An Alameda County Superior Court judge on Wednesday denied numerous challenges to the Environmental Impact Report prepared for 2211 Harold Way, meaning that construction of an 18-story, 302-unit building with 10,000-square feet of retail space and new movie theaters in Berkeley’s downtown can proceed – unless the decision is appealed.
Two opponents of the 18-story apartment complex planned for 2211 Harold Way in downtown Berkeley made a case in court Friday that the approval of the 302-unit building should be revisited.
Three-quarters of the way into Captain Fantastic (opening at Landmark’s California Theater on Friday, July 22), I thought I might be watching one of 2016’s Best Picture Academy Award nominees. One implausible plot development later, I wasn’t so sure — but I am convinced that Viggo Mortensen is likely to receive Oscar recognition for his lead role in this frequently excellent (if periodically absurd) new feature.
Generally, things are just a little bit off-kilter in the world of Michel Gondry. From Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Be Kind Rewind (and with the notable exception of his 2012 feature, the comparatively neo-realistic The We and the I), the French filmmaker has displayed a penchant for telling stories with a slightly surreal bent.
At the end of last year, I made a modest but achievable resolution: In 2016, I’d write about a few less documentaries (and a few more fictional features) than I’d written about in 2015. And so far, I think I’ve done pretty well: By my count, only four of the 33 films discussed this year in Big Screen Berkeley have been docs. Mission accomplished!
Since Nosferatu first chilled filmgoers in 1922 (sparking a lawsuit in the process), almost every conceivable variation of vampire has stalked victims across screens big and small. In addition to the traditional ‘cape and fangs’ bloodsucker, we’ve seen funny vampires, mod vampires, hopping vampires, African vampires, even X-rated vampires – but until now I don’t think there’s been a movie depiction of a vampire undergoing psychotherapy.
In case you missed it, here’s a link to a fascinating Guardian story about how perceptions of masculinity differ between American and British men. As a man (and I do use the term advisedly) who’s lived in both countries, I can attest that the story’s conclusion — that American men feel ‘completely masculine’ at a rate considerably higher than do their UK counterparts — is broadly accurate.
Well, I may as well go for the hat trick. Having written about both The Third Man (1949) and Our Man in Havana (1959) in the past year, I really should take advantage of an opportunity (or an excuse!) to review 1948’s The Fallen Idol, the first of writer Graham Greene and filmmaker Carol Reed’s three cinematic collaborations.
It’s not always easy to find interesting films to review or write about, but this week is different. Call it a picture show potpourri, or perhaps a cinematic smôrgasbôrd: this weekend, Berkeley filmgoers have plenty to choose from.
Do the French have an obsession with talking cats? Back in 2011 I reviewed The Rabbi’s Cat, a charming animated feature about a feline taking lessons in Jewish mysticism. Now comes Avril et le monde truqué (April and the Extraordinary World – though the print I previewed substituted the word ‘twisted’ for ‘extraordinary’), in which a particularly erudite kitty plays a most prominent role.
March seems an odd time to release a film set on Thanksgiving Day, but Krisha (opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, March 25) is no routine holiday flick. It won’t play any better in the autumn than it will in the spring, and it’s less likely to put a damper on your next family reunion if you see it now – which you should.
As stylistically different from last week’s feature as chalk is from cheese, La Calle de la Amargura (Bleak Street, opening at Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas on Friday, March 11) shares one thing in common with The Incident – its Mexican origins. Coupled with the ongoing success of Alejandro González Iñárritu, it seems Mexican cinema is experiencing a minor renaissance of late – if not a new Golden Age – and there is more on the way.
The very first GLAS Animation Festival opens this week in Berkeley. With screenings and related events happening at multiple sites, including Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas, the David Brower Center, Berkeley Art Center and the Firehouse Art Collective, the inaugural festival runs March 3-6.