I know some of you want to read my scathing indictments of my new hometown of Los Angeles and its citizens, but when you read what follows, you’ll see why I’m finding myself pretty OK with the City of Angels.
Edgar Wright is going to be presenting his own film festival at LA’s wonderful New Beverly theater. Running from December 2-17, the Wright Stuff festival is going to be an eclectic and wonderful series that cannot be missed. Here’s the lineup:
December 2nd-4th – BUGSY MALONE & PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
December 5th & 6th – FLASH GORDON & DANGER DIABOLIK!
December 7th & 8th – THE LAST BOY SCOUT & KISS KISS, BANG BANG
December 9 & 11th – AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON & TREMORS
December 12 & 13th – TOP SECRET! & BANANAS
December 14th & 15th – BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS & HEAD
December 16th & 17th – RAISING ARIZONA & EVIL DEAD 2
Edgar will be doing intros on some of these films himself, and he’s lining up special guests for some of them as well. I know a couple of people he’s talked to about coming by and I can promise you that he’s got some aces up his sleeve… as if Edgar himself wasn’t enough of a draw.
You’ll find my ass planted in a seat for almost all of these movies, and there are a couple I am so excited to see on a big screen, including Head, Bananas and Phantom of the Paradise! It’s just a stellar line-up and promises to be a great time at the movies. Be sure to check out the New Beverly MySpace page for more info, and check out Edgar’s MySpace blog to see what dates he plans on being at the theater.
Here’s the full press release for the event, including Edgar’s comments on the films he’s chosen. See you at the New Beverly!
December 2-17, 2007.
The New Beverly Cinema is proud to announce that Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, will be programming a special festival of films, The Wright Stuff, at the theater in December of this year.
After selling out a screening of his films in August, Wright is returning to the New Beverly to show some of his favorite movies. Wright will be at the theater to introduce the screenings, schedule permitting. In addition, the festival will also include several surprise special guests. Painstakingly handpicked, the films cover a wide spectrum of decades and film genres. From horror to comedy, musicals and more, the festival is sure to have something for every taste.
Admission to all of the screenings is $7 for adults, $6 for students with ID and $4 for children and seniors. All evening screenings begin at 7:30, with a matinee double feature on weekends. No advance tickets will be sold. The box office opens 15 minutes before the first show.
The New Beverly Cinema is located at 7165 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles, a block west of La Brea. For more information on the New Beverly, visit our website, newbevcinema.com, or myspace.com/newbeverlycinema. You may email the theater at email@example.com with any questions.
Wright started out directing television in the UK, most famously the cult series Spaced. He then moved on to his first feature film, the horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, which won him the British Independent Film Award for best screenplay, and the Empire Award for best British film. In 2007, Wright’s second feature, Hot Fuzz, was released to critical success, winning him best comedy at the National Movie Awards.
The festival is kicking off on December 2-4 with a double feature of Paul Williams’s outrageous musicals Bugsy Malone, directed by Alan Parker and Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise.
Says Wright – “I’m a huge fan of these films, the fact that they are my two favorite musicals is in no small part due to the mighty Paul Williams fantastic songs.
‘Bugsy’ is a much-loved film in the UK and deserves to be more of a staple here. What other film could pair up a pre-Chachi Scott Baio with a just-wrapped-from-Taxi-Driver Jodie Foster?
And De Palma’s ‘Phantom’ is a glorious revelation for those who’ve only seen his work in other genres. It remains the much underrated spiritual cousin and in my opinion superior rock opera to ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’.
See the former to experience the pure joy of child actors lip synching Paul Williams vocals and the latter to witness the man himself in master villain mode.
Dressing up not essential, but encouraged.
December 5 & 6, it’s the classic science fiction film Flash Gordon, coupled with Mario Bava’s spy thriller Danger Diabolik in a supercharged Dino De Laurentiis comic book spectacular.
Says Wright – “Dino De Laurentiis’s 1980 version of Flash Gordon is an absolute blast and far better than its camp classic status would suggest.
Great performances throughout, from Timothy Dalton’s mighty moustache to Ornelia Muti’s scorching extinction level event sexuality. There’s so much to enjoy here, with Lorenzo Semple Junior’s hilarious and quotable script recalling his glory days writing the Batman TV series.
Oh and the score? Only the best sci-fi score of all time. It’s by Queen. You may have heard of them.
Add to this an earlier Dino classic, Danger Diabolik, a pop art explosion of 60’s style. This Italian comic book adaptation has been celebrated by the Beastie Boys in their ‘Bodymovin’ video and in Roman Coppola’s film CQ, but it again needs saving from its status as a so-bad-it’s-good curio, thanks to the snarky efforts of the MSTK.
Diabolik is one of the coolest comic book films out there and an intentionally funny one to boot. Check out the cars, the fashions, the in camera effects and one of Morricone’s sexiest scores.
A perfect double of glorious costumes, crazy matte paintings and some of the coolest set designs. A feast for your tired eyeballs.”
December 7 & 8, Wright has chosen two of his favorite action movies, both from the barbed pen of Shane Black. The Last Boy Scout starring Bruce Willis and the sleeper hit Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Wright says – “Shane Black has long been a writing hero of mine and these are my two favorite scripts to have been spat out of his typewriter. The first is criminally underrated and the second is scandalously under seen, together they make for a double bill of the finest in neo noir.
Prepare yourself for some of sharpest machine gun banter in recent memory, the New Beverly auditorium will be riddled with zingers by the end of the night.”
Moving from action to comedy/horror, December 9 & 11 is John Landis’ brilliant An American Werewolf In London, coupled with Kevin Bacon’s early 90’s romp, Tremors.
Wright says – “My film Shaun Of The Dead was inspired not just by my favorite horror comedies, but specifically, the best in character driven genre films. Both these films represent this quality in spades.
An American Werewolf In London represents one of the first films that truly blew me away and remains very dear to me to this day. From one of favorite directors at the peak of his powers, to the glorious effects, the hilarious performances, the amazing location work and one of the most influential soundtracks of the decade.
Oh and the red, red gore. This is a hugely influential film and still one of kind.
Pair this up with Ron Underwood’s “Tremors”, one of the few monster movies of the last twenty years to get it absolutely right. Awesome physical effects, great use of locations, textbook action geography and imaginative monsters.
And best of all, the superb duo of Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon as your blue-collar heroes.
A better monster blowout you will not find this side of (insert own funny analogy here).
December 12 & 13, it’s slapstick comedy at its best, with Top Secret and Woody Allen’s Bananas.
Wright says, “How silly can you get? Answer: Very silly indeed.
Top Secret! is the hair brained and magnificently goofy follow up to Airplane! and Police Squad! that deserves just as much love as its brilliant predecessors.
The genre splicing of war and Elvis movies is ridiculous, yet perfect, Val Kilmer has genuinely never been more charming and the frequent songs are sublimely stupid.
Add in a scattershot barrage of jokes that is so rapid and impressively go for broke, that the misses are as memorable as the hits.
It’s high time to go crazy in the aisles for Nick Rivers once again.
Paired, for the first time ever, with a classic from the smartest man to ever make some very silly movies. Allen Stewart Konigsberg gives us the gift of Bananas, one of my very favorite examples of his ‘early, funny films’. A fantastic array of gags both verbal and visuals, powered along by Marvin Hamlisch’s hilarious score.
If you’ve been on some strange blinkered planet and have never seen a pre Annie Hall Woody Allen film, you owe to yourself to gorge on Bananas.
Everyone who’s seen it already will need no encouragement. See you there.
December 14 & 15 will be super psychedelic with Russ Meyer’s unbelievable Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and the Monkees’ cult classic movie Head.
Wright says, “My head is spinning at the sheer excitement of such a trippy double.
Russ Meyers’s BTVOTD is one of the greatest films of the 70’s and again far a better film and screenplay than the camp classic status which with it’s attributed. The Starship Troopers of its day, it’s a non-stop party of booze, sex, Mary Jane, bed hopping, pneumatic starlets and transgender psychosis.
The quintessential sex, drugs and rock and roll movie experience, its saga of the a girl band making it on Los Angeles is flat out funny, immensely quotable and has some of the most furious editing of all time.
Not to mention the fact that it has been incredibly prescient in the fortunes of some of the legends it satirizes. Not mentioning any names. (*cough – Phil Spector)
Co-writer Roger Ebert gets two thumbs up for this one. Way up.
If that isn’t enough entertainment, then how about a little HEAD from The Monkees? I pretty much prefer Bob Rafelson’s freak out than any of The Beatles films. It’s highly imaginative, brilliantly satiric and filled with fantastic tunes. While it was arguably the nail in The Monkees career, it also ranks as their finest achievement.
I have watched Circle Sky, Can You Dig It? and Do I Have To Do This All Over Again? more times than is necessary. It will indeed be a trip to see this on the big screen.
Co-writer Jack Nicholson also gets two thumbs. Wherever he damn pleases.”
The festival closes on December 16 & 17 with two of Wright’s very favorites, the Coen’s Raising Arizona and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2.
Wright says, “To my knowledge these films have never been screened as a double, but in my mind they are forever joined at the (oh so) hip.
Because of these two films in the late eighties, I decided to turn my nascent love of all things movie into an ambition to direct myself.
Both films see former collaborators Sam Raimi, Joel and Ethan Coen, achieve a glorious groove. Never have you seen two movies having so much fun with the form; they are visually and verbally brilliant. It’s truly infectious.
I am so proud to conclude this season with such a double-barreled blast. See you at the cinema. I’ll be the one laughing loudest.”