By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
Lately, the once-proud cinema was reduced to renting out screens. While the so-bad-it's-good sensation The Room came in as a rental, most movies that took advantage of the Laemmles' four-wall deals made Tommy Wiseau's trashterpiece look like Citizen Kane. Koehler, who champions overlooked films and resents the valuable screens being pimped out, characterizes these four-wall films as "pieces of lint."
Sundance Cinemas has not yet announced when it will reopen the Sunset 5 space (and its reps dodged the Weekly's request for comment). The company, an offshoot of Robert Redford's signature film festival, operates theaters in Houston, San Francisco and Madison, Wis. At press time, the San Francisco Sundance was showing The Descendants — the kind of film you might see at the Sunset 5 — as well as New Year's Eve, which you probably wouldn't.
"At least initially, Sundance Cinemas is going to try to make a splash," Koehler expects. "They're very media-savvy. My guess is they're sinking a considerable amount of money into it."
He expects more films like the airy, romantic drama Like Crazy (which won the top prize at Sundance this year) and fewer comparatively esoteric or demanding titles, like Romanian Cannes winner Police, Adjective. He also fears that films from outside the United States and Europe, typically overlooked at the Sundance festival, will be rare at the cinemas as well.
The new North Hollywood theater will offer a significant advantage for the Laemmles: It will be built and operated by the family rather than rented from a landlord, which will give them more impetus to invest in the facility. It's also near a Metro stop and the burgeoning NoHo Arts district. Greg Laemmle cautions that the new cinema will not replace the Sunset 5 but will be "a blend of Hollywood and indie. At the end of the day, the patrons tell you what you program. If Girl With the Dragon Tattoo does more business, we'll book that, too."
Some think these changes could actually be for the better, with a net gain in screens and a proprietor willing to put more resources into the Crescent Heights space. Others are more skeptical.
"The bottom line," says Koehler, "is will this open up screens for films that would otherwise not show in Los Angeles? That's the real test. If it means just showing the same films already here, it's a lot less meaningful."
Unfortunately, even before the ink was dry on this week's issue, the new Laemmle Noho 7's very first schedule came out. Not only aren't they showing seven different movies, the three that they are consist of: DRAGON TATTOO, YOUNG ADULT & THE DESCENDENTS. Decent films all, but they are hardly the kind of adventurous, one-of-a kind items that the Sunset 5 seem to play on a regular basis. All three of these titles can be seen at Multiplexes in the area.
Another sad coda to the Sunset 5.....
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