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Hey! Next Wednesday (8/29) they will be screening a Mets vs. Phillies game at the Ziegfeld Movie Theater on 54th St. (btwn 6th and 7th). $10 admission.

I know it’s not everyone’s favorite idea to pay $10 to watch something that they can watch for free at a bar, and that a $6 soda is not nearly as cool as a $4 beer, but peep this…with each person’s $10 admission, you get two tickets to see the Mets vs. the Braves in September! That’s an $18 value!

Now, to all you new Metropolitans fans, if you joined the party last year you may not realize just what games against the Phillies and Braves really mean this time of year. After all, by this time last year the Mets had like a 13 game lead on the other guys and were a sure thing lock to make the playoffs. This year, however, is shaping up a lot more like most years, where even though the Mets are in first place now, the two teams behind them (the Braves and the Girl-Horses) are within striking distance. Basically, if these two teams beat the Mets in their upcoming series (we have 2 series left against each team), the Mets are F-ed. Beating other teams is cool, but beating the Braves (which the Mets have had a REALLY hard time doing this year) and the little-baby-girl-horsie-poopsy-woopsies…is absolutely essential.

So let’s go watch the Mets beat the shit out of the Phillies on a huge screen while eating Junior Mints and packing our winter-clothes to go to Shea and watch them beat the shit out of the Braves in September! YEAH!!!

Oh yeah…and this guy’s gonna be there.

fascinating.

But he’s not allowed the bring any friends

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We here at Brooklyn Skeptic see a lot of movies, whether they collect our eleven dollars or not. More specifically however, we see a lot of movies in Brooklyn. Brooklyn may not have the number of movie theaters that Manhattan is boasting, but I’ve been to a few gems. In the Bococa/Park Slope/Downtown/Brooklyn Heights region, there are several fun places where you can go to see everything from Bruckheimer to Buñuel. These are four that I frequent probably a little too often.

Park Slope Pavilion: While this theater wins in its proximity to most Brooklyn Skeptics, it loses in many other ways. It has the exterior aesthetic of a classic movie house with a bright shining marquis, but the featured films rarely do it justice. Basically these are the run of the mill flicks that can be seen pretty much anywhere. If you’re hankering to see the new “Eddie Murphy plays eighteen characters” movie or perhaps the new “Holy Shit Bruce Willis blows shit up real good” movie, then you will easily find it here. However, several other things come along with the price of admission. These things are hordes of crying children, seating that has been vomited upon, and small screens. I have wandered over here for several blockbusters on hungover Saturdays and Sundays (and Tuesdays) and have been met with a screen smaller than my grandmother’s television, babies screaming in my ear and what I can only assume was toxic waste on my seat (I now have gills – thanks Pavilion). So basically, if you’ve been looking for a place to see Norbit while squinting, cradling a random child and getting gum stuck on your shoe, there you go. Grade: D

United Artists on Court Street: This theater is similar to a typical Manhattan cineplex. I say this because it also plays commercial movies, has intimidating crowds outside all of the time and often requires an oxygen tank to reach some of the incredible levels one has to climb to view their desired movie. When approaching there is always a line going out the door for the ticket counter. If you have a credit card or have pre-ordered your tickets, you can bypass this and go to their automated ticket machines. These, like Union Square, often don’t work. Once you finally get your ticket and enter the theater, the guy ripping your ticket will usually say something like “Theater 18, take the escalator until your vertigo kicks in.” Once inside however, it should be said that these theaters are comfortable and relaxed. The screens are all of a decent size and the chairs recline. And as Pizappas has noted, the hysteria often provides wonderful movie-hopping opportunities. For your average blockbuster, skip the Pavilion and come here. Grade: C+

BAM Rose Cinemas: The first thing that one notices upon walking into the BAM theaters is the decor. Tall ceilings and beautiful architecture only compliment the wonderful collection of independent films both new and old that are shown here. They have four averaged sized screens that are perfectly suited for an elegant and comfortable movie experience (perfect for dates). In addition to their first run features, they are currently hosting events such as the New York Korean Film Festival, The New Decade: Hong Kong Film and a series of films that Paul Giamatti has chosen called Paul Giamatti Selects (which features an eclectic group of picks including The Big Clock and Invasion of the Body Snatchers). If one is looking for a classy and romantic evening of Brooklyn cinema, look no further. Grade: A

Cobble Hill Cinemas: This is a great theater. They play an interesting collection of films and have a very friendly staff. It is also a cheaper theater, as they offer matinee prices and a reduced regular rate (I believe it’s $9). The walls are painted with screen shots from Frankenstein and Casablanca, and the concession stand isn’t too bad either. The theater itself is apparently quite historic as well, and has been around since the sixties. That being said, they also have smaller screens, some gum on the ground and less leg room. But whether you’re feeling like seeing a popcorn movie or more arthouse fare, you can usually find what you want here. Grade: B+

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Once you turn 21, the great joy that once came from sneaking into places where you weren’t supposed to be tends to fade a bit and lose its shape, like so much Nickelodeon Gak left out in the sun…

 But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are many ways to sneak into things, even when you are as gray and wrinkled as Sophia Petrillo (come to think of it, I’m almost certain she sneaked into some bingo night or another). Today I’m going to write about the virtues of sneaking into a movie you didn’t pay for.

 Yesterday I went to see Superbad. When it was over I said “Hey, it’s raining. Why go outside when we could stay in here and watch another movie?” So we did.  It was easy and fun.  Except for the fact that the second movie we saw was The Bourne Ultimatum.

 I don’t actually think there was an ultimatum. I think the choice has been made. The choice to spend all the money they saved on writers on Very Suspenseful Music.

But anyway, sneaking in. (BTW, Jason Bourne is an excellent sneaker.) UA on Court Street is an excellent place to sneak into a movie, as its millions of floors and multiple concession stands on different floors makes trips up and down the escalators seem commonplace.

Another highlight of that theater: you might see Elijah Wood, like we did, coming out of Superbad! He looked skinny and mutton-chopped and pale, sort of like he’d been carrying this profound burden for a while.

So, next time you’re lamenting how easy it is to buy booze, or how no one cards you when you buy porn anymore, or how the cop that rolls up next to you is harassing you as a full-grown adult, not just a truant kid, sneak into a movie and feel young again!

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Summer of Suckage

After seeing Transformers this July, I thought to myself, wasn’t there a time when I liked movies like this? Didn’t I jump up and down in the aisles after seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Didn’t I scream with joy when I saw Jurassic Park? I killed a man and went to jail for seven years (good behavior!) just to get a ticket to Independence Day on opening night. Was it worth it? Yes. It was. But it seems I’m becoming harder to please. It takes more than a group of robots duking it out and Orlando Bloom romancing Keira Knightley in the middle of a pirate skirmish to excite me. How sad that with age, it seems, the heart may shrink to a size even Orlando Bloom’s bravado can not penetrate.

But I think that it’s more than just simple coronary problems. This has not been a good summer for movies. Every summer a new batch of event films comes out. Their existence is as reliable (and profitable) as Christmas. First the teaser trailer comes out. Then the trailer comes out. Then the corporate tie-ins start. This year, the Simpsons Movie started an endless cross-promotion with Burger King, ironically lambasting Krusty Burger (which I had assumed started out as a satire of disgusting fast-food chains like Burger King). Shrek 3 started advertising with McDonald’s. If only Ratatouille had done some advertising with Taco Bell.

Then there’s the actual product placement within the movies. While some movies luckily avoid this (it would be hard to put a Big Mac in Pirates of the Caribbean 3, although at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me), some rub your face in it shamelessly. Did we need to see four hundred shots of each car label shining gloriously in Transformers? Did we need to mention Bed, Bath and Beyond and what a wonderful store it is in Disturbia? Hell, even Knocked Up gave that porn site of celebrity nude pictures a good boost in sales (although I don’t think that advertising was paid for).

And then finally, after all of this, there are the movies themselves. There were three “blockbuster” movies this summer that I can confidantly say that I enjoyed. These were: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Knocked Up and Ratatouille (whether one can even count the second two as blockbusters is questionable). Most of the others simply felt forced and trite. This was often reflected in their box office earnings, which would be incredibly high for the first weekend, before people found out that the movie royally sucked, and then would plummet lower than Davey Jones’ locker.

There are a lot of people (many of whom are friends as well as writers for this blog) who disagree with me on the movies I list above. And it’s true, maybe I’m just a heartless shell of a man, left too badly scorned by the likes of Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer. Or maybe my eyes are getting too weak to follow the four thousand cuts-per-minute editing style that is so common these days. Maybe I’m turning into the guy who doesn’t think that they make movies “the way they used to” anymore. But honestly, if I was and still am satisfied with Independence Day and Jurassic Park, are my standards really that high in the first place?

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The summer season is coming to an end, and studios are throwing out the last of their blockbusters. This weekend, that includes one sure-fire hit, and several possible misses.

The Bourne Ultimatum – America’s blander, more straight-edge James Bond is back. In the third in the series, we can undoubtedly expect more car chases, karate, foreign locations and cell-phone yelling (“Where is he? We’ve lost Bourne! Aghhhh!”). These movies, for what they are, tend to be pretty damn entertaining. I’m sure this one will be no exception. Plus, Julia Stiles doesnt have a whole lot going on for herself right now. Playing Save the Last Dance on TBS every five minutes only gets her so much money. Have a heart. She’s cold and her fridge is full of condiments. This is playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Bratz – What’s that? Brats, spelled with a Z instead of an S? I’m so in. In this ten-inch toy to film adaptation, four girls arrive at high school as best friends, and are ruthlessly torn apart by cliques (which are all run by the bitchy Meredith). They then realize that they can stand out and be unique, and decide to fight back again the Meredith’s evil autocracy. Then a character arrives and tells them all that they are staring in a shitty rehash of Mean Girls. The last hour of the film consists of hundreds of teenagers crying at the career paths they’ve chosen. Jon Voight co-stars. And no, I’m not kidding. This is playing at Union Square.

El Cantante – Jennifer Lopez has been laying (J-) low for a while, as this seems to be her first big release in some time. But honestly, after making gems like Monster-in-Law, Jersey Girl and Gigli, you might need a break too. Here she stars with off-screen hubby Marc Anthony in the story of Hector Lavoe, the Salsa “King.” Here’s to hoping she’ll come to be known as “Jenny from the Block…buster.” I know. I hate me too. I cry at night.

Hot Rod – Andy Samberg: wacky internet genius or smarmy Jimmy Fallon-esque butt potato? I’m still on the fence. In this he plays a stuntman named Rod. Weirdly, this movie might be appropriate for his fans and those who hate him, as he spends most of the movie falling down and getting hurt. Johnbaptisedme will clearly be first in line at this one. See you there JBM! You bring the whippits this time, jerk. This is playing at the Pavilion.

Underdog – Jason Lee is officially all grown up. He’s thrown out his skateboard, cleaned up his Kevin Smith-influenced potty mouth, watched chipmunks eat each other’s leavings, joined the Church of Scientology, and is starring in talking dog movies with Jim Belushi. I only hope that we have a Jetsons Meet the Flintstones-esque crossing of My Name is Earl and According to Jim.

Becoming Jane – Becoming Jane takes the story of Shakespeare in Love and turns it on Jane Austen, as we learn of the romantic encounters that inspired the writer’s famous novels. Anne Hathaway plays Jane, and James McAvoy plays Thomas Lefroy. Maggie Smith also costars. I’m pretty sure that at this point, Maggie Smith just magically appears on every British film set on the first day of shooting (or maybe she flies in with an umbrella) and asks where she is needed. This is playing at the Angelika.

The Ten – Many of us here at BS are fans of Stella and The State, so clearly, this movie looks like a dream come true. Kevin Marino and David Wain wrote these short films about the ten commandments, and it is definitely my pick of the weekend. Here’s to hoping that it’s more like Wet Hot American Summer and less like The Baxter. Paul Rudd is in it too. I would pay eleven dollars to watch him silently smile at a camera for an hour and a half at this point. This is playing at the Sunshine.

Otherwise, Brooklyn Bridge Park is playing Hair tonight, The Sunshine is playing The Goonies at midnight on Friday, and McCarren Park is playing Three Kings next Tuesday.

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Alvin and the Chipmunks

There are three notable things in this trailer that I don’t think anyone ever asked for (other than a live action Chipmunks movie, mind you.) These three things are:

  • Jason Lee as Dave.
  • A chipmunk rendition of “Funkytown.”
  • Alvin putting Theodore’s shit in his mouth. Literally.

Watch, and try not cry.

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I watch a lot of movie trailers, and try to avoid sharing them with the world, as I’ve learned that not everyone finds them as fascinating as I do (who knew?). I couldn’t resist this one though.

So I’m not as into Lost as I’m sure some Brooklyn Skeptics are, but J.J. Abrams definitely knows how to bring the hype. I came across this trailer for his new movie (he produced it), which has yet to be named (although it sounds like it’s going to be Cloverfield). Apparently this played before some Transformers screenings, but it certainly wasn’t at mine, because I would’ve remembered it.

Let’s just say, it’s fucking awesome looking. This might be the most mysterious and intriguing ad campaign since The Blair Witch Project. Even if the trailer doesn’t interest you, check out the imdb message boards, as fan boys are already coming up with crazy theories and swearing at each other.

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Another weekend without Ratatouille. There are some other options, but I don’t think I’ll be truly happy until I see a rat running around a kitchen with a bunch of French chefs yelling “Sacré bleu!” and twisting their mustaches. But I digress. Here are your choices if you want to escape the heat by watching some movies this weekend:

A Mighty Heart – Michael Winterbottom is one of the most talented directors working today, and manages to jump from genre to genre with great ease. He has done comedy (24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story), science fiction (Code 46), drama (Road to Guantanamo, Welcome to Sarajevo) and what was basically artsy porn (9 Songs). Now he is directing the real life story of Mariane Pearl, whose husband Daniel was kidnapped in Pakistan. Advanced reviews are strong, focusing mainly on Winterbottom’s ability to tell a compelling story without being manipulative or schmaltzy. This is my pick of the week. It’s playing in Brooklyn at Cobble Hill Cinemas as well as the cinema on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Evan Almighty – Jim Carrey movie sequels (and prequels) that don’t star Jim Carrey tend to be not so good. Take, for example, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, or Son of the Mask. Here we have a spin-off of Bruce Almighty, an already pretty crappy Jim Carrey movie which this time focuses on Steve Carrell’s character. It is also the most expensive comedy ever made. This will be playing at the Prospect Park Pavillion as well as the Court Street United Artists.

1408 – John Cusack’s daughter dies, after which he becomes obsessed with death and the supernatural. He checks into a notoriously haunted hotel room, hoping to see some ghosts and his dead daughter. When he doesn’t, he stands outside the hotel window holding up a boombox and plays Peter Gabriel at full volume. This one is also playing at the Prospect Park Pavillion and the Court Street United Artists.

You Kill Me – A Buffalo hitman (Ben Kingsley) with a drinking problem is relocated to San Francisco and starts attending AA meetings. He meets his sponsor, played by Luke Wilson, and gets a job at a mortuary where he falls for Laurel (Tea Leoni). The director, John Dahl, has directed some highly underrated films (Joy Ride, Rounders). Sadly, this film stars Tea Leoni, and as long as I live I will never forgive her for taking David Duchovny from The X-Files. She’s a jerk. This is playing at the Angelika.

It could have been so beautiful. Damn you, Leoni.

Black Sheep – Honestly, if this were getting better reviews, I’d be pretty excited purely because of the plot. A genetic engineering project goes awry and turns all the sheep in New Zealand (where sheep out-number people ten to one) into bloodthirsty predators. Tell me that doesn’t sound kick ass. This is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Broken English – Another Parker Posey movie about being a neurotic Manhattanite. Is she honestly just paying people to film her everyday life and then periodically releasing footage as her latest film? Don’t get me wrong, I love Parker Posey, but for serious, she could stand to branch out a little bit. Zoe R. Cassavettes, daughter of legendary director John Cassavettes, makes her second film in seven years. This is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

In terms of midnight shows, there are screenings of Brazil at the Landmark Sunshine, Serenity on Saturday at Cinema Village on 12th Street, and Hard Boiled is playing at 10:30pm on Saturday at the IFC Center.

Next week: Ratatouille. Get excited.

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Since May 4th (the release of Spider-Man 3), there has been a new sequel or remake in major release every weekend for six weeks. This weekend we go into week seven of a nine week course with the release of yet another sequel. But don’t panic, there are some other fun and original releases this weekend.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: The only way they had any chance of continuing this franchise was to add the Silver Surfer. I saw the first one in theaters in North Carolina while visiting my grandparents at their retirement home. My grandparents were going to take a nap, so my options included getting out of the house and seeing a movie (F4 being the only one I hadn’t seen) or walking around a retirement home and maybe playing a pick-up shuffleboard game with an octegenarian. I wish I had chosen the latter. This movie will undoubtedly suck, but the Silver Surfer special effects look amazing. And where’s Galactus?


Nancy Drew: I love chubby children. From Chunk in The Goonies to the kid from Bad Santa, these kids just crack me up. And now comes another one. His name is Josh Flitter. I don’t really care about this movie beyond this little kid. I mean, look at him.

DOA: Dead or Alive: A bunch of hot women go to a secret fighting competition where it’s kill or be killed. This one is apparently so bad that it has been pushed back for over a year and even its cast members are down on it. Although this does have potential to be in the “so bad it’s good” category, this is definitely not worth admission price. It’s playing at the Loews on Third Ave.

Eagle vs. Shark: This one kind of looks like a kiwi Napoleon Dynamite, or is certainly being marketed that way. Jemaine Clement, who has a new show coming out on HBO, stars as Jarrod, a socially awkward electronics store salesman who falls for Lily, a fast food check-out girl. Although the trailer was funny, this is probably still just worth a rental. It’s playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Fido: This is definitely my pick of the week. After Earth goes through a cloud of space dust, the dead starting walking the Earth again. We win a war against the zombies, and start employing them as servants. Kind of sounds like it could pick up where Shaun of the Dead left off. Sadly, this is only playing at the Angelika.

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The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria is running a series entitled It’s Only A Movie: Horror Films From The 1970s And Today from June 16th to July 22nd. While there are a few clunkers in the group (Saw II, The Hills Have Eyes Remake and Final Destination 3??), there are also classics from Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and George Romero as well as some newer frighteners like Wolf Creek, The Descent and The Host. Many also include panel discussions with some of the filmmakers.

So come for the great movies, and stay for the nightmares.

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