A new documentary titled Out of Print will undoubtably excite movie goers who are regulars at Los Angeles’ New Beverly Cinema, as well as cinephiles in general. Filmmaker (and long-time New Bev employee) Julia Marchese has basically created a glossy love letter to the precious repertory cinema known for its ingenious programming and its eclectic clientele (including support from high-profile filmmakers).
Out of Print is a dorky film, but Marchese (and everyone in front of the camera) knows that. The doc wears its geeky, gung-ho charm on its sleeve, and entertains movie goers with a fun representation of the New Beverly and its followers. History is also established about the revival house’s passionate former manager Sherman Torgan, as well as the cinema’s early days as a porno house. What the film does leave out – or has rather stopped at – is the sobering epilogue that Julia Marchese has written about on her personal blog. Then again, a darker finale would’ve conflicted with her otherwise heady, romanticized film.
The niche topics in Out of Print have the ability to surprise us (a segment on projectionists is supremely satisfying), but the film lacks a rhythm with its editing, and also has the tendency to spin its wheels. The doc provides a lot of background on the Bev, but it feels like the same praises are repeated. A breathe of fresh air occurs when Out of Print temporarily shelves its New Bev enthusiasm for impassioned views on preserving 35mm. In these discussions, audiences learn about the ripple effect that will happen if 35mm reels are phased out and revival houses are rejected reels. If you’ve ever wondered how a film can actually die, Out of Print has the scary predictions.
The documentary is loaded with talent who all sport genuine feelings for the New Bev and film history in general. Worked-up interviews with Kevin Smith and Lloyd Kaufman are to be expected from a film this nerdy, but it’s amusing to watch Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces), Rian Johnson (Looper), and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) fail to contain their giddy feelings when retelling their experiences at the Bev. However, comedian/actor Patton Oswalt just about steals the show with his hilarious but poignant perspectives on the moviegoing past and how audiences can survive the future.
Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie