The template for a proper film noir calls for shadowy offices, a hard-bitten detective, a sultry femme fatale and the meanest of streets. It's less known that the most classic examples of the form—all the way back to Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd.—take place in Los Angeles, where the postcard-perfect facade always hides seediness. L.A. and noir are as classic a combo as pastrami on rye (Canter's style), and with the upcoming December 12 release of Paul Thomas Anderson's dazzling stoner mystery Inherent Vice—read our review—BAM is set to unspool "Sunshine Noir," a key showcase of sunny essentials beginning Wednesday 26 and running through December 9. Inherent Vice itself will get an advance sneak screening on December 8th at 7:30pm, but here are a handful of older must-sees in a program that deserves your attention.
Body Double If you long to see a lady murdered slowly with a power tool or a virginal nerd screwed by Melanie Griffith to the tune of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax (Don’t Do It),” Brian De Palma’s terrific 1984 comedy-thriller-satire is the movie for you. Tue 4:30, 9:30pm
Chinatown Roman Polanski’s 1974 masterpiece is several things: a cynical history of L.A.’s property grabs of the ’30s, a gorgeously lush postnoir and Jack Nicholson’s finest two hours, as a seedy private detective drawn to the money. Thu, Fri 2, 7pm
In a Lonely Place Those who cherish their image of Humphrey Bogart as the smoothest of operators might want to check out Nicholas Ray’s creative use of him, as a dispirited screenwriter hacking his way through Hollywood’s wilds and an alleged murder rap. Sat 2, 7pm
Jackie Brown Quentin Tarantino, the great postmodernist of contemporary pulp fiction, has made a lot of fun cinematic halls of mirrors; this adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel, however, is one of his few movies that actually feel connected to the real world. Sun 6, 9pm
Who Framed Roger Rabbit It doesn’t seem quite as remarkable an achievement all these years later—the state of the art has moved on—but Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd still impress, and the title character splutters magnificently. And Jessica Rabbit? We'll hold our tongue (though it's wagging). Thu, Fri 4:45, 9:45pm