Tag Archives: Shattuck Cinemas Landmark

Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Omar:’ A powerful Palestinian drama

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We’re just a couple of weeks away from this year’s Academy Awards, but one of the Best Foreign Language Film nominees is only now going on general release (to be eligible, films must screen publicly in Los Angeles County for a full week during the prior year but may open later elsewhere). That’s no reflection on the nominated film’s quality, however – and I’ll go out on a rather long limb and predict Oscar glory for Omar, a powerful Palestinian drama about life in the Occupied Territories opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, Feb. 21.

Omar (Adam Bakri) is a typical young West Bank resident. Having grown up under the occupation he’s adapted to it in innumerable ways, including making a daily climb over the 26 foot-tall ‘security wall’ in order to visit friends and get to work. Despite the best efforts of Israeli Defense Force patrols to prevent such breaches, Omar scales the wall on a regular basis, sometimes with a boost from kindly passers-by. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: The We and the I

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An AC Transit bus ride is, on most days, a boring and predictable way to travel from point A to point B for $2.10. Regular passengers know, however, that every now and then they’re going to experience one of “those” rides – the ones where your seat mate is in need of some serious grooming, the person behind you is sharing the most intimate details of their sex life via cell phone, and a gaggle of hormonally out-of-control middle-schoolers are busy inventing amazing new insults for one another while decorating their seats with Sharpees.

Judging from the bus ride in Michel Gondry’s new film The We and the I (opening Friday, Mar. 22 at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas), however, AC Transit ain’t got nothin’ on New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The kids of the MTA may not be any ruder or surlier than ours, but they certainly seem to have longer journeys to contend with. That’s not terribly good news for their fellow passengers. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: In “Lore” kids navigate WW2

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The sins of the fathers are most definitely visited upon the children in Lore, a new World War II drama opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday March 1. “Oh, no”, I hear you moan, “not another movie about World War II. Surely its admittedly significant cinematic possibilities have long since been exhausted?”, and on most days I might agree with you. This film, however, offers something genuinely different.

Taking its title not from the word meaning ‘a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a particular group’ but from the first name of its lead character, Lore is the story of five German refugee children traveling light from Bavaria to Hamburg. Their parents arrested by Allied troops (Vati has been a member of the Waffen SS, while Mutti simply appears to be a loyal Nazi), the children are under orders to seek refuge with their grandmother over five hundred miles to the north. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Happy People

Happy People
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German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s career can be neatly and conveniently divided into two distinct segments. Beginning with 1970’s Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen (Even Dwarfs Started Small) and continuing through 2009’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, the iconoclastic director created a remarkable series of frequently brilliant (and never boring) character studies about obsessed loners and outsiders kicking against the pricks of both nature and society.

Parallel to his work in dramatic features, the tireless Herzog has also somehow found time to direct numerous documentaries. As intrigued with real-life loners and outsiders as he is with fictional ones, his non-fiction films have examined such unique characters as bizarre televangelist Gene Scott (Glaube und Währung – Dr. Gene Scott, Fernsehprediger, 1981), borderline psychopath and frequent collaborator Klaus Kinski (My Best Fiend, 1997), and loopy but lovable bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell (Grizzly Man, 2005). … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: 56 Up

56 Up
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“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” This Jesuit motto was taken to heart by the producers of Granada Television’s 1964 documentary, Seven Up!, no doubt because its premise of predestination dovetailed so comfortably with their assumptions about Britain’s enduring class system.

Almost fifty years later, the premise has, in some respects, been borne out. The privileged children of the early sixties became lawyers; the working class children drive forklifts and taxis. But the Up series (continuing with 56 Up, opening this Friday, February 15th at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas) also provides evidence that, while the class system may not have crumbled, its constraints have loosened somewhat over the last half century. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End
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When is a doorknob not a doorknob? If that variation on the classic Freudian aphorism confuses you, you can probably skip the rest of this review — but if you find yourself intrigued, you may be the target audience for Don Coscarelli’s new horror comedy, John Dies at the End, opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, Feb. 8.

Best known for creating the Phantasm series, Coscarelli has been plowing the independent horror fields since the mid 1970s. Despite the success of the first Phantasm feature in 1979, however, Coscarelli was never able to emulate the big studio success of his contemporaries John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper. Perhaps as much by choice as by fate, he’s spent the last few decades developing his unique and warped vision on limited budgets and with marginal financial reward. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Oscar-nominated short subjects

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This time last year, I handicapped the Oscars. Not, of course, the ones that everyone actually cares about – no, I was concerned with the ones only a mother (or a film obsessive, or perhaps a film obsessive’s mother) could love: the short subjects. How’d I do, you ask? Well, so-so: in the animated category the film I suspected would win did, while in the live action category the film I considered the bottom of the barrel ended up at the top of the heap.

But this, of course, is a new year, so it’s time to play the guessing game once again – especially as the Animated and Live Action contenders will be screening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas beginning this Friday, Feb. 1. (2013’s nominated Documentaries will only be playing in San Francisco and San Rafael.)  … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: ‘The Rabbi’s Cat’

The Rabbi's Cat
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There are very, very few films featuring humorous depictions of early 20th-century pogroms. In fact, after considerable effort, I can think of only one: The Rabbi’s Cat, a witty, thoughtful French animated feature opening this Friday, Jan. 18 at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas. [Update, 1:25 p.m.: The movie has been rescheduled since press time and is now due to open at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco and the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael. Thank you reader Ed Erwin for the tip, and apologies for any inconvenience.]

Based on a series of graphic novels by writer-director Joann Sfar, The Rabbi’s Cat is set in 1930s Algiers, where Rabbi Abraham (a fictional representation of the filmmaker’s Sephardic ancestors) lives a quiet life with his daughter Zlabya, their annoying green parrot, and a grey tomcat who enjoys nothing quite so much as a freshly caught fish. … Continue reading »

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First high-rise in 40 years planned for downtown Berkeley

A rendering of the Residences at Berkeley Plaza as seen from Shattuck Avenue. Courtesy of HSR Berkeley Investments
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A Los Angeles real estate group submitted an application Thursday to build Berkeley’s first high-rise in 40 years — a 17-story luxury apartment complex on Harold Way that connects to the historic Hinks Department Store on Shattuck Avenue.

HSR Berkeley Investments wants to spend as much as $200 million to construct a 180-foot tall tower with 355 residences next to the property that now houses the Shattuck Cinemas and various offices.

The new apartments, called The Residences at Berkeley Plaza, are designed to appeal to empty nesters and high-income professionals, such as those who work at booming San Francisco technology companies like Twitter and Salesforce.com, but who are having difficulty landing an apartment in the city.

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Big Screen Berkeley: The Central Park Five

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Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, New York City was the country’s Sodom and Gomorrah, a place shunned and feared by Middle America. Near bankrupt, its school system in a state of collapse, and riddled with crime, crack cocaine, and urban decay, the city had lost the sheen acquired during the glory days of Fiorello La Guardia and Robert Moses.

On April 19, 1989, a 28-year old investment banker was brutally attacked and left for dead in the northernmost reaches of Central Park. Within days, the New York Police Department claimed they’d found the monsters responsible: five African-American teenagers. The case, and the horrendous miscarriage of justice that followed, is examined in a new documentary, The Central Park Five, opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, December 14. … Continue reading »

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Large downtown Berkeley property changes hands

The Shattuck Cinemas property was sold
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A Los Angeles real estate group has snapped up the 92,000-square foot building that holds the Shattuck Cinemas, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

Hill Street Realty paid about $20 million, or $217 a square foot, for the property, formally known as Berkeley Center. In addition to the cinemas (which used to hold  Hinks Department Store) the property houses Habitot Children’s Museum, a Starbucks, and various offices. The Hotel Shattuck Plaza sits on the block, but was not included in the transaction. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: “Wake in Fright”

wake in fright
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Studies show that Australian beer consumption is in a death spiral. Recent research by the Japanese brewery Kirin indicates the land down under has slipped from 4th to 8th place in worldwide per capita ale imbibing since 2004 — in fact, it’s been nothing but bad news for Aussie brewers since the late 1970s, when the locals began switching to wine.

It was a much different story during the 1960s and early ‘70s, a Golden Age of Australian wrist raising during which suds consumption soared to all time highs. The era is captured in all its lager-soaked glory in 1970’s Wake in Fright, an existential drama beginning a revival run at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, October 26.

Set in remotest New South Wales during a sweltering mid-summer, Wake in Fright stars English actor Gary Bond as John Grant, a primary school teacher desperate for the Christmas holidays to arrive. Grant has six weeks’ leave (the Australian school year begins at the end of January and ends in mid-December), a sweetheart in Sydney, and just enough cash to have a good time. … Continue reading »

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Big Screen Berkeley: Stars In Shorts

Stars in Shorts
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Ever wonder what Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench might look like in shorts? Wonder no longer: the two thespians appear together (but separately) in Stars In Shorts, a program of seven short subjects opening at Landmarks’ Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, September 28.

As you’ve probably guessed, Dench and Branagh aren’t alone — each of the program’s seven films includes at least one cinema big-shot within its cast. One might suspect such larger-than-life personalities would overwhelm the small-scale proceedings in which they’re involved, but thankfully that’s never the case.

Best of show is clearly Not Your Time, a very funny comedy headlined by former ‘Seinfeld’ star Jason Alexander. Alexander plays Sid Rosenthal, a film editor whose job it is to remove expletives from movies prior to their airline bookings. A frustrated musician with a thankless day job, Sid pitches a remake of Babes In Toyland entitled Babes in Toys R Us to some Hollywood bigwigs, who are immediately enamored with the gruesome concept. … Continue reading »

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