Be aware: there are some guests announced already, but we have some more on deck to announce in the coming days. And they’re gonna be really, really good ones.
Wednesday, April 27 - Silent Superheroes Serial Sampler
Long before the first filmic superheroes (as we now know them) crawled out of the sea—when they were not yet even embryonic notions in the minds of proto-fanboys—there were the adventurers, daredevils and other headliners of the “serials”: the pulpy, episodic tales of derring-do and rescuing of damsels in distress, doled out in weekly “chapter” installments. These century-old silents, while short on feats of superhuman strength and lasers eminating from eyeballs, contain virtually all of the archetypal building blocks of the modern superhero story: masked mystery men, gadgets, secret identities, arch villains and more! Join us on a journey through the stupendous narrative arcs of yesteryear, all scored live by L.A.’s own Cabeza De Vaca Arkestra! Over the course of several special Cinefamily shows, the Arcestra, which features members of Dios Malos, has established itself as one of the city’s premier ensembles for film score interpretation—so get ready for a night of stirring, soaring musical accompaniment!
Check out some of the 1913 masked man serial Fantomas!
Friday, April 29 - Marvel Comics Mondo Mix and Punisher: War Zone
First up at 8 the Mondo Marvel Mashup, featuring the web-slingingest, shield-flingingest, ankle-wingingest clips from all of Earth’s Mightiest Mortals’ film and television appearances. We’re going deep into the back-issue bins for this one. It’s going to be the most claw-popping, hammer-throwing gamma-rave of friendly-neighborhood favorites and Rom-level rarities ever Assembled. Excelsior! Co-presented by Stussy.
Then at 9:30 is Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone, the film that dares to try and capture the insanity of Garth Ennis’ take on Frank Castle. Bathed in neon, shadows and blood, this splattery blast to the chest features not only great kills and an amazingly over-the-top Jigsaw played by The Wire‘s Dominic West but also the best big screen Punisher yet, in the form of Rome‘s Ray Stevenson. Insanely fun, Punisher: War Zone is a movie dying to be rediscovered.
Saturday, April 30 - Superhero Movie Marathon!
We go all day, starting with good old Saturday morning cartoons and ending with a blow out bash set to the weirdest, wildest superhero movies from around the globe.
You can buy an all day pass for 20 bucks and come and go as you like, or you can buy tickets for individual shows.
Jerry Beck’s History of the Animated Superhero - 1:00pm
Op, Pop, Wham and Bop! Superhero movies are the hottest thing in Hollywood at the moment, so it’s our duty to call upon our resident animation historian, Jerry Beck (Cartoon Brew.com), to trace the cartoon history of animated superheroes. This special program includes everything from the sublime (Max Fleischer’s lush Superman cartoons) to the ridiculous (TV’s minimilist Roger Ramjet), from the depths of obscurity (Ralph Bakshi’s Super Basher) to the superstars of the genre (Space Ghost). Jerry will trace the history of the characters, explain the animators behind them and screen rare 16mm prints. Join us and the Super Six, the Mighty Heroes, Bat Fink, Fearless Fly, Underdog, Super President and much much more! Up, up and away!
Buy a ticket for ten bucks!
The Return of Captain Invincible - 3:00pm-ish
Imagine Superman, Austin Powers and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert blended together, and you’ll have a handle on this musical comedy about one superhero’s chance at redemption! An always-joyous-to-watch Alan Arkin is the titular hero, an all-American good guy whose career was unjustly ruined by the ‘50s Communist hearings, and who now lives in drunken exile in Australia. Drawn back into service when his longtime racist nemesis (played/sung by Christopher Lee) engages in a diabolical world-threatening and tuneful plot, the Captain must face his fears, and learn how to fly again. Written by Die Hard scribe Steven E. de Souza, and featuring songs by Rocky Horror creators Richard O’Brien and Richard Hartley, Return is easily one of the most ambitious narrative films from Aussie director Phillipe Mora (Communion, The Beast Within), and is the kind of cheeky yet affectionate love letter to American culture that only a foreign-born-and-raised filmmaker can create. Director Phillipe Mora will be here in person for a Q&A after the film!
Buy a ticket for ten bucks!
Abar, The First Black Superman - 5:30pm-ish
One of the only black science fiction films, and clearly a homemade labor of love, Abar is the most positive, family-friendly movie ever made that wishes for the disappearance of the entire white race. This high concept, no-budget, one-of-a-kind obscurity follows a genius black scientist who moves his family into a wealthy white Los Angeles neighborhood, and (surprise!) is confronted with his neighbors’ violent bigotry. Enter a groovily-dressed, tough-as-nails, urban revolutionary named Abar and his motorcycle-riding group of vigilantes, the Black Front of Unity. At first, Abar’s weary of a collabo with the bourgeoisie, but when he finally agrees to try out the scientist’s new potion, he gains far-out infinite mind powers, and the world’s first black Superman is born! Featuring a classic blaxploitation aesthetic juxtaposed with a astute interest in L.A. race relations and economic stratification (the film’s images of vintage Watts are a draw in themselves), Abar isn’t just the first black superman film—it’s also the brainiest and most fun! Abar director Frank Packard and star Tobar Mayo will both be here in person for a Q&A after the film! Very rare 35mm print!
Buy a ticket for ten bucks!
Hellboy - 8:00pm-ish
In the ‘90s, legendary comic book artist Mike Mignola created Hellboy, a wise-crackin’, working class demon who works for a secret organization that deals with all manner of monsters, clockwork Nazi automatons and supernatural creatures. In 2004, auteur director Guillermo del Toro brought Mignola’s comic respectfully to life, with the gutsy choice of casting genre fave/latex prosthetic veteran Ron Perlman in the titular role. In hindsight, this was really the furthest thing from a gamble, for Perlman brings to the film (and its later sequel) an incredible level of warmth, artistry and (ahem!) humanity that’s just as thrilling to watch as Christopher Reeve’s original timeless portrayal of The Man of Steel in the Superman franchise. Seamlessly combining the superhero and horror genres into one tight, entertaining blast, Hellboy also boasts a hell of a supporting cast, featuring Selma Blair, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor and a mime-blowing performance from Doug Jones as the loveable Abe Sapien, Hellboy’s “Creature From The Black Lagoon” confidant. So don your devil horns and join us for a screening of one of the best films in the superhero boom of the 21st century!
Buy a ticket for ten bucks!
Mondo Superhero! (w/ batshit crazy feature film to be announced) - 11:00pm-ish
Co-presented by Everything Is Terrible!
Description coming soon…
Sunday, May 1 - The Superman Triple Feature
We’ve explored the off-beat and the odd, so let’s come back around to celebrate one of the founding fathers of superheroics, that defender of truth, justice and the American way in the films that defined him for generations. And: a rare chance to see the Superman II Donner Cut on the big screen!
Superman: The Movie - 5:00pm
Amongst the overwhelming number of modern superhero pictures, it’s easy to forget that there was a single film that not only kicked off our current fascination with cinematic caped crusaders, but managed to become one of the most stirring films of its decade in the process. Before ‘78, there were only Saturday morning serials, cartoons and the occasional campy theatrical joint like Danger: Diabolik and Barbarella—but Superman: The Movie cast aside all expectations of a goofy or merely passable time with a knockout script, inspired casting, pitch-perfect acting, top-notch special effects, sharp direction and one of the greatest hummable movie themes of all time. In the wake of the current crop of comic book movies so panel-by-panel faithful to their source material that they are essentially the books themselves with added motion, Superman also stands out as a fantastic adaptation of the Kal-El/Clark Kent origin story, streamlining its wide universe of detail into a timeless, finely-tuned filmic machine that has stood on its own since it was first released. Whether you’re seeing it for the first time since childhood, or whether you make a regular habit out of catching up with it—come join us in the joyous group experience of seeing Superman up on the big screen where it belongs.
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut - 8:00pm-ish
Superman II has long been considered one of the superior movie sequels, with its action setpieces, its highly memorable villains (led by Terence Stamp in the supremely juicy role of General Zod) and its central human drama (the revealing of Clark Kent’s real identity to Lois Lane, so that they might be allowed to fall in love) all standing toe-to-awesome-toe with the many highlights of the first flick. But now, Superman II has been made even better. Parts I and II were originally filmed back-to-back by director Richard Donner, who exited the production late in the game over many disputes with the series’ producers—making the original film a hodge-podge of Donner’s material and subsequent scenes from replacement director Richard Lester (A Hard Day’s Night, Petulia), who injected more comedy and alternate storylines into the proceedings. A few years ago, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut finally emerged, giving fans what had always been rumored: a full version of the film with Lester’s slapstick sensibilities and plotholes re-replaced with the tone and plot Donner had originally intended. Continue your stay on Superman Day with this re-imagined classic!
Superman III - 10:15pm-ish
Oh, how Cinefamily loves its “threes”: the magic entry in a film franchise when, like the rhythm of a classic joke, the third iteration is where things often go hilariously askew—the exact reason why we love Superman III so much, for it’s crammed to the gills with supremely ridiculous touches that its original audience never saw coming. The shoehorned addition of a dazed-looking Richard Pryor (who was then at the peak of his crossover Hollywood fame) is one amazing thing, but Richard Lester returning to the director’s chair to use the Superman canvas as a staging ground for Hard Day’s Night-style slapsticky nyuck-nyucks creates a sublime feeling of sweet idiocy that’s hard to beat, midnight-movie style. Plus, everyone’s chewing the scenery in their own devilish way: Pryor, Robert Vaughn, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson—practically everyone but Christopher Reeve, who still shines like magic (as if the movie around him isn’t as strange as it actually is) in the dual role of Good Superman vs. Baddie Superman. Superman III remains a guilty pleasure, one that we’re stoked to finally see roll across the Cinefamily screen!