4th St. Slip ‘n’ Slide!

Holy hell it was hot in Los Angeles today. It’s probably not as hot as it’s gonna get, but still hot enough for me to step on a bottle cap in the parking lot next to Yuca’s and feel it sink into the soft asphalt.

Needless to say, I could’ve used one of these around 2pm…

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=MWk7CDaJe50[/youtube]

Also, you should out LAist’s photo essay from the shoot back in March.

Filmmaker Foiled!

I’ve spent the last six months working on a short film about bicycles, and part of the production involves shooting a bicycle chase in and around the eastern neighborhoods of Downtown Los Angeles. Over the course of my scouting, I’ve come across some truly awesome locations.

Here are two of them (photos by me):

4th_st.jpg grand.jpg

At left, 4th St bridge over the LA River, looking west.  And at right, the street below Grand, in Downtown (as seen in The Terminator and Repo Man).

We’re also shooting in Chinatown and in Boyle Heights. One of the potential locations included the beautiful Mariachi Square, but after scouting in that neighborhood I discovered that the Square is under construction and every street in a 1-block radius has been closed to through traffic.

Foiled!

So the question I put to you, faithful readers is this: What are some of the lesser known but no less interesting and distinctive East La/Boyle Heights/Downtown landmarks that might lend themselves to being photographed?

The Wrong Stuff: McSpaced Shooting Downtown?

Fans of the British TV series Spaced, starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (who created the show along with New Beverly Cinema pal and Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright), have been good and pissed off about the announcement of the show’s impending Americanization. Part of the reason is that Spaced is already as perfect a TV program as you could hope for, and secondly no one involved with the original series was even consulted about its US import, despite what was published in the trades at the time. As a result, teh interweb is aflame with petitions, rants, and boycotts against what fans, Edgar, Simon, and Jess themselves have dubbed McSpaced. I could try to condense the finer details for you, but Edgar already posted about it on his MySpace blog, so read that instead.

Or read this.

Or this.

What’s this have to do with Los Angeles?

04-11-08_1349.jpg04-11-08_1349.jpg04-11-08_1349.jpg04-11-08_1349.jpgIt seems that in spite of all the negative reactions (including a somewhat dubious pilot script review), they’re actually shooting the damn thing. If this production sign is to be believed, then Little Tokyo is playing host to McSpaced as we speak. The picture was snapped as I drove by the intersection of Central and 2nd in Downtown this afternoon.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go find the set, jump in front of the cameras right as the director calls “action” and give everyone the finger, but you would be my hero/heroine if you did. 

NERDGASM!!: Joe Dante brings Inferno upon the New Beverly Tonight!

I’ve been accused of being a shill for what I believe to be one of the greatest movie houses in the world – The New Beverly Cinema – but it’s also been pointed out that “this place shills itself”. Their fantastic film calendar, their cheap tickets, cheap concessions, a lacksadasical policy on alcohol consumption (heck, they encourage it), and best of all, their celebrity film festival curators make going to the Arclight look like a trip to the dentist.

In the recent past, no less than Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, and Eli Roth have all taken control of the New Bev for a fortnight, subjecting privileged Los Angeles movie geeks to some really amazing films and awesome special guests. Starting tonight, director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace) brings us DANTE’S INFERNO.

The schedule looks something like this:

April 9 + 10 MONDO CANE and ZULU

April 11 + 12 HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD and TRUCK TURNER

April 13, 14, 15 THE SADIST and THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER

April 16 + 17 THE SECRET INVASION and TOMB OF LIGEIA

April 18 + 19 WRONG IS RIGHT and Mystery Movie

April 20 + 21 BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW and HORROR EXPRESS

April 22 THE MOVIE ORGY

As with The Wright Stuff and The Greats of Roth programs, Dante and other special guests will appear in person throughout the festival, and each film will be preceded by rare trailers from Mr. Dante’s extensive trailer collection.

You can find a more extensive description of the program from Mr. Dante himself at CHUD.com.

The New Beverly Cinema
7165 West Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90036

(323) 938-4038

(photo by outapckt)

ICME: Lookin’ for Love

Seen taped to a paperbox outside of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Los Feliz. I decided not to block out the email on the off chance any of our astute readers felt compelled to send this enterprising fellow some dating advice.

(edit: WTF does “inhale-to” mean?)

Cinephiles Beware the Dome

Last Friday I finally got around to seeing There Will Be Blood over at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. I wanted to see the film under the best circumstances possible with particular consideration paid to the picture quality. TWBB was in fact shot and posted with a minimum of digital enhancement, most notably where the final color-timing is concerned. (You can read all about it in January’s edition of American Cinematographer Magazine).

Many movies these days go through what is called a digital intermediate. This means that the movie is shot on film, scanned into a computer at two or four thousand lines of resolution, digitally enhanced or altered (the intermediate), and then captured back to film using a laser camera. The “old” way of doing things was to shoot the film on film, then using a series of red, blue, and green printer lights, a colorist would adjust the luminance and chrominance values of the picture, then print the results from the negative directly to film (for more information, read Richard Crudo, ASC’s “A Call for Digital Printer Lights”).

This analogue method of coloring tends to work more within the parameters of a particular film stock’s unique “look”, unlike the DI process which can extend the colorist’s reach beyond the boundaries of the original negative’s capabilities.

That being said, TWBB is a gorgeous film. Having now seen it I can see why Elswit won the Oscar. Each scene has its own look and speaks with its own visual language. I was originally going to see it at the Dome on Sunset when it was playing there a few weeks ago, because as far as I knew the Dome had the best picture and sound in Hollywood. I asked a friend at work if he wanted to come along. He shook his head.

“If you’re going to see that movie, then don’t see it at the Dome,” he replied. “The Dome sucks.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because every movie I’ve seen there looks like shit,” he stated.

 Find out why after the jump…

Continue reading “Cinephiles Beware the Dome”

What Inspires Roger Deakins

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2008/02/deakins-thumb.jpgHe may have lost the Best Cinematography Oscar to Robert Elswit’s There Will Be Blood this year (and deservedly so, from what I’ve heard, and hope to see at some point this week – more on that later), but he was nominated twice this year (The Assassination of Jesse James and No Country for Old Men) and he’s still one of the greatest and most celebrated cinematographers of our time. Bottom line – when Roger Deakins talks, filmmakers everywhere had better sit up and listen.

Los Angeles filmmakers and cinephiles will get their chance on Wednesday, February 27th, when the UCLA Film and TV Archive continues their “occasional series in which today’s leading directors, actors, writers and other filmmakers present the films that have most influenced their careers.

The Archive’s Honorary Chairman and series curator Curtis Hanson hosts.” (From the UCLA Film and TV Archive website.)

More info after the jump.
Continue reading “What Inspires Roger Deakins”

AMC Theaters Offers Oscar Marathon

On February 23, AMC Theaters around the country will be offering moviegoers the chance to catch up on their Oscar nominees for Best Picture – Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Juno, and No Country For Old Men. They’re charging a one-time fee of $30 for all five flicks, a large popcorn with unlimited refills all day, and a “collectible” pass that allows you to come and go as you please (Markland says he’ll be skipping Michael Clayton).

It looks like every AMC is running the same program with the same schedule. CLICK HERE to check out their full list of participating venues.

Thanks to CHUD.com.

Where the Men Still Aren’t

Markland posted an entry back in December that linked to an article on DoubleViking.com about how Los Angeles is not for the manly. The author’s lame excuses were summarily shot down by a lot of your comments – his view of LA seems to stem from little more than a passing knowledge of hair metal, Comedy Central, tabloid fodder and a drunken Saturday night on the Sunset Strip in 1992 – but I’d like to add one more item to the list.
Continue reading “Where the Men Still Aren’t”

blogorrhea.

I hate being constipated. This crap has been backing up in me for about a week now. Whenever I sit down to do the deed, nothing comes. I try to force it, but the only thing I end up with is a headache.

Well, this morning it all came loose, and I’d like to share with you what came out – after the jump!
Continue reading “blogorrhea.”

Lost Souls Cafe 2nd Anniversary

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2008/01/235818793_13f6bc5397-thumb.jpgif you live downtown, the Lost Souls Cafe has been on your radar for some time. if you live elsewhere in the city, the Lost Souls Cafe is just another good reason to get familiar with downtown Los Angeles. sure, it may have open mic nights, bands, and art on the walls just like ninety percent of the other coffee shops in LA, but here it doesn’t feel like an afterthought. you’re not cramming your band into a corner or fighting for wall space with other artists – Lost Souls is a comfortable, well-lit, expansive space.

now in addition to your coffee fix, you can get your drink on alcohol-style. and hot on the heels of their newly-acquired liquor license is the official Lost Souls 2-year anniversary party. music and refreshments are on the house! it’s all happening on saturday night (the 19th) and starts at 5pm and goes until 10. local music acts provide the tunes and the works of local artists and photographers will be on display.

check out the Lost Souls MySpace page for more details (i’d put ’em here for you but MySpace makes my Internet connection choke).

Lost Souls Cafe
Old Bank District – Harlem Place Alley
124 W. 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone 213.617.7006

(photo by zemistor)

OMG!: Coming Out In Los Angeles

Coming out isn’t easy – This town is famous for fostering the kind of environment where other people’s perceptions of you can make or break your chances for success. If it’s success you’re after, or simply acceptance (or, maybe you just don’t care), it’s still never fun to be judged – to get “the look” from someone when they find out, or to hear a friend mocking someone like you in the street or on the television because they don’t know.
Continue reading “OMG!: Coming Out In Los Angeles”

No Screenings for No Country

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2008/01/no_country_for_old_men_coen-thumb.jpgNo Country For Old Men is the newest Cohen Brothers movie, and it’s supposed to be the most amazing film of 2007/2008. Even if it’s not (I’m looking at you, There Will Be Blood), No Country has been setting “Top Ten” lists on fire all over the Internets. It’s been nominated for a bajillion awards and the Oscar talk just won’t stop.

So why the hell is it only screening at two theaters in LA? If you go to Yahoo! Movies, it doesn’t give you any theaters outside of one in Culver and one in Torrance. Google was a little bit more helpful, adding a few LA county theaters to the listing – including the Burbank 8 (not a great theater). I guess I could go to Burbank, but the Arclight is closer… Oh, but wait. You have to be an Arclight member to see the movie there. Okay. I’ll just sign up online. Uh-oh. Their online membership signup service is broken.

I’m gonna make the trek out to Burbank. I don’t want to have to pay fifteen bucks for a movie anyway, I don’t care how good it is.* But still, why can’t the studios cram the good stuff down our throats for once?

*Oh how you spoil me, New Beverly Cinema.