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LAist Film Calendar: The Devil Drove Into Whiz Kids

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Photo courtesy of Sandbar Pictures

If you've ever given or sought consolation for receiving an A- instead of an A, you'll feel right at home in Whiz Kids. The documentary, which opens this weekend at Laemmle's Music Hall, charts three teen scientists as they prepare for the Intel Science Talent Search, high school's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. There's a lot of hard work and a little heart break along the way, but this trio is hell-bent on forging their destinies and a new world. Harmain, raised on food stamps by a Pakistani single mother, plots human evolution by carbon-dating crocodile fossils (human fossils from the same sites are too fragile to be examined). Ana, the first in her family looking to attend college, analyzes plant root systems to increase crop yields.

Kelydra, the most political of the trio, quickly finds herself at odds with industrial conglomerate Dupont when she removes carcinogens from her small town's drinking water with a device she MacGyvered with parts from Walmart. If all that went over your head, fear not; Whiz Kids' greatest strength is the teens' talent for explaining their work is in plain English (stick-figure animatics lend an assist). By wearing their hopes and dreams on their lab coat sleeves, these scientists also display their humanity and humility. And yet, no matter how high the stakes get, Whiz Kids refuses to indulge in the fake drama that has polluted competitive documentaries. Which is incredible considering that we're still talking about high school.

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Full list appears below. See you at the movies!

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Photo courtesy of Sandbar Pictures

If Whiz Kids is the future of science, the New Media Film Festival is the future of entertainment. The "all ages, all cultures, all media" showcase runs all weekend at the Downtown Independent. It's the first and likely only time this collection of cell phone creations, web series, shorts, and 3D films will appear on the big screen. If your attention span exceeds 2 minutes, there's also a Superhero Pajama Party program on Saturday night, featuring the equally charming and depressing doc Confessions of a Superhero, accompanied by several members of the endangered species Superheros Hollywoodboulevardicus. And lest you think I'm just some square who talks about documentaries, I'm pleased as punch that the Devil's Night Drive-In is back raising hell. The rooftop ruckus launches its summer schedule with Jim Henson's classic Labyrinth. If you'd rather sit on a coffin than in your car, Cinespia screens Tim Burton's Beetlejuice and Michelangelo Antonioni's scintillating Blowup at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

All Week
Agora (2009) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7)
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Royal Theatre) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Cremaster Cycle & De Lama Lamina (1995-2007) (Nuart Theatre)
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) (Laemmle's Town Center 5) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Finding Bliss (2009) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009) (Laemmle's Sunset 5)
Harlan: In The Shadow Of Jew S¸ss (2008) (Laemmle's Sunset 5) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger (2008) (Laemmle's Sunset 5) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
The Human Centipede (2009) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7)
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) (The Landmark)
Micmacs (2009) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Mother and Child (2009) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Whiz Kids (2009) (Laemmle's Music Hall 3)
Winter's Bone (2010) (The Landmark)

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Thursday 6/10
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) / Alice's Restaurant (1969) (Aero Theatre)
An Evening With Brad Neely feat. Wizard People, Dear Reader (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (2nd Annual Comedy Festival)
From Here to Eternity (1953) (Egyptian Theatre)
Goodbye Mom (2009) (Korean Cultural Center)
Killers (2010) (Arclight Sherman Oaks) (21+ screening)
L.A. Connection Comedy Group Dubs Night Of The Living Dead (1968) (Laemmle's Royal Theatre)
Prison (1988) / The Horror Show (1989) (w/ director Renny Harlin and screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner) (New Beverly Cinema)
Riding Bikes With the Dutch (w/ director) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
San Francisco Exquisite Corpse / Intimate Observations (w/ filmmaker Jim Granato) (Echo Park Film Center)
Solitary Man (2009) (Arclight Hollywood) (21+ screening)
Wild Grass (2009) (preview screening) (LACMA)

Friday 6/11
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (midnight show) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) / Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (2nd Annual Comedy Festival)
The Conformist (1970) (LACMA)
Cries and Whispers (1972) / Interiors (1978) (New Beverly Cinema)
The Decay of Fiction (2002) (Echo Park Film Center) (w/ filmmaker Pat O'Neill) (Filmmobile Summer Screening Series)
Ed Wood (1994) (Nuart Theatre) (Cine-Insomnia Midnight Movie)
Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
New Media Film Festival (Downtown Independent)
Sacred Heart (2005) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Italian Cultural Institute) (Ferzan Ozpetek: A Retrospective)
Show Boat (1951) (Old Town Music Hall)
Stunt Rock (1978) (midnight show) (New Beverly Cinema) (Grindhouse Film Festival)
Westworld (1973) / Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) (w/ actor Richard Benjamin) (Aero Theatre)

Saturday 6/12
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (midnight show) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Armchair Adventures III (Echo Park Film Center Annex)
Beetlejuice (1988) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings) (Summer Series)
The Conformist (1970) (LACMA)
Cries and Whispers (1972) / Interiors (1978) (New Beverly Cinema)
I Am Comic (2010) (w/ director Jordan Brady) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (2nd Annual Comedy Festival)
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010) (w/ Joan Rivers at 5:20pm and 7:45pm shows) (The Landmark)
Labyrinth (1986) (Devil's Night Drive In)
Living In Emergency: Stories Of Doctors Without Borders (2008) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
New Media Film Festival (Downtown Independent)
The Painter Sam Francis (2008) (weekend morning show w/ filmmaker Jeffrey Perkins at 11am Monica show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7)
Pina Bausch (2002) (free event) (Goethe-Institut) (Hammer Museum)
The Red Shoes (1948) (Aero Theatre)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) (Sins O' The Flesh Midnight Show) (Nuart Theatre)
Sacred Heart (2005) (free event) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Italian Cultural Institute) (Ferzan Ozpetek: A Retrospective)
Show Boat (1951) (Old Town Music Hall)
Spaceballs (1987) (Regency Academy) (Insomniac Cinema Midnight Movie)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) (w/ Arlene Martel) (Laemmle's Royal Theatre) (Simply 70MM Star Trek Spectacular)
Steam: The Turkish Bath (1997) (free event) (UCLA Film & Television Archive @ Hammer Museum) (Italian Cultural Institute) (Ferzan Ozpetek: A Retrospective)
Tanztraeume (Dancing Dreams) (2009) (free event) (Goethe-Institut) (Hammer Museum)
Throw Down Your Heart (2008) (free event) (Skirball Cultural Center) (Passport Screenings)
Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2009) (sneak preview) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (2nd Annual Comedy Festival)
The Wild Life (1984) (New Beverly Cinema) (New Beverly Midnights)

Sunday 6/13
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
The Black Hole (1979) (w/ panel discussion) (Aero Theatre)
Blow Up (1966) (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) (Cinespia Screenings) (Summer Series)
Exit Through the Gift Shop (w/ street artist Dabs Myla at 3pm show) (2010) (Art Theatre of Long Beach)
Living In Emergency: Stories Of Doctors Without Borders (2008) (weekend morning show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (Egyptian Theatre)
Modern Romance (1981) (w/ Jeff Garlin) (Cinefamily @ Silent Movie Theatre) (2nd Annual Comedy Festival)
New Media Film Festival (Downtown Independent)
The Painter Sam Francis (2008) (weekend morning show w/ filmmaker Jeffrey Perkins at 11am Playhouse show) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7)
Serpico (1973) (The Bay Theatre)
Shane (1953) / The Kentuckian (1955) (New Beverly Cinema)
Show Boat (1951) (Old Town Music Hall)
Stephen Connolly: Occasional Pieces and Afflicted States (w/ Stephen Connolly) (Los Angeles Filmforum) (Egyptian Theatre)

That's all for this week. Can't believe I made it this far without drooling over Jennifer Connelly or David Bowie.

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Compiled, as always, by the amazing and diligent Edward Yerke-Robins (and family!)