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Category Archives: Los Angeles

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Brother (Takeshi Kitano, 2000)

On January 25, 2015 Colin and “The City in Cinema” come live to Portland, Oregon’s Hollywood Theatre – for details and tickets, visit hollywoodtheatre.org In the mid-1990s, Takeshi Kitano, who made his name in Japan as a television comedian, broke into the west as an auteur. Did it with Sonatine, a tale of a Tokyo yakuza exiled […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: The Crimson Kimono (Samuel Fuller, 1959)

On January 25, 2015 Colin and “The City in Cinema” come live to Portland, Oregon’s Hollywood Theatre – for details and tickets, visit hollywoodtheatre.org Samuel Fuller’s very late noir The Crimson Kimono essays the insider-outsider Los Angeles buddy cop picture not with space aliens, as in 1988’s Alien Nation, but with a people once treated with […]

Los Angeles, The City in Cinema: Alien Nation (Graham Baker, 1988)

Alien Nation, a film about extraterrestrials who arrive on Earth and struggle to integrate into American life, never won any awards for allegorical subtlety. But this otherwise by-the-book buddy cop picture does capture the texture of a certain highly unglamorous Los Angeles rarely explored on screen to this degree. As you’d expect, it also has […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner crossed Los Angeles with a grittier, less orderly Tokyo. Just over thirty years later, Spike Jonze’s Her crosses Los Angeles with a sanitized Shanghai, creating a utopian urban setting for surely the mildest cyberpunk story ever told. Instead of menacing android replicants and detective Rick Deckard who hunts them, we have […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)

Blade Runner‘s future noir, proto-cyberpunk vision of a Los Angeles both post-industrial and re-industrial, both first-world and third-world, has remained in the more than 30 years since its unsuccessful first run the definitive image of the city’s future. Using a combination of studio backlots, scale models, matte paintings, and actual Los Angeles architectural landmarks, the […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)

Like Walter Hill’s The Driver back in 1978, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive opens with a downtown car chase, though it swaps out the Ryan at the wheel: this time it’s Gosling instead of O’Neal, but he still pays the Driver, a getaway man of few words and many strict professional guidelines. This Driver, however, operates […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: The Limey (Steven Soderbergh, 1999)

Englishmen have come to Los Angeles since it first qualified as a city, and another one comes in The Limey. Wilson, a London thief just out of jail, comes to town to investigate and possibly avenge the mysterious death of his daughter. The trail leads Wilson, played by icon of 60s British cinema Terence Stamp, […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Night of the Comet (Thom Eberhardt, 1984)

Pitched between comedy, horror, and disaster, those reliable Los Angeles genres, Night of the Comet manages, in its thoroughly 1980s sensibility, to be at once the parody and the thing parodied. In it, two Valley-girl sisters who happen to survive the passing of a nearly humanity-extincting comet must contend with zombies, thugs, survivalist scientists, and […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E67: Extremely Permanent with Doug Pray

Beneath the rock of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Colin Marshall talks with documentarian Doug Pray, maker of such films as Hype! on the Seattle 1990s grunge scene, Infamy on graffiti artists, Surfwise on Doc Paskowitz’s traveling family, and Art & Copy on the advertising industry. His new Levitated Mass examines the complicated movement of the rock all the way […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969)

By the late 1960s, some Angelenos had already written their city off. But the European filmmakers who’d only just started to find material there hadn’t; Jacques Demy, for instance, still found Los Angeles a place of sun, sky, youth, cars, and, given the era, counterculture — a place of pure potential. Model Shop, an early […]