Movies This Week: September 21-27, 2012

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Forrest Gump

It's another film festival week in Austin. But if you don't find Fantastic Fest so fantastic, this week offers some interesting special screenings and nine new releases. (Hint: Your life will be incomplete until you see The Master. My man-crush on Philip Seymour Hoffman continues unabated.)

On Monday at the Long Center, the 48 Hour Film Project will screen and award the best films of its 2012 competition in Austin. As the name implies, the shorts were written, cast, scouted, shot, edited and submitted in 48 hours in late August; the impossibly tight schedule made for some interesting and often hilarious exercises in time's-a-wasting filmmaking. The always entertaining Rebecca Havemeyer (aka Paul Soileau) emcees the event.

The Austin Film Society presents The Father of My Children, a French drama about an acclaimed filmmaker whose dedication to his art and lack of financial success strain his relationships with his wife and children. The film screens on Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Village as part of the AFS Essential Cinema series.

In the mood for something slightly less serious than a French drama? The Master Pancake guys will subject the beloved but overrated Forrest Gump (pictured above) to their usual Master Pancakery on Friday and Saturday at Alamo Village. Run, Forrest, run -- preferably away from the Master Pancake guys.

Movies We've Seen

2 Days in New York -- Julie Delpy co-wrote, directed and stars in this comedy (a sequel to her 2007 comedy 2 Days in Paris) about a Manhattan couple whose family dynamic is strained when relatives visit. Debbie liked the film, saying in her review that "2 Days in New York will appeal to a much wider audience than its predecessor, while still adhering to the standards of traditional French farces." (Violet Crown)

End of Watch -- This acclaimed thriller is the story of two cops marked for death after confiscating money and firearms from a notorious cartel during a traffic stop. Rod found End of Watch gritty and realistic, saying in his review that it "does an admirable job of capturing the realities of the police officer lifestyle, from simple locker-room banter to mundane conversations in the front seat of a patrol car, and more pressing concerns like backing up fellow officers in danger." (wide)

The Master -- The Church of Scientology may not be happy with Paul Thomas Anderson's stylish new drama, in which Philip Seymour Hoffman plays an L. Ron Hubbard-like character who founds a cult-like organization called the Cause. But I highly recommend The Master in my review, calling the film "the sort of visceral film we would expect from Anderson, a potent mix of bold characters, stunning visuals and a sometimes hallucinogenic vibe." (wide)

Dredd 3D -- In this futuristic thriller, a cop and a trainee battle a gang that deals a reality-altering drug known as SLO-MO. Do you need a reality-altering drug to enjoy this film? Debbie didn't -- she found Dredd 3D better than expected, calling it "a hard film to like, due to the overwhelming bloody and mounting violence. However, the character development warmed me up to this movie, as well as pacing that keeps the audience engaged." Look for her review this weekend. (wide)

Trouble with the Curve -- Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams star in this drama about an elderly baseball scout who takes his daughter along for his final recruiting trip. (Okay, I can't resist: At least he's not taking her to the Republican National Convention.) Mike calls the film "a solid, fun film that doesn't try to make any big statement other than perhaps 'Growing old sucks, so you'd better make the best of it.'" Look for his review this weekend. (wide)

Other Movies Opening in Austin

Chicken with Plums -- In this highly regarded French import, a renowned musician loses interest in living after his violin is broken and he can't find a suitable replacement. In her review for the Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten said, "Fluctuating between the extraordinary and the dull, with sections of narrative explication and tangents, Chicken With Plums can be as frustrating as it is ambitious." (Arbor)

House at the End of the Street -- This horror thriller centers on a mother and daughter who find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. Hopefully, this film is worthy of its two stars (who also happen to be two of my favorite actresses), Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue. (wide)

Toys in the Attic -- In this animated Czech film re-recorded with American voices, a teddy bear, a mechanical mouse and a marionette join forces to save their kidnapped friend, a doll named Buttercup. [Jette notes: Fantastic Festgoers will recognize this as a re-edit of the surreal and creepy 2010 selection In the Attic, which I reviewed for Cinematical. Frankly I'm kind of amazed it's being released here for kids and am wondering how much it was edited. Amazing stop-motion animation though.] (Gateway)

Unconditional -- This inspirational drama tells the story of a woman whose idyllic life is shattered when her husband dies a violent death. Two unexpected encounters with children change her outlook on the tragedy. (Cinemark Southpark Meadows, Gateway, Tinseltown North)