Century 12 Downtown San Mateo
San Mateo's Century 12 theater is such a fixture of the downtown scene there are two links to its Fandango page directly from the city's homepage. San Mateo has been home to four classic movie houses and a 4-screen multiplex, all gone now (though the library does screen films on occasion). San Mateo is bordered by Burlingame and Hillsborough to the northwest, Belmont and Foster City to the southeast, San Francisco Bay to the northeast, and the peninsula's watershed to the southwest. Incorporated in 1894 by a vote of 150 to 25, the city that was once an expanse of summer and weekend homes for wealthy San Franciscans is now home to more than 90,000 people.
The theater is tucked into a charming courtyard, marked at the B Street entrance by a vertical sign.
The theater can also be reached from either end of "Main St", a small, decorated alley way.
The courtyard has several benches, trees, street lamps, and this cool mural, below.
There are several nearby parking garages (though the one I first tried was full). Train tracks run immediately behind the theater; I don't know if a passing train could be heard during a movie.
On this particular night, people began camping outside in chairs, awaiting the midnight showing of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The theater had a special showing of the entire trilogy, beginning at 7:15, and getting out in the early hours of the morning. That would have been fun.
The theater itself is fairly standard. The seats are of the blue cushy variety; very nice. Auditorium walls are covered in green fabric with purple trim, a color combo you can see in my 7th grade school picture; it didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.
I'm a big fan of trailers that focus on a single scene, revealing very little of the movie. I'm not a big fan of movies about talking animals, though. Two parrots in Rio de Janeiro attempt to fly despite being chained together. I'm guessing this is just one of many adventures they will have their way to somewhere (to be reunited with their owners, probably). Blue Sky Studios makes visually stunning movies. I haven't seen the latest Ice Age, but the first two looked great, as did Robots and Horton Hears a Who! Where they fall short, though, is on the written page. Their movies are boring. 37 cuts.
Salt (Trailer 2)
Good music and some good cuts make for an entertaining trailer. What exactly causes mild-mannered CIA operative Evelyn Salt to go on the lam, die her hair, and kick everyone's ass? I guess we'll just need to see the movie to find out. 148 or so cuts, though there could be double that number, they come so fast.
I won't tell you what this movie is about. In fact, you already know too much. Just go see it. 93 cuts.
Inception (Trailer 3)
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Trailer 2)
Knight and Day
I don't like Tom Cruise. I don't like the shape of his face. I don't like his cocky smile. I don't like his birdish eyes. And I don't like how short he is. But dagnammit, sometimes he makes really good movies. Mission: Impossible III and Minority Report are good examples of films that succeed in spite of their lead (in M:I III Cruise does some fine emotional acting). Knight and Day takes the cake, though. Not only is the movie highly entertaining, but I actually like Cruise's character. Moreso than any other role I've seen him in.
He plays Roy Miller, some sort of super spy, good at everything, bad at nothing, etc., etc. He's on the run from a clandestine government agency, and so enlists the help of classic car-rebuilder June Havens (Cameron Diaz) to help him get a few unmentionables through airport security. Sparks fly, only momentarily dampened when June's proximity to Roy nearly gets her killed every other minute or so. The plot of the movie is that Roy needs to get something from someone before some other someones get it first. Two competing groups trying to get something first just screams for a chase scene. Knight and Day gives us chases by foot, motorcycle, car, boat, helicopter, and bull.
Roy has a few spy gadgets at his disposal but mostly he stays alive by killing the other guy first. June might find this a bit off-putting, especially on their first date, but nobody's perfect. Actually, I take that back; Roy Miller is perfect. Once Roy has involved June in his troubles, he brings her along for her own protection. After the tenth explosion or so, June realizes that it's better to be at the eye of the storm than on its periphery.
Cruise and Diaz have great chemistry together. Roy is endearing because he's very honest with June. He tells her he's a super spy, what he's after, who the bad guys are, what they'll do to her if they catch her, and so on. Such open disclosure is suspicious, of course, so at times Roy's sincerity works against him. June's main purpose in the film is to emote on behalf of the audience; that is, to constantly be surprised at how badass Roy is. The film features the most entertaining montage I've ever seen, with Roy expertly attending to his dual duties of courting June and fighting evil with a flame thrower. (If you watch closely, you won't actually see the flame thrower, but that's because Roy is the flame thrower.)
Though there are too many chase scenes, and some predictable twists, I found the leads charming and the action satisfying. There's nothing quite like the smoothness of watching a character be über-competant. I look forward to seeing this again.