L.A. Weekly's movie picks for arthouse, indie and limited engagement/retrospective screenings this week include:
Friday, May 10
Mary Harron, the director of American Psycho, takes on the real deal in Charlie Says, a downbeat drama about a grad student who visits the three young women serving a life sentence for the infamous Manson murders. Ample flashbacks with "Charlie" (played by a leering Matt Smith) flesh out the details of the infamous hippie cult that claimed the lives of five Los Angeles residents. Harron directed from a screenplay by her frequent collaborator Guinevere Turner. The film played in competition at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. Laemmle Glendale (also playing at the NoHo 7, Playhouse 7 and Monica Film Center), 206 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale, Fri., May 10, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3826, laemmle.com.
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General Magic is a sleek documentary (directed by Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude) that tells the story of the eponymous startup that developed the first smartphones and hovered on the bleeding edge of technology as the world shifted to digital. The Silicon Valley company, founded in 1989, consisted of a virtual dream team of future tech CEOs that innovated areas of multimedia email, e-commerce, networked games, streaming TV before losses, layoffs and at least one epic betrayal ended their operations. The movie should be engrossing for anyone interested in how we got here. Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, Fri., May 10, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
Olivier Assayas spins a tale of sex and betrayal set against the boho Parisian literary scene with Non-Fiction, a comedy with suspenseful undertones. A writer (Vincent Macaigne) is involved in a six-year affair with an actress (Juliette Binoche) who happens to be the wife of his editor (Guillaume Canet). When he starts to use his erotic experiences as material for his new book, the editor begins to suspect infidelity. But that's just the beginning of this gripping comedy, conceived and executed with a firm grasp on the absurdities of romantic pursuit. Laemmle Royal (also playing at the Playhouse 7 and Town Center 5 May 17), 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle, Fri., May 10, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
Professor and the Madman is a passion project — forgive the pun — of Mel Gibson's, a historical drama about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Gibson, who spent two decades working on the screenplay from Simon Winchester's book, stars as James Murray, the Scottish philologist who enlisted the help of convicted murderer William Chester Minor (Sean Penn), who contributed over 10,000 citations to the dictionary. Both actors sport impressive salt-and-pepper beards. The film, a co-production between Voltage Pictures and Gibson's own Icon Productions, was plagued with lawsuits over budget responsibilities. Farhad Safinia, a co-writer and co-producer on Gibson's Apocalypto, directed under the pseudonym P.B. Shemran. At Galaxy Theatre, 1211 E. Allesandro. galaxytheatres.com
Saturday, May 11
The Terminator is a really good movie, an ingeniously contrived and sharply edited sci-fi thriller that firmly situated Arnold Schwarzenegger as the biggest action star of the 1980s and announced director James Cameron as a talent to be reckoned with. The Laemmle Ahrya is putting this 1984 classic back on the big screen for a one-day-only screening in honor of its 35th anniversary. Michael Biehn, who plays the rebel soldier sent back in time to protect the woman (Linda Hamilton) whose child will save humanity from murderous machines, will appear in person to reflect on its legacy. Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre, 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, Sat., May 11, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.