Tag Archives: Rialto Cinemas Elmwood

‘Maidentrip’: A 13-year-old’s remarkable personal odyssey

maidentrip
Print Friendly

As Lao Tzu’s well-worn bromide goes, ‘every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ In the case of Maidentrip (opening at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood on Friday, March 21), however, a lengthy trip can also begin with as little as a gentle breath of wind.

Dutch teenager Laura Dekker made international headlines in 2009 when, at only 13 years of age, she announced her intention to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe. The daughter of a Dutch father and German mother who themselves had previously sailed around the world, the New Zealand-born Dekker spent the first four or five years of her life at sea and clearly never became comfortable on land. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Vienna Phil
Print Friendly

VIENNA PHILHARMONIC The three-day residency of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Cal Performances this weekend focuses on the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, with three concerts, a symposium bringing together scholars from both Berkeley and Vienna, and pre- and post-concert talks. Friday night’s concert, conducted by Lorin Maazel, features Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Mahler’s Fourth. Saturday night, conducted by Andris Nelsons, has Haydn’s 90th, Brahms’ Third and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Haydn. Sunday afternoon, Franz Welser-Most conducts the orchestra in Mozart’s 28th and Bruckner’s 6th, as well as a new composition by Viennese composer Johannes Maria Staud. The symposium, The Vienna Philharmonic 100 years after the outbreak of World War I, examines the intermingling of arts and politics, and in particular the role an arts institution can play in the course of history. The symposium and other residency events (but not the concerts) are free: RSVP to reserve your place, seating is first come, first served. Tickets for the concerts at Zellerbach Hall are available from Cal Performances.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Big Screen Berkeley: The Trials of Muhammad Ali

20140131_tgf_movies7
Print Friendly

We’ve been awash recently in reminders that 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ momentous first trip to the United States. As a confirmed Beatlemaniac of long standing, I have no quarrel with celebrating the Fabs – does anyone have a black and gold-label first pressing of Please, Please Me they’d like to sell? — but let’s not forget that February 2014 is also the 50th anniversary of another significant event, the first Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston bout in Miami Beach.

By 1964, Clay — soon to change his name to Muhammad Ali — was already an African-American hero: the smooth-moving, fast-talking Kentuckian had rocketed to fame at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he clobbered his way to the light heavyweight gold medal. His Miami Beach opponent, on the other hand, was a strong silent type with deep connections to organized crime. Despite his criminal past, Sonny Liston most definitely wasn’t Muhammad Ali — which meant he had most of white America in his corner. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Berkeley Oaks Theater efforts stall in negotiations

A local group spearheaded by Councilman Laurie Capitelli hopes to turn the Oaks Theater into a community arts space. Photo: Oaks Theater Consortium
Print Friendly

[Editor's note: This story was updated at 1:15 p.m. with additional information from Councilman Laurie Capitelli.]

A local consortium’s attempts to come to an agreement to use North Berkeley’s Oaks Theater on Solano Avenue and convert it into a community arts performance space have thus far been unsuccessful, reports Councilman Laurie Capitelli, who has spearheaded those efforts.

Capitelli provided an update to his constituents via email Friday. He thanked those who had expressed support for the venture, which kicked off last fall.

Last year, Capitelli, along with the Youth Musical Theater Company, formed a task force — the Oaks Theater Consortium — to spearhead the campaign to renovate the auditorium to remove the wall that separates the two theaters, take out several hundred seats from the balcony, and rebuild the main stage as a single performance space. The idea would be to bring together a group of anchor tenants from a range of arts organizations, and also potentially to offer simulcast viewings of special events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl, as well as host film festivals or smaller symposiums or panels. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Big Screen Berkeley: Money for Nothing

alan_greenspan
Print Friendly

The Federal Reserve Bank is a favorite whipping boy for both left- and right-wing conspiracy theorists, its role in manipulating currency — and (by extension) managing the economy — the source of endless controversy. Calls to ‘audit the Fed’ have been heard from both the Ron Paul libertarian right and the Alan Grayson liberal left, but such an audit would still be unlikely to assuage the frenzied palpitations of Alex Jones and others convinced that America’s central bank is nothing more than a tool the New World Order uses (alongside fluoridation, vaccinations, and chemtrails) to maintain its control over us.

Consequently, I anticipated Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (a new documentary screening at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday Dec. 4) with some trepidation. Watching the film until the end, I kept waiting for the penny to drop: when would narrator Liev Schreiber reveal the awful truth about our reptilian overlords inventing one fiat currency to rule them all? … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Big Screen Berkeley: Great Expectations

caption here
Print Friendly

According to the Internet Movie Database, 1897’s Death of Nancy Sykes – a long lost production based on a single scene from Oliver Twist — was the first screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ work. Since then, of course, the adaptations have flowed virtually non-stop, with well over 300 different Dickens features hitting screens big and small in the intervening century and a bit. And still they keep coming: IMDb lists four more features as currently “in development”.

The latest to hit cinemas, director Mike Newell’s take on Great Expectations, has some particularly big shoes to fill. Opening at Rialto Cinema’s Elmwood on Friday, Nov. 8, this Great Expectations will be endlessly (and perhaps unfairly) compared to David Lean’s near perfect 1946 version – and, sure enough, it does pale in comparison. That said, it’s far from a complete waste of your time.  … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Last chance: Oaks Theater survey; sketches revealed

Visions of how Solano Avenue's Oaks Theater could one day look. Illustration: Miguel Lievano
Print Friendly

The possible transformation into a performance space of the shuttered Oaks Theater on Solano Avenue remains uncertain, but the final word on the deal could come sometime in November, according to several people involved with the transaction.

In the meantime, local real estate agent and council member Laurie Capitelli has been raising awareness, surveying the public and drumming up pledges of financial support to the tune of more than $120,000. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Parkland’ revives interest in JFK

parkland-feat-1
Print Friendly

Where were you on November 22nd, 1963? For many years most American adults could answer that question in their sleep, but November 22nd has since been eclipsed by September 11th on the roll-call of infamous historical dates. No longer American collective memory’s gold standard, the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination passes quietly most years.

This year, though, will be different: the 50th anniversary of the assassination has temporarily revived interest in all things JFK, with a new made-for-television movie, Killing Kennedy, airing on the National Geographic Channel on Nov. 10. If you can’t wait that long for your Kennedy fix, however, consider Parkland (opening at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood on Friday, Oct. 4), a small but handsomely mounted recreation of the events that rang down the curtain on Camelot.

Produced by Tom Hanks (and burdened with a portentous, Saving Private Ryan-style score from James Newton Howard), Parkland takes its title from the hospital in which both President Kennedy and his accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, were declared dead. Dallas’ primary public hospital, Parkland remains open today, its place in history acknowledged by a memorial plaque in the radiology department. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

Big Screen Berkeley: C.O.G.: a fine American indie film

C.O.G. stars Glee regular Jonathan Groff as a Yale graduate who’s abandoned his comfortable Connecticut home for an opportunity to get his hands dirty and experience a 'Grapes of Wrath'-style slice of working-class life.
Print Friendly

What is a C.O.G.? That question is at the heart of the unimaginatively titled C.O.G. (opening at Rialto Cinema’s Elmwood on Friday, September 20), director Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s (Easier with Practice) sophomore effort. The answer isn’t terribly surprising, but turns out to be one of the more predictable aspects of what is otherwise a fine example of character-driven, American indie filmmaking.

Set in Oregon, C.O.G. stars Glee regular Jonathan Groff as ‘Samuel’, a Yale graduate (legal name: David) who’s abandoned his cell phone and comfortable Connecticut home for an opportunity to get his hands dirty and experience a ‘Grapes of Wrath’-style slice of working-class life. Arriving in the middle of nowhere after a Greydog ride from Hell, Samuel anticipates being joined in a few days by girlfriend Jennifer (Troian Bellisario) for an idyllic summer spent picking apples and reading Willa Cather together.

Instead, Samuel finds himself hired by unforgiving apple magnate Hobbs (Dean Stockwell, making the most of a small but meaty role), who expects him to – shock! – work just as hard as the Mexican migrant workers he employs. Taking a break to enjoy ‘Walden’ is strictly verboten, and to make matters worse, when Jennifer arrives, her new boyfriend has come along for the ride. The summer is not going to be as idyllic as Samuel imagined. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , ,

The Oaks Theater may be reborn as performance space

Oaks
Print Friendly

The Oaks Theater on Solano Avenue may be getting another lease at life.

City Councilman Laurie Capitelli and the Youth Musical Theater Company are launching a task force to transform the theater on Solano into a multi-use venue. The task force has already started reaching out to the numerous Berkeley arts organizations operating without a permanent space in the hopes of attracting a group of anchor tenants.

“We’d like to see some activity going on at the theater every night,” Capitelli, who represents the Solano Avenue area on the council, said. “Bringing in a simulcast of a Paris opera, having special events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl. We’re thinking of children’s matinee films, a summer series for kids who are out of school. Also panels, discussions, symposiums, etc.”

The Oaks Theater has long been an anchor site on Solano Avenue, but it has sat dark and vacant for the past two years. It was built as a single-screen theater in 1925 and upgraded to two screens in 1973. Renaissance Rialto Theaters operated the Oaks between 1994 and 2005, and then the Metropolitan Theaters Corporation ran it until 2010. Merriment Media used the theater to show Bollywood flicks for several months in 2010, but the company lost its lease after it failed to pay rent for three months. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Reviewed: ‘Rising from Ashes,’ ‘The Boys in the Band’

RisingFromAshes1
Print Friendly

I’ve never been much for bicycles, and now I know why: according to cycling legend Jonathan (Jock) Boyer, it’s an activity predicated upon suffering – an opinion borne out by personal experience, as I invariably topple off any bike I attempt to ride. Boyer, the first American to compete in the Tour de France, no doubt knows from suffering, and is central to the story told by Rising from Ashes, an uplifting documentary about the redemptive power of pedaling opening at Rialto’s Elmwood on Friday, September 13th.

Narrated laconically by executive producer Forest Whitaker, Rising from Ashes follows convicted felon Boyer as he works with a select group of amateur athletes to build a national cycling team in the central African republic of Rwanda. His work pays off when one of his protégés wins the 2006 Wooden Bike Classic, and the film follows the team’s exploits all the way to the London Olympics, where star Adrien Niyonshuti finished 39th (second from last) in the Mountain Biking event. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,

Big Screen Berkeley: PlayGround Film Festival

CLIMAX_prodstill_01
Print Friendly

I’m not speaking from experience, of course, but I have to believe that adapting a play for the big screen isn’t easy. Tough decisions must be made: are you going to film an Olivier-style Shakespearian adaptation, sticking to every jot or tittle of the original text, or are you going to trim a little fat from the edges? Is your adaptation going to be little more than a filmed version of the play (making for a dull and static — if faithful — representation of the original work), or are you going to open up the story and take it places it could never go on stage?

These haven’t proven to be particularly formidable challenges for the good folks at PlayGround and Dances With Light. Based in the Bay Area, PlayGround has produced over 100 short plays since 1994, while Dances With Light has been in the film biz since 1979. In one of the best synergistic developments since one teenager got his chocolate in another teenager’s peanut butter, the two have combined forces for the 2nd Annual Playground Film Festival, screening at Rialto Cinema’s Elmwood at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 and at the Zaentz Media Center, 2600 10th St., Berkeley at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00  p.m. on Saturday, May 4. … Continue reading »

Tagged , ,

Community Cinema at the Rialto Elmwood: Solar Mamas

Solar Mamas
Print Friendly

In late 2004, the Elmwood Theatre — owned at the time by San Carlos Cinemas — closed. I passed the theatre on the way to and from work each day, and, despite the somewhat hopeful message on the marquee (“Closed for Remodel”) I was convinced that the last bucket of spilled popcorn had been swept up there.

Victims of America’s love affair with the multiplex, over 500 single-screen movie theatres around the country had been shuttered over the preceding five years. How could Berkeley’s little neighborhood cinema resist the inexorable market forces working against it? … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , ,