le dernier combat

Jack Giroux Enjoyed a Luc Besson Double Feature at the Egyptian Theater

No major news flash: The Egyptian is a great place to see a movie. Last week I went there to see a double-feature of Luc Besson’s first two films, his directorial debut, Le Dernier Combat, and Subway. His first movie is a black-in-white post-apocalyptic tale in which fish rain from the sky and his follow-up is an ultra-cool romantic thriller set in a subway station. Both were 35mm prints. Right now, The Egyptian is doing a series for Besson called “The Thousand Planets of Luc Besson.” I really enjoyed the experience of watching these two Besson movies for the first time in a theater.

There’s plenty of theaters in Los Angeles showing double-bills, classics, and all sorts of movies. Every week, it seems there’s the opportunity to discover an old title or catch a movie you’ve meant to get to in a theater. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch a number of films I’ve wanted to see for the first time with a crowd, thanks to places like The Egyptian. The crowd is consistently respectful and was again for the Besson double feature. Subway, in particular, looked fantastic. Besson’s near-silent debut shows what an eye he has, while his sophomore effort shows his style come to life. Besson’s voice was pretty clear even from the start of his career.

Ben Pearson Has Been Listening to John Mayer’s The Search For Everything

I have a confession to make that will likely make me sound extremely uncool, but here goes: I’m a John Mayer fan. While I totally get it if some of you immediately wrote him off as just another pop star (some of his comments in interviews certainly haven’t helped his public perception), I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 15 and Mayer has been one of the most talented guitarists on the planet for the past decade-plus. The one official John Mayer Trio album features some of his best guitar work, but I’m here to talk briefly about his latest solo studio album, The Search for Everything.

I largely ignored his past two albums (Born & Raised and Paradise Valley) because I’m not crazy about the folk acoustic styles of the ’60s and ’70s he was aping during that portion of his career, but The Search for Everything is much more of a return to the type of albums Mayer made in the mid-2000s, most notably the excellent Continuum. Search features a well-rounded mixture of styles, from the breezy “Love on the Weekend” and the soulful “Moving On and Getting Over” to the yearning “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me” and upbeat “Still Feel Like Your Man.” There’s only one song where he really lets loose on the guitar – the blistering solo of the otherwise-soothing “Changing” – but the whole album is brimming with genuine emotion, and as long as he keeps making music that’s this high quality, I can’t imagine ignoring his work again any time soon.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Show

Ethan Anderton Went to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Show

For those who haven’t heard, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is currently touring the country with a live show to celebrate their return with a new season that is available now on Netflix. Dubbed the “Watch Out for Snakes Tour” (a name where the meaning becomes clear as the show goes on), the tour has the show’s new host Jonah Ray along with his robot pal Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo performing a live episode of the series, complete with movie mockery and breaks in between.

The tour actually has two different live shows, though only select cities are lucky enough to be able to catch the second one. The first show is a live version of Eegah!, largely considered by fans to be one of the best episodes from the show’s library. It was presented with new jokes, and there was even room for riffing made specific to Chicago, which is where I caught the tour. The second show featured a “Secret Surprise Film”, and while I won’t spoil the surprise while telling you what the movie is, I will tell you that it’s a superhero movie straight from the swinging 1960s that’s like a poor man’s Batman, with much more provocative sexual implications.

As a longtime fan of MST3K, it was awesome to catch both of these shows live, especially with creator Joel Hodgson on hand to introduce them and even do a little Q&A to kill time before the show began. The energy that all of these performers have is off the charts, and it’s actually rather impressive to have the cast riffing on a movie live rather than in a recorded episode. Obviously everything is written meticulously and planned carefully, but it’s still a remarkable feat to pull off a show like this.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 live tour still has 22 shows left on their calendar, so if there’s a show in your area, make sure you get tickets right away.

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