Welcome to L.A. Weekly's Movie Picks, 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.
Friday, Feb. 22
Stephanie Rothman is one of American cinema's unsung treasures — an artist whose work in the field of exploitation has produced several offbeat trailblazers, including The Velvet Vampire, which will be featured as part of UCLA's continuing Liberating Hollywood series, co-curated by author Maya Montañez Smukler. A feminist vampire classic set in the California desert, this 1971 horror film deals with a female vampire (Celeste Yarnall) who seduces an attractive but none-too-bright couple who walk unwittingly into her web. Fans of the 2016 indie film The Love Witch will note this one's influence. A new 35mm print has been struck for the occasion. This will be preceded by Terminal Island, a women's prison picture of uncommon force and toughness. Rothman will appear in person to introduce the program, which has been co-curated by Maya Montañez Smukler, author of the new book Liberating Hollywood: Women Directors and the Feminist Reform of 1970s American Cinema. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Saturday, Feb. 23
Liberating Hollywood concludes with a Joan Micklin Silver double feature. Silver's first feature, Hester Street, produced with husband Raphael D. Silver in 1975, announced the arrival of a gifted and sensitive independent artist. The evening's double feature begins with the newly restored Between the Lines, her 1977 feature that follows the fortunes of a staff of a Boston-based alt-weekly newspaper. This will be followed by Crossing Delancey, an NYC-set romantic comedy about the manager of an Upper West Side bookstore (Amy Irving) who is courted by a Lower East Side pickle vendor (Peter Riegert). It's one of the best films ever made about the travails of romantic compromise, powered by Silver's attentiveness to the differing social milieus of the nation's largest city. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Also opening Friday, Feb. 22: 1st Summoning; The Changeover; How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; The Iron Orchard; It's a Hard Truth, Ain't It; Run the Race; Styx; Total Dhamaal
L.A. Weekly also recommends (still in theaters): Glass; The Boy Who Would Be King; Jihadists; The Favourite; If Beale Street Could Talk; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Vice; Roma; Bohemian Rhapsody; Ralph Breaks the Internet; Mary Poppins Returns; Green Book; A Star Is Born