Dear New Parkway Lover:
NEW THIS WEEK
There is a heavy Sam Raimi influence on this week's lineup. We have both his latest movie and a re-make of one of his most popular movies. Despite not really loving any of the Spiderman movies (I am coming to the realization that I may hate Tobey Maguire) I am a big Raimi fan. I grew up watching Crimewave once a month (written and later disowned by the Coen brothers) and generally love his mixture of horror and slapstick. Even in his mainstream movies you get some lovely little Raimi moments that are a joy to watch. Let's dive right into this week's eclectic mix of movies.
Oz- The Great and Powerful
(Fri: 7:30, Sat: 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, Sun: 12:00, Mon: 4:30, Tue - Thu: 6:30)
I am a big fan of the side-of-the-bus advertising for this movie. Showing Oz on the extreme left it basically shows Disney- The Great and Powerful, on the right. Very fitting somehow. This is very different from the original classic. But Raimi wisely does not try to replicate the original's tone and feel (because it would have been impossible) and instead unleashes a non-stop adventure that is fun for the whole family. Most of the complaints about this movie are directly comparing it to 'The Wizard of Oz'. Let's face it, if you were to compare most dramas to 'Casablanca' they would not come off well.
James Franco is in fine form (the opposite of his stoned Oscars hosting appearance) and is well supported by a wonderful trio of witches in Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams. This movie is a visual wonder and is meant to be seen on a big screen. If you have been patiently waiting for this to hit on DVD in a couple of months, you are making a big mistake. See it on the big screen while you still can.
(Fri: 9:55, Sat: 5:45, 8:00, 10:00, Sun: 9:30, Mon: 7:30, 9:45, Tue: 9:30, Wed: 9:45, Thu: 7:00, 9:30)
The original 'Evil Dead' movie is one of the best original low-budget horror movies ever made. It established Sam Raimi as a very talented, young director (he was 20 when filming). Five college students go to the woods. They release demons. Chaos ensues. What's not to like? The re-make has a similar story. But a very different style. It is polished with the advantage of a much bigger budget. So it does not feel like a homemade movie. It is inventive and clever and definitely fits into the same spirit as the original.
And it is scary. Why else would you go to a horror movie other than to be scared senseless. And this re-make is very effective at scaring the living crap out of you. It is terrifying and intense. And it does not outstay it's welcome. It is a lean 90 minutes and packs a lot of nail-biting tension into that running time. Horror movies are meant to be experienced with a crowd. After nearly wetting yourself, it is delightful fun to look around and see the relieved, tension-filled looks on the rest of the audience.
Doin' it in The Park
(Fri: 7:00, Sat: 3:30, Mon - Wed: 9:15)
Did you love 'White Men Can't Jump' growing up? Who couldn't? It had a young Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes. Rosie Perez wasn't super annoying in it. 'Doin' it in the Park' is nothing like 'White Men Can't Jump' in terms of style and story. For starters, it is an independent documentary. Really, the only similarity is basketball. The film explores the definition, history, culture, and social impact of New York's outdoor summer basketball scene, the worldwide "Mecca" of the sport.
As I haven't seen this yet, I can only go so far in my effusive praise. But it is guaranteed to have some great basketball action. And when the Warriors complete their glorious comeback (or lose miserably in the next game), you can settle in and discover what you loved about the sport in the first place. If you don't like basketball but are a sucker for documentaries, I am sure there will be something in this movie you will love. There. Two whole paragraphs about a movie I have never seen.
The Lords of Salem
(Fri & Sat: 10:30)
This is a limited run of only two shows. So I will keep my remarks brief. The Lords of Salem tells the tale of Heidi, a DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a "gift from the Lords." Heidi listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town's violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the "Lords of Salem" returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?
There is only one way of finding out. Well actually there are two ways. You could see it at the Parkway during one of its two screening times or wait until late July when it's out on DVD. The latter is the safe option. Locked away in your house, perfectly safe. Anything can happen out there in the real world. In Oakland. It's the only way to watch a horror movie. For legal reasons I should clarify you should be perfectly safe at the Parkway. We don't have hired people roaming the theater intentionally scaring people during horror movies. Don't have the budget. Yet.
· We’ve got Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Foxy Brown in the same weekend
· The Godfather 1, 2, and 3 are all in the house on Sunday as we do our second movie marathon on May 19th. Only a few hours left to buy special Feast tickets that include movies, food, and drink. Get your tickets today!
· Mad Men will be on the giant screen as part of our two-hour television time slot, 9-11PM on Sundays, with special cocktails.
· We’re showing a great film about activism that should fill the house: Bidder 70
· Cheryl Dunye is back with The Owls
· The Oakland Poetry Slam will be in the house on Thursday night
· The Champions League Final is only 9 days away. It’s sure to sell out, and if we fill one house in advance, we may very well be able to show it on two screens, and make it even grander than the Super Bowl where they play that other football.
· Nerd Nite East Bay is on Memorial Day. Good stuff if you’re trying to get smart.
And now for more about our weekly special events programming:
New Parkway Family Classics—This week we’re showing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Friday afternoon at 4 and Saturday at 12:30. Can you say Dick Van Dyke? And I just learned that it’s a Roald Dahl creation and produced by the people that brought us James Bond. That really makes it for the whole family. And it’s co-sponsored by 510families.com who would like to see all of your smiling faces in attendance.
Spectrum Queer Cinema—Spectrum is showing Free Angela but it’s totally sold out, so why waste any more breath on something we can’t attend? Second showing anyone?
Thrillville—Sunday, May 19 at 6pm, THRILLVILLE THEATER presents FOXY BROWN (1974) hosted by MISERY ANN MAYHEM! Pam Grier literally kicks serious ass in this sexy, violent and outrageous blaxploitation classic, written and directed by Jack Hill ("Coffy"). As co-star Antonio Fargas (AKA Huggy Bear on "Starsky and Hutch") astutely points out: "She's a whole lotta woman!"
Sunday TV Night—Always something that’s being broadcast between 9-11 on Sunday nights. Mad Men with special drinks and likely Iron Chef this week.
Baby Brigade—We’ve got Oz for our 4:30 Baby Brigades on Monday. And we’re partnering with 510families.com, the best frickin’ website in the East Bay for families with babies and children. If they say “go see a movie”, you say “yep, Oz”.
Doc Night—We’re showing Bidder 70 this week, a doc that’s got so many awards—not to mention advance purchases—that I think it’s really going to fill the joint on Tuesday. It’s the story of Tim DeChristopher, a young man who disrupted a controversial BLM Oil and Gas leasing auction in 2008. He posed as a bidder (#70) and bid $1.7 million to win 22,000 acres of land he had no intention of paying for (or drilling on). Tim was federally indicted, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for his courageous act of civil disobedience. Bidder 70 is a personal story surrounded by a wider context of citizen action, our history of peaceful civil disobedience, and grass roots movements demanding government and industry accountability (IMDB).
Our part time cult movie programmer Will Viharo's pal Christian Slater - currently developing a film adaptation of Will's pulp novel "Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me" - made his big initial splash in this searing, satirical and enduringly quotable noir-comedy cult classic, one of the greatest high school movies ever made, co-starring sultry young Winona Ryder in her breakout role. "I love my dead gay son!" "Eskimo!"
Thanks for your continued and growing support of the New Parkway Theater. We hope to see you soon!