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Weekly Movie Picks: Hot Fuzz, Killer of Sheep, Grindhouse, Godard & More

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Grindhouse
The week begins with a pair of 70s actions flicks. The Lady in Red, which has one of my favorite taglines of all time "She's made of bullets, sin & bathtub gin!" is a gangster film starring Robert Conrad as John Dillinger and Pamela Sue Martin as his moll. (Bonus: it was written by John Sayles.) In Bare Knuckles a Los Angeles bounty hunter tracks a psychopath who murders women by using kung-fu.

Then it's a couple of women-gone-wild films beginning with The Female Bunch, a 1969 film about a gang of drug-running, man-hassling, hell-raising women who live on a ranch in the desert. Wonder Women stars character actress Nancy Kwan as the brilliant and evil Dr. Tsu, who uses her all-female army to kidnap some of the world's greatest athletes and bring them to her private island off the coast of Manila.

On Thursday, April 5 The New Beverly hosts an unnamed "Sneak Preview" at 11:00 pm. Hmmm, I wonder what that could be… a screening of the Trantino/Rodriguez double-feature Grindhouse, I'm gonna guess.

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The week closes out with a double-bill of auto-themed movies. White Line Fever stars Jan Michael Vincent as Carol Jo Hummer, an independent long haul trucker (his rig is The Blue Mule) struggling to make ends meet and buck the corruption of the trucking industry. Return to Macon County is set in 1958 and features a very young Nick Nolte and Don Johnson as teenagers driving a hopped up Chevy cross-country to enter a drag race in California. On the way they pick up a pretty waitress, race small town cruisers and try to evade a local cop hell bent on seeing them go to jail.

WHEN: Mon., April 2 - Sat., April 7; various times
WHERE: The New Beverly: 7165 Beverly Blvd. (1 block West of La Brea Ave.)

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Wild Tigers I Have Known
Executive produced by Gus Van Sant and directed by relative newcomer Cam Archer, this coming-of-age tale stars Malcolm Stumpf as Logan, a 13-year-old boy trying to cope with his sexuality and his unrequited crush on the coolest boy in school. Q&A with writer/director Cam Archer and cinematographer Aaron Platt after the screening.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 3 at 7:30 PM
WHERE: Melnitz Movies at the James Bridges Theater: 1409 Melnitz Hall, UCLA Campus (Westwood)

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Killer of Sheep
Charles Burnett's 1977 classic of American independent cinema is rarely screened and has never been officially released on DVD or VHS, so it's a rare treat that the Nuart begins a week-long run of Killer of Sheep with a new 35mm print to celebrate the film's 30th anniversary. This neo-realistic portrayal of 1970s black urban life, specifically 1970s black Los Angeles urban life, stars Henry Gayle Sanders as Stan, a depressed insomniac trying to support his family working at a slaughterhouse. The film is slow and at times quite grim, but it is the film's bleak realism that give it its power. Actors Henry Sanders and Charles Bracy will attend the film's opening night.

WHEN: Fri., April 6 - Thurs., April 12
WHERE: Nuart Theater: 11272 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Sawtelle Blvd. in West LA)

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The Prisoner: Or How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair
When Yunis Khatayer Abbas, a pro-Western, freedom-loving Iraqi journalist, was mistaken for Tony Blair's would-be assassin and sent to Abu Ghraib Prison, he learned the true meaning of “liberation" and lived to make a darkly comic documentary about the experience.

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WHEN: Friday, April 6
WHERE: Laemmle Sunset 5: 8000 Sunset Blvd. (at Crescent Heights)

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For Ever Godard
The UCLA Archive will screen a slate of Godard films each weekend through June 10. Friday night it's Vivre Sa Vie and A Married Woman, while Saturday afternoon it's Alphaville and Made in U.S.A.

WHEN: Fri., April 6 & Sat., April 7
WHERE: The Billy Wilder Theater at The Hammer: 10899 Wilshire Blvd. (at Westwood Blvd.)

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Hot Fuzz
Creative Screenwriting magazine hosts a screening of the British comedy Hot Fuzz followed by a Q&A with co-writer/director Edgar Wright, co-writer/star Simon Pegg and star Nick Frost. These are the guys who made the hilarious Shaun of the Dead vampire movie spoof, and the trailers for Hot Fuzz look super funny.

The Plot: Jealous colleagues have London's best cop (Simon Pegg) transferred to the peaceful village of Sandford, where he is partnered with over-eager, witless police officer (Nick Frost) who longs for gunfights and car chases to break up the monotony of small-town policing. When the pair stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents, it looks like they may get their wish.

(There's also a screening of the film this evening at the Cinematheque, but it's been sold out for a while).

WHEN: Saturday, April 7; 1:00 PM
WHERE: Harmony Gold Theater: 7655 Sunset Blvd. (betw. Crescent Heights & Fairfax)
*NOTE: You must RSVP in advance via the Creative Screenwriting Web site.

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Lawrence Of Arabia
Words like "epic" and "masterpiece" are often bandied about, but rarely has a film deserved them more than Lawrence Of Arabia, David Lean's 1962 film starring Peter O’Toole in a sensationalized, action-filled biopic of T. E. Lawrence, the British soldier/traveler/writer/mercenary who helped the Arabs revolt against European and Ottoman domination. The film is absolutely gorgeous thanks to the stunning widescreen 70mm cinematography by Freddie Young. And there's no better place to see it than the Egyptian, which will show a 70mm print of the film.

WHEN: Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 PM
WHERE: American Cinematheque at The Egyptian Theater: 6712 Hollywood Blvd., (1 block East of Highland Ave. in Hollywood)