Sep 16, 2012


This is a great week of programming at the American Cinematheque as they honor a true Hollywood legend – Kirk Douglas – by screening some of his best work and includes an in-person appearance by the man himself. In addition to SPARTACUS there is LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTFUL, LUST FOR LIFE, PATHS OF GLORY, ACE IN THE HOLE and my personal favorite (which I plan to elaborate on in a special American Cinematheque "spotlight" post later in the week) Disney's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. That's a stellar lineup!

That's not all folks as there is a Chuck Jones LOONEY TUNES shorts program, a MAJOR LEAGUE double feature, the Chris Marker tribute continues and more!


THE EGYPTIAN – 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Monday, September 17th – Thursday, September 20th, 7:00pm & 9:00pm – Spielberg Theater

THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH (2012; Directed by: Jim Hemphill)


The limited engagement of Jim Hemphill's new film continues this week in the Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian.

Given that it is so new, I haven't seen it so can't comment on it personally, so I will borrow from the Cinematheque website in this instance.

Musician Robert (John Shea) is a perpetual starving artist with low overhead and minimal commitments. When Robert's daughter announces that she's engaged, he advises her against it - his own marriage to Emily (Lea Thompson) didn't last, and he doesn't understand why anyone would want to give up their independence. Yet when Robert and Emily reunite and dredge up old memories and hurts, both discover they have a lot of unresolved issues and that love, marriage and divorce aren't quite as simple as they'd like. With Danielle Harris and Keri Lynn Pratt.


Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Monday, September 17th, 7:30pm

The Museum of Memory: A Tribute to Chris Marker

THE LAST BOLSHEVIK (1993, Icarus Films; Directed by: Chris Marker)


A very personal film by Chris Marker takes a look at Russia of the 20th Century through letters written by his close friend filmmaker Alexander Medvedkin.

Followed by…

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANDREI ARSENIEVICH (1999, Icarus Films; Directed by: Chris Marker)

From the Cinematheque website:

"The best single piece of [Andrei] Tarkovsky criticism I know of, clarifying the overall coherence of his oeuvre while leaving all the principal mysteries in his films intact. It becomes clear early on that Marker was an intimate friend of Tarkovsky and his family, and was shooting home-video footage of some of Tarkovsky's final days in the mid-1980s, when he was dying of cancer, for Tarkovsky and his family's use as well as his own. But this is handled throughout with exquisite tact and restraint and is never allowed to intrude on the poetic analysis of the features. In fact, the video interweaves biography and autobiography with poetic and political insight in a manner that seldom works as well as it does here, perhaps because personal affection and poetic analysis are rarely as compatible as Marker makes them." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader



Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Wednesday, September 19th, 7:30pm

Path of Glory: An In-Person Tribute to Kirk Douglas

Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas will be on hand to discuss the movie, and signed copies of his book I AM SPARTACUS! MAKING A FILM, BREAKING THE BLACKLIST will be on sale in the lobby starting at 6:30pm.

LONELY ARE THE BRAVE (1962, Universal; Directed by: David Miller)

Kirk Douglas is a cowboy and Korean War vet who arranges to get himself locked up in jail so that he can help a friend of his bound for the penitentiary escape. He soon finds himself on the run from the entire law force in the area (led by a Sheriff played by Walter Matthau).

This one of Douglas' finest performances of a man who is his own man in a world that wants to keep him down. The screenplay was written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (a member of the Hollywood 10) and features one of composer Jerry Goldsmith's best scores.


Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Thursday, September 20th, 7:30pm

Path of Glory: An In-Person Tribute to Kirk Douglas

ACE IN THE HOLE [a.k.a. THE BIG CARNIVAL] (1951, Paramount; Directed by: Billy Wilder)

The first time I saw this movie I was absolutely blown away by it and am every time I revisit it. I came across it one Saturday night on the TV Ontario show "SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES" hosted by Canadian movie expert Elwy Yost. I soon discovered that it had been rarely screened (this was in the 80s - since then The Criterion Collection has released it on DVD) and was tough to see.

Well here it is on the big screen. A movie that is written and feels like it came from the headlines last week and not 1951.

Kirk Douglas is a washed up, alcoholic big city reporter who finds himself "slumming it" for a small newspaper in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While heading out to cover an oh-so-exciting Rattle Snake hunt event, he comes across a man trapped in a mine. Seeing his ticket back to the big time, he takes control of the situation, altering the conditions to turn this seemingly nothing event into a national craze that brings tourists who camp out to be part of what becomes THE BIG CARNIVAL (an alternate title for the film).

Media manipulation, hype, sensationalism, the whole works – this is one movie that is a bleak look at human ambition and the lengths that some will go for the "big" ticket to fame.

Followed by…

PATHS OF GLORY (1957, United Artists; Directed by: Stanley Kubrick)

War is hell and Kirk Douglas is a French officer during the 1st World War who defends men in his unit when they are charged with cowardice and desertion after running back to the trenches during a full-frontal assault. George MacReady plays an insane general who wants to make an example of the men, and has shut off to their pleas for mercy and to reason.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, PATHS OF GLORY is a movie that puts you right in the condemned men's shoes and is nothing short of a masterpiece.

I can't wait to revisit the great tracking shot which follows Douglas through the trench before he sends the men out on the assault – definitely a big screen moment.






Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Friday, September 21st, 7:30pm

Path of Glory: An In-Person Tribute to Kirk Douglas

THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952, MGM; Directed by: Vincente Minnelli)


A long time ago during college, I was working on an essay about movies with Hollywood-centric plots entitled WHY IS HOLLYWOOD SO HARD ON ITSELF, and THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (along with THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA and SUNSET BOULEVARD) was the primary example.

Kirk Douglas plays a Hollywood Mogul who used and betrayed those close to him on his rise to the top. Barry Sullivan, Lana Turner and Dick Powell are the director, star and screenwriter (respectively) who want nothing to do with him when he reaches out to them during a time of need.

I am always amazed that the film business is one where you can make a commercial product out of the dark side of Hollywood, baring their dirty laundry and making a profit from it. I almost wonder if sometimes these movies are therapeutic. Hollywood is a town that has chewed and spit so many people out, and there are so many others that have succeeded on the backs of many. In THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL it's tough to hate Douglas' character because he's just so charming, even when using others to his own advantage – in fact, I personally ended up siding with him throughout the movie.

A great title to follow this up with is TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN which uses footage from THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL as part of the plot (and also stars Douglas). TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN is available via the great disc-on-demand service, THE WARNER ARCHIVE.

Followed by…

LUST FOR LIFE (1956, MGM; Directed by: Vincente Minnelli)

From ambitious Hollywood mogul to tormented artist, Kirk Douglas plays Vincent Van Gogh in movie that feels like it was shot as if it was one of Van Gogh's paintings. Obsessed with perfection and struggling with mental illness Douglas' Van Gogh is a spot-on performance. In addition there is also the larger-than-life portrayal of fellow artist Paul Gaugin by Anthony Quinn.




Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Saturday, September 22nd, 7:30pm

Path of Glory: An In-Person Tribute to Kirk Douglas

SPARTACUS (1960, Universal; Directed by: Stanley Kubrick)

SPARTCUS is a movie that you don't just watch, you experience it.

Douglas is a slave at a gladiatorial school that rises up and leads a revolt on the mighty Roman Empire, making life very miserable for Laurence Olivier. Forget Russell Crowe and GLADIATOR!

This is an epic film through-and-through from the all-star cast (Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons, Olivier, Douglas, Peter Ustinov – who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor – and Charles Laughton) to the set-piece battles to the beautiful Alex North score.

SPARTACUS is also famous for being written by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (who had to use an alias).




Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Sunday, September 23rd, 4:00pm

Path of Glory: An In-Person Tribute to Kirk Douglas

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954, Walt Disney; Directed by: Richard Fleischer)

It's a whale of a tale and I swear by my tattoo (if I had one).

I have a personal fascination with this movie which was Walt Disney's first using the new widescreen Cinema-scope process – and wow does it ever add to the greatness of this movie.

Next to MARY POPPINS, this is probably the most significant – and in my opinion – best movies to come out of the Disney studio (not counting the animated features of course). Based on the classic novel by Jules Verne, Kirk Douglas plays sailor Ned Land who finds himself on the submarine Nautilus commanded by the brilliant and enigmatic Captain Nemo played to perfection by James Mason. Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre are also on board for this undersea adventure which makes brilliant use of the wide screen. The underwater photography is beautiful and has that Disney feel, but this is a big movie probably the biggest to come out of the studio especially during Walt's lifetime.

I plan to go into a little more detail on this movie later in the week in a new SPOTLIGHT post, but I need to add that the squid attack scared me to death (including nightmares for weeks) when I was a kid – and still creeps me out even now.



Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Sunday, September 23rd, 7:30pm



From the Cinematheque website:

On July 27, 1986, Queen performed the largest-ever stadium concert at the Nepstadium in Budapest to a crowd of 80,000 ecstatic fans. The concert was part of the famed "Magic Tour," the last time the band toured with lead singer Freddie Mercury. This original concert film has been remastered in high definition and features many of Queen's best-loved tracks, including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "I Want to Break Free" and "We Are the Champions."



Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

THE AERO – 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403


Wednesday, September 19th, 7:30pm

Grit and Whimsy III: The Best of Recent Belgian Cinema

THE GIANTS (2011; Directed by: Bouli Lanners)

The ongoing series of new Belgian Cinema – complete with beer reception – continues at the Aero. Description of the film is from the Cinematheque website:

Each summer, preteen brothers Zak and Seth find themselves alone and without resources in their parents' summer home, routinely abandoned by their increasingly absent mother. When they meet Danny, a street-smart local teenager, they tag along with him and slowly learn to embrace the startling independence that's been foisted upon them. Official selection of the Cannes 2011 Directors Fortnight. "Disarming lead performances and beautiful natural settings in an ambling evocation of adolescent discovery." - The Hollywood Reporter. In French with English subtitles.





Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Thursday, September 20th, 7:30pm

The regular Baseball season will be coming to a close, and to carry us into the post-season the Cinematheque has a double feature home-run.

Let's just hope the Dodgers are still playing when October comes.

MAJOR LEAGUE (1989, Paramount; Directed by: David S. Ward)

I have a friend who loves this movie so much, he can quote it backwards and forward much to the chagrin of his wife who just does not understand his obsession with this film. He's a really selective guy too when it comes to movies, so this I guess would be considered a guilty pleasure for him. He is also a sports nut and a big fan of the Houston Astros. I can almost guarantee if he isn't busy, he'll be at the Aero taking in this movie (but he does have a movie in Post Production which will probably get in the way).

The new owner of the Cleveland Indians wants to move to a warmer climate (in this case Miami as the Marlins were not yet in existence when the movie came out in 1989) so she assembles one of the worst teams imaginable – including Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes – who start winning when they find out her scheme.

This movie is such a guy movie, and has so many great moments – especially for baseball fans (which is probably why it appeals to my very selective friend) especially with "Wild Thing" pitcher Charlie Sheen. Well before he went off the deep end with Tiger blood, etc., he was WILD THING in a truly movie moment that I still get excited over every time I see it. You'll have that song stuck in your head for sure.

Followed by…

MAJOR LEAGUE II (1994, Paramount; Directed by: David S. Ward)

MAJOR LEAGUE was a hit, so of course there was a sequel reuniting the misfits of the Cleveland Indians (except Wesley Snipes who is replaced by Omar Epps) whose success has spoiled them. Will they go all the way to the World Series?

This was followed by yet another sequel – MAJOR LEAGUE: BACK TO THE MINORS – which was quite forgettable and thankfully not screening here.




Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Friday, September 21st, 7:30pm

AMELIE (2001, Miramax; Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

When I first saw AMELIE upon release in 2001, I instantly fell in love with it and with the character and so will you. Amelie has had very little contact with other humans thanks to an over-protective father, and now as a waitress in Paris lives in her own fantastical world and dedicates herself to the needs of others and they all fall to her charms.

It's just a lovely movie all-around.

Followed by…

ASSASSIN(S) (1997, Canal+; Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz)


Mr. Wagner is a killer who takes his job very seriously – almost obsessively. Realizing though that he is getting old, he chooses Max, a thief, to be his successor.

Definitely a pairing of films that couldn't be more different, which makes this a very intriguing double feature.





Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2:00pm


If there is a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon this has to be it. Bugs Bunny, Pepe Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner are all on the menu in a series of shorts by animation master Chuck Jones.

Seeing these with an audience is a pure treat as these are indeed easy to get lost in and there will be a lot of laughing. This is one screening where you don't mind the kids laughing and enjoying themselves out loud as these cartoons bring out the kid in all of us (deep…I know).

The cartoons featured include:

"For Scent-i-Mental Reasons"
"Rabbit Fire"
"Ali Baba Bunny"
"Duck Amok"
"Robin Hood Daffy"
"Duck Dodgers and the 24 ½ Century"
"What's Opera Duck"
"One Froggy Evening"
"There They Go-Go-Go"
"Little Beau Pepe"
"Rabbit Seasoning"
"No Barking,"
"Dot & the Line"
And More!

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Saturday, September 22nd, 7:30pm

Discussion following with actor Greg Kinnear, producers Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander and Todd Rosken and screenwriter Michael Gerbosi, moderated by Andy Marx.

AUTO FOCUS (2002, Sony Pictures Classics; Directed by: Paul Schrader)

From family fun to the star of HOGAN'S HEROES obsessing over porn. Ok so you may want to leave the kids at home for this one.

Greg Kinnear plays Bob Crane who – as mentioned above - was well known as the star of HOGAN'S HEROES (one of my personal favorite sitcoms) who had a secret sex addiction that he explored regularly with his friend and electronics enthusiast played by Willem Dafoe. He's was not exactly the all-American clean cut figure he portrayed on TV.

A dark and disturbing movie especially in scenes where the characters indulge in extreme sexual behavior as if they were taking out the trash or doing the dishes.





Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Sunday, September 23rd, 8:00pm



The Live Talks series continues with musician Wyclef Jean.

From the Cinematheque website:

Join us for a conversation with Wyclef Jean discussing his memoir Purpose: An Immigrant's Story, followed by a performance of acoustic music. Wyclef Jean is a multiplatinum Haitian musician and former member of hip-hop trio The Fugees, as well as an actor and producer. He has worked with such artists as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, T.I., Mary J. Blige and Destiny's Child. In Purpose, Wyclef recounts his path to fame from his impoverished childhood in "Baby Doc" Duvalier's Haiti and the mean streets of Brooklyn and Newark to the bright lights of the world stage.
Special Ticket Prices:
General Admission: $25
General Admission for Cinematheque Members: $20 (use promo code: cinematheque)
General Admission + Copy of Wyclef Jean's memoir: $45
General Admission + Copy of Wyclef Jean's memoir + Pre-Reception: $95
Tickets only available at

Wyclef Jean will be interviewed by Geoff Boucher.

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.