Your Weekly Movie To-Do List: The Astrologer and Capra Comedies
Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin
Friday, Jan. 2
Back by popular demand, The Astrologer receives a midnight encore at Cinefamily courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive. This cosmically bizarre-sounding whatsit, made in 1975 by writer-director-star Craig Denney, tells of an astrologer to the stars whose (mis)adventures include diamond smuggling, a stint in an African prison and even a few food fights. Originally uncovered among a thousand donated 35mm prints, it’s the kind of film Hunter S. Thompson might have described as “too weird to live, and too rare to die.” More info at cinefamily.org.
Saturday, Jan. 3
Just because Saturday morning cartoons no longer officially exist doesn’t mean we can’t still watch them. The first installment of Cinefamily’s new Animation Breakdown Saturday Morning Cartoons aims to set a high bar with this feline-themed episode involving all the usual suspects: Garfield, Tom, Felix, et al. The program, which includes full episodes as well as shorter clips, begins at 11:30 a.m. For more, change the channel to cinefamily.org.
The Aero’s Frank Capra retrospective closes this evening with It Happened One Night and Platinum Blonde at 7:30. There’s never a bad time to watch the Clark Gable/Claudette Colbert confection It Happened, which won all five major Oscars (picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay) and may well be the greatest romantic comedy of time: It’s enchantingly funny and sweet from first frame to last. Another rom-com — this one starring Jean Harlow, Robert Williams and Loretta Young — Platinum was not as well received at the time of its initial release but has seen its reputation rise in the decades since. More information is available at americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Sunday, Jan 4
Close out the weekend with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Flying Down to Rio, which the friendly folks at Old Town Music Hall are presenting in matinee form at 2:30. The musical wasn’t intended as a showcase for the now-legendary talents, but their rendition of the Carioca so entranced audiences that it led to the pair being reunited on the silver screen nine more times. Visit oldtownmusichall.org for more information.
Tuesday, Jan. 6
Grand Hotel’s most famous line isn’t actually true: “People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.” Edmund Goulding’s Best Picture winner is set entirely in the eponymous Berlin hotel, which plays host to much sadness and intrigue among its ensemble cast (which includes Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and a couple of Barrymores). The overlapping narratives vary in tone but not in quality: Grand Hotel is a classic that still demands to be seen on the big screen. More at lacma.org.
Scarlett Johansson recently entered the most fascinating phase of her career, and it reached its logical conclusion with Jonathan Glazer’s beguiling Under the Skin. In it, she plays an alien sent to Earth in order to harvest men for reasons that are never made entirely clear. It’s one of the strangest, most unusual films of the last several years, and the Regent Theater is affording us Earthlings the rare opportunity to see it with a live rendition of Mica Levi’s entrancing score at both 7:30 and 10:30 p.m (doors open at 6:30 and 10, respectively). Levi will conduct, wild Up! will perform, you will be sorry to miss it. Full details may be found at theregenttheater.com.
Thursday, Jan. 8
If you have even a passing interest in avant-garde film — hell, even if you don’t — then Los Angeles Filmforum and MOCA’s joint presentation of “Avatar and Aether: Visionary Women and the Cinematic Occult” at 7 p.m. is a must. Amy Halpern and the great Betzy Bromberg will appear in person to introduce eight short works by themselves and others (including one by Curtis Harrington, a specifically Angeleno filmmaker if ever there was one), all of which will screen on 16mm in conjunction with the “Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman” exhibition. For more on the evening's festivities, get thee to lafilmforum.org.
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