Scary Movie Month at the Kimball!

Love scary movies? This is your month! The Kimball starts out with a few intellectual films and then rounds out the month with good old-fashioned scares and camp. Have a great month!

Mr. Holmes

Mr. Holmes – The latest film from Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters; Chicago; Twilight: Breaking Dawn) adapts Mitch Cullin’s Sherlock Holmes novel A Slight Trick of the Mind. Ian McKellen (Richard III; Lord of the Rings) portrays Holmes, long retired, reflecting back on his career, and attempting to write an account of his last case to correct his dissatisfactions with the version written by his ex-partner, Dr. John Watson. Taking treatments to address his failing memory, Holmes forms relationships with his housekeeper (Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me; John Adams) and her son (Milo Parker, Robot Overlords) while learning to deal with his own past. Mr. Holmes is showing from October 5th to the 11th.


Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie – On October 10th and 11th, the Kimball screens the sole theatrical release from the Best Brains team, responsible for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K to the cognoscenti) TV show produced from 1988 to 1997. The premise, ably summarized by the opening credits to the show, pits the show’s host (Mike Nelson, replacing original host Joel Hodgson) against “cheesy movies, the worst we can find” armed only with his own wits (and those of his robot friends Tom Servo and Crooooooooooooooow) The TV incarnation feasted mostly on a diet of public domain and cheap b-feature schlock, but for the theatrical release, the gang face off with This Island Earth, the Technicolor space opera from Universal Studios, starring Rex Reason, Jeff Morrow (both of whom also starred in The Creature Walks Among Us, last in the Black Lagoon series) and Faith Domergue (Where Danger Lies; It Came from Beneath the Sea; Cult of the Cobra). MST3K can be a very funny and enjoyable series, making great entertainment out of cinematic junk, but sometimes while watching this feature you wish the peanut gallery would shut up so you can enjoy the movie.

The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour – In the mid-1990s, journalist-writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network; The Squid and the Whale) interviews David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall; The Muppets) during the tour for his second novel, Infinite Jest. The two engage in a wide-ranging conversation, jousting on topics personal and professional, as well as those in between. The interview dramatized in this movie eventually resulted in Lipsky’s memoir, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, from which The End of the Tour is adapted. The film concludes with Lipsky recounting stories from the interview on a tour for his own book after Wallace’s suicide in 2008. The End of the Tour, and its literary source material, is one of several recent releases exploring the life, work, and public persona of Wallace, one of the most notable writers of his generation. The End of the Tour is at the Kimball from Oct. 12th to 18th.

100 year old man

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared – This film, adapted from a 2009 novel of the same name written by Jonas Jonasson, stars acclaimed Swedish comedian Robert Gustafsson as the title character. Finding himself stuck in a nursing home on his 100th birthday, Allan Karlsson ducks out of his party to renew a life of adventure that is explored in flashbacks to his past encounters with Francisco Franco, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Joseph Stalin, like a Scandinavian Forrest Gump. Karlsson’s modern-day adventure involves a suitcase full of cash, an elephant, a motorcycle gang, and lots of explosives. One of the high-grossing films in Swedish history, The 100-Year-Old Man… was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. It’s showing from Oct. 19th to 24th.


Alien – Ridley Scott’s 1979 chilly classic sci-fi horror film closes out the month at the Kimball, screening from Oct. 25th to the 31st. The weary crew of commercial spaceship Nostromo encounter the wrecked remains of another craft on a remote planet and end up fighting for their lives against an extraterrestrial killing machine. The film combines literary references as varied as H.P. Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness), Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None), A.E. van Vogt (Voyage of the Space Beagle), with cinematic influences such as Howard Hawkes (The Thing from Another World), Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey), and Mario Bava (Planet of the Vampires). An often neglected strength of the movie is its solid cast: Veronica Cartwright (The Birds; the previous years’ Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Ian Holm (Chariots of Fire; Lord of the Rings), John Hurt (Midnight Express; The Elephant Man), Yaphet Kotto (Blue Collar; Live and Let Die), Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas; Repo Man), and Tom Skerritt (MASH; Top Gun), as well as Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters; Working Girl). Scott recently returned to the Alien universe with his prequel film Prometheus, and a sequel to that is scheduled to appear in 2017.


The Day the Earth Stood Still – “Klaatu barada nikto!” October’s entry in the classic series is the original 1951 science fiction plea for peace in the nuclear age. The alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie, Les Miserables [no, not that one]; The Lost World [also, not that one]) comes to Earth in a flying saucer with his enormous robot Gort and a message to save the world. After his efforts to meet with world leaders fails, Klaatu escapes and takes a room at the boarding house of a young widow (Patricia Neal, Hud; A Face in the Crowd) and her son, giving his name as “Mr. Carpenter” (subtlety is not this film’s strong suit). Befriending the boy, he embarks on a plan to speak to the world’s greatest scientists with a warning about the dangerous course Earth has followed. The Day the Earth Stood Still is showing October 25th.


Halloween at the Kimball 

On the 31st, the Kimball presents a full day of programming. In the auditorium, a steady stream of episodes of The Munsters, a Casper special, and Bugs Bunny cartoons provides entertainment for the whole family. Also showing is F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent classic Nosferatu, complete with musical accompaniment. Based (without authorization) on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Nosferatu (subtitled A Symphony of Horror) keeps much of the basic structure of the story while dispensing with most of the secondary characters. It’s a genuine masterpiece of German Expressionist cinema. Finally, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of the original midnight movies (after El Topo) makes an appearance at the Kimball. Starring Tim Curry (Clue; It), Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise; The Hunger), and Barry Bostwick (seen on TV in Spin City and as the title character in the miniseries George Washington), Rocky Horror is true cult phenomenon known for its long tradition of audience participation (although the Kimball’s list of acceptable audience props excludes toast and rice). As 1970s cult camp sci-fi/horror/musical/comedies go, however, it rates second after Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise. Tickets for Nosferatu and Rocky Horror are $4 each.

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September Movies at the Kimball

September Kimball

It’s another month, so time for a new round up of the indie / arthouse films coming up at the Kimball Theatre! This month, we have movies about billionaires attempting immortality, romance in WWII, biopics on Yves Saint Laurent, Brian Wilson, and Big Bird (well, kinda), films for kids (or maybe just the young at heart), films about bikes, and even an Elvis movie. There’s a LOT of films this month!

Thanks again to my personal movie expert (and spouse!), Scott Graves, for the outlines below:


Self/less – Ben Kingsley plays a billionaire facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer in the science fiction identity thriller Self/less. Or rather, Kingsley plays him for awhile, until he escapes his diagnosis by having his consciousness transferred into Ryan Reynolds. Strange visions after the change throw him into a dangerous investigation, uncovering a corporate conspiracy with shades of Philip K. Dick novels and John Frankenheimer’s Seconds. Directed by Tarsem Singh (Immortals, Mirror Mirror, The Cell), the cast also features Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, The Good Wife on CBS), Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome, also CBS), and Michelle Dockery (PBS drama Downton Abbey). Self/less is playing at the Kimball from September 1st through the 6th.


Saint Laurent – Detailing several episodes in the life of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, this film directed by Bertrand Bonello (House of Pleasures) follows last year’s Yves Saint Laurent into the market for YSL biopics. Starring Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising) as the Christian Dior protege through the heady years of the late 60s and early 70s, through career heights and depths, before reflecting on his final years (played by Helmut Berger of The Damned, Conversation Piece). Saint Laurent shows September 6th to the 12th.

Love and mercy

Love and Mercy – If California surf rock is of more interest than European fashion, Love and Mercy chronicles the life and work of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, played in parallel narratives by Paul Dano (Ruby Sparks, Little Miss Sunshine, L.I.E.) during his creative peak years and by John Cusack (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Being John Malkovich, Better Off Dead) in middle age. The biopic covers the younger Wilson’s relationship with his overbearing father, Murry (Bill Camp), the recording of Pet Sounds (try not to think of the similar scene from Walk Hard), and his breakdown, while Cusack’s Wilson lives in seclusion, dominated by controversial therapist Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti, following closely on his appearance as Jerry Heller in Straight Outta Compton) until he meets Melinda Ledbetter who eventually becomes his wife and manager. Love and Mercy is screening at the Kimball from the 7th to the 13th.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Cult arthouse fare from the early years of this century, the first two films in the Harry Potter saga tell of the boy wizard’s first two years in an oppressive British boarding school before the headmaster’s brutal discipline leads to a violent revolt that may be more fantasy than reality in a searing indictment of the British class system… wait, no, I’m thinking of something else. These movies are the first two in the HP story with Quidditch, everyflavored jellybeans, flying cars, basilisks, polyjuice potion, vintage Hermione hair, and about 9 dozen Weasleys. The Sorcerer’s Stone is at the Kimball on September 12th and 13th, and the Chamber of Secrets on the 19th and 20th.


Shaun the Sheep – This stop-motion animation feature follows the adventures of the titular ruminant, first seen in Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit adventure A Close Shave. After his antics afflict his farmer with amnesia, Shaun must venture into the city and crosses paths with an animal control worker in order to set things right. Shaun the Sheep screens from the 14th to the 20th.


Breaking Away/American Flyers/Bicycle Thief – Colonial Fondo weekend (September 25th-26th) brings this trio of films related (more or less) with cycling. Breaking Away is a coming-of-age story featuring the rivalry between four “townies” and the college kids in Bloomington, Indiana. Come for an early appearance of Dennis Quaid and Dennis Christopher’s only significant role (apart from his lead in underrated horror film Fade to Black) as a young man obsessed with Italian cycling, stay for Paul Dooley’s hilarious turn as Christopher’s frustrated car salesman father. Sharing a screenwriter, American Flyers, chronicles two brothers, one brain aneurysm, and a brutal bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains. It stars Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams, Bull Durham) in the first sports film of his career, David Grant and Rae Dawn Chong, and features early appearances by Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing) and Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle). Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief (Bicycle Thieves in Italian), a seminal work of Italian Neo-Realism from 1950, tells of a father and husband who gets a much-needed job posting advertising signs, but may lose it after his bicycle is stolen. A persistent fixture on Sight and Sound magazine’s list of the best films of all time, The Bicycle Thief is a rich depiction of the desperations of urban poverty and the complex commitments of work and family.

This is just one of the things Williamsburg is doing to celebrate the Fondo and biking in general- have you seen the bike sculptures around town?

Big Bird

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story – This documentary chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the 78-year old cartoonist and puppeteer who has portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since their debut in 1969. Combining archival and newly shot footage, I Am Big Bird shares behind-the-scenes details of Sesame Street as well as important moments in the life and career of the man who brings to life its resident Bird and Grouch. I Am Big Bird shows from September 20th to 26th.


Love Me Tender – The September entry in the Kimball’s “Classic” series, Love Me Tender marks the big screen acting debut of the King in a period Western musical. (I wouldn’t say that this is a classic, but hey, whatever floats your boat). Richard Egan (A Summer Place, The Revolt of Mamie Stover) stars as Vance, the eldest of the Reno brothers, who returns home from the Civil War to find that his sweetheart (Debra Paget, The Ten Commandments) has married his youngest brother (Presley), left behind to care for the family farm. Vance and his other brothers are wanted for robbing a Union train days after the war ended, while Clint is racked by jealousy when he discovers that his wife Cathy still loves Vance. Love Me Tender can be seen at the Kimball on September 27th. (Tickets to this show are only $4!)


Testament of Youth – Based on the first volume of Vera Brittain’s memoirs, Testament of Youth dramatizes her struggles (played by Alicia Vikander of Ex Machina and the recent Man from UNCLE film) as she is admitted to a college at Oxford in 1914 only to leave her studies after her brother Edward (Taron Egerton, Kingsman: The Secret Service), fiance Jon Snow… I mean, Roland (Kit Harrington, Game of Thrones), and friends are conscripted and sent to the Front. Brittain becomes a nurse, serving soldiers in Europe and at home, including German soldiers. The cast is filled out with many familiar faces: Dominic West (The Wire), Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves), Hayley Atwell (ABC’s Agent Carter), Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral), and Miranda Richardson (The Crying Game, Blackadder). The Kimball is showing Testament of Youth from September 28th to October 4th. In case you missed it when it was first released a few months ago, here’s another chance to see it.

Tickets at the Kimball are regularly $8 – less than you’ll pay at many other movie theaters- and they have concessions, too (including beer!). If you call ahead, you can get a book of tickets for an even lower price per ticket.

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Link Up: July 27-30

Hey all! Admittedly Monday and Tuesday are a little empty, but I’m out of town this weekend and I had to schedule this on Thursday, before a lot of the information came out for next week. Nevertheless, still lots to do, especially Wednesday and Thursday!

6:30pm: the breathless costume romance Far From the Madding Crowd at the Kimball– $8
7pm: Meditation class at the UU church– free, donations accepted- hosted by Ben, who is not “woo-woo” at all but rather very down-to-earth- highly recommended!
7pm: Yorktown Story Slam- theme: “Worst Day Ever” at the Yorktown Pub
8pm: Trivia at Greene Leafe

6:30pm: Far From the Madding Crowd and Sunshine Superman both at the Kimball– $8
7:30pm: Open Mic Night at Yorktown Pub

6pmPort Warwick Summer Concert Series: free, family-friendly, bring blankets, chairs, picnics! Tonight’s act is The Janitors, they play oldies
7pm: Open Mic Night at Cogan’s with Liana Dagmar
7pm: Concert on Merchant’s Square- Slapnation performs! 1970’s Disco, and Top 40 Dance music from the 1980s to today- so get out and DANCE YOUR PANTS OFF!
7:30pm: $5 yoga class at Berrybody– with soothing lavender towels!
8pmLukas Nelson & Promise of the Real in Concert at the Kimball- $15- described as “cowboy hippy surf rock”?? but hey it’s a national act so they must be good right?
9pm: Karaoke at Bourbon Street

6pmHey! Hey! Hooligan (“punk rock party band”) at The Mariners’ Museum
6pmBen Lassiter and Steal the Pint Night with Stone Brewery at Berret’s
6pm: Thursday Night Adventure Night– last week is was a Softserve Showdown- this weeks it’s a Geocache Dash!
6:30pmShagging on the Riverwalk in Yorktown– free- this week it’s The Holiday Band
7:30pmOpen Mic Night at Aromas
10pm: Karaoke at Corner Pocket

Here’s some things you may have missed on Facebook:

I wrote a guest post for Colonial Williamsburg about their new live comedy, A Servant of Two Masters. It is really funny and great for all ages! You can win free tickets if you make a comment on the post, so don’t miss out!

Two Masters

What’s Happening Williamsburg is now on Instagram! Follow @whatshappeningwilliamsburg to get real-time updates on events in the Burg.

Guys, I’m sorry this posted late. I made a mistake in scheduling the post.

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Top Three Things to Know for Williamsburg TURN Fans – plus pics

TURN – the AMC show about Revolutionary War spies- is takin’ over Williamsburg. Monday, they shot part of season 2 right in front of the Governor’s Palace. There were about two dozen extras toting effigies, a carriage, and people on horses. They even sang a song- something about freedom . . .

Photos by Fred Blystone

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 2

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 3

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 4

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 5

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 6

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 7

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 8

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 9

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 10

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 11

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 12

Photos by Fred Blystone

Turn 13

Photos by Fred Blystone

If you are a big fan of this AMC show, I’ve got a few of pieces of good news for you:

1. You can be an extra

Yes, you! I talked to a nice crew member at the filming site today and she said they still have an open casting call for locals. Go to Arvold Casting to sign up (just keep in mind that they do have some limitations on physical types they will accept- and they prefer people with flexible availability). You get to wear a costume and everything.

2. There’s a discussion with cast and crew next week at William and Mary

Next Tuesday, February 3, W&M is hosting a discussion entitled, “Television, History, & Revolution: A discussion with producers and cast from AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies and William & Mary professors.” Here’s the panel:

Barry Josephson, Executive Producer of TURN: Washington’s Spies
Craig Silverstein, Executive Producer of TURN: Washington’s Spies
Alexander Rose, Author of book Washington’s SpiesSusan Kern, Executive Director of the Historic Campus and History Professor
Arthur Knight, Associate Professor, American Studies, English, and Film & Media Studies
Karin Wulf, Director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Joshua Piker, Editor of the William & Mary Quarterly and History ProfessorModerated by Class of ’38 Professor of History and Chair: Cindy Hahamovitch
[no- she’s not 97 years old- her position is sponsored by the W&M class of 1938]
Now, here’s the deal- if you want to go, IMMEDIATELY RSVP here. The site asks for RSVPS by Wednesday, Jan 28- so there’s only a couple days left. (However, if you’re reading this after that date- go ahead and try to RSVP and show up. There might be some people that don’t end up coming).
3. You can be a spy, too!
Stay tuned for the next edition of RevQuest– Colonial Williamsburg’s cell phone spy game. (Which is free with your Good Neighbor Pass) You get to interact with costumed interpreters and advance in the mission by answering history questions on your cell phone. It usually comes out around spring break for the visiting school kids- so look for it around March.

Sneak Peek: Dec 15-21

Between your shopping and bustling, take some time for yourself! Here are some things to do in Williamsburg this week:


Meditation Class at Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church, 7pm- Free


Taking some time for meditation may be just what you need during the busy holiday season. This free Monday night class is great for beginners and the more advanced alike. The teacher will walk you through the process and you can talk with classmates about your challenges and experiences. When I’ve gone, I left feeling calm and more in control of my life. I hope you will feel the same!


Ballroom Dance Lessons at Seasons, 7:30 pm- Free


Guys, trust me when I say a man who can dance is very impressive. Also? There is almost ALWAYS  a lack of men at dances! So get out to Seasons and learn some new moves. Dancing is just fun.

One caveat- I haven’t been to these free lessons at Seasons, so if someone goes, please let me know how it is!

Featured Event this Week! (I will be there, come join if you like!)


Good Fires, Good Company, and Diversons: The Compliments of the Season at the Powell House 10am-5pm

Photo by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Photo by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

This is an event at Colonial Williamsburg that requires a ticket, so grab your Good Neighbor Pass! You do have one, right?

Let’s find out how families (well, at least upper-to-middling families) in the 18th century prepared for Christmas! We’ll observe them cooking special meals, making decorations, and hopefully some singing and dancing. I’ll be there from 10:30-11:30 am if you’d like to join.


“It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Kimball, 7pm- $3


Thanks to some really nice people who are sponsoring this event (Dennis Kiser, Donna Crinklaw, and Middle Peninsula Insurance), this holiday classic is being shown at the Kimball for only $3 this Saturday. It’s a Williamsburg tradition, apparently! I would advise you to call ahead, though, and see if you can get your tickets ahead of time, as it’s sure to be very popular.

As always, more free and affordable things to do in Williamsburg available to view on the calendar. Have a great week, all!