Slackerwood's first podcast: Chris Holland and Jette Kernion talk about what's been going on with the Austin film scene since they moved here, and provide some recommendations for upcoming special screenings and events. This podcast is about 20 minutes long.
I have great photos and amusing tales from last night's Hellboy 2 screening at Alamo to share with you, but I'm on deadline with a review of that same movie right now. So for the moment, I'll leave you one of my favorite images of the evening. In the middle of the post-screening Q&A, someone brought milkshakes to all the special guests. Doug Jones, Guillermo del Toro, and Mike Mignola continued answering questions from the audience while sipping their frosty non-alcoholic (I think ...) beverages.
The miracle was not that the milkshakes materialized mid-discussion, nor that the speakers appeared to enjoy them (Alamo shakes are universally beloved, I believe), but that not a single person in the packed audience or up at the front of the room made an "I drink your milkshake!" comment, despite the fact that we were in the very Austin theater where There Will Be Blood unofficially had its world premiere during Fantastic Fest last year, and the audience consisted primarily of Fantastic Fest 2008 badgeholders. I was tempted to make reference to the quote in the title, but I think that line's days are behind us, and will simply conclude by wishing I had one of those Alamo shakes right-damn-now, to enjoy while I struggle with finishing my review of Hellboy 2.
Sometimes blogging means taking the lazy way out. In this case that means a quick embed of the previews reel video for the July events at the various branches of the Alamo Drafthouse. Sometimes I miss the individualized promo trailers for the various events, but I like the consolidated approach since it means I learn about all the upcoming events at once. Missing something just because I hadn't seen the right set of trailers used to drive me nuts.
You know, if I wait around long enough, eventually my laziness saves me time and energy. I attended John Pierson's Master Classes at UT earlier this year -- you remember me sharing photos from the Steve Buscemi class. I had an entry started here on Slackerwood about the last class of the year, with South Park co-creator Matt Stone. But I never had time to write up my notes on the actual session -- all I had were links to the photos. (Procrastinator. Yep. That's me.)
Now KUT is saving my butt and letting me share my favorite photo (above) from the class with Matt Stone. The local radio station will start airing the show "Master Class with John Pierson," in which each class is pared down to its best 30 minutes and aired for your enjoyment. The shows will air monthly on Sundays at 11 am as part of KUT's "Best of Public Radio" programming, starting on June 29.
Here's the schedule:
June 29: Steve Buscemi, David Simon
July 27: Lauren Zalaznick, Matt Stone
August 31: Charles Burnett, Chris Smith
The Austin Chronicle has an article with additional info about the show, and the Statesman has more details too. But I think I've got the best photo of John Pierson and Matt Stone. On the other hand, I wish I took notes like Austin Kleon, because his doodles and observations from the Matt Stone class are amazing.
One more photo after the jump, because I love taking pictures in the ACL studio and will be sad when it moves off-campus (I used to work as an intern for ACL, but that's a story for another day).
I want to try a new format for quick links to Austin screenings and news, because I'm lazy. Let me know how you like it, maybe it can become a regular Friday thing. And next time there may be a photo or two.
- Alamo Drafthouse posted a Flickr set from their recent Incredible Hulk premiere event.
- It's not too late to zip over to Arbor tonight to see Z: A Zombie Musical at 7:30 pm. If you miss it, several Austin video stores have the DVD (Encore and I think Vulcan or Waterloo, I'll have to find out and get back to you).
- Lars has started a blog for Weird Wednesday, which is fun to read even if you never go to the midnight WW screenings because you have to get up at the crack of dawn on weekdays (like me).
- The Paramount has a cool new website for its Summer Classic Film Series.
- Austin Film Festival is bringing in Polly Platt on July 13 to chat with Tom Schatz as part of a special screening of The Last Picture Show. I've heard her speak and I can't recommend this enough.
- Alamo's July/August schedule is now available to view as a PDF. I have GOT to get into that Hellboy 2 screening to see Guillermo del Toro. (I've had a crush on him since I saw him at Austin Film Festival in 1999, so all you Hobbit lovers get the hell outta my way and let me in.)
This format doesn't look all that different from the old Movies This Week, does it? The big difference is that I'd rather link to news and screening times than write it all out for you. But you don't mind, do you?
Last week, for the first time, I used the term "neener-neener-neener" in the title of something I'd written. My inner six-year-old was too excited that instead of an NYC premiere, and Austin getting the movie a month later (which you know is the unfortunate norm), Baghead was going to start its limited run right here in Austin, and New Yorkers would just have to wait to see the Duplass brothers' latest film. You can read the details of the release strategy in my "Neener" article for Cinematical. I am sure that Jay and Mark Duplass would be pleased to hear that they were an indirect cause of juvenile glee for Austinites.
Baghead also gives Austin the pleasure of hosting the kind of premiere you don't normally see in Manhattan -- out in the woods, with free s'mores for audience members. Austin Film Society and Alamo's Rolling Roadshow have cooked up Thursday night's screening out at Star Hill Ranch, where parts of the movie were shot. Tickets are still available through the AFS site. If you really want to get fancy, you can pay extra for a multi-course feast before the film. Jay and Mark Duplass will be there too ... with bags on their heads? Who knows?
Check out the email interview I did with the Duplass brothers before SXSW this year, in which they offer deep and meaningful insight into the inspirations for Baghead. The photo above is from the Q&A after the Baghead screening at SXSW and while it's far from the best photo I took, it captures the attitude of cast and crew at the time. I have to say, I saw the official trailer for the film this weekend, and it doesn't quite capture the fact that this is a funny movie, poking fun at what people have called "mumblecore" as well as adding a splash of horror.
If you can't make it to Thursday night's screening, you can catch Baghead in Austin at Alamo on South Lamar and the Arbor. You can enjoy not only the movie itself, but the satisfaction of seeing it before the rest of the country. Neener!
This past week was a good one for "local boy makes good" stories with a pair of screenings that both feature the stories of small towns.
On Wednesday P.J. Raval held a sneak preview fundraiser screening of his new doc Trinidad (set in Trinidad, Colorado) which will debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival later this month. A sternly worded e-mail from Matt Dentler (and read by Raval at the screening) reminded us that mum's the word on this film until the actual world premiere in L.A., but it's not giving anything away to say that the local crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar received the film warmly.
Trinidad follows a group of transgendered women who have all had gender reassignment surgery in Trinidad, which is now the "world capital of sex changes" and, according to Raval, should have New York screenings and additional screenings in Austin following the L.A. fest.
Sunday saw the first hometown screening of Crawford, David Modigliani's chronicle of eight years in the life of the quintessential American small town. Crawford, Texas, you may recall, became the official home of George W. Bush shortly before his campaign for president in 2000. The town hasn't been the same since. First there were a few years of booming tourism followed by mobs of Iraq war protestors (both of which brought money to town) and finally stagnation as Bush's approval ratings sank. Modigliani said early in the evening that he always knew he would eventually have to show it to the townspeople, so he tried to make it as balanced as possible. Reaction from the Crawford crowd was overwhelmingly positive -- even from the townsperson who grudgingly admitted during the Q&A that the film was reasonably evenhanded in its treatment of politics, though he still felt it "leaned a little to the left."
Director David Modigliani rightly focuses more on the people of the town and their personal struggles than on Bush's troubled presidency, though of course the one affects the other in unpredictable and fascinating ways. Even if you'd rather forget the political events of the last eight years, however, the chance to see a film like Crawford unspooling for the first time in front of its subjects is an event few film buffs will want to pass up. Crawford is about 100 miles away, and even with gas prices being what they are I think it's worth the trip.
Crawford screens Sunday, June 8th at 8:30 p.m. in Crawford, TX.
To learn more about Crawford (the town and the movie), see the videos after the jump. In addition to SxSW 2008, the film has played the Independent Film Festival of Boston, Marfa Film Fest, AFI Dallas, and most recently the Brooklyn Film Festival.
Austin Film Society sent me the best mini-poster last week, on the back of a schedule for its latest film series, Making the World Laugh: Global Comedy. I put it right by my computer, and whenever someone starts bugging me, or tries to strong-arm me into doing something, I look over at that image and think, "What would The Landlady do?" And then I kick butt.
If you want your own image of The Landlady to gaze upon during difficult moments, you should head on over to one of the great comedy films in the AFS series, which starts tonight with Alain Resnais' Private Fears in Public Places. Next week, you can see The Landlady herself in Kung Fu Hustle, and the rest of the lineup is equally stellar. The movies are all screening on Tuesday nights at Alamo on South Lamar. Admission is free if you're an AFS member and cheap ($4) if you're not. Consider getting tickets in advance on the AFS website, because their series films often sell out in advance.
Now, if someone would just find me a "WWTLD" bracelet, I'd be able to handle any situation.
Update: I've now heard that anyone is welcome to attend the meeting -- it's just that you have to be a paid TXMPA member if you want to vote on any of the meeting issues/elections.
I just received a press release about the Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA) meeting that's taking place tonight. This is a meeting of the TXMPA Central Region Caucus, and it will be held at Mother Egan's (on 715 6th Street) from 6:15 to 8 pm. Admission is for dues-paying TXMPA members only and tonight's agenda is focused on nominations and elections. If this interests you, visit the TXMPA website to join online. (They won't be able to take credit cards at the venue tonight.)
If you don't know why TXMPA is important right now, check out the cover story in this week's Austin Chronicle, about the dismal lack of film productions shooting in Texas these days. Or you can read last Sunday's Austin American-Statesman article about how Shreveport, Louisiana -- of all places -- is surpassing Austin in film production.
I've posted the rest of the press release after the jump. (Thanks to Janet Pierson for the heads-up on this.)