Ed Yerke-Robins

Husband, father, freethinker, potty mouth.

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The Dog Who Touched The Stars

art © Nick Abadzis, used with permission of First Second Books

The early days of the Space Race seemed more like an anxious sprint than a marathon to the moon. The launch of Sputnik I cast the eye of the Iron Curtain upon the entire world, and its success only inspired Premier Khrushchev to set his sights higher. Sputnik II would outdo the eye by sending a Soviet body into orbit - the first living organism to leave our planet. Despite their zeal, engineers knew the mission was too dangerous for a man, so instead they managed Moscow’s mongrels into unwilling cosmonauts & unknowing propaganda agents.

This is the backdrop of Laika, a moving biographical drama about the preparation, execution & tragic consequences of these experiments. From the very first pages, both man & beast share a struggle to survive an oppressive state. Korolev, the man who would become Sputnik’s chief designer, embarks on a suicidal march from the gulag to party headquarters, while Kudryavka, the dog who would become Laika, bounces between adoring & abusive peasant households, settling in the arms of government captors.

In such hostile conditions, the ancient adage that dog is man’s best friend takes on new meaning. Yelena, Laika’s handler, struggles to suppress her increasing objections to the program. Were she to speak out on their behalf, her job & perhaps even liberty would be at stake. Instead, she forms a psychic bond with her charges, sharing surreal dream sequences & secret conversations (beautifully captured by the comic format). Other characters who express little care for their subjects scramble to grasp the unfolding events as they drift further from humanity & towards the bottle. Even Laika’s real-life supervisor Oleg Gazenko is quoted in a stark epilogue: “We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog”.

Writer Nick Abadzis also illustrated his story. A simple style ensures the characters and themes stay at the forefront. Muted palettes & sterile tones underscore the barrenness of backdrops locked deep within Mother Russia & the sadness of sending animals bold enough to go where no one has gone before, but unable to comprehend that they’ll never make it back. Laika was just another piece of the Soviet machine during her lifetime, but Laika elevates her to dignified, tragic cosmic hero, as she deserves.

Laika is available in trade paperback & hardcover from First Second Books.

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Cinema is a medium of ghosts. Like sprites dancing on a midnight moor, the magic of the movies can be explained away as a trick of light & shadow. But if you look - and if you believe - you’ll see spirits trapped in time. Locked in perpetual performance, these figures were once living people, now blessed with eternal youth but cursed to re-enact the same mechanical motions forever.

Roundhay Garden Scene (1888), the earliest known experiment in filmmaking, lasts barely two seconds. But the birth of cinema also delivers its first ghost. Sarah Whitley, the woman in black, passed away mere days after its filming. Its creator, Louis Le Prince, vanished without a trace two years later (coincidentally - or not - he was traveling towards the first public exhibition of his life’s work, which he was hoping to patent).

But had this scene held a newborn baby, and had that baby grown up to be the oldest person in history, she still would have left us two years ago. While most media can live beyond their creator, cinematic immortality is unique in its eeriness. Everyone in this clip is dead. Their children are dead. Perhaps their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren too. But their ghosts laugh and dance like nothing’s changed. Because for them, it never will.

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LAist Weekend Movie Guide: July 13, 2012 at 10:30AM

originally posted on LAist.com: http://bit.ly/PVKaUJ

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Set sail with ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT. Promotional image courtesy Blue Sky / 20th Century Fox.

Pretty soon there’ll be as many Ice Age movies as Land Before Times. Ten years after the first film (that’s a scary thought), Ice Age: Continental Drift doesn’t drift from the series’ core leads. Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary & screwball saber-toothed squirrel Scrat - are all back. This time they’re joined by even more musical mammoths - Keke Palmer, Heather Morris (Glee), Nicki Minaj & Drake - and saber-toothed singer J-Lo. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) voices the villain, a prehistoric pirate ape.

Easy Money joins contemporaries Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & Headhunters in a slick Scandinavian cycle of violent crime. The thriller was a swimming success in its native country (where it’s soon to receive a sequel), and may make a Killing on our shores given lead Joel Kinnaman’s success on that AMC show. Here, Kinnaman plays JW, a business student who becomes a drug-runner to keep up with his elitist upperclassmen. But his greatest struggle comes when his Muslim-Albanian gang draws the ire of rival Serbian enforcers. Martin Scorsese (who knows a thing or two about violent crime thrillers) is already an avowed fan. Easy Money opens exclusively at the Nuart.

Full list appears below. Take further advantage of our fantastic film culture by taking in a revival screening, midnight movie or outdoor screening!

WIDE RELEASE

Ice Age: Continental Drift (Reviews) (Showtimes) (3D Showtimes)

LIMITED RELEASE

Ballplayer (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)
Cocktail (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7)
Easy Money (Reviews) (Nuart Theatre)
Farewell, My Queen (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Royal Theatre)
Top Priority: The Terror Within (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Trishna (Reviews) (The Landmark)
Union Square (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)

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LAist Film Calendar: July 11, 2012 at 04:00PM

originally posted on LAist.com: http://bit.ly/N5lxTf

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No terminal is safe from Angelina-nonymous in HACKERS (1995). Screen capture courtesy MGM Home Entertainment.

One of my wife’s dream double features is a “Damn The Man!” night pairing counter-culture classics Hackers & Empire Records. Thanks to Something Old, Something New, the Association of Moving Image Archivists' monthly series at the New Beverly, half her dream will come true. Friday & Saturday, their “Tales of Technology” program screens Hackers (1995) in glorious 35mm, accompanied by 711 Ocean Drive (1950), ripe for rediscovery from Sony’s archives. In a time when hacking a mainframe would’ve required a three-hole punch, this techno noir leveraged then-emerging technologies of phone-tapping & local broadcasting for its “expose of the $8,000,000,000 gambling syndicate” (& that’s in 1950s money!). Speaking of local, sequences shot in & around the Sunset Strip show vintage landmarks like Sherry’s Restaurant (now The Key Club).

After hacking the planet, take advantage of the Friday the 13th & hack some people. When we posted Jon D.A.’s horror short Hipster Holocaust a few weeks back, Arcata-based filmmaker William Burgess was quick to inform us that he had already made a feature-length Hipster Holocaust (2011) horror flick…wait for it…before it was cool! When two uninvited guests disrupt a vapid mansion party of sex & drugs & vintage clothes, the hedonism hits the skids & the hip hits the fan! Burgess’ work gets the (Laemmle’s) Royal treatment at its midnight premiere, with the director in person & the cast in pieces! Make your own double feature by streaming D.A.’s short while waiting in line for Burgess’ feature!

Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

ALL WEEK

Ballplayer (2011) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)
Cocktail (2012) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7)
Easy Money (2010) (Nuart Theatre)
Farewell, My Queen (2012) (Laemmle’s Royal Theatre)
The Intouchables (2011) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Top Priority: The Terror Within (2012) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Trishna (2011) (The Landmark)
Unforgivable (2011) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Union Square (2012) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)

THURSDAY 07/12

Channel 101 (free event) (Downtown Independent)
Damsels in Distress (2011) / Kicking and Screaming (1995) (New Beverly Cinema)
The Do-Deca-Pentathalon (2012) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Fat Kid Rules the World (2012) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Gimme Shelter (1970) (Egyptian Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen)
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) (free 3D screening w/ producer Lori Forte) (USC School of Cinematic Arts)
Mini Cinema (w/ free popcorn & drinks) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)
People vs. The State of Illusion (2012) (w/ director Austin Vickers) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
RAWcross America (2012) (free premiere screening) (Downtown Independent)
A Star Is Born (1954) (Aero Theatre) (Classics and Restorations on the Big Screen)
You Only Live Twice (1967) / A View to a Kill (1985) (LACMA)

FRIDAY 07/13

711 Ocean Drive (1950) / Hackers (1995) (New Beverly Cinema)
Battle Royale (2001) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
Beauty and the Beast (1946) / La Nuit Fantastique (1942) (LACMA) (French Film Fridays)
Blind Revenge (2010) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Deep Blue Sea (1999) (w/ director Renny Harlin) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Friday Night Frights)
Farewell, My Queen (2012) (w/ Diane Kruger at 7pm screening) (Laemmle’s Royal Theatre)
Ghost (1990) (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) (Oscars Outdoors)
Hipster Holocaust (2011) (midnight show) (Laemmle’s Royal Theatre)
Hook (1991) / The Princess Bride (1987) (Downtown Independent)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) / A Simple Plan (1998) (w/ Billy Bob Thornton) (Egyptian Theatre)
Nipples and Palm Trees (2011) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
The Pact (2012) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Poppy (1936) (Old Town Music Hall)
Seven Men From Now (1956) / Decision at Sundown (1957) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Ride Lonesome: The Films of Budd Boetticher)
Stitch in Time (2012) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Taxi Driver (1976) / The Collector (1965) (Aero Theatre) (Classics and Restorations on the Big Screen)

SATURDAY 07/14

711 Ocean Drive (1950) / Hackers (1995) (New Beverly Cinema)
Baseball, Dennis, and the French (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Bernie (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Bill W. (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Cat Ballou (1965) (Autry National Center) (What is a Western?)
Gone With the Wind (1939) (Aero Theatre) (Classics and Restorations on the Big Screen)
Hairspray (1988) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings)
I Heart Shakey (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
The Matchmaker (2010) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
The Moderns (1988) (Egyptian Theatre) (Staff Pick)
Party Girl (1995) (w/ director Daisy von Scherler Mayer) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (CinemaDiscotheque)
PeeWee’s Big Adventure (1985) (Eat See Hear) (Bloch Field at The Port of Los Angeles)
Poppy (1936) (Old Town Music Hall)
Prank (2012) (premiere screening w/ cast & crew) (Downtown Independent)
The Princess Bride (1987) (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) (Oscars Outdoors)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Live Shadowcast Midnight Show) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O’ The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Midnight Insanity Midnight Show) (South Coast Village Regency Theaters)
Rollerball (1975) (New Beverly Cinema) (New Beverly Midnights)
Silent Serials (Egyptian Theatre)
The Tall T (1957) / Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Ride Lonesome: The Films of Budd Boetticher)
Your Sister’s Sister (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)

SUNDAY 07/15

Baseball, Dennis, and the French (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Bernie (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Bill W. (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
I Heart Shakey (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Jason and the Argonauts (1963) (Aero Theatre) (Classics and Restorations on the Big Screen)
The Leopard (1963) (Aero Theatre) (Classics and Restorations on the Big Screen)
The Matchmaker (2010) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Poppy (1936) (Old Town Music Hall)
Shane (1953) (The Bay Theatre)
South Pacific (1958) (w/ special guests) (Egyptian Theatre) (The Egyptian at 90)
Tokyo Olympiad (1965) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (The Body Athletic)
Tour de France (Art Theatre of Long Beach) (Bike Film Fest)
El Velador (2011) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Archive Documentary Spotlight)
Your Sister’s Sister (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)

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LAist Weekend Movie Guide: July 06, 2012 at 12:00PM

originally posted on LAist.com: http://bit.ly/LuGesD

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Andrew Garfield swings low, webbed chariot, in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Promotional image courtesy Sony Pictures.

It’s customary for studios to release films on a Wednesday during summer holidays to maximize box-office earnings. Since the 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year, Sony opened superhero tentpole The Amazing Spiderman even earlier, with some theaters even screening it Monday at midnight. According to Box Office Mojo, the web-slinger’s used the extra time to net nearly $60M.

If you haven’t seen Spidey yet, here’s the scoop. Andrew Garfield takes over for Tobey Maguire as the titular hero & his high school alter-ego Peter Parker. Director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) takes it back to the beginning - but this time it’s a little different. Peter’s trying to unravel what happened to his missing parents, and it sticks him in a whole web of trouble, from anti-vigilante police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), the mysterious OsCorp. & the monstrous Lizard (Rhys Ifans, previously of Peter Pan prequel Neverland). Classmate cum crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) proves to be Peter’s only ally in this darker take on the classic character.

Should you desire an unfriendly neighborhood slinger, move close to the border & even closer to the edge with Savages. Here, the swinging comes from a menage-a-trois relationship between two marijuana growers (Kick-Ass' Aaron Johnson & Taylor Kitsch, who's looking to turn 2012 around after headlining its most famous flops) and their muse Ophelia (Gossip Girl's Blake Lively). The masked man is no hero, but Lado (Benicio del Toro), a murderous enforcer for cartel queenpin Elena (Salma Hayek). Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July) directs from a screenplay written by himself, Shane Salerno (the 2010 Hawaii Five-O) & Don Winslow (adapting his novel of the same name).

In limited release, counter-programming comes courtesy of bittersweet romance Take This Waltz, starring Michelle Williams & Luke Kirby (Mambo Italiano) as neighbors who fall for each other despite her happy marriage to Seth Rogen. Canadian actress Sarah Polley (Go!) directs from her own original script. The film plays in West LA at The Landmark & Laemmle locales in Pasadena & Encino.

More sentimental romantics should seek out The Magic of Belle Isle, the latest from director Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally). The downhome romance stars Morgan Freeman as a fallen Western writer who finds a new life with Virginia Madsen (Sideways) as he helps care for her kids. The film opens at the Laemmles in Beverly Hills & Encino. If you can’t make it out, it’s also available on VOD.

Full list appears below. For festivals, revival screenings & midnight movies, be sure to check out The Amazing Film Calendar, man!

WIDE RELEASE

The Amazing Spiderman (Reviews) (Showtimes) (3D Showtimes) (IMAX 3D Showtimes)
Katy Perry: Part of Me (Reviews) (Showtimes) (3D Showtimes)
Savages (Reviews) (Showtimes)

LIMITED RELEASE

Bol Bachchan (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7)
Crazy Eyes (Reviews) (Nuart Theatre)
The Do-Deca-Pentathalon (Reviews) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
The Magic of Belle Isle (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
Never Stand Still (Reviews) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)
Take This Waltz (Reviews) (The Landmark) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)

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LAist Film Calendar: July 04, 2012 at 11:30AM

originally posted on LAist.com: http://bit.ly/MxAOg2

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These ain’t sparklers! BATTLESHIP plays Thursday at the Cinefamily as Doug Benson’s latest Movie Interruption. Publicity photo courtesy Universal.

Who says the fireworks have to stop tonight? Doug Benson sets off one of 2012’s biggest bombs tomorrow at the Cinefamily for his latest Movie Interruption. The first in a slate of board game adaptations that reportedly includes Candy Land, Monopoly & Ouija, Hasbro’s Battleship (2012) sailed over budget & sank like a stone, the perfect target for a volley of jokes from the good ship Benson. For more fun pitting Americans against aliens, New Beverly Midnights celebrates another 4th this Saturday - Rocky IV (1985). Dolph Lundgren’s iconic villain Drago “must break” Rocky for the Soviet Union, but our Sly boxer wields the power of red, white, blue…AND VENGEANCE!

Trim the testosterone & triple the terror with the Viscera Film Festival’s Bloody Carpet Kick-Off at the Egyptian. The fest honors female genre filmmakers past & present - embodied in its main events, an opening preview of Danielle Harris’ (the Halloween & Hatchet franchises) directorial debut Among Friends and closing presentation of their first Inspiration Award to Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary). Between those two, the all-night event features 13 shorts (many of which are local or world premieres) screening in competition alongside coming attractions (among the trailers is Lambert’s own Dark Path Chronicles). All that & an after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel will set you back a scant $11.

Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

ALL WEEK

Bernie (2012) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Bol Bachchan (2012) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7)
Crazy Eyes (2012) (Nuart Theatre)
Downtown Film Festival (Downtown Independent)
The Do-Deca-Pentathalon (2012) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Katy Perry: Part of Me (Reviews) (Showtimes)
The Magic of Belle Isle (2012) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
Neil Young Journeys (2011) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Never Stand Still (2012) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Savages (2012) (Laemmle’s Noho 7) (The Landmark)
Take This Waltz (2011) (The Landmark) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
To Rome With Love (2012) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Your Sister’s Sister (2012) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)

THURSDAY 07/05

Doug Benson’s Movie Interruption: Battleship (2012) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Goldfinger (1964) / From Russia With Love (1964) (LACMA)
Jules and Jim (1962) / Vivre Sa Vie (1962) (Aero Theatre)
The Omega Man (1971) / The Last Man on Earth (1964) (Egyptian Theatre)

FRIDAY 07/06

The Apple (1980) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
The Battle of Algiers (1966) / Pépé le Moko (1937) (New Beverly Cinema)
Contempt (1963) / Mississippi Mermaid (1969) (LACMA) (French Film Fridays)
Crazy Eyes (2012) (w/ director Adam Sherman and actors Lukas Haas & Madeline Zima at 7:30 & 9:50 shows) (Nuart Theatre)
Harold and Maude (1971) (The Bay Theatre)
Never Too Young to Die (1986) (midnight show) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Heavy Hitter Midnites)
The Pretty Things: Midnight to Six 1965-1970 (2010) / The Small Faces: All or Nothing 1965-1968 (2009) (Egyptian Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen)
Sherlock Jr. (1934) / The Cameraman (1928) (Aero Theatre)
Stagecoach (1939) (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences)
Trás-os-Montes (1976) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (The Films and Legacy of António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro)

SATURDAY 07/07

2012 Viscera Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
Ana (1985) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (The Films and Legacy of António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro)
The Battle of Algiers (1966) / Pépé le Moko (1937) (New Beverly Cinema)
Bernie (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
The Big Leboski (1998) (Devil’s Night Drive In)
Bill W. (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Bringing Up Baby (1938) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings)
Crazy Eyes (2012) (w/ director Adam Sherman and actors Lukas Haas & Madeline Zima at 7:30 & 9:50 shows) (Nuart Theatre)
Dazed and Confused (1993) (Eat See Hear) (FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) / Grand Hope Park)
First Position (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Guns and Guitars (1936) / Riders in the Sky (1949) (Autry National Center) (Saturday Matinee)
North Shore (1987) (w/ cast & crew) (Aero Theatre)
The Nutty Professor (1996) (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences)
Paul Williams: Still Alive (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Rocky IV (1985) (New Beverly Cinema) (New Beverly Midnights)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Live Shadowcast Midnight Show) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O’ The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Midnight Insanity Midnight Show) (South Coast Village Regency Theaters)
Turn Me On, Dammit (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)

SUNDAY 07/08

Bernie (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Bill W. (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Cruzin’ (Art Theatre of Long Beach) (Bike Film Fest)
First Position (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
In the Heat of the Night (1967) / Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) (w/ producer Walter Mirisch) (Aero Theatre)
The Love Parade (1929) / The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Archive Treasures)
Paul Williams: Still Alive (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
San Pedro Labor Fest (Warner Grand Theatre)
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) / All the Right Moves (1983) (w/ director Howard Deutch & actress Lea Thompson) (Egyptian Theatre)
T.J. Miller’s Hangover Matinee feat. The Forbidden Zone (1982) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Turn Me On, Dammit (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)

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LAist Weekend Movie Guide: June 29, 2012 at 11:00AM

originally posted on LAist.com: http://laist.com/2012/06/29/weekend_movie_guide_0629.php

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Can Mark Wahlberg & Mila Kunis bear the presence of TED? Screencap courtesy Universal Pictures.

In the last decade, Seth MacFarlane has built a comedy kingdom of TV shows, web series & even a big-band album. With Ted, he takes his styling to the big screen. It hits all his notes - buffoon everyman (Mark Wahlberg) with talking nonhuman friend, MacFarlane voicing said friend (a walking, talking, smoking, drinking teddy bear) and Family Guy alumnus Mila Kunis. Only this time they can launch f-bombs - and if the official trailer & Twitter feed are any indication, do they ever!

From bear to bare, something else gets launched in Magic Mike. Actually, two things: lots of money at Channing Tatum & all his clothes at appreciative ladies. Tatum stars as a superstar male stripper trying to leverage his other talents, sandwiched between protege Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four) & MC Matthew McConaughey. The film is inspired by Tatum’s early experiences as part of a gentleman’s revue in Florida. Looks like he’s still got the moves! Sometimes-studio, sometimes-indie director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, sex, lies and videotape) helms from a script by newcomer Reid Carolin (who previously worked with Tatum as associate producer on military drama Stop-Loss).

In limited release, be it Porky’s or Superbad, there are too many films about teen boys trying to get laid. But if a girl just wants to have fun, she finds herself pregnant (Juno), a punchline (“this one time at band camp…”), or punished for “sluttiness” (every slasher ever made). Norwegian coming of age dramedy Turn Me On, Dammit!, opening at Laemmle locales NoHo, Pasadena & Santa Monica, is a refreshing counterpoint. Guys aren’t the only ones getting hot & bothered this summer.

Turn Me On, Dammit! opens with 15-year old Alma (Helene Bergsholm) masturbating to a phone sex line. She & the operator are on a first name basis, and the call is a birthday gift to her as a frequent customer. It’s one of many trips below the belt pursuing sensual, often awkward fantasies. A close encounter with longtime crush Artur (Matias Myren) is her most sensual dream come true - and it may in fact be. When he denies anything happened, Alma’s friends & community turn on her (dammit). As she tries to piece together what happened & how to fix it, her hormones only rage further out of control.

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Alma (Helene Bergsholm) prepares for a party in TURN ME ON, DAMMIT!, a film by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen. Photo courtesy of New Yorker Films.

Despite its title & frank sexuality, Turn Me On, Dammit! never feels exploitative. Director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen applies her documentary background to a casual intimacy that gets inside Alma’s head, not her pants. The film has a sweet charm to it, particularly Bergsholm’s performance as Alma. It’s easy to relate to her frustration in small-town Scandinavia; sometimes getting off is the only way to get out. Turn Me On, Dammit! plays at Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, NoHo 7 & Playhouse 7.

WIDE RELEASE

Magic Mike (Reviews) (Showtimes)
People Like Us (Reviews) (Showtimes)
Ted (Reviews) (Showtimes)
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection (Reviews) (Showtimes)

LIMITED RELEASE

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Reviews) (ArcLight Cinemas) (The Landmark)
Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story (Reviews) (Laemmle Theaters)
The Last Ride (Reviews) (Laemmle NoHo 7)
The Matchmaker (Reviews) (Laemmle Theaters)
Neil Young Journeys (Reviews) (Nuart Theatre)
Turn Me On, Dammit! (Reviews) (Laemmle Theaters)
Unforgivable (Reviews) (Laemmle Theaters)

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LAist Film Calendar: June 27, 2012 at 04:00PM

originally posted on LAist.com: http://laist.com/2012/06/27/laist_film_calendar_0628-0701.php

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FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1995) plays Friday at the New Beverly as part of the Vampire-Con Film Festival. Screencap courtesy Dimension Films.

The summer months aren’t kind to vampires, although the season does bring the Vampire-Con Film Festival to the New Beverly. This year’s blood-sucking bonanza begins Friday with Robert Rodriguez’ From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), paired with Mexican horror The Vampire’s Coffin (1958). The coffins keep coming Saturday with House of Dark Shadows (1970), the original big-screen version of the supernatural soap, alongside Grave of the Vampire (1974). There’s no better sanctuary than a dark theater!

Celebrate the sunlight at Cinefamily with Saturday’s Island Summer Party. The all-day affair sets sail with Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson (1960) at 4, the infamous Blue Lagoon (1980) around 7, “Bullets, Bombs & Babes” flick Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) around 9:30 and a midnight screening of Danny Boyle’s The Beach (2000). Hard Ticket producer Arlene Sidaris will appear to introduce that film. Of course, a Cinefamily special event always goes beyond mere movies. Polynesian musicians, fire dancers and a limbo competition between films ensure you’ll have as much fun out of your seat as in it.

Then there are times you need to get out of the theater altogether. This weekend’s Eat|See|Hear outdoor screening brings Zoolander (2001) to Paul Revere Charter Middle School in Brentwood (check out our intro to the series here). Even the biggest screen looks like it was built for ants compared to this behemoth. Self-described “real raunchy flower punk” band The Orwells kicks off the walk off at 7, with food trucks from Border Grill, Buttermilk, Fatburger, Jogasaki Burrito, Nom Nom, Shrimp Pimp, Steel City Sandwich and Vizzi peddling really really good looking treats.

Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

ALL WEEK

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) (Arclight Hollywood) (The Landmark)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011) (Nuart Theatre)
A Drummer’s Dream (2010) (Downtown Independent)
Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story (2012) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3)
The Intouchables (2011) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
The Last Ride (2012) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
The Matchmaker (2010) (Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7) (Laemmle’s Music Hall 3) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
Neil Young: Journeys (2011) (Nuart Theatre)
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
Ted (2012) (Arclight Hollywood) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Turn Me On, Damnit! (2011) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Noho 7) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Unforgivable (2011) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7) (Laemmle’s Royal Theatre) (Laemmle’s Town Center 5)
Your Sister’s Sister (2011) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)

THURSDAY 6/28

71 Into the Fire (2010) (Korean Cultural Center)
Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) (midnight show) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
The Carter (2009) (free event) (Aero Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen at the American Cinematheque)
Crazy Eyes (2012) (free event) (USC School of Cinematic Arts) (Outside the Box (Office))
Don’t Look Back (1967) (Aero Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen at the American Cinematheque)
LA Air: Nancy Jean Tucker (Echo Park Film Center)
OC87 (2010) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Opening Night (free event) (LACMA) (Dance Camera West 11th Annual Dance Media Film Festival)
Rebellion (2011) / La Haine (1995) (w/ actor-director Mathieu Kassovitz) (Egyptian Theatre)
The Salt of Life (2011) / Mid-August Lunch (2008) (New Beverly Cinema)

FRIDAY 6/29

Adult Swim: Black Dynamite Premiere (free event) (Downtown Independent)
Arachnophobia (1990) (midnight show) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Friday Night Frights)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) / The Vampire’s Coffin (1958) (New Beverly Cinema) (Vampire-Con Film Festival)
The Last Ride (2012) (w/ filmmaker Harry Thomason & special guests at the 7:10 screening) (Laemmle’s Noho 7)
Long Shorts Program (free event) (LACMA) (Dance Camera West 11th Annual Dance Media Film Festival)
Morocco (1930) (Old Town Music Hall)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) / When the Wind Blows (1986) (Aero Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen at the American Cinematheque)
She (1935) (w/ Holly Woodlawn) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (Queer/Art/Film)
Soul Train Tribute (free event) (LACMA) (Dance Camera West 11th Annual Dance Media Film Festival)
A Star is Born (1937) (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) (Oscars Outdoors)
Thunderbirds are Go (1966) / Thunderbird Six (1968) (Egyptian Theatre)
The Warriors (1978) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)

SATURDAY 6/30

Bill W. (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Channel 101 (free event) (Downtown Independent)
Cinefamily Summer Island Party (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Enter the Void (2009) (New Beverly Cinema) (New Beverly Midnights)
First Position (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Going Somewhere (2011) (free event) (Hammer Museum) (Dance Camera West 11th Annual Dance Media Film Festival)
The Goonies (1985) (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) (Oscars Outdoors)
House of Dark Shadows (1970) / Grave of the Vampire (1974) (New Beverly Cinema) (Vampire-Con Film Festival)
Labyrinth (1984) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings)
Morocco (1930) (Old Town Music Hall)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) (w/ producer Matty Simmons and actors Stephen Furst & Martha Smith) (Egyptian Theatre)
OC87 (2010) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Palms (1993) (Echo Park Film Center)
Paul Williams: Still Alive (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Live Shadowcast Midnight Show) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O’ The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Midnight Insanity Midnight Show) (South Coast Village Regency Theaters)
Stop Making Sense (1984) / Stax Revue 1967 (2007) (Aero Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen at the American Cinematheque)
Thunderbirds Episodes Part 1 (Egyptian Theatre)
Zoolander (2001) (Eat|See|Hear) (Paul Revere Charter Middle School)

SUNDAY 7/1

1776 (1972) (w/ director Peter H. Hunt) (Egyptian Theatre)
Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Bill W. (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
First Position (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story (2012) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex)
Lolita (1962) (The Bay Theatre)
Monterey Pop (1968) (Aero Theatre) (This Must Be the Place: Music on the Big Screen at the American Cinematheque)
Morocco (1930) (Old Town Music Hall)
National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (Downtown Independent)
OC87 (2010) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Paul Williams: Still Alive (2011) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle’s Playhouse 7)
Pink Ribbons Inc (2011) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Saul Bass on Film: Phase IV (1974) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre)
Thunderbirds Episodes Part 2 (Egyptian Theatre)

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