2013 Film Club Previous Offerings
THE BERLIN FILE, Korea's biggest release of 2013, is a stunning spy thriller which brings North-South Korean tensions to the streets of Berlin with an intensity not seen since the Cold War. Loyalties are questions when an illegal arms deal descends into mayhem after a "ghost" agent appears on the scene, leaving the North Koreans and CIA wondering if there's a more insidious plot at hand. In a tale of redemption where human beings are defined by the dangerous secrets bigger than their own lives. Played at CGV Cinemas, 621 S. Western Ave., in LA.
BESTIARE is a breathtaking exploration of interspecies observation. Shot in Quebec's Parc Safari animal sanctuary over several months, BESTIARE captures a tableau of creatures and their human handlers. In a visually stunning montage with no agenda, no interviews, no narration, and no sentimentality, it is composed like a painting, deep and mysterious, the subjects linger and drift into each other in a startling way. Played at Cinefamily's Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles.
TRISTANA, Luis Bunuel's controversial 1970 masterpiece, stars Catherine Deneuve as an orphaned young woman who becomes the ward of a nobleman (played by Fernando Rey), who seduces her. Leaving him for an artist (played by Franco Nero), she returns to her aging benefactor to calculatingly hasten his demise. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 1971, Vincent Candy called it "nothing less that the quintessential Bunuel film of all time." Newly restored, played at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA.
THE BITTER BUDDHA, aka comedian Eddie Pepitone, is a man at war with himself. This humorous documentary takes an unconventional look at an unconventional man as he struggles with career, the past, and the world around him. Through animation, stand-up comedy and interviews with Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and Marc Maron, among others, Pepitone, one of the best kept secrets on the comedy scene, is revealed in an unhinged portrait of creativity, enlightenment, and rage. Robin Williams calls him "an extraordinary hybrid" with "the comedic content of George Carlin and the vocal volume of Ethel Merman." THE BITTER BUDDHA opens on Friday, Feb. 15th for one week ony at the Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA.
HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA is acclaimed director Werner Herzog and Russian co-director Dmitry Vasyukov's journey to an unforgettable, visually stunning wilderness in the heart of Siberia where 300 indigenous people live in a culture virtually untouched by modernity. It follows a trapper through all four seasons through remote and extreme natural landscapes. Played at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., in West LA.
SHANGHAI CALLING is a romantic comedy about modern-day American immigrants in China. An ambitious NY attorney is transferred to Shanghai on assignment (partially because he's Chinese-American). A fish-out-of-water, he stumbles into a legal mess that could spell the end of his career, but with the help of a beautiful relocation specialists, a well-connected foreign businessman, a clever by unassuming journalist, and a street-smart assistant, he just might save his job, discover romance, and learn to appreciate the many wonders Shanghai has to offer. SHANGHAI CALLING opens Feb. 15 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
MUGABE: VILLAIN OR HERO? Part of the 21st Annual PAN AFRICAN FILM FEST (running Feb. 7th through 18th at AMC Baldwin Hills, 4020 Marlton Ave., 90008. A British filmmaker's personal journey into the world of the infamous leader, from Mugabe's entourage to Mohmar Gaddafi's private jet, surrounded by a host of prominent African leaders. What began as a 3-month mission became a 3-yr. life-changing project, culminating in a rare interview with one of the world's most controversial, reviled leaders, revealing more than we see on our television screens.
56 UP, chronicles the lives of 14 British schoolchildren from diverse backgorunds, asking them about their lives and dreams for the future. Michael Apted's acclaimed series returns to the subjects every 7 years to examined the progression of theirs lives. From cab driver Tony, to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan, and the heart-breaking Neil, more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed - successes and disappointments, marriage, divorce, childbirth, poverty and illness - nearly every fact of life is discussed with the group as they assess whether their lives have ultimately been ruled by circumstance or self-determination. The 7 UP series, which Roger Ebert calls, "an inspired, almost noble us of the film medium, Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life." Played at the Arena Cinema Theatre, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave., in Hollywood.
SAVING LINCOLN tells the story of Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln's self-appointed bodyguard and the only friend the newly-elected President brought to Washington with him. A banjo-playing, joke-telling former law partner and confidante, Lamon was also handy with a gun, serving Lincoln faithfully throughout the Civil War years, witnessing every aspect of the military & political pressure, as wel as the personal losses of family and friends. Not present on that fateful night at Ford's Theatre, his perspective redefines that tragic event in a surprising and uplifting manner. Starring Lea Coco as Lamon and Tom Amandes as Lincoln, it also features Penelope Ann Miller as Mary Todd Lincoln and Bruce Davison as William Seward. SAVING LINCOLN opens Friday, Feb. 15th at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills.
QUARTET, Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut stars Maggie Smith, Billie Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins as retired musicians confronting age and the past in a retirement home for once illustrious performers. With the arrival of a well known operatic soloist, old emotional wounds surface as they prepare for a gala concert. Adapted from a play based upon the documentary "Tosca's Kiss," QUARTET played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas, 8000 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
PORT OF SHADOWS, lauded as one of Marcel Carne's finest films, established the genre of poetic realism, exploring the fog-shrouded zone between past and future, life and death, and the impossibility of escape. The 1938 classic is presented in a new restoration featuring an all-new translation and subtitles and follows a deserter from the Colonial Army in need of a new life and haunted by his past, wondering if he can leave to a disastrous fate the only person who has made him happy. PORT OF SHADOWS opens on Friday, Feb. 1st at Laemmle's Royal in West LA and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATION SHORTS will screen for two weeks at the Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., beginning Feb. 1st. Get a jump on the the office Oscar pool by catching this year's nominees. This year's program will be hosted by last year's winners: William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors of "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."
STAND-UP GUYS stars Academy Award winners Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in a tough, but touching action comedy as retired gangsters who reunite for one last epi night. Three former criminal associates reflect on their glory days and freedom lost and who, despite their age, find their capacity for mayhem is still alive and well. When a dangerous secret is revealed, they are faced with an impossible quandary by a former mob boss, forcing them to confront their past once and for all.
NIGHT is a documentary which celebrates the night with stunning city views, country vistas and interview with people from all walks of life about their nocturnal experiences. while some regard the night with fear and the unknown, for others it signals hearth, home, and freedom from the stresses and worries of the workaday world, while for others it is a time to dress up and step out with friends. Part of Film Festival Flix, NIGHT screens ONLY on Feb. 6th at Laemmles Playhouse 7 and on 2/7 at Laemmle's NoHo 7, followed by a Q & A with Australian filmmaker Lawrence Johnston.
2013 SHORT DOC OSCAR NOMINEES include a rich variety of films - "Kings Point" about a senior retirement resort in Florida; "Open Heart" which follows the journey of Rwandan children to get heart surgery at a free Emergency hospital in the Sudan; "Redemption" about New Yorkers who find treasure in trash; "Inocente" in which a young undocumented immigrant dreams of becoming an artist; and "Mondays at Racine" about a hair salon providing free services for women undergoing chemotherapy. OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT DOCS opens on Feb. 8th at Laemmles Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.
LORE, a 14-yr old German girl, is left to fend for herself when her SS officer father and her mother, a staunch Nazi believer, are interred by the Allies at the end of WWII. Leading her four siblings on a harrowing journey across a devastated country, she meets a charismatic, mysterious young refugee, she finds she must put her trust in the very person she was always taught to hate in order to survive. Played at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Town Center 5, Encino.
LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR looks at the last 40 years of social history to make the case for activism and creative solutions as an antidote to modern cynicism. An exuberant, mixed media collage of music, art, animation and spoken word, it brings together 50 artists, writers, musicians, skateboarders, dancers and rights advocates, including Eve Ensler, Tom Morello, Billy Bragg, Shepard Fairey, Chuck D, Lewis Black and Van Jones, who claim we can re-image the world we live in and take an active role in making that a reality. LET FURY HAVE THE HOUR played at Laemmle's NoHo 7, 5140 Lankershim Blvd.
IN ANOTHER COUNTRY is a laugh-out-loud comedy that plays like a lost French Wave classic. Starring Isabelle Huppert in overlapping stories in which three different French women (all played by Huppert) visit a resort town and encounter a flirtatious director, a love-struck lifeguard and too much soju in a tale of love, lust, and misunderstanding. Opens Friday, 1/11 at Laemmle's Town Center 5, Royal and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
GANGSTER SQUAD chronicles the LAPD's attempts to keep East Coast gangsters out of LA in the '40s and '50s. Starring Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, it features an all-star cast including Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Nick Nolte.
TABU, from Portugal with English sub-titles, is a sumptuous, eccentric two-part tale centered on Aurora, an impulsive, cantankerous elderly woman hospitalized with a grave condition. When her neighbor, Pilar, attempts to contact a mystery man from Aurora's past, it becomes a journey back in time 50 years before the start of the Portuguese Colonial War. A poetic, moving tale of forbidden love, it features a soundtrack of Phil Spector songs. TABU opens on Friday, Jan 25th at Laemmle's Royal in West LA and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
LET MY PEOPLE GO! is a sweet, hilarious fusion of gay romantic comedy, Jewish family drama and French bedroom farce which follows the travails and daydreams of the lovelorn Reuben, a mailman living in Findland with his Nordic boyfriend. When a series of mishaps and a lovers' quarrel exile the heartbroken Reuben back to Paris and his zany family, the result is a heartwarming, fabulously kitschy and funny celebration which upends stereotypes with wit, gusto, and style. LET MY PEOPLE GO! played at Laemmle's Town Center 5 in Encino and Royal in West LA.
FACE TO FACE, an Australian drama directed by Michael Rymer (of "Battlestar Gallactica" fame) deals with restorative justice in a mediation case involving a fired construction workers, his boss, family, friends and co-workers. What seems to be a simple case of vehicular assault is revealed to be the culmination of toxic work environment, sexual harassment, infidelities and racism, which bring the defendant to the breaking point. Part of the Film Festival Flix monthly screening of award-winning films, it seems one night only on 1/9 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and one night only on 1/10 at Laemmle's NoHo 7 in North Hollywood. Followed by a Q & A.
RESOLUTION is a new horror thriller in which two friends confront their personal demons, the consequences of past actions and forces beyond their control. Combining dark humor with thrills and unexpected pathos, RESOLUTION runs Mon - Friday at 7:30 pm and 9:20 pm at the Arena Theatre, 1625 N. Las Palmas Ave. in Hollywood.
MAX AND THE JUNKMEN is a restoration of the Claude Sautet classic in which Max has only one thing on his mind: putting away criminals, knowing that the way to catch a thief is to catch them in the act. When he runs into an old army buddy, he hatches a plan to trick a group of amateurs into committing a major crime by posing as a client of a prostitute, never suspecting that he'd fall in love with her. Opens on Fri. 1/11 at Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills.
UPRISING tells the inside story of the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of its principal leaders and organizers, depicting their struggle against all odds. From the producing team behind "Taxi to the Dark Side" and the editor of "Inside Job," UPRISING tells the story includes never-before-seen footage, along with interviews with Nobel Peace Prize nominees, Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers and presidential candidates and US ambassadors. UPRISING opens on Friday, 1/11 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
FRACKNATION explores economic, personal, scientific, political, and historical factors involved in hydraulic fracturing, claiming to uncover facts suppressed by environmental activists and speaking with rural American whose livelihoods are affected by it. With a decidedly different view than "Gasland" or "Promised Land," it claims to ask tough questions and challenge general assumptions telling a story they feel has been ignored. Sure to be controversial, FRACKNATION opens on Friday, 1/11 at Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
RUST AND BONE tells the rocky love story of two independent, strong-willed souls who bond in the aftermath of a tragic accident. Starring Marion Cotillard as a killer whale trainer who loses her former sense of self in order to be reborn. Played at Sundance Sunset Cinemas.