ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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September 2020

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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FILM!

THE RENTAL

The Rental is now playing (Starring Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White)

THE RENTAL

  • By DENNIS PETRONE
  • Photo Courtesy of IFC FILMS

Summertime has traditionally been the start of the autumn scary movie season as kids are off from school — it’s hot outside, the ACs are pumping, and all the heavy-hitter award-contenders are holding out for late fall releases. Well it’s nice to know that even during quarantine times, the tradition is still alive through a host of streaming services with The Rental. Everyone more than ever is looking for local Airbnb-type getaways — especially Charlie (Dan Stevens), his exotic business partner Mina (Sheila Vand), his wife Michelle (Alison Brie), and his screwup brother who is dating Mina, Josh (Jeremy Allen White). The group rents a too-good-to-be-true lux home on the Northwest Coast and quickly discovers their secret and not-so-secret shenanigans are being caught on camera!

The Rental is Dave Franco’s full-length directorial debut and he showed audiences that he’s in-tune with America’s thillor zigot marrying today’s fears of what could go wrong when bargaining with strangers online with timeless anxieties about staying in giant unfamiliar houses in the middle of nowhere. This was a good bet for the IFC who handled distribution as The Rental topped the official box office (mostly drive-ins, of course) two weekends in a row translating to — in these times of generally closed cinemas — over a million dollars in revenue.

Learn more about “The Rental” including where to stream it here.

KAJILLIONAIRE

Kajillionaire releases September 25th (Starring Evan Rachel Wood)

KAJILLIONAIRE

  • By MICHAEL JACOBO
  • Photo Courtesy of Focus Features

Dysfunctional families have been a staple of American cinema since, well, the inception of American cinema. It’s all been done before; the dissection of the nuclear family, the evaluation of the people and friends we make our families, but it’s never been done like it has been in Kajillionaire.

The latest film from Miranda July (who wow’d audiences with previous films such as Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future) is a subtlety surreal comedy-drama. The film, set in and reveling in pre-COVID Los Angeles, follows a family of drifters and thieves. The child, Old Dolio (played exceptionally well by Evan Rachel Wood) is suddenly confronted with an existential crisis after her parents recruit a new member, Melanie, played by a charismatic Gina Rodriguez. Old Dolio wonders of the outside world, and the type of person she’d want to spend her journey with. Debra Winger (a far cry from her role in Terms of Endearment) and Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) star as Old Dolio’s parents, Theresa and Robert, respectively. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, the breakout star from the now canceled High Fidelity, also stars.

The film was written and directed by July, her third feature film in fifteen years. After its world premiere at Sundance earlier this year, the film is now scheduled for release this month.

“Kajillionaire” premieres Sept 25th.

Stage Mother

Stage Mother is now playing (Starring Jacki Weaver)

Stage Mother

  • By AC Remler
  • Photo Courtesy of Momentum

From renowned film and stage director Thom Fitzgerald, comes Stage Mother, a new dramedy with heart. Fitzgerald, called “Atlantic Canada’s great gay hope” by MediaQueer, once again blasts stereotypical ideas around sexuality as two disparate cultures collide to uncover tolerance, love and acceptance.

In Red Vine, Texas, Maybelline (Jacki Weaver) is the director of a lackluster church choir, when her estranged gay son Ricky dies unexpectedly. Against her husband’s wishes, she sets off to attend his funeral and finds she has inherited his drag club Pandora’s Box in San Francisco. Maybelline’s conservative Southern Baptist roots initially clash with her late son’s colorful community, including angry boyfriend (Adrian Grenier), loveable single mom Sienna (Lucy Liu), and flamboyant drag stars Cherry Poppins (Mya Taylor), Joan of Arkansas (Allister MacDonald) and Tequila Mockingbird (Oscar Moreno). But when she decides to help revive the waning club and gets to know them all as people, Maybelline comes to understand that lipstick and wigs aren’t the only similarities between the gals in the Bible Belt choir and the divas performing in the drag show. In the process, she rediscovers her mojo when she transforms the queens from lip-synching stage caricatures into authentic singers.

Written by Brad Hennig, the 90-minute Stage Mother, if somewhat formulaic, is a real crowd-pleaser with powerhouse performances and heartfelt life lessons throughout.

“Stage Mother” is available now.

ANTEBELLUM

Antebellum releases September 18 (Starring Janelle Monae)

ANTEBELLUM

  • By RICH ANDREW
  • Photo Courtesy of LIONSGATE

Writing and directing duo Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz have produced a mortality tale about social injustice that undoubtedly devolves into the scariest monster movie yet. The monster in Antebellum is not a poltergeist, not a masked murderer, not even a nightmare in bladed gloves — just the colonizing stain of our country’s past that forever haunts us.

Fighting this systemic evil is the indomitable spirit of Janelle Monáe (Homecoming), who steps into the perfect life of Veronica Henley, a successful author basking in the ultimate American dream. She’s got the big house, the handsome hubby, the sweetest little girl, and a giant fandom hanging on her every word. But when Veronica uses her platform to speak out against racial inequity, the powers of privilege decide once and for all to put her in her place. Surviving capture and torture, this modern woman finds herself thrust backwards into the cotton fields of the antebellum South, doomed to eke out her days as a slave. Always impressive, Monáe channels the desperation and primal ferocity that make this terrifying fantasy feel all too real.

With an outstanding cast that also features Marque Richardson (Inheritance), Eric Lange (Perry Mason), Jack Huston (Fargo), Kiersey Clemons (Easy), Tongayi Chirisa (Consequences), Gabourey Sidibe (Empire), Lily Cowles (Roswell), and Jena Malone (Lorelei), Antebellum delivers the scream that must never be silenced.

“Antebellum” streams on demand on September 18th.

What's Hot!

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve adjusted our content this month.

LAArtsOnline now features two NEW pages: BOOKS and EXTRA! We’ll look at what’s hot in the world of books and reading along with some suggestions of EXTRA! things to check out, read about, and do!

Stay positive, stay safe.

Paige Petrone
Founder / Publisher

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