their videos, but until they tweak the selection for more sophisticated audiences in snobbier sections of town, I can’t see them becoming a regular habit, for me anyway.

The one near me in Silver Lake is stocked with mostly mainstream movies and there are exactly two DVDs in it that I want to watch. Last night I watched one of them, The International, directed by the great Tom Tykwer, and starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts as the good guys going after the bad guys, in this case a huge international bank that funds conflicts in emerging nations, killing anyone who impedes them.

A nimble thriller with a sickening sweep and a depressing ending (just the kind I like,) it deserves to be watched at least for the manic shoot-em-up chase scene through New York’s Guggenheim Museum. It’s certainly worth more than the buck I paid for the rental, and it had me wishing I had seen it in a theater.

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