Singing nuns, God of Cookery, and Chuck Norris

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Looking for interesting films to watch in Austin this week? Check out this week's News from Slackerwood on Cinematical for the lowdown.

I am really sorry I'm not seeing God of Cookery as part of the Alamo Iron Chef event, but the admission price is a little steep for me. I wish Alamo would schedule movie-only screenings for the films they show as part of dinner-and-movie events. God of Cookery isn't available on DVD in this country ... does anyone know if it's worth buying an overseas copy? A friend of mine is attending the Alamo Iron Chef event, and I hope to convince her to write about it for this site.

Snakes on a Day ... liveblogged!

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Snakes on a DayLast week, I posted a news item at Cinematical about the Snakes on a Day event in Austin. Shannon McCormick announced his intention to watch the movie continually for 24 hours, and invited others to join him in this crazy film marathon.

I didn't realize until this morning that Shannon is liveblogging the event, as much as possible, on the Snakes on a Day site. Not only that, but Brian of Brian's Movie Blog (aka "that guy I see at damn near every Alamo event I go to") is joining Shannon and also liveblogging the event. According to Brian, there are about a dozen people taking the Snakes on a Day challenge, and they had the theater to themselves overnight between the public screenings.

Go read the liveblogging, it's a hoot. My guess is that Brian will make it through all 24 hours -- I've seen him pull all-nighters at Alamo and QT Fest movie marathons, and he's done the Butt-Numb-a-Thon a few times, so he's in good shape for that kind of event. (Me, I'd try BNAT once, but I can't imagine watching the same film for 24 hours in a theater, even if food is available.)

One more SoaP note: this morning's edition of the Austin American-Statesman included a color cut-out of a paper airplane that you can assemble. I don't need to tell you that the paper airplane has snakes on it. You can find and print an electronic version here.

UPDATE: Micah at Dumb Distraction is posting a cleaned-up version of Brian's liveblogging attempt, which is slightly easier to read. (By "cleaned up" I mean that he's edited punctuation and marked which post is for which screening, not that he's eliminated any profanity.)

Keanu, Aelita, and Fried Worms

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Chronicles of HalcyonI'm posting the link to this week's News from Slackerwood entry on Cinematical pretty late, I know. I spent the weekend in New Orleans and just plain forgot about Slackerwood. Looking at the Lower Ninth Ward in person will do that to you. Many of the screenings and events in the entry haven't occurred yet, so there's still time to check them out.

Of all the film events scheduled this week, the one I would particularly recommend is aGLIFF's Filmmaker Series on Wednesday night at the Arbor, which is spotlighting local filmmaker Alpha. I know Alpha personally so I am a little biased. The feature film being shown is Chronicles of Halcyon (shown above), which I reviewed for Celluloid Eyes last year. I haven't seen either of the two shorts, and I wish I could go on Wednesday night so I could have a look. (A friend of mine plays Jesus in one of the shorts, I think Drive.)

SpongeBob, Jet Li, and Yaks on a Jetski

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A title like that can only mean that this week's News from Slackerwood entry is now available on Cinematical. The entry includes a charming still from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie that I included just to make my husband happy. Never let it be said that I am not a devoted wife. (Yipes. Did I just type that?)

The movie I'm most interested in next week is Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, which I've never seen because I used to be chicken about watching Sam Peckinpah films. The movie is playing Monday through Wednesday at Alamo Downtown. However, I'm not sure I can go: I've got a meeting Monday night, a screening Tuesday night for a movie to review, and Nueva Onda Movie Night on Wednesday.

Nueva Onda doesn't start until 8 pm or so, so I could see the Peckinpah film and arrive there late ... but I would hate to miss seeing/hearing local filmmaker Steve Collins, who will be there to discuss his two short films included in the lineup. One of the shorts, Gretchen and the Night Danger, was the basis for Collins' feature Gretchen, which played at SXSW and then won Collins the big award at LAFF. (I'm on the Nueva Onda programming committee and I suggested we consider showing Collins' movies and asking him to attend, so I'm especially invested in this month's event.)

I should be happy to live in a town where I have so many film choices and such tough viewing decisions, I know.

I did it ... and I'm not in traction

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Due to peer pressure and inner film-geek guilt, I saw not only Ball of Fire last night, but the Weird Wednesday midnight screening of TNT Jackson. No celebrity sightings (unless you count Lars, who programs and hosts Weird Wednesdays), but a fun time watching amazingly bad kung fu and the adorable Jeannie Bell. I'm still waking up this morning, so more details (and photos) later.

Live music and A Scanner Darkly

On Thursday night (Aug. 3), Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar is reprising its special screening of A Scanner Darkly with a live performance of excerpts from the score beforehand. Graham Reynolds, the film's composer, isn't just sitting in a dark corner with a guitar or keyboard. When I attended the previous sold-out event a couple of weeks ago, Reynolds was part of an nine-piece band that included a number of stringed instruments, guitars, a keyboard and a xylophone. I wish I'd taken pictures, but it was too dark in the theater even when the movie wasn't playing -- Chris Garcia managed to snap one and posted it to Austin Movie Blog.

The half-hour set took place before the movie and included four longish pieces: the "bug" music during the opening credits; what Reynolds called the "hallway" music (noting that the movie contains many scenes where people walk down hallways) and the background music from the diner scene; music from the scene in Donna's apartment and the subsequent scene in Arctor's bedroom; and what Reynolds called the "Room 203" and "freeway" music. He was very good about describing where the music fit in without giving away any key plot elements.

Tarantino's in town

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See, I told y'all that you should go see the Howard Hawks double-feature at The Paramount ... apparently Ball of Fire and His Girl Friday draw all kinds of film geeks. My friend Dipu spotted Quentin Tarantino at the double-feature last night. Too bad he didn't get proof, but I believe him, as Tarantino is probably doing Grind House stuff right now. I suspect Dipu's photo would have looked a lot like the blurry shots of Tarantino I took at QT Fest this spring, because the man never stands still for a minute.

I was deciding last night whether to see TNT Jackson and remembered suddenly that the movie had been discussed at QT Fest (probably because of its star Jeannie Bell), and that Tarantino did a very funny rendition of the movie's tag line: "TNT Jackson ... she'll put you in traction!"

So my guess is that if you're a Tarantino fan and want to spot him in Austin, tonight's midnight showing of TNT Jackson at Alamo Downtown might be a good bet. Besides, the Weird Wednesday movies have free admission. If I weren't such a wimp (and didn't have to get up early), I'd be there. As it is, I am going to see Ball of Fire tonight sans celebrity sightings.

Updated: Chris Garcia at Austin Movie Blog was there last night and reports Tarantino as saying, "There couldn't be a better double feature!" (And of course, Kevin Smith loves Hawks too. What's next, Mike Judge remaking Only Angels Have Wings?)

Godzilla meets TNT Jackson

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I forgot to post the link on Friday to my latest News from Slackerwood entry from Cinematical, so here it is now. It's not too late to check out the schedule of movies in Austin this week.

The two movies that interest me most are Ball of Fire, which is one of my favorites (I wish it would be re-released on DVD soon ... it's currently out of print), and the Jeannie Bell faux-kung-fu Seventies movie TNT Jackson, which I've never seen. It occurs to me that both these movies are playing downtown on Wednesday night (one at 7 pm, one at midnight) and that a devoted film geek ought to be able to make an evening of it. I probably won't, but I am certainly tempted.

Kevin Smith broke my (red carpet) cherry

I've been covering film news for Cinematical for about a year now, and before that I wrote about film on Celluloid Eyes. And in my deep dark past (aka college days), I used to cover local and entertainment news for various publications.

One thing I hadn't ever done was to cover a red carpet event. I didn't know much about the red carpet world, apart from what I occasionally saw if I turned on the Oscars too early. We don't have cable and I rarely watch entertainment news on TV. "Red carpet" didn't seem like something a print reporter would benefit from attending, which is why I turned down a chance to cover a red-carpet event at Fantastic Fest last year for Zathura. (Also, I found out about it 10 minutes beforehand, and had no idea what I'd say to Jon Favreau.)

But Kevin Smith came to town for the Clerks II premiere a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to cover the event. Natalie Schuessler, the media contact at Austin Film Society (which sponsored the premiere), told me that space was tight for the actual premiere screening, but I could attend a press screening earlier in the week and then participate in the red carpet session with Smith before the premiere. I thought this would be an excellent way to get a taste of the world of red carpet interviews.

Fantastic Fest updates lineup with The Fountain, Tideland

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The second annual Fantastic Fest keeps looking better and better ... if you like sf/fantasy, horror, and animated films, that is. The festival updated its 2006 film lineup this week with a number of exciting features. The big news is that the closing night film will be The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky's latest film starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. Aronofsky will attend the Sept. 28 screening and hold a Q&A after the film. I'm pleased to see Tideland, Terry Gilliam's latest film, in the lineup even though I believe it has an October U.S. release slated. I've been dying to see this film for a year and I'm happy to learn that it will play in Austin at least once. (I may have made loud squeaky noises when I found out about this.) Even the panels and presentations look interesting -- last year's certainly were. I attended a demo of the rotoscoping software used for A Scanner Darkly, and a presentation about the creature costumes created for The Chronicles of Narnia. The festival runs a full week this year, so the badge is definitely worth purchasing if the programming sounds at all interesting to you.
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