This Week At The New Beverly: Michelangelo Antonioni, Disney Fantasies and More!

Posted by phil blankenship, November 18, 2010 01:47pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full upcoming schedule is available online:

Thursday, November 18

Absolutely GORGEOUS 35mm prints of both CAR WASH and USED CARS! Used Cars director of photography Don Morgan will introduce the screening & take questions following the film, schedule permitting.

Car Wash
1976, USA, 97 minutes
directed by Michael Schultz, starring Darrow Igus, Otis Day, James Spinks, Antonio Fargas, The Pointer Sisters, Richard Pryor, George Carlin
Thurs: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

The long arm of the influence of American Graffiti and Robert Altman are felt equally in this slap-happy, loose-limbed comedy hit about the working-class heroes manning the steam guns, waxing wands and XXL chamois of a downtown L.A. car wash. The workers are nutty, but the customers might be even nuttier. Director Michael Schultz barely contains the free-for-all action which features an all-star cast of sketch players and character actors including George Carlin, Professor Irwin Corey, Franklin Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, a very young Bill Duke, Melanie Mayron and Richard Pryor, who stops by to get his shoes shined and unleash a killer parody of Reverend Ike. The awesome throb of Norman Whitfield's soundtrack is highlighted by Rose Royce's classic rendition of the title song, immediately recognizable from the introductory handclaps. You might not ever get rich, but a visit to this car wash will make you feel spiffy and shiny, for sure.

3 1/2 Stars - All of this is held together by the music, which is nearly wall-to-wall, and by the picture's tremendous sense of life. It's one thing to have an idea like this - a zany, sometimes serious day in the life of a car wash - and another thing to make it work. But the screenplay and the direction juggle the characters so adroitly, this is almost a wash-and-wax M*A*S*H. - Roger Ebert

- plus on the same bill -

Used Cars
1980, USA, 113 minutes
directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale, starring Kurt Russell, Jack Warden, Gerrit Graham, Frank McRae, Deborah Harmon, Joe Flaherty, Michael McKean
Thurs: 9:25, Watch The Trailer!

This jaw-droppingly profane laugh-fest, from the team of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale (it was their last movie together before they broke out big with Back to the Future), has to register as one of the nastiest, blackest comedies ever to be released by a major studio. No wonder then that, aided by an ineffective advertising campaign, it rolled off the summer movie landscape into obscurity like a rusty lemon back in 1980. But while watching this brilliantly sarcastic concoction about the political aspirations of a used car salesman (Kurt Russell) and his war of competition with the car lot across the highway (headed by pugnacious and foul-mouthed Jack Warden), one can imagine the likes of Billy Wilder and H.L. Mencken cackling with approval. This is a rare opportunity to see this classic, which gained its reputation thanks to the advent of the video age, on the big screen. Director of Photography Donald Morgan will be on hand for Wednesday night's screening, and on Thursday screenwriter Bob Gale will drop by in person to tell naughty tales of the movie's production. Don't miss it!

Has the pacing and energy of a 1930's zany screwball comedy, but is much darker in spirit. - Dan Jardine, All Movie Guide

Loud, vulgar, and unrepentantly raunchy, Used Cars occasionally careens into the strident mugging and lowbrow gratuity made popular by Animal House two years earlier. But taken as a rancid, festering slice of Americana, it seems more potent than ever.
- Scott Tobias, The Onion AV Club

Friday & Saturday, November 19 & 20

Two by Antonioni

An early Michelangelo Antonioni masterpiece gets a spectacular showcase at the New Beverly this weekend, just one of the early things to be thankful for before the upcoming holiday. Critic Aaron Cutler recently called Le Amiche (The Girlfriends) (1955) "Among the most entrancing views of love's sweet devastation that the movies have ever seen." The lovely print secured by the New Beverly will no doubt emphasize exactly why. The movie unfolds in a middle class Turin of plainness and mystery, accentuated by the cool frames of Antonioni's camera, where a young woman tries and fails suicide and plunges her circle of friends into an investigation of her motives, all of which inevitably, painfully turns inward toward their own souls. It's the swirling passions, deceptions and missed connections that fascinate about Antonioni's telling of this story. This rare theatrical glimpse at the foundations of a master film director's brilliant career is a film culture event that shouldn't be missed.


On the same bill, one of Antonioni's late works, The Passenger (1975), from Mark Peploe's script, was hailed in some circles and dismissed in others, but it remains a fascinating touchstone for observers of the contours of his unique directorial landscape. Jack Nicholson stars as a journalist who trades his identity for that of a recently deceased acquaintance and begins the investigation, and the appropriation, of the life of a man clearly not above suspicion. Maria Schneider, at the time of the film's release a rising international star coming off of Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris, is the young woman who becomes ensnared in the increasing complications and dangers that arise because of his deception. Like all of Antonioni's films, The Passenger travels the cool terrain of emotional abstraction, yet it boasts the probing, daring edge of the era's best political thrillers as well.

Le amiche (The Girlfriends)
1955, Italy, 104 minutes
Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata with funding provided by Gucci and The Film Foundation.
directed by Michelangelo Antonioni; starring Eleonora Rossi Drago, Gabriele Ferzetti, Franco Fabrizi, Valentina Cortese, Yvonne Furneaux; in Italian with English subtitles
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:00 & 7:30

ONE OF ANTONIONI'S GREATEST FILMS! Diverse plot strands, character psychology, and a masterful control of the camera are perfectly fused. With two bravura set pieces - a picnic by the sea that foreshadows L'Avventura and a troubled tea party - Antonioni's intensity and grip, and his vivid portrayal of feminine anxiety in particular, make for a film that has barely dated at all.
- David Thompson, Time Out (London)

- plus on the same bill -

The Passenger
1975, Italy/Spain/France, 126 minutes
directed by Michelangelo Antonioni; starring Jack Nicholson, Maria Schneider, Jenny Runacre, Ian Hendry, Steven Berkoff
Fri: 9:35; Sat: 5:05 & 9:35, Watch The Trailer!

This is a stunning, sobering film experience with some of the most breathtaking camera work it has been my privilege to see. The film is full of metaphor and cynicism, but its impact is astonishing. Jack Nicholson is magnificent as David Locke, a hack reporter doing a documentary on North African guerrillas, unhappy with his life, disillusioned with his work, frustrated and exhausted as he approaches burnout. - Rex Reed, The New York Observer

Saturday, November 20

Phil Blankenship and New Beverly Midnights have pulled off a real coup for this weekend, a real Hollywood rarity unavailable on DVD that ranks as one of the year's best midnight offerings. Based on a script by Joseph Stefano, screenwriter of Psycho, director David Lowell Rich's Eye of the Cat (1969) dishes out big-time goose bumps ("Terror that tears the screams right out of your throat!" according to the film's immodest ad campaign) in this largely forgotten thriller which has, even in its relative obscurity, been a holy grail of sorts for genre fans who were just the right young age when it originally came out. Michael Sarrazin and Gayle Hunnicutt star as a couple who devise a plan to rob Sarrazin's aunt's mansion. The only problem: Sarrazin's aunt is one of those cat ladies-there's dozens of the feline creatures roaming the property-and, well, Sarrazin doesn't really like cats that much... Here's a perfect gem of a thriller for the late hours, just another terrific, unexpected but much appreciated treat from the New Beverly midnight movies program.

Amoeba Music & Phil Blankenship
present New Beverly Midnights

Eye Of The Cat
1969, USA, 102 minutes - Not Available On DVD!
directed by David Lowell Rich, written by Joseph Stefano, starring Michael Sarrazin, Gayle Hunnicutt, Eleanor Parker, Tim Henry, Laurence Naismith
11:59pm (Midnight), All Tickets $7, Watch The Trailer!

It's still fun, combining '60s exploitation (groovy San Francisco, girl fights, Bond-ready actress Gayle Hunnicutt) with campy delusional Aunt Danny (Eleanor Parker) and the bitter cat-wrangling nephew (Tim Henry) who acts as her caretaker. - Michael Buening, All Movie

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, November 21, 22 & 23

Back in 1983 the Walt Disney Company's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's beloved story Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) didn't exactly ignite the box office. But it may have turned some young readers on to Ray Bradbury, and the movie itself incidentally became a bit of a cult item in the nascent video age. Regardless of its original popularity, this tale of the arrival of a diabolical circus which disrupts life in a small town has much to recommend it, starting with its director, Jack Clayton, who knows a little something about chilling tales involving children (The Innocents). The film also sports a great cast including Jonathan Pryce (just before Brazil), Jason Robards, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano, Jack Dodson and the most welcome Pam Grier. It may not replace your interior version or memories of the book, but this Disney adaptation is a solid tale in its own right, full of churning night skies, demonic gazes and other tropes of its fantastical genre that perfectly well set the nerves on edge, no matter your age.


The New Beverly's pre-Thanksgiving Disney double feature is completed by their original 1975 hit Escape from Witch Mountain, in which you will believe a motor home can fly! If the names Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards send you into paroxysms of nostalgia, you were probably smack dab in the proper demographic when this action-adventure, jammed with equally nostalgia-inducing blue-screen effects which earmarked most mid-70s vintage Disney productions, was originally released. You won't need to be reminded that this isn't the recent remake featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (though your kids might), but it might not hurt to be reminded of the impressively stellar cast of older actors Disney assembled for this one, including Eddie Albert, Ray Milland, Donald Pleasance and good old Denver Pyle. And you might be surprised how well this one holds up as well, particularly in this hypercaffeineated age of loud and fast kids' entertainment. It'll send you into the holidays with the perfect alternative to those long lines for Harry Potter 7.

Something Wicked This Way Comes
1983, USA, 95 minutes
directed by Jack Clayton; screenplay and original book by Ray Bradbury; starring Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano, Vidal Peterson
Sun: 3:35 & 7:30; Mon/Tue: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

A lively, entertaining tale combining boyishness and grown-up horror in equal measure. - Janet Maslin, New York Times

3 1/2 Stars - In its descriptions of autumn days, in its heartfelt conversations between a father and a son, in the unabashed romanticism of its evil carnival and even in the perfect rhythm of its title, this is a horror movie with elegance. - Roger Ebert

- plus on the same bill -

Escape to Witch Mountain
1975, USA, 97 minutes
directed by John Hough; starring Ray Milland, Donald Pleasence, Kim Richards, Ike Eisenmann
Sun: 5:30 & 9:25; Mon/Tue: 9:25, Watch The Trailer!

A scifi thriller that's fun, that's cheerfully implausible, that's scary but not too scary, and it works. - Roger Ebert

 Escape To Witch Mountain is one of Disney's best live-action efforts from the 1970's and a thriller that adults can enjoy along with their kids. - Donald Guarisco, All Movie

Wednesday & Thursday, November 24 & 25

Closed for the Holidays - Happy Thanksgiving!


Advance tickets may be purchased online through Brown Paper Tickets by clicking HERE. Advance tickets are not sold at the box office.

Currently, only general admission tickets may be purchased via this link. Discounted student, senior, etc. tickets may not be purchased in advance at this time. As always, any available tickets will also be sold at the theater box office the day of the event. Purchasing advance tickets is generally unnecessary for most shows, as the only programs that ever come close to selling out are special event shows with special guests, etc. Plenty of tickets are available at the door for nearly all of our programs.

Coming Soon:

26 & 27: Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success & Some Like It Hot
27: The Monster Squad
28 & 29: Two by Roger Corman starring Vincent Price - Tales of Terror & The Haunted Palace
30: Adam Green's Hatchet & Hatchet II - Uncut & Unrated!

3 & 4: Godard's Breathless & Contempt
11: Home Alone - 20th Anniversary
12 & 13: Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris
14: Grindhouse Fest - Black Christmas & Silent Night, Bloody Night
15 & 16: Valhalla Rising & Bronson
17 & 18: Gasper Noé's Enter The Void
21: Grindhouse Fest - Christmas Evil & New Years Evil
26-28: The Godfather & The Godfather: Part II
29 & 30: The Godfather: Part III - 20th Anniversary

Program notes by Dennis Cozzalio
Schedule subject to change

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