Movies This Week: One Grey Albert Ledge


The Grey

Busy tonight? Blue Starlite Urban Drive-In has a triple-feature of 80s teen films for you: Pretty in Pink, Say Anything and Sixteen Candles.

On Sunday, you can join the TXMPA SAG Awards party, including a red carpet and pre-show mixer at ND at 501 Studios. On Monday, if you think "the Dude abides" you can check out the Big Lebowski Quote-along at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar.

Then on Tuesday, you can catch a classic cautionary tale of love, lust and the consequences of confusing the two in F.W. Murnau's 1927 epic Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans as part of the AFS Essential Cinema Series. And the Paramount Winter Comedy Series continues this week, including a special Shaun of the Dead Pub Run and screening on Tuesday.

Finally, we hear there's going to be a fabulous happy hour on Wednesday night to celebrate, oh, what is it again? That's right ... this piece of news.

Movies We've Seen:

Albert Nobbs -- One of my favorite films of 2012 also managed to snag three Oscar nominations. Debbie says in her review, "The story is rather engaging and overall well paced." (Arbor)

Man on a Ledge -- J.C. saw this thriller and says it's a combination of "some original thought, mixed in with some fun clichés that will only serve to give you a harmless chuckle." Read his review for more. (wide)

Review: Man on a Ledge


Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge is one of those films where the reaction you have toward it will be based upon the mood you're in going into it. On the one hand, you've got a cliché-ridden mess that at times seems like it took pages out of a screenwriting textbook and put them up in a theatrically released movie. On the other hand, you've got a cool, tense and more importantly fun heist flick starring some good actors.

What's funny about Man on a Ledge is that the first two acts of the film are the type of cliché-ridden piles filled with plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon that might make your head explode, but the third act is good enough and original enough to save the movie in the end. It's an impressive debut from director Asger Leth, and he has proven he can get a lot of out of a sizable cast.

While escaped convict/former police officer Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) seems to have found his freedom, he inexplicably checks into a very nice hotel room with a great view, sits down for a nice meal and then promptly walks out onto the ledge of his room. As the requisite circus gathers underneath, he asks the NYPD for his own negotiator. They figure out that he checked into the room under an assumed name and begin scrambling to figure out his identity. All the while across the street, a diamond heist is taking place and Nick's motives become clearer to the audience.

Hellion Sundance Chronicles #4 and #5: The Premiere


The Hellion filmmakers have sent us another pair of web episodes from their escapades in Park City. Specifically, we're getting videos from E.J. Enriquez, who's actually shooting and editing them -- he also did some camera work on Hellion itself.

Episode 4 -- no, it's not titled A New Hope and you know I don't want to hear that kind of thing -- was shot at the world premiere of the short film at Sundance earlier this week. This video is a departure from the other chronicles in the sense that it's genuine and sweet and a little touching, as opposed to merely silly. I just want to give Kat Candler a big hug. It's the longest of the videos so far but still moves quickly.

Review: Albert Nobbs


Albert Nobbs

Academy Award nominations were announced earlier this week, and the gender-bending period film Albert Nobbs garnered multiple nominations including the Best Actress category for Glenn Close. Close won an Obie in 1982 for her off-Broadway performance as Albert Nobbs, and had worked since then to bring the character to life onscreen. She was so passionate about this role that she also co-produced, co-wrote the screenplay, and wrote the lyrics for the movie's main theme music, an Irish lullaby "Lay Your Head Down."

In one of the most challenging roles of her career, Close plays a woman who for 30 years represented herself as a man in order to have a "life of decency" in 19th-century Ireland. Albert Nobbs survives by working as a servant in a hotel, nearly invisible to the upper-class guests and thought of as an odd and curious fellow by co-workers. Albert is so distanced from others in her attempt to fade into the woodwork, that she lacks intimate contact with others.

Albert finally decides to marry and settle down, setting her dreams on opening a tobacconist shop with chambermaid Helen (Mia Wasikowska) as counter-girl and "wife." However, Helen has her heart set on another, the handsome but rough boilerman Joe Macken (Aaron Johnson). Joe has intentions for Albert as well -- as the means to escape to America when he realizes that Albert must have a small fortune tucked away. Joe convinces Helen to go along with the courtship to pilfer money from Albert, but complications occur that thwart everyone's well-laid plans.

Breaking News: Slackerwood and Austin Film Society Join Forces


Slackerwood and Austin Film Society

I've always wanted to use "Breaking News" in a Slackerwood headline, and now I can, although of course the work behind this announcement has been going on for months. I'm so pleased to announce that Slackerwood will now be published by The Austin Film Society. The press release is reprinted in full after the jump.

Lone Star Cinema: Paris, Texas


Paris, Texas

In a career spanning more than four decades, director Wim Wenders has delivered an eclectic mix of feature films, shorts and documentaries for the big screen and television. With Wenders's latest documentary, Pina, opening in Austin soon, it's a good time to look back at what may be his most celebrated movie, the inimitable Paris, Texas.

Released in 1984 to wide critical acclaim, Paris, Texas is the story of reticent oddball Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton), who wanders deliriously out of the desert into Terlingua, Texas as the film opens. A local doctor treats him and contacts his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell), who travels from Los Angeles to reunite with Travis, a lonely and damaged soul who has been estranged from the family for years.

On a difficult road trip back to Los Angeles -- Travis refuses to speak at first and has a penchant for disappearing if left alone -- the two brothers gradually warm up to each other again. We learn that Walt and his wife, Anne (Aurore Clément), have been raising Travis's 7-year-old son, Hunter (Hunter Carson). Travis's wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski), is also estranged; beyond making monthly deposits from an unknown location into a bank account set up for Hunter, she has no contact with the family.

Ready, Set, Fund: Festival Time


Jump Cut Film Festival

"Ready, Set, Fund," is a column about crowdfunding and related fundraising endeavors for Austin and Texas independent film projects.

The 2012 film festival season has officially kicked off with Sundance going strong and reports flowing in from local filmmakers making the rounds in Park City, Utah. Meanwhile, preparations for SXSW Film Festival in March are also going strong. New to the festival circuit this year is ATX: A Television Festival, organized by film and television industry professionals Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson. The pair are raising funds through February 21 for this nonprofit event through a Kickstarter project featuring levels that act as badge pre-sales. Funds raised will go towards programming and other needs.

Another local festival seeking funds is the Jump Cut Film Festival, which showcases works by student filmmakers along with Q&A panels with industry professionals who will help judge this year's competition. Funds raised through the IndieGoGo flexible fundraising campaign will cover this year's submissions fees as well as improvements for the festival, which takes place April 21.

Find out about more Austin film-related projects after the jump.

'Rewind This!' and a Love of VHS


VHS Memorial By Tim Doyle

Right before I moved to Austin, I broke off a long-term romance. The romance was rather tepid by then, so I used my move as an opportunity to simply end it. I had no idea that just a few months later, that romance would be rekindled. What is this romance and why is it relevant to a movie website? Well, that romance was with my VCR and right before I moved I took crates of VHS and two VCRs to Goodwill.

Little did I know that I was moving to a hive of movie fandom. I knew Austin had a cool film scene but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I learned about quote-a-longs, I mastered the pancake, I heard all about people with numb butts and I soon learned about VHS fandom. There are lots of subgenres of film fandom and one of these subgenres is the lover of films and videos available only on VHS. Little did I know I was one of these lovers as well, and my feelings were simply repressed.

Hellion Sundance Chronicles #2 and #3: Filmmakers Just Want to Have Fun


When local producer Kelly Williams asked me about sending Slackerwood some links to video episodes the Hellion crew would shoot for the Austin film's Sundance premiere, I thought this would be a wonderful way to share tips for filmmakers about the smartest, savviest ways to bring your movie to a film festival. I thought we'd get a glimpse of the real fest experience from the filmmakers' perspective.

And it turns out that yes, we are getting a glimpse of the fest experience from the filmmakers' perspective, and it is unbelievably goofy. In a good way. Here are the second and third episodes in the "Hellion Sundance Chronicles," and while one of them might be a What Not To Do lesson, they're definitely fun to watch. And short, which is what I like best in online videos.

In episode #2, Hellion executive producer Farah White arrives in Park City and, er, is introduced to the fest environment by director Kat Candler.

Hecho En Cine Productions Blends Argentina and Texas


Hecho en CineA murder mystery unravels in the middle of the Patagonian Steppe in the short film Sobre la Estepa, loosely translated from Spanish as These Wild Plains. Hecho en Cine, a production company based both in Texas and Patagonia, Argentina, produced the 12-minute movie, which will tentatively have its U.S. premiere in Austin this April at the 15th Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival.

Sobre la Estepa was funded through Kickstarter, and was shot in San Carlos de Bariloche, a city situated in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the province of Rio Negro, Argentina.

Ty Roberts, Hecho en Cine co-founder and Sobre la Estepa writer and director, said the idea for the movie came to him after meeting "interesting" people on a location scout in Patagonia.

"They immediately caught my eye," Roberts said. "It was just a really odd and interesting combination of characters."

During his research for Sobre la Estepa, Roberts came across the 2008 short film Sikumi (On The Ice), which was shot entirely in the Inupiaq language, spoken by the people of Alaska's Northwest Arctic and North Slope. Sikumi, about an Inuit hunter who inadvertently  witnesses a murder, became Roberts's model for Sobre la Estepa, which was shot in Spanish and Mapuche, the language of the indigenous peoples of Southwestern Argentina.

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