Matt Shiverdecker's blog

Movies This Week: November 14-20, 2014

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Rosewater 

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. 

Movies This Week: November 7-13, 2014

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Big Hero 6

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.

Review: Nightcrawler

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Nightcrawler

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.

Movies This Week: October 31-November 6, 2014

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 The Tale Of Princess Kaguya

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.

Movies This Week: October 24-30, 2014

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Dear White People 

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 

Movies This Week: October 17-23, 2014

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St. Vincent 

It's another busy week in area theaters, but as we start ramping up into awards season that isn't going to change too much through the end of the year. We've got a lot of new releases out this weekend along with the ninth annual Austin Polish Film Festival, which got underway yesterday at the Marchesa. The fest will screen new Polish cinema, restored classic films recommended by Martin Scorsese ... even a children's matinee of Disney's Frozen dubbed in Polish on Saturday morning. 

At Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, a 35mm print of John Carpenter's Halloween screens on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. If you're looking for even more vintage scares, check out Night Of The Living Dead (with a live score by Bird Peterson) on Sunday night, Monday night's Universal Horror double feature with The Mummy in 35mm paired with the alternate Spanish version of Dracula, which runs 25 minutes longer than the Tod Browning film and Girlie Night's presentation of Hocus Pocus on Tuesday.

Tonight and tomorrow, Alamo South Lamar has the annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, which "shines a spotlight on films that positvely and accurately represent disability." This year the fest features award-winning short films along with Musical Chairs tonight and The Little Tin Man, an indie release that screened at the Austin Film Festival last year (Marcelena's review) on Saturday evening.

Review: St. Vincent

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St. Vincent

By the time St. Vincent draws to a close, you'll probably feel emotionally manipulated. You will have certainly realized that you've seen this story what feels like a million times before. If you're super nitpicky, you might even be inclined to make a list of films in the same vein that you like better (About A Boy and Rushmore immediately spring to mind). Unless you are as curmudgeonly as Vincent (Bill Murray) in this motion picture, I am betting you'll still find yourself giving in to this movie no matter how hard you resist. 

As Vincent's new neighbor Maggie, Melissa McCarthy turns in a surprisingly subdued performance as a single mother struggling to keep things afloat for her her 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher in an outstanding debut). Things get off to a very rocky start and they don't get much better when Oliver gets locked out of his new home on the first day of school and Maggie has to convince Vincent over the phone to babysit him until she can get off work. As the grumpiest of grumpy old men, it's not a task Vincent is well suited for, but he could use the money so he reluctantly agrees. 

Movies This Week: October 10-16, 2014

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Kill The Messenger 

Austin Film Society continues their "Art Horror" series this month at the Marchesa with a 35mm print of Masaki Kobayashi's 1964 ghost story anthology, Kwaidan. Tonight's screening is actually a Free Member Friday event, so if you're an AFS member you won't have to pay a dime for this horror classic. It will also screen again on Sunday at noon. Also on Sunday, you can check out the 2013 documentary The Sarnos: A Life In Dirty Movies, which examines the life and career of sexploitation director Joe Sarno and his wife Peggy. It will be paired with Joe's 1966 feature Moonlighting Wives on Sunday evening

There is a lot of rep activity at Alamo Drafthouse theaters this week and we'll start off by looking at what is going down at the Ritz. You can catch Guys And Dolls in 35mm for "Broadway Brunch" on Saturday and Sunday, and Kubrick's big-screen classic 2001: A Space Odyssey will be screening in 70mm on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. A "Cinema Cocktails" screening of Death Becomes Her on Sunday night in 35mm (if it's the same beautiful print that played during "MerylThon," it's well worth scoping a ticket), a digital restoration of The Astrologer fresh from Fantastic Fest also on Sunday evening, a very rare screening of In The Land Of The Headhunters from 1914 for its 100th anniversary on Monday night, and what could be an oddly perfect double feature: Little Monsters and Phantasm in 35mm on Tuesday night.

Alamo Slaughter Lane quite appropriately has Sofia Coppola's scrumptious Marie Antoinette for "Afternoon Tea" on Saturday afternoon and quote-along screenings of Shaun Of The Dead will be happening on both Sunday and Thursday nights. Alamo Village will screen Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby on Sunday night and the anime classic Ninja Scroll (presented with subtitles) on Thursday. Alamo South Lamar goes back to 1948 for their Halloween pick this weekend with Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. They'll also host sing-alongs for Little Shop Of Horrors on Tuesday and Thursday. South Lamar will also be hanging on to limited evening screenings of the new Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days On Earth and the excellent thriller The Guest all week long, both are worth catching on the big screen. 

Movies This Week: October 3-9, 2014

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 20,000 Days On Earth

While the first of two weekends of the Austin City Limits Festival will create an influx of out-of-towners and even more traffic than usual, local theaters offer more choices than ever for those of you not braving Zilker Park. There are no less than 10 new releases opening, but first I want to focus on this week's specialty screenings. 

The Austin Film Society is kicking off their "Art Horror" series for October with Andrzej Zulawski's Possession. Released in 1981, the film stars Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani and plays out like a paranoid fever dream. Beautifully shot with an incredible score, it's screening in 35mm at the Marchesa tonight, Sunday afternoon and again on Tuesday evening so there's no excuse for missing this one! On Wednesday, Doc Nights will feature Las Marthas with director Cristina Ibarra in attendance for a Q&A and Essential Cinema's "The Films Of Satyajit Ray" series this month will turn to 1964's Charulata (The Lonely Wife) on Thursday night. 

Highlights of the specialty programming at our area Alamo Drafthouse locations this week: a few great horror films selected for October including Shaun Of The Dead (screening in 35mm) at Ritz on Saturday and Sunday, The Thing at South Lamar on Sunday and Tuesday and The Exorcist at Village on Sunday. The Village also has Jackie Chan's Supercop on Tuesday for their "Eastern Fury" series. Also of note this week: the Ritz will be screening a real rarity on Saturday afternoon called Corn's-A-Poppin'. Co-written by Robert Altman and shot in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, this is a 1955 musical comedy that the Drafthouse site calls "a singularly quirky exercise in regional filmmaking." 

Movies This Week: September 26-October 2, 2014

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The Skeleton Twins

We're in full-blown recovery mode from another amazing year of Fantastic Fest, but there is truly no rest for the wicked around here. Not only do we have a handful of intriguing new releases, but plenty of specialty screenings will have you racing back into the theater, no matter how many films you saw last week. 

Tonight, the Austin Film Society is hosting a selection of eight short films from this year's Sundance Film Festival. With a mix of fiction, documentary and awardwinning short films, this 94-minute program includes the acclaimed debut from actress Rose McGowan entitled Dawn. You can catch it this eveing at the Marchesa. Head back there on Sunday afternoon as programmer Lars Nilsen schools you about Lee Tso Nam's The Hot, The Cool & The Vicious and screens it in a 35mm print. Essential Cinema dives into the "Films Of Satyajit Ray" for October and it begins on Thursday with 1963's Mahanagar (The Big City).  

At the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, Sunday night brings us a special "Cinema Cocktails" screening of An American In Paris with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, while Key Largo will screen in 35mm on Monday night wrapping up the "Bogart & Bacall" series. A brand new 4K digital restoration of Jaws is headed back to the Alamo Lakeline and Slaughter Lane locations this Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Tickets are still available for a double-feature feast of The Godfather on Sunday. Check this link for menu & tickets. Alamo Lakeline will be hosting Afternoon Tea on Saturday afternoon with Agnieszka Holland's beautiful 1993 adaptation of the classic children's tale The Secret Garden. It's a mother-daughter themed event with appetizers and tea provided by Austin's own Zhi Tea.

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