KEW GARDENS CINEMAS
81-05 Lefferts Boulevard
You can always count on the exquisitely appointed KEW GARDENS CINEMAS (www.KewGardensTheatre.com) to be the perfect antidote to least-common-denominator Hollywood fare, as they are one of the premier showcases for independent film this side of Manhattan. Not only that, though, despite its classic movie palace ambience, this place is an out-and-out bargain, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays when tickets are just $6.50 (for which we will always owe extra special thanks to Jessica, the awesome cashier who pointed it out to us in the first place!) Anyway, as if that weren’t enough, the KEW GARDENS CINEMAS also make fantastic popcorn, and in demonstrably generous portions. Now there’s something you don’t see too often these days.
(Brooklyn Locations Vary)
Billing itself as “Underground Films Outdoors,” the screenings ROOFTOP FILMS hosts each summer may not be on the tops of everyone’s lists, but you definitely ought to think of them as pleasant surprises, those rare diamond-in-the-rough kinds of discoveries. More than that, though, this is one of the truly memorable outdoor experiences you’re going to have in New York City (with a variety of different venues), thanks largely to the Manhattan skyline views from the top of the Old American Can Factory, let’s say, or the Automotive High School, not to mention their generous after-parties consisting of either free-flowing Sangria or a RADEBERGER Pilsner fest at Greenpoint’s MATCHLESS. On Thursday JULY 30th and Friday JULY 31st , misery should be getting a whole lot of company as ROOFTOP FILMS showcases arguably the worst film of all time – “TROLL 2”! In any case, for more info regarding site locations, screening times, after-party info, etc., please make sure you visit www.RooftopFilms.com.
OUTDOOR CINEMA 2009
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Boulevard
One of the finest outdoor film series around, OUTDOOR CINEMA 2009 at the SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK in Astoria is a special Wednesday evening festival of international film, music, dance and food, as is only befitting the unparalleled cultural diversity of Queens. Free of charge, pre-screening performances begin at 7:00 pm, and the films themselves unspool at sunset. Under the supervision of David Schwartz, Chief Curator for the nearby MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE, consider this an occasion to sample regional cuisine from neighborhood restaurants, picnic on the grass as the sun sets over the city, enjoy performances by local musicians and dancers and, as the sky finally darkens, see some exceptional international films on a large-format screen – all against the spectacular backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. Upcoming films we’ll definitely be checking out here include Academy Award-nominated “WALTZ WITH BASHIR” (the feature-length animated war film out of Israel that earned an Academy Award nomination) and Cannes Film Festival favorite “GOMORRAH,” which chronicles the horrific underworld crime still plaguing Italy to this day. For info about OUTDOOR CINEMA 2009, screening times, etc., please visit www.socratessculpturepark.org or call (718) 956-1819.
“Flicks On The Bricks”
71-17 Grand Avenue
If you’re looking for some fantastic food and beverage options to go along with your outdoor screening enjoyment, you’re probably going to want to avail yourself of the CONNOLLY’S CORNER “Flicks On The Bricks” summer film program in Maspeth, which screens popular Hollywood fare every Monday night at 9:00 pm, shortly after it gets dark. It’s a great place to grab a burger and a beer while enjoying one of your all-time faves, or maybe something you missed when it was out and about in theaters. They just screened hot new DVD release “THE WATCHMEN” here this past Monday, and are putting together their August schedule as we speak. Anyroad, for up to date screening information and schedules, please visit www.ConnollysCorner.com or better yet, just call them at (718) 565-7383.
SUMMER STARZ 2009
East River State Park
Kent Avenue and North 8th Street
Looking for a little something for the kids when it comes to your outdoor film screening? 2009 marks the fifth year that the non-profit Town Square, on the Kent Avenue waterfront adjacent to brand new development THE EDGE, is offering free family entertainment for the Greenpoint/Williamsburg community. Held on Thursday evenings throughout July and August, each SUMMERSTARZ program begins with a Children’s Hour (featuring arts ‘n’ crafts and/or storytelling sessions), followed by a musical performance, all of it culminating with a family friendly movie at sunset. Upcoming films include “THE INCREDIBLES” (July 30th); “BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM” (August 6th); and “WALL-E” (August 20th). And by the way, the evening of July 30th will also feature a musical performance by a local Brooklyn band by the name of FENIX DOWN, who just happen to be opening for a little group called THE JONAS BROTHERS. (Surely, you’ve heard of them, right?) Anyway, for more on this terrific family program, please visit www.TownSquareInc.com .
At Your Local STOP & SHOP
Regular readers of these pages probably know by now what big fans we are of STOP & SHOP here, the veritable shopping city within a city that can more than accommodate whatever your summer plans might entail. We’re also big fans of two of their most easily spottable vending machines – COINSTAR (the green one) and REDBOX (the red one, of course), which in addition to usually appearing side by side, are actually part of the same parent company. COINSTAR, which converts your loose change easily into usable vouchers, reports that the average American household has some $90 in loose change hiding in various places – the perfect kind of seed money to help fuel your summer “staycation.” Right alongside, REDBOX offers a variety of top-notch DVD’s – action, family, drama, etc. – for just $1 a night. Talk about a bargain. With a tough economy coloring just about every single aspect of our summer plans, seems that a little COINSTAR/REDBOX combination might be the perfect way to avail yourselves of some summer movies on a budget – say, by hosting your own weekend film festival, or inaugurating a weekly REDBOX film club between now and when (ugh) school starts! (For a REDBOX location near you, and a list of available titles, please visit www.REDBOX.com.)
928 Manhattan Avenue
If it can be said that NETFLIX killed the video store, then it’s only fair that an enclave like PHOTOPLAY is doing its darnedest to give NETFLIX a run for their money, at least in this corner of the world. Nowhere will you find a finer selection of independent films, foreign films, cult classics, adult animation, you name it. Beyond filling the gaps in NETFLIX’s inventory, Michael and his staff take a personal interest in your cinematic needs, and if they don’t have it (rarely true), they will endeavor to secure it for you. Mind you, PHOTOPLAY may seem a little price-y as compared to lesser options, but their unbelievable selection and top-tier customer service make it well worth it. In fact, this boutique is so impressive, even just browsing through it on a rainy afternoon and compiling a “future viewing” list can be characterized as a cinematic experience!