Matt Shiverdecker's blog

Movies This Week: July 25-31, 2014

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 Lucy

The Austin Film Society begins a very rare series this Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa called "The Sepia Screen." They'll be spotlighting 35mm "race" films from a special collection at Southern Methodist University from the days when movie theaters were segregated. This weekend, they'll be screening a 1946 short called Vanities, a 1946 feature called Dirty Gertie From Harlem U.S.A. and 1949's feature Souls Of Sin. Elizabeth's preview has details plus some insights on the series from AFS programmer Lars Nilsen.

On Tuesday evening, AFS is hosting Two Step, a locally-shot SXSW 2014 favorite (Don's review). Director Alex R. Johnson and composer Andrew Kenny (The Wooden Birds, The American Analog Set) will be in attendance for a Q&A. The current AFS Essential Cinema series is closing out on Thursday evening with Liv and Ingmar. After filling the Marchesa's screen over the last few weeks with some of their greatest collaborations, now you'll get to see this 2012 documentary that examines the relationship between Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman. The film is presented from Liv's point-of-view, interviewed in the house that she lived in for many years with Bergman. 

Over at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, tomorrow morning you can check out a free Kid's Club screening of the Disney classic Pete's Dragon in 35mm at noon. Later in the afternoon, they'll also be paying tribute to the late James Garner with a 35mm screening of 1964's The Americanization Of Emily, which also stars Julie Andrews.

Movies This Week: July 18-24, 2014

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Boyhood 

Over the next week, your only real duty as a film lover is to see Richard Linklater's Boyhood. Yes, it's almost three hours long. Yes, the reviews are mindblowingly great. Yes, it's the real deal. I attended last weekend's Austin Film Society Q&A screening with Linklater, Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane in attendance and I'm definitely ready to see it again. It's that good. 

Speaking of special screenings, AFS is bringing the SXSW hit Road To Austin (Mike's review) to the Marchesa tonight. The documentary examines how Austin became the "Live Music Capital Of The World" and features live performance footage from Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, Joe Ely and over 40 other artists. If that sounds up your alley, so will the Sunday afternoon screening of Tommy Hancock: West Texas Muse. Following the leader of West Texas's premiere western swing band, the film features many Texas musicians including Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Lloyd Maines. Hancock lives in Austin and will be on hand for a Q&A. Thursday night's Essential Cinema brings us Ingmar Bergman's 1973 masterpiece Scenes From A Marriage. This screening will be the 169-minute theatrical version, although if you go and really enjoy it, you should track down the 295-minute television miniseries version as originally aired in Sweden. 

Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has a lot of great music programming on tap again as part of this month's "The Alamo Goes To '11" feature. A new digital restoration of Stop Making Sense plays twice Saturday, with Wattstax in the mix on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and a sneak preview of the new Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days On Earth. That is sold out at the Ritz on Sunday, but also plays at the Village and Slaughter Lane locations that afternoon, and tickets are still left at the Ritz for Music Monday. A 35mm print of John Woo's extraordinarily violent Hard Boiled screens at the Ritz on Sunday night for Tough Guy Cinema and The Complete David Lynch series enters its fourth week with a handful of Blue Velvet screenings in 35mm. 

Movies This Week: July 11-17, 2014

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Life Itself

The Austin Film Society is kicking off the weekend with another Free Member Friday event. Tonight, AFS Members can enjoy a program of short films at the Marchesa for free, including Kat Candler's original 2012 short Hellion (recently adapted into a terrific feature) and Todd Rohal's Rat Pack Rat, which won a special jury prize at Sundance this year. Come on out even if you're not a member for $10 general admission tickets.

AFS is also hosting some special advance screenings of Richard Linklater's acclaimed new film Boyhood (Debbie's review) this weekend. The 1 pm screening on Sunday at the Marchesa is already sold out, but a 7 pm show still has VIP tickets available that include a private dinner with the director and cast. The acclaimed documentary Manakamana is screening at the Marchesa on Tuesday evening while Sweet Dreams folows on Wednesday. Essential Cinema closes out a busy week with a 35mm print of Ingmar Bergman's Cries And Whispers on Thursday night. 

Fresh off a Presidential visit, the Paramount's Summer Classic Film Series gets back on track with King Vidor's silent classic The Big Parade tonight at the Stateside. The Paramount will fire up the 70mm projectors this weekend as Lawrence Of Arabia returns in all its big-screen glory tomorrow night and twice on Sunday. On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, the Paramount will pay tribute to Montgomery Clift with a 35mm double feature of Red River and The Heiress and then the Stateside will have a couple of great Westerns on Thursday night with a double feature of The Magnificent Seven and The Misfits.

Movies This Week: July 2-10, 2014

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Begin Again

With a holiday weekend ahead of us, Movies This Week is getting an early run so you can determine which flicks are best worth your time. Since it's a few days ahead of schedule, there are a few repeats from last week's column here in the rundown of repertory screenings.

The Austin Film Society is launching a new Essential Cinema series featuring some of the best collaborations of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman this Thursday at the Marchesa. Read Chale's preview for more details. The first movie of the series is 1966's Persona and next Thursday (July 10), you'll be able to catch 1969's The Passion Of Anna, both in 35mm. A newly restored 35mm print of Alain Resnais' Je T'aime, Je T'aime is on the books this Sunday afternoon and Monday evening. Also, catch a rare screening on Tuesday night of Eggshells, a 1968 film by Tobe Hooper that was shot in Austin (Don's preview from 2011). Hooper will be joined at the Marchesa by Louis Black for a discussion of the film.

"The Complete David Lynch" series begins tonight at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz (and continues through the end of August) with a 35mm print of Eraserhead, which also encores Thursday afternoon. The second film in that series, The Elephant Man, screens in 35mm next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

If you're looking to laugh hysterically for the 4th of July, buy tickets for the 10th anniversary screenings of Team America: World Police on Friday night at the Ritz, Lakeline, Slaughter Lane and Village locations. If you're a fan of Sylvester Stallone and the Rocky series, you can choose from three mystery screenings this upcoming Sunday evening. A different Rocky film will screen at the Ritz, Lakeline and Village locations with brand new Mondo prints available to purchase at each.

Movies This Week: June 27-July 1, 2014

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 Hellion

The Austin Film Series is wrapping up its "Rebel Rebel" series this weekend with a 35mm print of Female Trouble, the raunchy 1974 comedy from enfant terrible John Waters. It screens tonight and Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. That's also the place to be on Thursday night as a new Essential Cinema series launches featuring some of the best collaborations of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman. The first film of the series is 1966's Persona, screening in a 35mm print. Look for an article about the series on Monday by programmer Chale Nafus.

The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has another eclectic week ahead of specialty screenings. On Saturday afternoon, you can view the late-era Marx Bros. classic, 1946's A Night In Casablanca. Also this week, there's a Bill & Ted double feature on Sunday that will include two new Mondo posters available for purchase, Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls screens in 35mm on Monday night as does a digital presentation of the Whoopi Goldberg classic Sister Act. "The Complete David Lynch" series begins on Wednesday night (and continues through the end of August) with a 35mm print of Eraserhead. Finally, Brooklyn rockers Conveyor will be at the Ritz on Thursday to perform a live score to George Lucas' THX 1138

Alamo Slaughter Lane has a Cinema Cocktails screening of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Sunday night and the legendary rock comedy This Is Spinal Tap will play there on Tuesday and Thursday. Alamo Lakeline is featuring an underground Hindi flick called Miss Lovely tonight through Monday for late-night showings. They've also got a special one-off screening of John Cameron Mitchell's genderbending Hedwig And The Angry Itch happening  Thursday. 

Review: Snowpiercer

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Snowpiercer

There was a fair amount of controversy over Snowpiercer long before the U.S. release was decided. Rumors surfaced several months ago that The Weinstein Company wanted to aim for a wide release, but only if the film was trimmed by 20 minutes. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) wasn't especially interested in altering his English-language debut in order to please a more mainstream audience. After a rather public spat, his 125-minute cut stands, although the film is now restricted to a limited release domestically. This science-fiction oddity is based on the acclaimed French graphic novel Le Transperceneige.

The story takes us into a frighteningly frozen future where the only people left on Earth are circling the planet on a powerful, self-sustaining train where the passengers are separate and far from equal. An experiment to try and stop the effects of global warming failed and forced the entire planet into a new Ice Age that killed the majority of people on the planet. Those who survived made it onto the train, but the amenities vary based on social status. Those who could afford to pay to live in the front of the train are afforded plenty of comfort and food (not to mention drugs and freshly made sushi) while the poor are heavily persecuted in the tail compartment.

Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer are among the citizens who have been barely surviving for 17 years in the back of the train when the film gets underway. They're covered in dirt, stacked like sardines and are frequently rounded up and counted by armed soldiers with short tempers. As the members of the tail start to rise up and plan to riot their way to the front of the train, they're met with great resistance. They battle their way into each new train car and slowly realize that there are plenty of people on board who are not surviving with only a small ration of protein bars to get the through the days. 

Movies This Week: June 20-26, 2014

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Obvious Child

The Austin Film Society has teamed up with Dan Halstead of Portland's Kung Fu Theater to host the 2nd annual "Old School Kung Fu Weekend" at the Marchesa. Three films will screen tonight and three more tomorrow, all directly from rare 35mm prints. The lineup is top secret and most of the movies have never before played in town. Passes are available for the entire series or individual tickets will be sold at the door, capacity permitting.

The AFS Screening Room hosts an Avant Cinema screening on Wednesday night of the 1947 film Dreams That Money Can Buy, created by avant-garde masters Hans Richter, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Fernand Leger, Alexander Calder and John Cage. Thursday night's Essential Cinema selection is Abel Gance's J'Accuse. Presented in a DCP of a recent restoration, this 1919 silent classic presents a love triangle between a soldier, his wife and her lover during World War I. 

After a week off, the Marx Brothers retrospective picks back up this weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. The Big Store was their last film for MGM and was originally released in 1941. This rarely-screened film plays from a 16mm print tomorrow afternoon. There are still a few tickets left for Sunday's Merylthon at the Ritz. Celebrating Meryl Streep's 65th birthday, the marathon will feature five secret titles, all screening from 35mm prints. The Ritz also has Russ Meyer's Mudhoney in 35mm on Monday night and The Devil Is A Woman in 35mm on Wednesday, which wraps up their salute to Dietrich and Von Sternberg. 

Review: We Are the Best!

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We Are The Best!

Swedish director Lukas Moodysson's filmography has had a spotty history of even being seen in the United States. His earlier works Show Me Love and Together managed to receive distribution here, but some of his more serious films (like the brutal sex-trafficking drama Lilya 4-ever and A Hole In My Heart) never were even properly released here. In 2009, he made his English-language debut with a film called Mammoth that IFC released stateside and then he fell off the radar for a few years.  

He's finally returned to the big screen with We Are the Best!, a lighthearted adaptation of the graphic novel Never Goodnight, written by his wife Coco Moodysson. Set in 1982 Stockholm, we're introduced to Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), two 13-year-old best friends who don't really fit in socially at school. They're tomboyish and seem to live in their own little world, mostly happy to be excluded by their peers and misunderstood by their parents. When they get the idea to start a punk band, they recruit a shy Christian girl from their class named Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne) who is an excellent guitarist. Since Bobo and Klara don't even know how to play instruments, they get Hedvig to help them prepare for a school talent show.

Movies This Week: June 13-19, 2014

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 We Are The Best!

The Austin Film Society continues its "Rebel Rebel" series this weekend with a brand new 35mm print of Jamaa Fanaka's 1976 film Emma Mae. Tonight's screening at the Marchesa is free to AFS members, and the movie will play again on Sunday afternoon. AFS is also sponsoring a screening of The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada, starring Tommy Lee Jones, on Wednesday night at the Texas Spirit Theater (inside the Bullock Texas State History Museum). It's free for AFS members, as well as AFF, Cine Las Americas and Bullock Museum members. Julio Cedillo and producer Eric Williams will be there for a post-screening Q&A. Head back to the Marchesa on Thursday night for a 35mm print of Truffaut's Jules And Jim. The film is part of this month's Essential Cinema series on films Of World War I. 

Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has programmed a weekend of classic biker flicks to celebrate the annual ROT Rally called "Hell's Angels On Reels!" Saturday will feature The Wild Angels, Sinner's Blood and She-Devils On Wheels while Sunday's got Run Angels Run, Hell's Angels Forever and The Losers. All six films will screen from 35mm (or 16mm) prints. Also this week at the Ritz, Russ Meyer's Up! screens on Monday night in a 35mm print from the Meyer estate and 1934's The Scarlet Empress plays on Wednesday as part of this month's "Dietrich & Von Sternberg in 35mm" series. Elsewhere at the Drafthouse, both Alamo Slaughter Lane and Alamo Lakeline have Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade screening digitally on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and Alamo Village will be hosting Muay Thai Warrior on Tuesday night for its "Eastern Fury" martial arts series. 

Review: 22 Jump Street

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22 Jump Street

Fresh off the runaway success of The Lego Movie, the directorial team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returns with what will likely be summer's most satisfying comedy for adults. Even though the trailers didn't inspire much confidence that 22 Jump Street would actually be any good, it turns out that this wholly unnecessary sequel was worth waiting for.

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprise their roles as Jenko and Schmidt, two cops on the hunt for drug dealers. While the first film followed the inspiration of the original Fox series by having them go undercover in high school, 22 Jump Street sends the guys to college. The movie is 150% in on the joke, repeatedly making fun of movie sequels and encouraging the stars to do everything "just like last time" with a knowing wink to the audience. So often, that's what we all hate about Hollywood movies, but it works perfectly here. 

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