The problem with the New Beverly today is that under Tarantino's stewardship, quality control is no longer
in place, and they frequently screen horrendous, color-depleted prints from his collection that should never be shown. I often won't go unless they expressly note that a studio archive, I.B. Technicolor or fresh from the lab print is being screened.
It really is a shame about LACMA. They had a great Japanese new wave series and they hosted the massive Oshima Nagisa series that toured a few years ago. Plus, they're 70mm capable. UCLA can run 70mm as well, although they very seldom do so; they did show Richard Brooks' Lord Jim in that format a while back.
The Tarantino print problem is far less frequent than you believe. You see it more with rare genre films or rare oddities. Seems most of the prints are loaned or rented lately. As of the last month, I've seen Blond Venus
, Only Angels Have Wings
, Diary of a Mad Housewife
, and a Czech double feature (plus plenty more) with excellent prints. Their calendar or website often makes no reference to the print source either. IB Tech or archival doesn't always denote quality either. When I saw Hollywood or Bust
there five years ago, the colors were gorgeous, but the print was beaten pretty badly. Recently they ran the only existing print of Last Summer
from an Australian archive, and it was a faded, chopped-up, (maybe) partially censored version of the film made from multiple sources and converted to 16mm.
And it's a real shame about LACMA. I went to that Oshima series (the less avant-garde ones played at the Egyptian to an audience of mostly ten people, myself included) and would regularly go when they had double-features on Fridays and Saturdays. The Cinematheque still runs 70mm every few months and has an exclusive license to be the only venue allowed to screen 2001: A Space Odyssey
on 70mm for the next five years or so. They recently ran Inherent Vice
, The Master
and The Hateful Eight
I love the Bing Theater at LACMA and get sad at the idea of it being torn down. But walking around it, you get the feeling they don't care much about it. The same video installation piece has been there for years, the office upstairs seem dirty and a lot of the building could use a nice polish. I've gone to the Tuesday matinees the last three weeks (von Sternberg/Dietrich films with beautiful prints) to small crowds of old folks and walk-in tourists, and it seriously made me re-evaluate the theater I used to take for granted. Now that it's essentially only open for the matinees, I can see how gorgeous the theater is with the seating arrangement, the ornate red curtain covering the screen and the wood paneling inside that makes me nostalgic for my youth. I'm not really looking forward to the thousand seat theater that's replacing it at the Academy Museum.
I was also going to initially post about the LA Film Forum, but saw there was only one screening coming instead of a notice for a full series. I certainly didn't forget it!
Also worth noting is Locarno in Los Angeles is this weekend. Unfortunately, the ones I want to see the most (The Human Surge
and The Challenge
) are playing on a day where I'll be working all day.