Jette Kernion's blog
I saw Satellite of Love at Dallas International Film Festival earlier this year, and it was easily the loveliest movie I caught at the fest. It's set primarily in a vineyard, and the opening sequence takes place at a fair with some gorgeous shots on a Ferris wheel. In addition, the film is a poignant look at the complexity of intimate relationships, with excellent performances from Zachary Knighton and Nathan Phillips in particular. I reviewed the movie and wondered when we'd get to see it here in Austin.
Fortunately, Satellite of Love is in the Austin Film Festival lineup, and you have one more chance to see it -- tonight at 7 pm at the Rollins Theater at the Long Center. What were you planning to do tonight? Don't do that, see this movie instead. It really shines on a big screen, and director/co-writer Will James Moore will be there.
I interviewed Moore via email about the movie -- his responses are below.
Slackerwood: Can you give us the 25-word summary/pitch of the film?
Will Moore: Catherine is married to Blake, a restaurant-owning workaholic, and from the outset it is easy to see that there is a lack of passion in their relationship. Worldly musician Samuel, a former lover of Catherine and best friend to Blake, invites the couple to a vineyard for a week to make up for his absence at their wedding.
I'm very fond of Austin Film Festival and this year, a little sad that I'm not able to spend as much time at the fest as I'd like. Still, I've had nothing but good AFF experiences so far. Here are a few highlights from the first couple of days.
First of all, if you are going to do AFF and you can afford the tickets, the Film and Food Party is the best way ever to kick off the fest-ivities, especially if you have an adventurous eater with you, especially especially if she helps encourage you to not eat all the heavy-duty pork dishes so you don't feel too terribly stuffed.
I even bid in the silent auction this year, being lured by a signed Star Trek script as a potential way to score major Awesome Wife points, although I got outbid on that one and decided that after a certain price point, you can't decimate the household budget and still be Awesome Wife. Hopefully I got points for trying. I also was outbid on the signed Spy Kids poster, which is probably a good thing because my house is in a state of movie poster overload. You can see the poster above with the gentleman who signed it, honorary Film and Food chair (and local filmmaker, natch) Robert Rodriguez.
I only spent one day at aGLIFF Polari this year, due to whatever cruddy crud I contracted halfway through Fantastic Fest. (All I can say is that no germs better try attacking me during AFF.) Anyway, on the last day of the festival (last Sunday) I headed downtown to watch a web series and a documentary for my taste of aGLIFF. Polari. Eventually I'll get the name right.
Actually, aGLIFF Polari had at least one cute bumper showing before the movies to explain the name change. PJ Raval was in the bumper I saw on Sunday, thus confirming Don's theory that PJ Was Everywhere this year. Here's the embedded video if you want to watch it yourself.
Don't you want to see Gerard Butler in a movie about legendary surfers, based on real life? Sure you do, especially when it's directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson. The film Chasing Mavericks opens in Austin on October 26, but Slackerwood is giving you the chance to see it early and -- best of all -- for free.
We have a limited number of admit-two passes available to give away for a screening of Chasing Mavericks on Tuesday, October 23 at 7 pm at Galaxy Highland.
After the jump, you'll find promotional codes and links to the Gofobo website where you can enter the code to get an admit-two pass for the screening of your choice. These are first-come, first-served passes and seating is not guaranteed. If you've been to preview screenings, you know that often more tickets are given out than there are seats, so you'll want to arrive early to stake out a good spot in line.
Chasing Mavericks is based on a true story. Teenager Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston) is an ambitious surfer who gets a legendary older surfer (Butler) to train him to surf the notorious Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves in the world. Elisabeth Shue and Abigail Spencer also star in the movie.
Are you ready to redeem your ticket?
Updated October 12, 2012.
Slackerwood was all over Fantastic Fest 2012. Here's a list of all our coverage (after the jump) in one location.
What better way to wrap up Slackerwood's Fantastic Fest 2012 coverage than with a look at the two Austin-made shorts that screened during the festival, both of which I enjoyed? And what could be more fitting than to publish this article on the day that Fantastic Fest selection Sinister, written by an Austinite, opens in U.S. theaters? (I love it when I can find a reason that doesn't look like procrastination on my part.)
Dialogue is a very short short -- about one minute long -- from the Austin filmmakers pictured above. Christopher Palmer, Josh Johnson and Carolee Mitchell took a break from working on their upcoming documentary about VHS tapes, Rewind This, to shoot this unsettling conversation between a couple (Daniel Sergeant and Samantha Pitchel) about something unusual that's happening to one of them. The short film is set in a living room but it's not the setting that's creepy. It was a perfect fit for Fantastic Fest, is all I'm going to say. Johnson wrote and directed, Mitchell produced, and Palmer worked on post-production.
There are so many reasons to love October in Austin. The weather can be lovely, you can bring out long sleeves and perhaps even jackets, there are film festivals galore, and at the end you get Halloween. For me, every year I look forward to the Austin Film Society's Essential Cinema series in October. If you've read Slackerwood for awhile you know this article has nothing to do with our relationship with AFS ... I really do get giddy about the series every year around this time. This year, with a title like "Late I Have Loved Thee: Latter Lubitsch," you know I'm bouncing around the room.
Why? Because AFS brings out a bunch of glorious classic Hollywood movies that I've been longing to see, or see again, or see in a theater since my only experience with them has been on a worn-out VHS tape. The selections often include great films from William Wyler or Preston Sturges or Billy Wilder. I realize these are not as culturally diverse as the many other fine Essential Cinema series that AFS programmer Chale Nafus curates throughout the year, but what can I say? My heart belongs to cynical 1930s screenwriters.
Also, the movies usually screen on Tuesday nights, and I have to say that I prefer watching a delightful witty comedy on Election Night to sitting around frowning at TV commentators while awaiting polling results. If You Could Only Cook was a lovely balm in 2004, and Nothing Sacred was perfect in 2008. This year, Cluny Brown is screening on November 6 -- a movie I haven't seen -- and I look forward to watching it instead of CNN.
The Frankenweenie premiere on opening night of Fantastic Fest this year was a learning experience for me: Taking pictures of animals is no walk in the park. Even the cutest and sweetest pets don't quite get the concept of standing still and smiling for the camera.
What were pets doing at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar? Frankenweenie played in several of the South Lamar location's six screens, and one of the theaters was devoted to adorable dogs and their owners. They were all encouraged to dress in red carpet attire -- humans and pets alike -- and the results were delightful. Fantastic Fest photographer Jack Plunkett snapped group photos on the red carpet, like the one above, but the following individual photos are my favorites out of the ones I took.
Frankenweenie opens in Austin theaters today in 2D and 3D -- read Rod's review to find out more about the movie itself. I don't think any local theaters will let you bring your dog, even though I heard the pets at the Fantastic Fest screening were miraculously well behaved in the theater.
If Fantastic Fest screens a movie made by women with females in the lead, I'll be there. (Okay, unless it screens at midnight or is excessively violent/gory. They don't call me the Film Festival Wuss for nothing.) So Besties was on my radar from the start, and it did not disappoint.
Sandy (Olivia Crocicchia) is a lumpish 14-year-old girl, teased mercilessly by classmates, who idolizes the girl next door -- her former babysitter Ashley (Madison Riley), a senior, blonde and perfect. When Sandy's dad goes out of town for the weekend, she asks if Ashley can "babysit" so she can hang out with the most popular girl in school. Ashley agrees, because what girl wouldn't want access to an empty house for the weekend? She parties, she ignores Sandy ... and then Ashley's ex-con ex-boyfriend Justin turns up, bad news personified. Ashley overreacts, and next thing we know, the girls have to deal with a dead body.
Where have you been, Melanie Lynskey? Lynskey and Kate Winslet co-starred in Heavenly Creatures in 1994, and while Winslet's career has been extremely easy to follow, Lynskey has been a challenge to find on the big screen. She had a delightful role in Ever After, but then made sporadic and brief appearances as The Wife or The Girlfriend or in Up in the Air, The Sister. There have been few chances to see her in a lead role until now, with Hello I Must Be Going, and her performance is so strong that it seems ridiculous she isn't in the lead more often.
Lynskey and Blythe Danner carry Hello I Must Be Going -- they take a storyline that often treads familiar ground and blow it out of the water with two amazing performances. Lynskey plays Amy, a thirtysomething woman living -- excuse me, staying -- with her parents after a very messy divorce. Her mother (Danner) badgers her to buy more clothes, go out on dates and perhaps even take an antidepressant. (The movie may be worth watching just to hear Danner pronounce "antidepressant" as thought it were French.)