Movie Review: Madeline’s Madeline: A Surrealist Expressionist Coming of Age Drama

Photo by Ashley Connor

Madeline’s Madeline is part of the independent film movement that embraces surrealism, symbolism and expressionism as a way to tell a story. There is a ‘don’t look away’ visceral sense memory sensibility driving this uniques film. The cinematography is very much a part of this movie and is key into establishing, our and her, perception of reality for Madeline’s world. Madeline’s Madeline plays with context, it plays with how the camera frame is set on characters, the movie’s altered perception by changing depth of field or using a held camera to create sense of immediacy and intimacy. Madeline’s Madeline abandons a lot of traditional cinematic ways of telling a story. It is chafing and ingenious at the same time. The movie creates it’s own language as it pulls you along to the next scene. The story revolves around Madeline, as a teen coming of age, overwhelmed by her surroundings, her relationships and dealing with her past of mental instability. It’s not only a movie you watch but it’s a movie you feel as it leads through Madeline’s personal experiences of fascination, fear, anxiety, distortion, delusion and break order.

Madeline, played by Helena Howard, has a manipulative and overbearing mother, Regina played by Miranda July, who compresses and distorts the young girl’s perceptions of herself and others. Their relationship is tenuous and confrontational. Madeline is in the process of separating from the whole, the family, to the idea of the individual, of “me”, from her mother and that always constitutes conflicts. These conflicts are growing spasm as her adolescents flowers into adulthood. Because this is Madeline’s teen years she searching for her own identity and definition of self. There are a number of conversations between them both, ofter set in her mother’s car, defining Madeline’s place in their relationship. The car scenes are volatile and an incubator of Madeline’s frustration and alienation toward her mother Regina.

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LAFW, LA’s Most Glamorous Food Event Lights up the City August 22 – 26, 2018

LAFW on Grand (Photo by Elise Thompson)

It’s that time again! Los Angeles Food and Wine will be bringing us a five-day culinary extravaganza starting Wednesday, August 22, 2018, and culminating Sunday, August 26, 2018, with the Grand Tasting at The Barker Hanger. Now in its eighth year, LAFW brings out the country’s best chefs, using high-end ingredients and au courant cooking methods. It is a great opportunity to see what is happening on the restaurant scene, and if you are going to get foie gras, caviar and uni anywhere, this is the place.

Events include cooking demos, an exclusive lunch and dinner series, and huge tasting events where you can sample some of the best food that the chefs could offer while strolling along a red carpet on Grand Avenue in the shadow of Walt Disney Hall and the Broad, listening to top-notch entertainment like a live DJ set by Questlove. Continue reading

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Movie Review: ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’

I haven’t read the book, “Full Service,” so I won’t be comparing the book to the movie. I have read Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, which I found hilarious, erotic, illuminating and horrifying. I believe Anger’s book is comparable to ”Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.” The documentary about Scotty Bowers’ life, ”Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” directed by Matt Tyrnauer, seems to follow a similar theme to Hollywood Babylon, but from a different perspective. It also delves deeper into mid-century Hollywood.

The doc chronicles the sordid escapades of a multitude of Hollywood’s elite, which were facilitated by Bowers, but does so humanely and lovingly. The themes in the film don’t paint the subject matter as lurid or sordid. ”Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” precipitates a more jovial perspective of Hollywood’s sexual escapades, shenanigans, and romps, framing them as freedom of expression and a way to find self-fulfillment for those oppressed by the old Hollywood system. Continue reading

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“Highs and Lows” Double Feature Series Aims to Surprise You

A new film series starts this week at the Arena Cinelounge and The Montalban: “Highs and Lows” will screen double features of mainstream comedies paired with arthouse flicks. Designed to spark discussion about low-brow art and high-brow art, the pairings might surprise audiences by revealing similarities between the films. (I, for one, am curious what “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Peggy Sue Got Married” have in common.) As the press release asks, “What makes a film high or low? Who gets to decide?”

Tickets are $16 at Arena Cinelounge Sunset and $18 at Rooftop at the Montalban. MoviePass is accepted. For tickets and more info:


8/17 at Rooftop at the Montalban: “Billy Madison” (1995, Universal) and “The Phantom of Liberty” (1974, Rialto Pictures)

8/18 at Rooftop at the Montalban: “Dumb & Dumber” (1994, WB) and “Y tu Mama Tambien” (2001, IFC)

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Feed Your Frankenstein for Under 20 Bucks at The Greek with Alice Cooper and Ace Frehley Sunday

Alice Cooper at The Nokia, 2009 (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Believe it or not, tickets for the Alice Cooper/Ace Frehley concert at The Greek Theater Sunday night are going for as low as $19.50. You might want to upgrade to $33 to get into the B Section, but you will need to study the venue map carefully.

A peek at recent setlists from Alice Cooper’s current tour reveals only two songs from his 27th and most recent album, Paranormal, although the shows are billed as  “A Paranormal Evening With Alice Cooper.” I guess when you have this big of an oeuvre, you can’t be too self-indulgent.

It should be a headbanging night. Besides the classics that audiences demand, there is a good mix of hits and deep cuts from the 90s and 2000s. The thing all of these songs have in common is a more traditional, drum-forward rock sound. Pump your fist in the air stuff.

In previous concerts, the opener, Ace Frehley, has played a good number of KISS songs, as he penned more of them than you might be aware of. So get ready to rock, ’cause old school’s not out for the summer.

Doors open at 6 PM. Showtime 7:30 PM. It’s stack parking, which I totally hate, so maybe try the shuttles. TICKETS.

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watt’s picture of the week – friday, august 11, 2018

this customized chevy el camino has been parked a few blocks from my pad off and on for a while now… I checked link and it’s for beasts only (that’s what the site says, “no exceptions”)… opie the animal takes a while to load (please be patient)… hey we got some creative entrepreneurs here my pedro town!

photos by mike watt

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mike watt’s hoot page

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Movies Till Dawn: Death Smiles on the Saturday Morning Strange

Two Thousand Maniacs!” (1964, Arrow Video) A carload of Yankees traveling through the Deep South comes to regret their decision to visit the small town of Pleasant Valley, where the residents’ exuberant hospitality hides a more sinister intent. Like its predecessor, the splatter Urtext “Blood Feast“, Herschell Gordon Lewis‘s “Maniacs” is crudely made and designed primarily as a showcase for its messy and sadistic murder set-pieces; it’s also morbidly funny (e.g., a severed arm roasts while a bluegrass band plays “Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”) and Lewis even spares a few moments for suspense and pacing. Considerable atmosphere is also wrung from the town of St. Cloud, Florida, which stands in for Pleasant Valley, and whose real residents throw themselves into playing the titular maniacs. Arrow’s Blu-ray pairs vintage audio commentary from Lewis, producer David Friedman and Something Weird‘s Mike Vraney and Lewis’s 1964 hillbilly music-and-murder feature “Moonshine Mountain” with outtakes, trailers and newer material, including multiple interviews with/tributes to Lewis from Bob Murawski (“The Hurt Locker”), Tim Sullivan (“2001 Maniacs”) and Fred Olen Ray.

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Celebrate the 10th Annual Tanabata Festival in Little Tokyo

As part of Nisei Week, The three-day Tanabata Festival will be taking place over the weekend in Little Tokyo. The plaza in front of in front of JANM and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA will be filled with streamers from the traditional kazari decorations.

The festival celebrates the annual reunion of two stars, that according to Japanese folklore, are in love with each other, but separated by the Milky Way. The festival began in the 700s in Japan, but the symbolic kazari decorations were first created by the people of the city of Sendai after WWII. Here in Los Angeles, anyone is welcome to create kazari and enter them in a competition for prizes of $50 to $100. Workshops are held throughout the summer, and kazari are created by church groups, boy scouts and a number of other community organizations.

Friday the festival opens at 5 PM with the traditional breaking of the sake barrels, Ondo Dancing, Taiko drums and awards for the best kazari in each category. Starting at 10 AM on Saturday, you can enjoy a variety of vendors, food booths, crafts, games and entertainment. The night culminates at 6:45 with a much-anticipated performance by Japanese/So Cal band Lolita Dark. On Sunday from noon until 6 PM you will be entertained by Taiko drums, J-Pop, Classical Japanese Dance and lots of the 3-string instrument known as the shamisen.

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Canadian Gold – In Conversation With Randy Bachman

There have always been precious metals coming out of Canada in the form of hit records.  Gold was first discovered in Canada in 1960 and it’s name was Randy Bachman. Bachman, who founded both The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive is currently on tour promoting his latest album By George By Bachman. His live show gives one of the most informative and entertaining retrospectives of his illustrious career.

A short time ago, Randy Bachman rolled into town here in Los Angeles and the results were nothing less than stellar.  Playing to a packed-to-the-gills house at The Troubadour, the energy and enthusiasm of both band and audience were palpable.  I do not think Randy could have chosen a more perfect place to showcase his talents, because as he said, “The Troubadour is great because it has hardly changed over the past fifty years and I hope it stays that way!”

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Photo Gallery: 20th Annual Ecuadorian Parade and Festival

All photos by Mike Guerena. Used with permission.

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