Weekly Movie Picks: Italian Exploitation, Waitress, Larry Gottheim, LA Harbor Film Festival + More

Grave of the VampireGrindhouse
The week begins with a John Hayes double feature. In Grave of the Vampire, legendary vampire Kroft awakens and rapes a woman in a graveyard. The resulting child doesn't need milk. He needs… blood! This is paired with Jailbait Babysitter, which stars Therese Pare as a teenager who's turned out by an older prostitute (Lydia Wagner).

Wednesday and Thursday it's a double-bill of Hong Kong action beginning with the Bruce Li (not to be confused with Bruce Lee) starrer, Return of the Tiger, followed by Stoner, which stars George Lazenby as an Australian cop investigating a mysterious drug that is both aphrodisiac and hallucinogen. When his sister falls under its evil spell, he travels to Hong Kong, where he teams up with a Taiwanese cop to take down the evil drug lord Mr. Chin. Look for Sammo Hung in one of his earliest roles.

The final weekend of New Beverly's Grindhouse Festival showcases a pair of Italian exploitation pics. Death Rage blood-soaked crime drama starring Yul Brynner as a hit man who comes out of retirement to kill the gangster who was responsible for the death of his brother. He takes a young hit man under his wing and gets involved with a sexy stripper (Barbara Bouchet). This film is paired with Cry of a Prostitute, which stars Henry Silva as a gangster flitting between two rival families in Sicily. Bouchet plays the bored, slutty girlfriend of one of the mafia dons.

WHEN: Mon., April 23 - Sat., April 28; various times
WHERE: The New Beverly: 7165 Beverly Blvd. (1 block West of La Brea Ave.)


WaitressWaitress
Melnitz Movies hosts a sneak preview of Waitress, an indie drama that was written and directed by actress Adrienne Shelly, who was best known for her work in Hal Hartley's films before her tragic murder. The movie stars Keri Russell as Jenna, a poor southern waitress with a talent for baking amazing pies and a jealous jerk of a husband (Jeremy Sisto) weighing her down. After Jenna discovers she is pregnant, the handsome new gynecologist in town encourages her to write a letter to her unwanted baby, and an unexpected love story develops. Co-starring Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines and Andy Griffith.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Melnitz Movies at the James Bridges Theater: 1409 Melnitz Hall, UCLA Campus (Westwood)


The Last Picture ShowWeird "Westerns"
On Friday and Saturday nights, LACMA will host screenings of two pairs of westerns, each of which are amazing double-bills.

On Friday it's The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpah's violent elegy to the demise of the Wild West and the archetype of the American cowboy. Set in 1913 during the Mexican Revolution, it stars everybody from Ernest Borgnine to William Holden in a story about an aging group of outlaws trying to pull off one final score. The film is preceded by The Ox-Bow Incident, a 1943 William Wellman film starring Henry Fonda as a drifter who joins a posse to hunt down a trio of suspected murderers.

Saturday begins with Hud, which features a brilliant performance by Paul Newman in the title role of Hud Bannon, a ruthless asshole who doesn’t give a shit about his family, their farm or the mores of small-town life. This is followed by Peter Bogdanovich's ode to the middle America of the 1950s, The Last Picture Show. This coming-of-age story set in the 1950s in a small Texas town stars a very young Cybill Shepherd and Jeff Bridges.

WHEN: April 27-28, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
WHERE: LACMA: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., (three blocks East of Fairfax Ave.)


LA Harbor Film FestivalLA Harbor International Film Festival
Founded by PR exec Stephanie Mardesich and San Pedro Magazine Director Jack Baric, the LA Harbor International Film Festival (LAHIFF) aims to showcase movies that reflect "the harbor and all that it embraces - shipping and commerce, fishing, sailing, water sports, sea life and the area’s rich ethnic and cultural influences."

The festival opens on Thursday night with Uncle Nino, a drama that stars Joe Mantegna as an elderly Italian who comes to America for the first time to meet his relatives but is disappointed by the fragmented society he encounters and his disjointed, slightly dysfunctional family. It looks like the festival is trying to pad its thin schedule with screenings of vintage musical The Harvey Girls, Errol Flynn swashbuckler Captain Blood and a reprise screening from last year's festival of I Build the Tower, a doc about Simon Rodia, the man who built the Watts Towers. But the festival closes on Sunday with a premiere of The Lost Village of Terminal Island, a 42-minute doc about the tight-knit Japanese fishing community that lived behind the canneries at Fish Harbor at Terminal Island before they were displaced to internment camps in 1942. Something called the "Wiener Wagon" will be on site just before the film.

WHEN: April 27-29
WHERE: Warner Grand Theater (WGT), 478 W. 6th St. in downtown San Pedro


The Far Side Of Jericho
Director Tim Hunter (River's Edge) puts his spin on the Western genre with The Far Side Of Jericho. Three women, widows of an outlawed gang of brothers, must run for their lives from vigilantes, Indians and a slew of villains who are all convinced that these ladies widows know the whereabouts of their husbands' missing loot.

WHEN: April 26-May 3
WHERE: American Cinematheque at The Aero Theater: 1328 Montana Ave. (at 14th St. in Santa Monica )


Tree of KnowledgeAn Evening With Larry Gottheim
The Los Angeles Filmforum presents a program that surveys the career of one of America's foremost avant-garde filmmakers, Larry Gottheim, who is best known for Elective Affinities, a series of four feature-length films started in the early 1970s and completed in 1981 that explore the relationship of images to sound and time.

The LA Filmforum will screen the four part in this series, Tree of Knowledge. The following evening (Monday, April 30) REDCAT will also host a screening of several films by Gottheim.

WHEN: Sunday, April 29 at 7:00 pm
WHERE: The Egyptian Theater: 6712 Hollywood Blvd., (1 block East of Highland Ave. in Hollywood)