Dear New Parkway Lover:
You got the schedule yesterday so today’s newsletter is about some of the details. You may have seen that we’ve got 17 different offerings. Wow! With so much diversity, I think we can say with a high degree of certainty that there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the highlights:
· We’ve got two big sports games: Cal vs. UNLV NCAA Tourney basketball game tomorrow at 4:30 PM and the US vs Mexico World Cup Qualifier soccer game on Tuesday at 7:30. Giant screen equals giant fun.
· March 22nd was the day that the old Parkway went dark which was the event that got this whole New Parkway thing underway. So come out for half-price beers and free popcorn all night long. We love you, New Parkway patrons, and hope you’ll join us on Friday to celebrate the Parkway being back in our lives.
· After a standing-room only showing yesterday for Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midives, we’re offering three more showings of this award-winning documentary on Friday, Saturday, and Monday.
· Join us late night on Friday at 10:15 and Saturday at 11:15 for Prince in all his Purple Rain glory.
· We’re thrilled to welcome back not only The Waiting Room for a second week, but filmmaker Pete Nicks for a second Q & A following the Saturday show.
· We’ve got the Bay Area premiere of Mommy is Coming on Saturday night. It’s clever, raunchy, and pornorific. Filmmaker Cheryl Dunye in attendance and doing a Q & A.
· We’re holding our first movie marathon on Sunday with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Join us for one movie or for all three, maybe even with special food and drink.
· We’ve got two documentaries on Sunday, Playland and Sutro, along with filmmaker Tom Wyrsch.
· While Friday is William Shatner’s birthday, our annual Shatfest happens on Sunday. Join Will the Thrill and a whole bunch of shatting.
· Nerd Nite is back with another exciting chapter: Nerd Nite East Bay: Sleep, War of 1812, and Meteorites. Doors at 7, show starts at 8.
And now for what Adam has to say about our features this week:
This is what happens when movies are successful. You hold them over until the law of diminishing returns sets in and people stop going to see them. It is the reason Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves lasted 18 weeks in movie theaters when most summer movies are lucky to get 8 weeks. It was that good. Or Alan Rickman was that good. Or people wanted to hear Kevin Costner's suspiciously American accent over and over. But this week, we have the same movies we had last week. Fortunately for you, it is highly unlikely you have seen all of these movies and they are all worth a watch.
Zero Dark Thirty
How did we find Osama Bin Laden (like when your sports team wins, you say to your friends, 'We Won!', like you had something to do with the victory)? If you are into conspiracies, the CIA always knew where he was. They were just waiting for the perfect moment to uncover him to maximize the political capital. If you are into the truth, it was a seedy journey of torture, lost trails, beautiful Lamborghinis and a difficult decade dealing with the 'War on Terror' (I am still waiting for the 'War on Misuse of Disability Placards for cars in San Francisco).
Zero Dark Thirty takes you on a journey exploring the latter. And what a gripping journey it is. Combining deft storytelling with nail-biting tension, it is undoubtedly one of the best thrillers of the year. Jessica Chastain has cemented herself (weird image) as one of the finest actresses of her generation (technically Megan Fox is part of her generation).
Quick disclaimer- I am a huge Steven Spielberg fan. I have watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom about 69 times over the last 22 years (about 40 of the viewings were between the ages of 10 and 15). I stopped swimming in the ocean after Jaws. I got into dinosaurs after Jurassic Park. I joined an Israeli hit squad after 'Munich'. So I may find it hard to be objective regarding his latest masterpiece. However I did fall asleep during Tin-Tin and found War Horse kind of boring. So I can recognize his misses as well.
Lincoln is in the higher echelon of Spielberg movies. It is wonderfully written. It is beautifully acted. It is perfectly paced. It is amusing and smart. It makes you pine for the days of smart politicians. Detailing how the amendment for slavery came to pass (tiny spoiler but if you don't know slavery is illegal, you probably should by now), this is one of the finest movies of the year (the year being technically 2012). Don't miss it.
Just when you think Zombie movies have been done to death (who does not like a good pun), the odd gem pops up (in addition to the excellent 'Walking Dead on AMC) and Warm Bodies definitely falls into this category. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack and a romance begins.
This movie is funny, unique and definitely has the feel of a cult classic. It is also surprisingly emotional, and thick with irony. If you like the supernatural genre (vampires, werewolves, zombies) and want to get that pungent Twilight taste out of your mouth, this movie is the ticket. Sometimes you don't want to go to a movie and sit on edge (Zero Dark Thirty) or inadvertently learn some history (Lincoln). Sometimes you you just want to soak up a good zombie horror teenage comedy. And this does the job. Very well.
The Waiting Room
This one hits close to home. Literally. I live about 50 feet from Highland Hospital. This documentary goes behind the doors of an Oakland public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. Dealing with all aspects of the hospital including patients, doctors, administrators, it looks into how each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices. It details a day in the life of an ER ward. But crazily enough, there are no George Clooney lookalikes spouting witty dialogue throughout the day.
The Waiting Room successfully captures the current state of the American medical system. And some of the results can be very alarming. It also stands as a very powerful rebuke of Romney's conception of emergency rooms as a reasonable option for the uninsured.
Birth Story- Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives
We are adding this for a few select shows. I know what you are thinking. Along with 'Norbert' (classically bad Eddie Murphy 'comedy') this has to have one of the worst titles ever made. It practically screams 'put on your Netflix queue to seem smart but when the DVD arrives you can never watch it because it sounds too boring'. But if you were to do that, you would be doing yourself a great disservice (ok, a moderate disservice- I don't want to oversell it).
It tells the story of counterculture heroine Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends, who began delivering each other's babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land. With Ina May as their leader, the women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up, and, with their families, founded an entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. It got an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Plenty of you got an 83% on a school paper and were delighted. So support it.
And now for more information about our repertory and special events programming:
New Parkway Family Classics—This week we’re showing MUPPET MOVIE both on Friday afternoon at 4:30 and Saturday at 12:30. Kermit and his new found friends trek across America to find success in Hollywood, but a frog-legs merchant is after Kermit. Tickets available at the door.
Spectrum Queer Cinema—SPECTRUM Queer Media.com presents SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES, featuring a Q&A w/ Director John Mifsud. SPEAKING FOR OURSELVES introduces you to a wide variety of LGB youth: a young woman who drank turpentine because she wanted to die rather than deal with being bisexual; young people who play baseball; act in plays; and go to science classes. You will empathize with their tears, their courage and the laughter generated by their candid sharing.
Thrillville— THRILLVILLE THEATER presents SHATFEST. It's back, making its New Parkway premiere: Will the Thrill's legendary SHATFEST, Thrillville's annual tribute to the inimitable William Shatner, featuring surprise Shat-shorts and his classic 1977 creature feature, KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, in which Shat battles an army of angry arachnids!
Baby Brigade—This week there’s only one showing, Birth Story at 4:30, since we’ve got Nerd Nite after that. Sorry!
Doc Night—We’re partnering with Youth Uprising to show Miss Representation. Miss Representation includes stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics like Condoleezza Rice, Lisa Ling, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson, Jackson Katz, Jean Kilbourne, and Gloria Steinem. The film offers startling facts and statistics that will leave audiences shaken and armed with a new perspective.
2 for 1 Wednesdays—All day Wednesday, 2 for 1 admission prices with movies starting at 3:30. And now with Happy Hour drinks from 5-7PM followed by arts and crafts projects in the café that you can do with your buzz on.
Parkway Classics— Will the Thrill's PARKWAY CLASSICS presents: A SCANNER DARKLY. Set in suburban Orange County, California in a future where America has lost the war on drugs. When one reluctant undercover cop is ordered to start spying on his friends, he is launched on a paranoid journey into the absurd, where identities and loyalties are impossible to decode. It is a cautionary tale of drug use based on the novel by Philip K. Dick and his own experiences.
Thanks for your continued and growing support of the New Parkway Theater. We hope to see you soon!