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Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

The third and final German Gems, a single-day showcase for new and vital German-language cinema, arrives Saturday for its farewell appearance at the Castro Theatre. Otherwise, it's a week of birthdays at the city's historic movie palace.

1. Army of Darkness

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Jan. 13

At Last, Parkway Speakeasy Theater Finds New Home in Oakland's Uptown District

Oakland’s Parkway Speakeasy Theater, defunct since March 2009, has finally found a new lease on life. The second-run cinema – popular among East Bay cinephiles for its overstuffed coaches, eclectic food menu and, best of all, its beer-and-wine bar – will make its new home in the city’s Uptown Art Murmur district, in a 7,800-square-foot space once occupied by a sheet-glass factory.

Although the grand reopening isn’t expected until late summer at the earliest, patrons heartbroken by the Parkway’s abrupt disappearance almost two years ago can finally rejoice, without worrying about the new facility’s sustainability. Spearheading the effort to revive the theater and pub, Oakland’s J. Moses Caesar reportedly plans to sign a 21-year lease on the 24th Street property this afternoon.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Another year is drawing to a close, but the Oscar season is just heating up, with early favorites The Artist, The Descendants and Hugo all playing this week at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas on Post Street. Elsewhere:

1
. Pariah

'Rocky Horror' Rings in New Year with Midnight Show at the Clay Theatre

Rather than wandering from one overcrowded bar to the next this New Year's Eve, risking obnoxious run-ins with lightweight boozers and wasting your cash on inflated cover charges, head to the Clay Theatre this Saturday for a special midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to ring in 2012.

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hiddleston on Leading 'War Horse' to the Big Screen

It’s nearly 9:30 on a frigid New York morning, and Tom Hiddleston is running late for the day’s first interview. On arrival, the tall, lean Londoner apologizes profusely, blaming an itinerary that has him rushing from the set of his latest venture – a TV production of Henry V – to press day for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, opening Christmas day.
 
All of which is perfectly acceptable – schedules at events like this are made to be broken – but what in god’s name is in that monstrous glass of olive-green sludge he’s waving about? “This is rocket fuel,” explains Hiddleston, 30.



Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Dreaming of a white Christmas? You're probably out of luck. But for those whose holiday celebrations traditionally involve a trip to the movies – as well as those who've lost their taste for the TBS network's annual 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon – San Francisco's indie theaters are serving up a seasonal concoction of time-honored Hollywood classics and contemporary Oscar hopefuls. Among them:

1. War Horse

Where: Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post St., 415-929-4650; Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa St., 415-221-8184
When: All Week

'Tis the Season: SF Film Society Plans 'Wonderful Life' Revival for Christmas Day

For all the imitations and parodies it has inspired since its debut at New York’s Globe Theater on Dec. 20, 1946 – appropriately, a special screening for charity, one day before the movie’s official premiere – Frank Capra's yuletide classic remains one of America’s most enduring seasonal staples. Not bad for a family drama dismissed by critics of its day as sentimental slop, and all but ignored by moviegoers: It’s a Wonderful Life was the 26th highest-grossing picture of 1947, just ahead of another holiday offering, Miracle on 34th Street.



Downtown San Francisco Weathers Threat of Nuclear Annihilation in 'Ghost Protocol'

The Transamerica Pyramid is the target of a nuclear strike in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the latest thriller off one of Hollywood’s most dependable assembly lines. Pixar’s Brad Bird is not the first to wreak havoc on San Francisco, though the Golden Gate Bridge, rather than the city’s tallest skyscraper, is a more popular bull’s-eye.

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

What better way to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas than with two blood-curdling chillers – The Birds and The Shining – playing this weekend at the Castro? Elsewhere, Paul McCartney: The Love We Make, which follows the onetime Beatle around New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, arrives Friday at the Roxie Theater.

1. The Birds

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., 415-621-6120
When: Dec. 16

Patton Oswalt on Charlize Theron, the Best Response to Bullying and 'Young Adult'

In Young Adult, Jason Reitman’s unsentimental portrait of a mean girl who clings to the memory of her high-school glory days – even in her late 30s – Patton Oswalt plays Matt, a misfit permanently scarred (literally and physically) by a run-in with homophobic bullies.



He’s just the sort that Mavis, Charize Theron’s aging beauty, would have ignored back in school, and she’d probably keep ignoring him, if not for her own desperate neediness. Returning to her small-town Minnesota home after a modestly successful stint as a ghost writer in the “Mini Apple,” Mavis finds companionship where she can, leading her time and again back to Matt’s nerdy man-cave.



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