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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 11/20-27/15
ON NETFLIX: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is basically Kaurismaki meets Monty Python. Written and directed by Roy Andersson, the movie is basically a series of skits with deadpan actors in often absurd situations. It’s Norwegian, but is Sweden’s entry in the Foreign Language Film Category for the Academy Awards.
ON HULU: Written by Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck and director George Lucas, American Graffiti was just about an instant classic the way it effected the audience at the time with its knowing nostalgia even though it took place in the year of its release. It follows a group of high school teens as they take one last cruise down their small town memory lane as they make decisions about their future as summer ends.
SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT: A restored print of The Army of Shadows will be playing this week. Adapted from a novel by Joseph Kessel by writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville, it follows a group of resistance fighters during WWII. What makes the film so powerful is the difficult moral questions that the characters must decide on in a distinctly amoral situation. Perhaps Melville’s greatest film and he did Le Cercle Rouge, Bob la Flambeur and Le Samourai. Not to be missed.
FIRST RUN and OPENING: The Night Before, Brooklyn, Carol, James White, Legend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2, Meditterenea, Room, Spotlight, Trumbo
REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:
AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: New Argentine Cinema begins with The Clan (Argentine’s official entry in the Oscar race) on 11/20 and continues through Sunday; Rear Window, 11/27
AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Black Mass, Crazy Heart, 11/20; The High Sun, 11/22; Singing in the Rain, 11/27
LACMA: The Blue Dahlia, 11/24
NEW BEVERLY: Thief, Manhunter, 11/20-21; March of the Wooden Soldiers, Singing in the Rain, 11/26; The Dirty Dozen, 11/27-28
UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: The Times of Harvey Milk, 11/22
CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: Entertainment 11/20-25; Rocco and his Brothers, 11/27