Friday, Aug. 10
A compendium of propaganda that is itself a shrewd piece of agitprop, The Atomic Café galvanized audiences in 1982 simply by presenting the material — consisting of assorted Cold War educational pieces produced by the federal government — plainly in all its paranoid weirdness. Kino Lorber is returning this cult documentary to theaters in a 4K digital restoration by IndieCollect. Monica Film Center will get it first and play it for an entire week, although there are additional weekend engagements at two other locations. Laemmle's Monica Film Center, 1332 Second St., Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, Fri., Aug. 10 (also playing at the Playhouse 7 and Claremont 5 on Aug. 11 & 12); $13. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of David Newman will give an extra jolt of Force energy to Star Wars: A New Hope. The Hollywood Bowl's Weekend Spectaculars series will feature George Lucas' 1977 space opera on a huge screen with live musical accompaniment for the first time in this city. Early birds will receive a free lightsaber with admission. “All Jedi are encouraged to show up in costume,” as long as that uniform doesn't involve masks or anything resembling a gun. Ticket prices range from $17 (nosebleeds) to $199 (boxed seats). Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood Hills; Fri., Aug. 10, 8 p.m.; ticket prices vary. (323) 850-2000, hollywoodbowl.com.
Sunday, Aug. 12
Old Yeller, which together with Bambi introduced more children to the concept of death (thanks, Uncle Walt!) than practically any other American film, will play at the Billy Wilder as part of UCLA's Family Flicks series. The titular canine — a golden retriever with a heart of gold — has a permanent place in the Hall of Fame of cinema doggies, and Robert Stevenson's direction is sturdy as an oak. Parents hoping to teach their kids the hard facts of life should look no further than this film, revered by many baby boomers as a nearly totemic viewing experience. UCLA's Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sun., Aug. 12, 11 a.m.; free. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Dial M for Murder, Alfred Hitchcock's sole foray into 3-D gimmickry, will get a screening as part of the American Cinematheque's tribute to stereoscopic film, co-presented by LACMA. Featuring one of cinema's most famous attempted murders, the film is a stagey yet gripping adaptation of Frederick Knott's hit Broadway play. Hitchcock had a way of photographing objects that made them seem larger than life; after experiencing this in three dimensions, you will never look at scissors in quite the same way. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Thursday, Aug. 16
When Dennis Hopper titled his sophomore effort The Last Movie, it nearly proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. After the success of Easy Rider, his 1971 follow-up — bankrolled by Universal — tanked hard with critics and audiences alike, temporarily stalling the writer-director-star's career. But time has been kinder to this passion project than most others of its era, thanks to its timely depiction of cultural imperialism and László Kovács' glinting cinematography. Arbelos Films has performed a great public service by restoring this hard-to-find film from its original camera negative and sound elements. The 4K transfer will make its L.A. premiere at the Egyptian, kicking off the weekend series Dennis Hopper: American Rebel. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Thu., Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com. —Nathaniel Bell