Does anyone even remember the laserdisc format? VHS forever!

It’s been another year and we return to that familiar season where it’s acceptable to be fascinated by the darker side of life. Stores around Berkeley are stocking their shelves with cheap paint, wigs, skulls and teeth that will be the building blocks to the perfect Halloween costume and the UA Berkeley 7 on Shattuck is screening the obligatory Paranormal Activity 4. Like last year, we at the Clog want to spread the Halloween festivities by compiling a list of horror movies that will be promising last-minute additions to the mandatory horror film marathon. Here are our recommendations below:

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Picture this. A green mountaintop. Wind blowing in a woman’s hair. Music playing in the background as she runs into the leather-jacketed arms of a hero. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever seen a Bollywood film it should.

Sharukh Khan

Through the years, the Hindi-Indian film industry has become pretty popular all around the world. It turns out cheesy songs and drawn-out love stories are entertaining to all cultures. One of the general rules of the genre is randomly breaking out into outrageous musical dance numbers. This can occur anywhere from airports and parks to beaches; generally every public location possible. Fantasy song sequences next to waterfalls and grassy plains are also recommended, as well as flying off to exotic locations for no conceivable reason. See why everyone loves them?

Now, Bollywood has evolved since the good ol’ days of more classically styled Hindi film. Nowadays dance sequences are as likely to happen in clubs as they are outside on a sunny day. Thankfully though, the sappy storylines and high emotions are still there for all to enjoy. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that they’re so long they need intermissions halfway through. A literal intermission sign fades onto the screen after what we in America would conceive to be a full movie’s worth of action, reminding us that we’re only halfway through the ridiculous misunderstandings and shenanigans!

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We all remember that time in our childhoods when we stayed up watching classic, English-dubbed anime movies (on VHS!) from Studio Ghibli, such as “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989) and “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) … and to our parent’s irritation, usually over and over again for weeks on end.

Years later, of course, we connected the dots and learned that one of our favorite films in particular, “Spirited Away” (2001), was in fact something of an elaborate metaphor and social commentary on the child brothels of Japan, but that’s another story. Actually, we’ve created an extensively detailed infographic to illustrate how we think you should feel about this, in case you’re interested.

In any case, we still love a good dose of nostalgia. We’re very excited to remind all of our fellow Studio Ghibli movie fans that the Berkeley California Theatre’s Ghibli marathon has been extended another week! The theater will continue these one-time reruns of classic Ghibli films only until the first week of October, so take advantage of the pre-midterm lull while you still can.

Here are the new showtimes: read more »

Don’t get us wrong, Pixar knows how to make captivating movies despite the perpetual predictable happy ending. Brave centers around a princess (Disney has decided to be original), whose name was too complicated to remember and who doesn’t like her mom deciding her fate for her. The princess chooses to follow her own fate (literally, there are these apparitions that lead her to her fate) and in doing so makes the decision to change her mom. read more »

carrie-remake-fan-posterWell, after our last post on the fate of Hollywood resting in the hands of films like “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” it seems we have more reason to believe that ideas are running out. Movie remakes have become more and more prevalent in recent years, especially in the genre of horror movies. In 2003 we witnessed the newest take on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” 2010 brought us the re-imagined version of “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which featured tween vampire star Kellan Lutz (swoon) and that weird guy with the really raspy voice from Watchmen. Most recently, we saw a newly revamped attempt at “The Thing,” which featured lots and lots of awesome CGI animation and left little to no room for real plot. And let’s not forget that remake of “Psycho” back in 1998 with a cast featuring Anne Heche, Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn (Seriously? Vince Vaughn?).

Speaking of horror movie remakes and Julianne Moore, there’s a new horror movie “upgrade” on the horizon. read more »

For those of you who are late to discover Stieg Larsson’s popular Millennium trilogy (we hope you bought the ultra deluxe platinum box set), Superb will be showing David Fincher’s film adaptation of the first novel , “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” on March 16 in Wheeler Auditorium. If you have a busy schedule but are desperate to marvel at Daniel Craig’s sculpted face Fincher’s beautiful cinematographic skills, don’t fret! Superb will be having two screenings- the first at 7 p.m. and the second at 9:30 p.m.

The film has been well received by critics with a solid 87 percent aggregated score on Rotten Tomatoes. For those curious about how Fincher’s version compares with the Swedish adaptation, directed by Niels Arden Oplev, Roger Ebert (the king of film critics) offers an insightful analysis in his review of the U.S. film. He notes that Fincher is a more “assured director”, but the Swedish film has a “certain earnest directness that seemed to raise the stakes.”

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What more could you want? That’s right, tonight could be that hilarious yet romantic evening you’ve been waiting for. Just you, Andy from “the Office” (or Stu from the “Hangover,” pick your fancy), Marshall from “How I Met Your Mother” (or Nick from “Freaks and Geeks” – but we’d say go with Marshall) … and all the other people in Wheeler Hall. Thursday, March 15, in Wheeler Hall, SUPERB is screening the new film “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the screening begins at 7 p.m., but we’d line up early. No, we won’t be graced with the presence of the two illustrious comedians, but hey, we’re getting the chance to see the film before it’s out in theaters. We feel so special. Need more convincing? Well, did we mention the event is FREE?

“Jeff, Who Lives at Home” is about

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In the midst of midterm season, it’s a good idea to take advantage of a weekend and just de-stress yourself. What’s a better way to relax than to watch a movie in one of many of the local theaters? Last week, if you recall, we at the Clog wrote about “The Secret World of Arrietty,” a gorgeous animated film from Studio Ghibli currently showing at the California Theater on 2113 Kittredge. This week, we took another movie break (you can never have too many) and watched “Chronicle”, a different kind of super-hero film currently showing at United Artists Berkeley 7 on 2274 Shattuck Avenue. Released earlier in the month under the radar, the movie has been slowly gathering momentum due to positive reception from film critics and enthusiast communities. read more »

Friday, Feb. 17 was a special day for cinema as it was the opening day for the US theatrical release of Studio Ghibli’s new film, “The Secret World of Arrietty.” Of course, it was imperative for us at the Clog to catch a showing on opening day, with Totoro plushies in tow.

Based on the novel “The Borrowers” and its subsequent sequels by Mary Norton, the movie follows a young 14-year-old girl named Arrietty, who lives with her mother and father under the floorboards of an old, rural home owned by an elderly woman named Jessica. Arrietty and her parents are “borrowers” or little people (little enough in which mice are a threat) that “borrow” essentials from the home above such as food or tissue paper. On a venture through the house with her father, Arrietty is discovered by a young boy named Shawn, Jessica’s sickly nephew who arrives at the home for a quiet retreat. Arrietty and Shawn soon form a friendship and of course, like all forbidden relationships, tribulations follow. read more »

Obilgatory Totoro picture whenever "Ghibli" is mentioned

Obilgatory Totoro picture whenever "Ghibli" is mentioned

Although we may take it for granted, Berkeley is a great place for the avid movie-goer. The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and SUPERB offer an excellent line-up of films throughout the school year and there are a multitude of movie theaters throughout the area. There used to be a decent Blockbusters on Shattuck as well, which was a great resource for those who are Netflix-less,  but it permanently closed its doors early January. Ah, what a shame.

In any case, the slow, early weeks of the semester before the rush-up to midterms are a great time to watch a movie or two. read more »

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