Painting the Town Red: “The Exiles,” A Masterpiece of Lost L.A.

Kent MacKenzie's The Exiles played exactly once, at the 1961 Venice Film Festival, and then vanished for more than forty years. It was rediscovered in 2003, and you can find it now on Netflix--which you should do, for real, here's why. The Exiles follows a group of American Indian men and women over the course of one night at the very end of noir-era Los Angeles. The neighborhood where the film was shot was demolished--excuse me, I mean renewed--shortly afterward. The Native actors were … [Read more...]

“Ramona at Forty”: LA Review of Books

I always knew Beverly Cleary was a great writer. I read every single one of her books growing up — even the lesser-discussed ones like Otis Spofford and Ellen Tebbits with all the angst over something called “long underwear” that was mystifying to me as a kid in the 80s. I read most of them multiple times, and certain, VERY IMPORTANT aspects of those books have stuck with me for life. I still want to make Fong Quock’s rice “so that each grain was separate and fluffy and there was a … [Read more...]

“10 Photography Projects on Prisons… Recently Added to the Web”

Via PrisonCulture: ...Mae Ryan‘s series on the Community Prisoner Mother Program in Pomona, California was one of the last assignment’s she made before moving from KPCC to The Guardian. And it is stand out. Pregnant in Prison offers a look at a select group of minimum security prisoners who may live with their young children until the child turns seven years old. Mothers live with their children in rooms shared with other prisoners. During the day, children are enrolled in the … [Read more...]

My Vampire Spring Continues With 1987′s “Near Dark”

HOW HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS MASTERPIECE BEFORE? It is just so successful at doing what it promises. Kathryn Bigelow's horror classic is dusty, full of gorgeous sunsets and terrific use of light, breathtakingly sleazy, and emotionally effective. You get dirtbag biker-type vampires ("How old are you?" "Let's just say, I fought for the South") and a vampire child who's ridiculously fun, then actually scary, and then immensely sad. My jaw dropped at the brutal fights. I liked the moral … [Read more...]

Who Are You and What Do You Want?: I watch a play

at the Studio Theater, Cock, playing through June 22. It's by Mike Bartlett, the guy who did Contractions, and like Contractions it's a high-concept play with few characters and a lot of emotional intensity. The high concept is that John, having broken up with his long-term boyfriend for no real reason except his own itchy ambivalence, meets a woman and falls for her hard. But then the boyfriend takes him back, and suddenly he has to choose--and he can't, for almost two hours, he just can't … [Read more...]

Sister and Stranger: “Ida,” A Jewish Nun in a Haunted Poland

Ida, a contemporary black-and-white movie now playing at the E St Cinema & Bethesda Row Cinema, begins as the title character (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to meet her only known relative. Ida doesn't want to meet Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), about whom she knows nothing except that Wanda refused to take her in when she was orphaned, so she was raised in a convent. She's about to take her own vows, though, and so she musters up all her obedience and submits to spending some indefinite time … [Read more...]

People of Portland (OR)! Watch a Great Catholic Movie

and meet my friend Matt! This Saturday at 7 pm, Level Ground is screening Desire of the Everlasting Hills, which I gave a glowing review here. They're also showing Fried Green Tomatoes tonight if you're feeling nostalgic, and on Sunday, Kidnapped for Christ, which I missed at the main Level Ground festival because it was sold out. Don't make my mistake! Seriously, check this stuff out, you won't regret it. Matthew Franklin Jones will be on a panel after Desire. … [Read more...]


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