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SCREENING ROOM

Some classics, some camp

September 20, 2007|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

YOU'D have to clone yourself to catch all the movies screening tonight: two classics, a cult comedy in the making and a glimpse at the underbelly of life in Lisbon from one of Portugal's leading filmmakers.

Richard Gladstein, producer of the Oscar-nominated best films "The Cider House Rules" and "Finding Neverland," presents David Lean's multi-Academy Award-winning 1957 epic "The Bridge on the River Kwai" as part of the Skirball's Cinema Legacy series. Gladstein will discuss the influential World War II drama afterward.

The American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre is also screening a classic, "2001: A Space Odyssey." Stanley Kubrick's landmark sci-fi thriller from 1968 stars Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood and Hal the Computer. It will be shown in 70-millimeter with six-track stereo sound.

Meanwhile, over at the Egyptian Theatre, the Cinematheque is offering the L.A. premiere of a film that will never be considered a classic, except in the cult sense -- Larry Blamire's "Trail of the Screaming Forehead," the follow-up to Blamire's 2001 minuscule-budgeted, totally inane spoof of '50s horror films, "The Lost Skelton of Cadavra."

This new goof -- "shot in glorious color and in the new screen miracle of CraniaScope" -- revolves around the inhabitants of a small coastal town who are being taken over by foreheads from another planet intent on world domination. Presented by special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, the comedy features stop-motion effects by the Chiodo Brothers; cast and crew will be in attendance.

Foreign-film buffs have the rare opportunity to explore the oeuvre of acclaimed Portuguese writer-director Pedro Costa this weekend at Film at REDCAT. For the last 18 years, Costa has examined the plight of poor migrants living in the slums of Lisbon in his features and shorts. Screening this evening is Costa's 1997 film "Bones," a drama about a baby born to a suicidal teen, and the 2005 short "Ne change rien." Scheduled for Friday is 2000's chamber drama "In Vanda's Room."

On tap for Saturday afternoon is the West Coast premiere of his 1989 debut feature, "O Sangue," followed by the 1995 drama "Down to Earth" and the short "Tarrafal." The evening ends with Costa's acclaimed 2005 film "Colossal Youth."

Jack Hill, the veteran exploitation filmmaker, who learned his craft working with Roger Corman, will be feted Friday and Saturday by the Cinematheque at the Egyptian. It starts with his 1968 horror comedy "Spider Baby," starring Lon Chaney Jr. as an elderly chauffeur who "baby-sits" the loony, cannibalistic offspring of his late employer. Also screening is Hill's 1969 drag-racing flick "Pit Stop," starring Richard Davalos, Brian Donlevy (in his last film) and a young Ellen Burstyn. Hill and several actors will appear between films.

On tap for Saturday are "Switchblade Sisters," Hill's delicious 1975 tongue-in-cheek exploitation flick about girl gangs, and his popular 1973 collaboration with Pam Grier, "Coffey."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' ambitious "Oscar's Docs" series at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood is back for its third year of Oscar-winning shorts and documentary features. Screening Monday are new prints of the 1978 shorts "The Flight of the Gossamer Condor," restored by the academy film archive, "Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist" and a newly struck print of Ira Wohl's moving "Best Boy." Wohl is scheduled to discuss the film.

The Linwood Dunn also plays host to the academy's "Contemporary Documentaries" program, drawn from 2006 Academy Award nominees and winners. Screening Wednesday are two documentaries dealing with the war in Iraq: "Iraq in Fragments" and "My Country, My Country."

Elsewhere: The Made in Culver City festival from 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday at City Hall celebrates the city's 90th anniversary with Laurel and Hardy movies, "An American in Paris" and more. culvercity.org

The Echo Park Film Center hosts Experimental Animation Night at 8 tonight. The program includes the "curious and fantastic films" of Joel Fox. www.echoparkfilmcenter.org

The six-day Cinema City International Film Festival at Universal CityWalk kicks off at 11 a.m. Tuesday. www.cciff.com

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susan.king@latimes.com

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Screenings

Cinema Legacy series

"The Bridge on the River Kwai": 7:30 tonight, Skirball Cultural Center, skirball.org

American Cinematheque

"2001: A Space Odyssey": 7:30 tonight, Aero Theatre

"Trail of the Screaming Forehead": 8 tonight, Egyptian Theatre

"Spider Baby" and "Pit Stop": 7:30 p.m. Friday, Egyptian Theatre

"Switchblade Sisters" and "Coffey": 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Egyptian Theatre, americancinematheque.com

Pedro Costa films

"Bones": 8 tonight, REDCAT, check redcat.org for more screenings

Film academy

"The Flight of the Gossamer Condor," "Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist" and "Best Boy": 7:30 p.m. Monday

"Iraq in Fragments" and "My Country, My Country": 7 p.m. Wednesday, Linwood Dunn Theater, oscars.org

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