Movies This Week: May 1-7, 2015

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Multiplexes will be filled with superheroes this weekend as the new Avengers film touches down on almost 4,300 screens nationwide. A movie that big doesn't leave much room for anything else (even the Alamo Drafthouse isn't adding new titles this weekend at area locations aside from the Marvel sequel), although a few specialty releases are poised to breakthrough and we've got some recommended events for those of you who are not up for a comic-book blockbuster. 

Austin Film Society is teaming up with the Premiers Plans Festival of Angers, France this weekend for a New French Cinema series of Texas premiere screenings at the Marchesa along with special guest filmmakers and programmers from the fest. This program is part of the Sister Cities initiative between Austin and Angers and begins tonight with Spartacus & Cassandra, an acclaimed documentary from director Ioanis Nuguet, who will be in attendance for a Q&A. This particular screening is also being presented for Free Member Friday. All are welcome to attend, but AFS Members can go for free.

On Saturday afternoon, AFS will host a Moviemaker Dialogue event called "Vive French Cinema: Filmmakers and Programmers Discuss Today's French Film Industry." This will occur at 3 pm and will include a meet-and-greet reception with the weekend's guests. Sunday will close with a double feature of Insecure, a new drama (with Blue Is The Warmest Color star Adele Exarchopoulos) that will have director Marianne Tardieu in attendance, paired with Guillaume Brac's debut film, Tonnerre

Richard Linklater's "Jewels In The Wasteland II" series continues Wednesday night at the Marchesa with Alex Cox's Sid & Nancy. Linklater has had a conflict and will not be there to introduce this week's screening, but AFS has added an additional showing on Monday, May 11 that he will attend. Essential Cinema's "Songs Of The South" series will feature Darnell Martin's 2005 adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God on Thursday evening.

Alamo Drafthouse will hold their annual Quote-Along show of The Three Amigos at both the Lakeline and Slaughter Lane locations for Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday night. A menu special will offer up a crispy beef taco, two cheese enchiladas, spanish rice and refried beans for $10 at these shows only.

The Ritz has more features in their Orson Welles retrospective on deck this week including a 4K restoration of Othello on Saturday afternoon, a 35mm screening of 1949's Black Magic on Monday and a 1953 television adaptation of King Lear. The Ritz also has a very rare 16mm screening of Jonathan Kaplan's 1979 classic Over The Edge on Wednesday and will host an even rarer event on Thursday -- Philippe Garrel's short film Le Revelateur accompanied by a live score from harpist Mary Lattimore and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler.

Over at South Lamar, What We Do In The Shadows returns from its one-week engagement at the Ritz for full showtimes yet again. The theater otherwise hangs on to limited showtimes for Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter and It Follows, so if you've been meaning to catch those on the big screen, your time is running out. 

Movies We've Seen

Avengers: Age of Ultron - Joss Whedon returns to the director's chair as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye team up to battle a new villian. There are multiple viewing options for this movie around town: 2D and 3D screenings, 3D IMAX (including the biggest screen in Texas at the Bob Bullock Museum), D-Box Motion Seating at Galaxy Highland, and even an Open Caption show at Alamo South Lamar on Sunday afternoon. If you're willing to drive south of town a bit, the new EVO Entertainment complex in Kyle is the only theater in the region that will be showing it in a new Dolby Atmos auditorium. Mike didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first movie, noting in his review that "this film is very much made for fans, and presented with the expectation the audience will be versed in the backstories of the characters through their other movies at a minimum, if not their comic-book storylines as well." (wide)  

Clouds of Sils Maria (pictured above) - The latest drama from French auteur Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours, Irma Vep) was nominated for six Cesar Awards (the French equivalent to the Academy Awards) in 2014 and won three. It wasn't a huge surprise that Best Actress went to the legendary Juliette Binoche, but it was rather shocking that Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Kristen Stewart for her role in the film, becoming the first American actress to take home a Cesar in history. Caitlin says that the movie "explores the kind of relationship not usually depicted onscreen (and rarely with such grace and intelligence), while here and there upending traditional narrative and editorial techniques to great effect." Look for her review this weekend. (Regal Arbor) 

Dior and I - I'm a total sucker for fashion documentaries and Frederic Tcheng's behind-the-scenes peek inside the House of Dior is a sharply observed look at the first few months of Raf Simons taking over for the luxury brand. Formerly a menswear designer, Simons has to jump right in and produce his first haute couture collection. Earlier this month, I reviewed the film for Paste and noted, "In this deft blending of past, present and future, Tcheng affirms that Mr. Simons has the utmost concern for protecting the legacy he's inherited." Dior and I is a charmingly entertainment bit of counterprogramming for the weekend, don't miss it! (Regal Arbor, Violet Crown Cinema) 

Also Opening in Austin

The Salt of the Earth - It took way too long for this acclaimed documentary to make it into general release here in Austin, although it was scheduled at SXSW earlier this year. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at this year's Academy Awards and is directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. A portrait of famed phototgrapher Sebastiao Salgado (who is Juliano's father), Charles Ealy of The Austin American-Statesman says that the doc is "a remarkable achievement, and it truly deserves to be seen on the big screen." (Regal Arbor, Violet Crown Cinema)