Jul 22, 2009


It has now been over a year since the release of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, by far the weakest entry in the adventure series. I happened to take a second look at it a couple of weeks ago on Blu-Ray, and the film actually plays much worse now than it did then. Much less exciting than the first three, and saddled with some pretty ridiculous scenes like Shia LaBeouf’s Tarzan impression as this 1950s greaser is somehow able to swing through the jungle on vines with some monkeys, and land smack in the middle of the fight with the Russians with the greatest of ease. Not to mention the artifact that drove Indy’s quest was uninspiring, and the alien element – while I thought might be fun at first – really does not work at all. I am still trying to figure out what “they live in the spaces between space” means.
If it makes you yearn for the Indiana Jones of yesterday (meaning the 1980s – 1981, 1984 and 1989 respectively) then look no further than the American Cinematheque and the Aero this weekend.

This year has seen some great triple feature programming around Los Angeles as both the New Beverly and The Aero held Back-to-Back-to-BACK TO THE FUTURE marathons, and the New Beverly also screen FRIDAY THE 13TH parts 4-6 in succession last month. This weekend adds one that I am sure will be a huge draw, the first three INDIANA JONES films at the Aero in Santa Monica.

Thankfully they have decided to skip KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL and will be starting with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK at 5pm and finishing with INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. Interesting weekend to choose for this because a large amount of people that would regularly attend such an event will be in San Diego for Comic-con, but this is an extra bonus for those people unable to attend (or as is more than likely the case, unable to get tickets to the uber-sold out event). Usually I would be all over this, but I will be at Comic-con (am on the train headed there now as I write this). I can’t complain, love Comic-con, but am bummed that I will be missing this event.

The Cinematheque once screened a pristine print of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK several years ago, I believe it was to celebrate the film’s 20th Anniversary (which was in 2001). I had the opportunity to attend this screening which was packed with many of the attendees dressed as Indiana Jones or other various characters (I do believe there was one Toht, complete with tattooed hand.).

That night the woman introducing the show accidentally stated that we were screening INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM – which resulted in the sold out crowd correcting her in a very animated manner. This time however, they will indeed be screening TEMPLE OF DOOM, and I am very upset especially to be missing this one. I have only seen it projected twice, and the prints were not that good. I am sure the Cinematheque’s print will be pristine, and it would be awesome to see Mola Rom rip out that poor guy’s heart in stunning clarity (not to mention TEMPLE OF DOOM has my favorite of the series’ scores and the sound in the Aero is absolutely fantastic.).

Having seen INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE numerous times projected, I am not too upset to miss this one, however it would have been nice to see all three on the big screen in succession.

Last year I posted an entry about my early experiences seeing Indiana Jones and how it shaped my desire to enter the film industry which makes missing this event a major bummer, but then again, I’m going to be at Comic-con which I never miss (this is #12 I believe for me) so it all evens out.

In any event, if you love Indy and aren’t in San Diego, this is one triple feature you won’t want to miss.

Here is the listing from the American Cinematheque regarding the event:


Indiana Jones Marathon – Family Matinee:

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, 1981, Paramount, 115 min. Archaeologist Harrison Ford battles occult-obsessed Nazis and former girlfriend Karen Allen as he attempts to wrest the Ark of the Covenant from the lost Egyptian city of Tanis. Brilliant, nonstop adventure from director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas that mixes 1930s-style matinee thrills with the ominous threat of Hitler's henchmen controlling one of history's most powerful objects. With terrific support from Paul Freeman as Indy's suave nemesis Belloq, Ronald Lacey as the sinister Nazi officer Toht and John Rhys-Davies as Indy's right-hand man Sallah. Imaginatively written by Lawrence Kasdan (based on Lucas and Philip Kaufman's original story), aided by a typically stirring John Williams score, one of his very best. Trailer

INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, 1984, Paramount, 118 min. Harrison Ford returns as adventurer Indiana Jones in the second installment of director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas’ tribute to the bygone era of cliffhanger movie serials. This time Jones, fleeing Shanghai with an American chanteuse (Kate Capshaw) and a teenage thief, suddenly finds himself in rural India, attempting to help free a village’s children from indentured servitude in the mines belonging to a maniacal cult. Before the last frame unspools, Jones will find himself fighting for survival, along with his comrades, in the nefarious Temple of Doom. Trailer

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, 1989, Paramount, 127 min. Director Steven Spielberg returns for the third entry in the trilogy with Indiana (Harrison Ford) searching for his ill-humored father (Sean Connery) after the brilliant archaeologist is kidnapped by the Nazis for his knowledge of the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, a sacred artifact that, like the first installment’s Ark of the Covenant, supposedly holds supernatural powers to redeem or destroy the world. With a great supporting cast that includes Denholm Elliot, John Rhys- Davies, Julian Glover and River Phoenix (in flashback) as the teenage Indiana Jones. Trailer

The American Cinematheque website can be found HERE.

Also of note this weekend in Southern California for great screenings is at Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever cemetery on Saturday night where THE MUPPET MOVIE will be shown under the stars. The 1979 classic that taught us it isn’t easy being green will be a fun time, and all the Saturday night cemetery screenings are well worth the time, money (10$ donation at the entrance) and effort. The Rainbow Connection will be in full swing.

The Cinespia website can be found HERE.

Speaking of San Diego Comic-con, watch this blog beginning hopefully tonight for constant updates. While the schedule has me pretty much attending wall-to-wall events, I will give it my best not to fall behind. I plan to take my laptop into the convention hall on Thursday and Friday to hopefully blog about panels. I can pretty much guarantee that I will fall behind at some point, so I apologize in advance.

Comic-con, Indiana Jones, THE MUPPET MOVIE make this a great weekend to be a film buff in Southern California -- then again EVERY weekend is a great weekend to be a film buff in Southern California.