Matt Shiverdecker's blog
Most of the specialty screenings around town this week are related in some form or another to Christmas. The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is giving you multiple ways to enjoy Home Alone on the big screen, including all-you-can-eat pizza parties along with standard showings and quote-along versions. There are also standard and quote along screenings to choose from of Elf and Love Actually, while Tough Guy Cinema has 35mm showings of Die Hard on Sunday and Tuesday. Music Monday is showing a brand new documentary called Jingle Bell Rocks about people who are obsessed with Christmas music and even Terror Tuesday is getting into the spirit with Silent Night, Deadly Night.
Alamo Lakeline and Alamo Slaughter are screening a digital restoration of It's A Wonderful Life on Saturday and Sunday and A Christmas Story will be featured as a quote-along screening that comes with a Chinese dinner at Alamo Slaughter on Monday before it heads to the Alamo Village on Thursday. The Paramount Theatre has the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol in a double feature with White Christmas on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings -- both films are presented in 35mm.
Talk about a calm before the storm. This is one of those rare weekends where there are no new wide releases hitting multiplexes, but that means there are a lot of specialty films taking advantage of that fact and sneaking into area theaters. You can see all of this week's new releases below, but first we'll take a look at some of the unique repertory screenings booked around town over the next week.
The Austin Film Society is starting a three-week series turning the spotlight on comedian Jerry Lewis. It begins tonight at the Marchesa with one of his biggest hits, 1963's The Nutty Professor. Screening from a DCP (digital print), it also plays again on Sunday evening. On Wednesday, they'll feature Rodrigo Reyes' Purgatorio for Doc Nights. The AFS website describes it as a "lyrical meditation on the border between the US and Mexico." Thursday night brings another "Essential Cinema" pick from the current series focusing on contemporary Filipino cinema. Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker) is a 2014 feature from Jason Paul Laxamana, who also wrote and edited the film.
The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz is hosting a Silent Comedy Cavalcade on Saturday afternoon with four silent short films on 16mm featuring a live score by DJ Amelia Foxtrot! You'll get 1925's His Wooden Wedding starting Charley Chase, Charlie Chaplin's 1916 Behind The Screen, Buster Keaton's The High Sign from 1921 and Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd starring in Hal Roach's On The Loose from 1931. On Monday night they've got another great pick from 1999: Steven Soderbergh's incredible film The Limey in 35mm and Tuesday brings another edition of "Experimental Response Cinema" with Yvonne Rainer's 1980 film Journeys from Berlin/1971 screening in 16mm.
As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, there are a few new releases that are hitting area theaters. The only other major change from last week is that the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything (Don's review) is expanding to new locations today. It continues to play at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, Regal Arbor and Violet Crown, but also turns up at the Alamo Lakeline, Alamo Slaughter Lane, AMC Barton Creek and the Cinemark Hill Country Galleria.
It's also worth mentioning, especially if you're in South Austin, that a brand new entertainment complex called EVO has opened up down in Kyle and it's the first theater in our area featuring an auditorium with Dolby Atmos sound. The EVX screen there is apparently 60-feet wide and Atmos can feature an audio mix that has up to 128 channels (as opposed to a 5.1 or 7.1 surround mix). They're currently screening The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 on the EVX screen!
The Austin Film Society's "Essential Cinema" series celebrating Contemporary Filipino Cinema is taking a break this Thursday for Thanksgiving, but returns on Thursday, December 4 with Norte, The End Of History. The epic four-hour movie was just nominated this week as Best International Film at the Independent Spirit Awards and it is the Philippines' official entry for the Acadamy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category.
A brand new expanded vinyl edition of the American Hustle soundtrack is hitting select independent record stores across the country this week. Many record colecting nerds are already familiar with Record Store Day (RSD), an event that happens every April featuring exclusive pressings to encourage people to support indie retailers. With vinyl sales surging globally, this program has extended to Black Friday each year, when a new batch of limited-edition releases hit stores. These aren't things that you'll find at national retailers, but rather indie stores like Austin's Waterloo Records and End of an Ear.
While RSD titles are not guaranteed to be in stock at every store across the country, I think it's a safe bet that you'll be able to find this new American Hustle vinyl release at both stores if you're an early shopper on Friday. The soundtrack was first released on CD and digitally last December, but this expanded version makes it available on vinyl for the first time and features six songs not included on the original release. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve featuring a brand new ilustration of the film's poster artwork illustrated by Michael Gillette, the records are pressed on 150-gram red and blue vinyl with "2-eye" stereo labels that replicate 1960s pressings from Columbia Records.
This is an abbreviated version of our Movies This Week roundup because there will be some turnover at area theaters on as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I'll be back with an early post on Wednesday to let you know about what will be changing. In the meantime, here's a quick look at what is on tap for this weekend and early next week.
At Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, they are continuing on with 70mm screenings of Interstellar, but those are currently only confirmed through Tuesday night. It's possible that it will keep playing, but if you've been meaning to catch it there on film, you may want to squeeze it in this weekend. The Ritz has added a Saturday afternoon matinee of Florian Habicht's outstanding documentary Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets. They've also got a Mad Max trilogy marathon on Sunday and Monday night will feature a 35mm screening of Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut for the "1999" series as well as the Sichel Sisters' 1997 lesbian romance All Over Me. Originally released by Fine Line Features and never available on dvd, this is a rare chance to see this remarkable queer classic.
The Alamo South Lamar is presenting Evolution Of A Criminal for its only Austin-area theatrical screening on Sunday. The documentary about a teenage bank robber made its world premiere at SXSW earlier this year and the director (who is also the subject of the film), Darius Clark Monroe, is going to be there for a post-screening Q&A. The "1999" series also stops by Lamar on Tuesday night for Scorsese's outstanding drama Bringing Out The Dead in 35mm. The Alamo Lakeline serves up the seductive Dangerous Liaisons again this weekend for Afternoon Tea while The Fifth Element plays there on Sunday evening.
It's a very busy weekend for cinema lovers in Austin. First up, you've got the Austin Asian American Film Festival at the Marchesa. It's a welcome return for the festival, which was last held in 2009. The fest aims to turn the spotlight on films from Japan, South Korea, Myanmar Thailand, Taiwan, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States. It kicked off last night and will run through Sunday. Tonight, you can catch a Taiwanese drama called Ice Poison and Pee Mak, a horror film that is the highest grossing film in the history of Thailand. Saturday's lineup includes a Vietnamese comedy called Funny Money and the festival's centerpiece, Andrew Lay and Andrew Loo's Revenge Of The Green Dragons, a film that features Martin Scorsese as an executive producer. Sunday will include the Indian documentary Tomorrow We Disappear and the Japanese comedy Cicada. The full lineup and ticket information can be found at the festival's website linked above.
The Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar will be welcoming the second annual Forever Fest this weekend. Tonight they've got a quote-along screening of Mean Girls with stars Jonathan Bennett, Daniel Franzese and Daniel DeSanto in person for a Q&A. Your ticket for the movie also gets you into The Spring Fling dance at the Highball where they encourage you to come dressed as your favorite Mean Girls character! Saturday's featured film is a local premiere for Amira & Sam, an indie drama Drafthouse Films will be releasing next year. Forever Fest will be hosting a live Q&A with the film's stars Martin Starr, Paul Wesley, Dina Shihabi and director Sean Mullin.
The Austin Film Society has limited programming this week since the Marchesa theater is being utilized by the Austin Asian American Film Festival, but they've still got a few great events on the calendar. They'll be hosting the Austin premiere of Stop The Pounding Heart on Wednesday night. Shot in rural Texas, this 2013 selection of the Cannes Film Festival introduces us to a "teenage girl coming of age on her religious family's goat farm." Also screening this week is 2013's On The Job on Thursday night. It's the Essential Cinema pick from a new series on contemporary Filipino cinema.
With the Austin Film Festival now in our collective rearview mirrors, the local film calendar is going to start turning more actively towards some of the biggest films of the year. Most of them will not be blockbusters (although Interstellar certainly is), but many titles will be hopefuls for awards season. As far as Christopher Nolan's new film goes, we are very fortunate to live in a market where it's playing in all available formats. While you can see it in 4K digital or even digital IMAX, the preferred format for this one is actual film and you can catch local screenings in 35mm, 70mm (at the Ritz) and even a proper 15-perf 70mm IMAX print at the Bob Bullock (where the screen towers six stories above you). Sadly, this will be the final movie screened on film at the museum before they convert to digital projection, so I'd encourage you to take in the experience there.
Birdman (Mike's review) expands to the multiplex this weekend as Fox Searchlight adds screens at the AMC Barton Creek and Cinemark Hill Country Galleria (while continuing on at Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline, Alamo South Lamar, Regal Arbor and Violet Crown) and Sony Pictures Classics is taking Whiplash to the Alamo South Lamar (while it continues at Regal Arbor and Violet Crown).
The Austin Film Society has a special screening tonight of Austin Film Festival alum Winter In The Blood at the Marchesa. Local filmmakers (and twin brothers) Alex and Andrew Smith (The Slaughter Rule) had their latest feature picked up for distribution this fall by Kino Lorber. Featuring a score by Austin rockers Heartless Bastards, Alex Smith and some of the cast members will be in attendance for a Q&A after tonight's screening.
Over the last several years Dan Gilroy has made a name for himself in Hollywood as a screenwriter. After a few misses, he struck gold with The Bourne Legacy, a script that really put him on the map and ended up giving him the power to jump behind the camera. His directorial debut, Nightcrawler, is a slick thriller, even though it plays out like a gritty b-movie. Robert Elswit, Paul Thomas Anderson's frequent cinematographer, captures the streets and vistas of Los Angeles in an alluringly dangerous way instantly during the opening credits.
We're seduced by the city and then introduced to Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man who seems to have at least some level of Asperger's syndrome (or, at bare minimum, is not good at communicating with other people). We cannot really discern much about his life initially. Living in a small apartment and seemingly without a job, he drives around the city late at night looking for things he can steal and sell for scrap money. On the expressway, he comes across an accident site right as the police are beginning to assist. He gets out of his car and is transfixed by the scene, even more so when a fast moving van pulls up alongside him and runs toward the cops with video cameras in their hands, capturing the accident which has now turned into a dramatic police rescue before the car engulfs in flames.
The Austin Film Society's "Art Horror" series is wrapping up appropriately here over Halloween weekend with Hausu, a 1977 Japanese horror film directed by Nobuhiko Obayshi. Screening this evening and again on Sunday afternoon in 35mm at the Marchesa, I can guarantee that you've never seen anything like it before. I suspect that this will attract a lot of people who have seen the movie many times before, but catching it on the big screen for the first time is something I can highly recommend. In a much different vein, Philippe Garrel's Jealousy is on the calendar for Sunday and Monday evenings. This new black-and-white French drama stars Philippe's son Louis Garrel. The latest "Essential Cinema" series spotlighting the work of Satyajit Ray comes to a close on Thursday night with 1979's Joi Baba Felunath (The Elephant God).
At the Alamo Drafthouse, John Carpenter's Halloween will screen late tonight at the Lakeline, Slaughter Lane and South Lamar locations. Alamo Ritz has Dark City, one of the finest sci-fi features of the 90s in 35mm on Sunday night, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element on Tuesday night and Clint Eastwood's Bronco Billy in 35mm on Wednesday night. New release Birdman (Mike's review) is also expanding this weekend to add the Lakeline and Slaughter Lane locations (adding to the Alamo South Lamar, Regal Arbor and Violet Crown, where the film continues).
The Alamo Slaughter Lane is having a one-time screening of the extended cut of Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo on Monday evening in advance of the film's release on home video. The international cut of the film was trimmed down to 94 minutes (Elizabeth's review), but this is the full 131-minute version that was screened in France. Both versions will be on the Blu-ray edition, but if you'd like to see it on the big screen, this is your only chance.
The 21st Annual Austin Film Festival and Conference is in full swing. Movies are taking place from now through Thursday at venues across town including the Paramount, Stateside and Hideout theaters downtown, Rollins Theater at the Long Center, both theaters at the Texas State History Museum and Alamo Drafthouse Village. Badges are still available to purchase for you procrastinators. Keep an eye out here on Slackerwood for daily reports and reviews from the fest.
The Alamo Ritz is going to be hosting a special event tomorrow afternoon with author Anne Helen Peterson, celebrating the release of her new book Scandals Of Classic Hollywood. She'll present a special double feature of 1927's It starring Clara Bow (35mm) and 1954's Carmen Jones starring Dorothy Dandridge (DCP) and discuss the tragic careers of both actresses. On Monday night, you can enjoy another Universal Horror double feature. This week, they've got Murders In The Rue Morgue (35mm) and The Black Cat (DCP). Later on Monday night, Homo Arigato! is delivering the super twisted Blood For Dracula (aka Andy Warhol's Dracula) with Udo Kier.
The recent 4K restoration of Ghostbusters is back at the Ritz on Tuesday night for a standard screening. The movie will also be presented as a quote-along on Thursday. If all that isn't cool enough, a new series entitled "Clint Eastwood: B-Sides" is launching on Wednesday night with a 35mm screening of Eastwood's directorial debut, Play Misty For Me. Also at the Drafthouse this week, Tim Burton's Beetlejuice is screening in 35mm at South Lamar on Sunday and Monday, Lakeline has a free kids' screening of The Secret Of NIMH on Monday night and Slaughter Lane will be hosting a Dazed and Confused Beer Dinner on Wednesday night