Welcome to L.A. Weekly’s Movie Guide, your look at the hottest films in Los Angeles theaters this week — from indie art house gems and classics to popcorn-perfect blockbusters and new movies garnering buzz. Check here every week before you make your big screen plans.
Wednesday, November 27
Queen & Slim is the debut feature of two-time Grammy-winning music video director Melina Matsoukas. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star as a young couple whose first date takes a tragic turn, resulting in the death of a police officer. The video of the killing leaks and turns them into outlaws—a “black Bonnie and Clyde” as one character observes. Lena Waithe wrote the screenplay from a James Frey story, refusing to shy away from the provocative subject matter.
Wednesday, November 27
In The Two Popes, Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) resigns and meets his successor, the soon-to-be Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce). The two proceed to engage in a debate over the direction of the Catholic Church. Benedict is conservative; Francis is liberal. Both, however, are united by a shared sense of guilt and are painfully aware of their shortcomings as leaders. What emerges from Fernando Meirelles’s film — written by Anthony McCarten from his stage play — is a thoughtful discourse on grace and forgiveness. The fact that this Netflix release is based on true events lends it weight and relevance beyond the superb performances of the two veteran leads. The Two Popes will premiere on Netflix on November 27.
Friday, November 29
Singin’ in the Rain is a sumptuous feast for the eyes and ears, and so it’s a natural choice for Thanksgiving weekend viewing. The Aero Theatre will screen a 35mm print of Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s effervescent musical on Friday to keep spirits high after Turkey Day. Come for the virtuosic singing and dancing, stay for the surreal dream sequence and still-funny Hollywood satire. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Fri., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Saturday, November 30
The Three Stooges Film Festival has been a staple at the Alex since the late 1990s. The brainchild of Alex Film Society board member Frank Gladstone, the fest launches its 22nd year the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year’s lineup includes Pardon My Scotch, Saved by the Belle, So Long Mr. Chumps, Studio Snoops, Three Pests in a Mess, and Dizzy Pilots — all in 35mm. In keeping with tradition, there will be family members of the famous American comedy team in attendance, raffle prizes and more. Check out alexfilmsociety.org for tickets. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Sat., Nov. 30, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; $17. (818) 243-2539; alextheatre.org.
Test your mettle with a marathon screening of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Egyptian Theatre will screen the complete extended versions of Peter Jackson’s sensational Tolkien cycle, each presented in 35mm, the way they were originally shown. Bring a Middle Earth meal plan (second breakfast, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper…) to last the 12 hours you’ll spend in the theater, because there will only be short breaks between features. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Nov. 30, 1 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Tuesday, December 2
The Hammer Museum hosts MoMA Contenders 2019, a special series organized by The Museum of Modern Art that showcases the finest films of the year just ahead of awards season. Each film screening will be followed by conversations featuring members of the cast and crew. Kicking off the series this year is a showing of Dolemite Is My Name, a Netflix original featuring Eddie Murphy as comedian and rapper Rudy Ray Moore. Murphy is scheduled to appear following the screening. Upcoming guests include Scott Z. Burns (The Report), Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) and Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation). Check out hammer.ucla.org for details and updates. UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tue., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; $20. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
One of the most famous anime features of its era, Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s Akira stands as a landmark of grownup animation. AMPAS will host a screening of the 1988 apocalyptic sci-fi epic as part of the Marc Davis Celebration of Animation. Special guests will include Jorge Gutiérrez, Justin Thompson, Genndy Tartakovsky, Randy Haycock and Peter Chung. Film critic Charles Solomon will moderate the discussion. If the event sells out, don’t despair; there will be a stand-by line at the west doors beginning at 5:30 p.m. Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; Tue., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; $5. (310) 247-3000, oscars.org.