This Week At The New Beverly: Marlene Dietrich & Joseph von Sternberg, Charles Bronson, Pulp Fiction, Paul Schrader & the Grindhouse Film Fest!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 6, 2011 11:01am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly

Our full upcoming schedule is available online:

Jan. 14 - 31 Edgar Wright presents The Wright Stuff 2

Advance tickets for all films in THE WRIGHT STUFF II series will go on sale this Friday, January 7 at 12:00pm (noon) PST. Links to ticketing for each event is now accessible on the New Bev calendar page or through the Brown Paper Tickets site directly.

Thursday & Friday, January 6 & 7

A Marlene Dietrich/Joseph von Sternberg double bill

The Oscar-winning cinematography of Lee Garmes (with an uncredited assist from a young James Wong Howe) is but only one reason to touch down at the New Beverly January 6-7  for SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932), director Josef von Sternberg's stylistically influential, visually sensual ode to international intrigue, ill-fated romance and the pleasures of the flesh. All these qualities can be located within the burnished heart and insinuating personality of Marlene Dietrich, whom von Sternberg presented to Hollywood in this popular hit, the third collaboration between director and his muse/object of obsession (after Morocco and Dishonored). Dietrich is Shanghai Lil, a "coaster" living by her wits as she shuttles up and down the China coast on the Shanghai Express.  Along for this voyage is an old flame, a military physician (Clive Brook) whose presence onboard the train makes things thick for Lil when he's taken hostage by Chinese guerillas. Von Sternberg's purple passion for his actress and his gorgeously atmospheric direction make this romantic thriller undulate with kitschy grace and purpose. The script comes courtesy of Morocco's Jules Furthman, whose pen also produced Only Angels Have Wings and Rio Bravo for Howard Hawks and, many years later, Jet Pilot, again for Von Sternberg.

On the same bill, the film von Sternberg and Dietrich made together next, and this one is simply not to be missed. BLONDE VENUS (1932) features a scenario that even for von Sternberg was somewhat outré-scientist Herbert Marshall marries a German entertainer (guess who!) only to find years later that he's been poisoned with radium and must return to Germany to pursue the cure. While he's doing that, Dietrich returns to the nightclub in order to earn money for her husband's medical procedure. It's there that she gains newfound fame as the Blonde Venus and ends up prostituting herself to millionaire Cary Grant in order to expedite the cash flow. But what happens when her husband returns from Germany? To which life will she return? If you haven't seen Blonde Venus, well, I won't be the one to spoil the surprise. Just know that this is the Dietrich classic which finds her donning a gorilla suit and seducing Grant with a little number called "Hot Voodoo." Grant never stood a chance, and neither will you.

Shanghai Express
1932, USA, 80 minutes
directed by Joseph von Sternberg; screenplay by Jules Furthman; starring Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, Eugene Pallette
Thu/Fri: 7:30

Academy Award winner Best Cinematography plus nominated for Best Director & Best Picture!

Dietrich illuminates this stylish adventure, and it remains a high point among her many collaborations with director Von Sternberg. - Film 4

- plus on the same bill -

Blonde Venus
1932, USA, 93 minutes
directed by Joseph von Sternberg; screenplay by Jules Furthman and S.K. Lauren; starring Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Cary Grant, Dickie Moore, Gene Morgan, Rita La Roy
Thu/Fri: 9:10

Friday, January 7

Pulp Fiction
1994, USA, 154 minutes
written & directed by Quentin Tarantino; starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Eric Stoltz, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman
Fri: 11:59pm (Midnight), All Tickets $7, Trailer

4 Stars. Like "Citizen Kane," Pulp Fiction is constructed in such a nonlinear way that you could see it a dozen times and not be able to remember what comes next. - Roger Ebert

Saturday, January 8

box[ur]shorts Film Festival
box[ur]shorts™ Film Festival, a yearlong short film exhibition taking place internationally from Los Angeles across the globe to Den Haag, Netherlands will hold its fifth annual awards night.
Sat: 7:30; Please note: not a New Beverly presentation.

Visit their website at more information

Saturday, January 8

Amoeba Music & Phil Blankenship
present New Beverly Midnights

For a time the infamous heiress turned revolutionary turned pop culture personality Patty Hearst was a member off John Waters' stock company, appearing in five films for the director including Cry-baby, Serial Mom and Pecker. But with CECIL B. DEMENTED (2000), in which Hearst also appeared, Waters rips a page straight from Hearst's well-documented life with the Symbionese Liberation Army, stitching it to a quintessentially Waters-esque scenario-a group of loony underground filmmakers, led by the titular central creative force (played by Stephen Dorff, currently enjoying at stint at the Chateau Marmon in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere), kidnap a bitchy A-list actress (Melanie Griffith) and force her to star in their latest production. Indie film, and film obsession in general, gets a right roasting under Waters' watchful eye, and he's joined in his robust and, yes, demented lampoon by familiar faces like Mink Stole and Ricki Lake, but also by up-and-comers Adrian Grenier, Maggie Gyllenhaal and even a young Michael Shannon in one of his first film roles. Film buffs are guaranteed six reels of laughs with Waters at his most outrageous. Cecil B. Demented unspools Saturday night at 11:59 p.m., the latest in a terrific month of offerings from New Beverly Midnights.

Cecil B. DeMented
2000, USA, 87 minutes
written & directed by John Waters; starring Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Alicia Witt, Adrian Grenier, Maggie Gyllenhaal
11:59pm (Midnight), All Tickets $7, Trailer

Come dressed as Honey Whitlock for the opportunity to win a canned ham! Celebrate as we celebrate our projectionist Adam Trash's birthday by screening one of his favorites!

A film this angry and militant is obviously not for everyone. I'm sure many, many people are quite happy to be cocooned in their cookie-cutter multiplexes watching their Simon West and Michæl Bay movies. Art is, of course, always a subjective experience. How you feel about this film may largely depend on whether you care about the issues addressed. If you want to know whether or not you should go see "Cecil B. Demented", there is just one thing you should consider: if you are not whom this film is for, then you are whom this film is about. - Ron Wells, Film Threat

Sunday & Monday, January 9 & 10

Two Starring Charles Bronson

All guests attending these two screenings will receive a pass to attend an advance screening of the revamped THE MECHANIC, starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, and Donald Sutherland! Coming to theaters nationwide Jan. 28th, 2011.

You're probably aware of a big action picture called The Mechanic fronted by Jason Statham and Ben Foster that is headed to the multiplexes near the end of January. But what you may not know (although if you're reading this you probably do) is that the new movie is a remake of one of Charles Bronson's biggest pre-Death Wish hits. That movie is also called THE MECHANIC (1972), and what it may lack in 21st-century action movie pyrotechnics it more than makes up for in cool brutality and a style far more patient and observant than what one might reasonably expect, either from Bronson, the nasty world of the international hit man genre, or for that matter from the typically more perfunctory director Michael Winner, who would later direct Bronson in Death Wish. Bronson is a professional assassin with extravagant tastes but an absolutely Teflon-clean approach to his job who is cornered into taking on an apprentice (Jan-Michael Vincent), a brash young punk who has a connection to one of his former targets. This is easily one of Bronson's finest hours, leading up to a "gotcha!" that has been oft imitated but rarely equaled in its impact, a monumental task that is surely on the to-do list of the new version.

The Bronson double bill is completed by what is surely the best movie to ever star the soft-spoken, granite-faced actor-Walter Hill's lean, brutal directorial debut, HARD TIMES (1975). Bronson's hardened scowl as a mysterious loner making his way through the Great Depression by living on his wits and the cash he picks up working odd jobs is matched by James Coburn's toothy, ingratiating hustle as a gambler who enlists Bronson's talents as a bare-knuckle fighter to make some real money. When it was released Hard Times traded largely on the established reputations of Bronson and Coburn as steely men of fortitude and wile, respectively, reuniting them from the days when they both rode with The Magnificent Seven. But the film has also proven to be a prescient showcase for the talents of Hill as a action stylist whose brilliant (if somewhat erratic) career was foretold in the laconic measure and blunt force of both his fight choreography and the atmosphere and intelligence found coursing through the telling of the story that surrounds it. Hill's punches are hard and mean here; they land with the unmistakable energy and force of a fine director who was at the time just catching fire. 

The Mechanic
1972, USA, 100 minutes
He has 100 ways to kill... and they all work!
directed by Michael Winner; screenplay by Lewis John Carlino; starring Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Keenan Wynn, Jill Ireland
Sun: 3:35 & 7:30; Mon: 7:30, Trailer

- plus on the same bill -

Hard Times
1975, USA, 93 minutes
directed by Walter Hill; screenplay by Walter Hill, Bryan Gindoff and Bruce Henstell; starring Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Jill Ireland, Strother Martin, Bruce Glover, Margaret Blye
Sun: 5:35 & 9:30; Mon: 9:30, Trailer

Hard Times is a powerful, brutal film containing a definitive Charles Bronson performance. - Roger Ebert

Possibly the only film in which Bronson has a good backstory to explain that remarkable face, it's the perfect marriage of a timelessly archetypal character with the condensed history of a desperate time. - Michael Costello, All Movie Guide

Tuesday, January 11

Eric Caidin and Brian Quinn
with Grindhouse Releasing present

The Grindhouse Film Festival

Titles To Be Announced
7:30, All Tickets $8

Wednesday & Thursday, January 12 & 13

Two by Paul Schrader

Another filmmaker who, like Hill, came of age in the '70s, first as a screenwriter and then with his own visual imperative and style as a director, was Paul Schrader, and on January 12 and 13 the New Beverly highlights his debut directorial effort as well as a late-period film that won acclaim, as did the first, for its brilliant actors. Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto and Richard Pryor are Detroit auto workers caught in a downward spiral of deceit, mistrust and death when they decide to rob their union in BLUE COLLAR (1979). The influence of Schrader's previous collaborations with Martin Scorsese is surely felt here, even as the bitterness of this particular pill seems, particularly in retrospect, to be distinctly Schrader's own.  The first-time director doesn't entirely locate the visual language to match the superb performances he draws from his cast, but even so he draws inspiration and strength from theirs. Kotto and Keitel are reliably excellent, but the film belongs to Pryor, who finally finds a role here worthy of the anger flaring in his eyes which heats up and pushes through his best work as a comic and social satirist. The early film is accompanied by AFFLICTION (1997), based on Russell Banks searing novel, a pitch-black consideration of the ties that bind and eventually cut through the tortured flesh of inheritance. The film marked the last really meaty role of Nick Nolte's career to date; he plays a small-town cop investigating a suspicious hunting death whose own tortured familial relationships, particularly with his father (James Coburn in an Academy Award-winning performance), threaten to unravel his own mental state long before the case can be solved. Schrader, never attracted to anything less than weighty material, finds in Banks' demanding story a sensibility than allows him to fulfill his own personal investigation into fractured family dynamics that began with Hardcore and would certainly cut deepest with this film.

Blue Collar
1978, USA, 114 minutes
directed by Paul Schrader; screenplay by Paul Schrader and Leonard Schrader; starring Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, Ed Begley Jr.
Wed / Thurs: 7:30, Trailer

Richard Pryor's best dramatic performance is at the heart of Blue Collar, a rare American film that casts an unflinching look at the high-pressure life of working-class people.
- Michael Betzold, All Movie Guide

- plus on the same bill -

1997, USA, 114 minutes
directed by Paul Schrader; screenplay by Paul Schrader based on the novel by Russell Banks; starring Nick Nolte, James Coburn, Sissy Spacek, Willem Dafoe, Mary Beth Hurt
Wed / Thurs: 9:45, Trailer

Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor, James Coburn

4 Stars. Nolte and Coburn are magnificent in this film, which is like an expiation or amends for abusive men. It is revealing to watch them in their scenes together - to see how they're able to use physical presence to sketch the history of a relationship.
- Roger Ebert

This is a nearly miraculous conjunction of director, material and actor. - Walter Addiego, San Francisco Examiner


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:

14-31: Edgar Wright presents THE WRIGHT STUFF II
29: Suburbia (1983)

5: Phantasm II
12: Let The Right One In

Program notes by Dennis Cozzalio
Schedule subject to change

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