L.A. is the greatest place on earth to watch movies. Here are this week’s best picks.
The Dude at midnight? Sounds like the perfect combo to me. The timeless tale of a man…I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? The timeless tale of a man (and I’m talking about The Dude here), who fits right in his time and place. The time is the early ’90s and the place is Los Angeles. Jeff Bridges is Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, master slacker, bowler, white Russian enthusiast. The Coen brothers’ epic depiction of The Dude’s time and place often gets lost amidst the absurdist humor and outrageous characters, but their evocation of Los Angeles is not to be underestimated. Following in the footsteps of noir novelist Raymond Chandler, The Big Lebowski is the stoner version of a noir mystery. Bring your bath robes and sandals. Buy your tickets here.
This special, 24-hour screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock will take place from noon, Saturday the 20th to noon, Sunday the 21st at LACMA’s Bing Theater. A real-time video compilation of scenes of clocks and timepieces in movies, Marclay’s film is a wholly unique viewing experience that doesn’t come around very often. Some scenes last minutes, some may only last one or a few seconds; they come from all genres of films, from all periods and across all cultures. The result is an immersive experience, a non-narrative art installation that literally engages the viewer in the passage of time. Admission is free. First come, first served. You can stop by any time during the film’s run-time. I’d recommend bringing some snacks. And maybe a blanket for nap breaks.
Thom Anderson’s perennial favorite is back once again at the American Cinematheque. Screening with a Q&A with Anderson after the film, this 2003 documentary chronicles the development of our fair city as it has appeared in the movies. Spanning nearly one hundred years, Los Angeles Plays Itself is more than just a clip show of L.A. most glamorous on-screen moments; it’s a serious video essay about urban development, culture, representation and how Hollywood has irrevocably shaped one of the world’s greatest cities. It’s a must-see for students of film, who will find dozens of underseen or unavailable gems mentioned in the doc and send them running to track down the films Anderson highlights. Buy your tickets here.
Antiviral is the first time directorial debut of Brandon Cronenberg, son of body-horror guru David Cronenberg. I only mention that because it seems Brandon has tapped into the same vein as his father, crafting an impressive debut all about infectious diseases and futuristic crime. This screening at the Downtown Independent may be your only chance in L.A. to catch this creepy flick that takes on our obsessive celebrity culture while supplying plenty of uncomfortable horror moments. Buy your tickets here.
Some movies are “must-see;” Possession is a “must be seen to be believed” movie. Arguably the most intense movie about divorce ever made, in some ways Andrzej Zulawski’s film is a companion piece to Stanley Kubrick’s domestic nightmare, The Shining. Both films’ use of the Steadicam were groundbreaking for the time, and both films convey a sense of the camera being, well, possessed. The film stars Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani as a couple in the midst of a violent, psychotic break-up, the anxieties, fears and desires of which literally manifest themselves in the form of a monstrous, humanoid creature. Fans of weird, cult, Lovecraftian horror shouldn’t miss this rare screening at the Aero. Buy your tickets here.
If you make it out to any of these screenings, let us know how it went in the comments section. Happy viewing, Los Angeles!