Free Movies

Get Tickets to a 'Lawless' Sneak Preview


LawlessOne of the many enviable things Rod did at San Diego Comic-Con last month was to catch a sneak preview of the movie Lawless. In his review, he said, "Lawless is your chance to root for bootleggers with hearts of golden moonshine." The film stars Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman and Shia LeBeouf.

Slackerwood is giving you the chance to find out if you agree with Rod by attending one of two free Lawless preview screenings:

  • Saturday, August 25 at 7 pm at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar
  • Monday, August 27 at 7:30 pm at Alamo on South Lamar

After the jump, you'll find promotional codes and links to the Gofobo website where you can enter the code to get an admit-two pass for the screening of your choice. These are a first-come, first-served passes and seating is not guaranteed. If you've been to preview screenings, you know that often more tickets are given out than there are seats, so you'll want to arrive early to stake out a good spot in line.

Author Matt Bondurant, who wrote the book on which Lawless is based (The Wettest County in the World) will be at the Saturday night screening, which means it may be more exciting but of course will also be more popular ... you'll want to get there even earlier than usual.

Rod described Lawless in his review in a way I can't top: "From run-ins with the law, a thirst for fast cars, a hunger for success and a love of family, Lawless weaves a story of brotherly love and angst told in the context of the gritty world of moonshiners." The movie opens in Austin on Wednesday, August 29.

Get Tickets to 'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry' Sneak Preview


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Slackerwood is giving you the chance to see the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry next week, before it opens in theaters ... and at no cost. The preview will take place on Tuesday, August 7, at 7:30 pm at Violet Crown. I have 25 admit-two "e-tickets" to give away -- details on how to do it are after the jump.

An important note about the e-tickets: This is a first-come, first-served pass and seating is not guaranteed. Remember, this is Violet Crown and the theaters are not exactly huge. If you've been to preview screenings, you know that usually more tickets are given out than there are seats, so you'll want to arrive early to stake out a good spot in line. Fortunately Violet Crown has drinks and snacks (you know what's good? the Ginger Pork Tapa), so hopefully the wait won't be too uncomfortable.

Elizabeth will be reviewing Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry for Slackerwood and says, "Alison Klayman's powerful documentary about artist/activist Ai Weiwei follows him through success and times of trial, humanizing this figure who continuously challenges Chinese authority in small ways and large." She also told me something amusing about a cat but I'll let you discover that for yourselves. The movie opens in Austin on Friday, August 10.

Get Tickets to 'Safety Not Guaranteed' Sneak Preview


Safety Not Guaranteed

If you missed the delightful romantic comedy Safety Not Guaranteed at SXSW, Slackerwood is giving you the chance to see it next week, before it opens in theaters ... and at no cost. The preview will take place on Monday, June 11, at 7:30 pm at the Arbor. I'm especially pleased to promote this screening because first of all, I really liked the movie, and second of all, it was produced by two former Austinites, Mark and Jay Duplass.

After the jump, you'll find a promotional code and a link to the Gofobo website where you can enter the code to get an admit-two pass. This is a first-come, first-served pass and to paraphrase the film's title, seating not guaranteed. If you've been to preview screenings, you know that often more tickets are given out than there are seats, so you'll want to arrive early to stake out a good spot in line.

Safety Not Guaranteed is about a trio of journalists investigating a curious classified ad regarding time travel, and what happens when one of them (Aubrey Plaza) meets the man behind the ad (Mark Duplass). Debbie reviewed the movie after its SXSW screening and says, "The well-paced writing fuels the comedic moments, with a rollercoaster of laughs from the audience at times." The movie opens in Austin on June 15.

2012 Guide to Free (and Cheap) Summer Movies in Austin



Updated 5/29 7 pm with specific films/dates for Cinema East.

Not even 24 hours after local schools have let out for the summer, I've already met several kids from my new neighborhood eager for entertainment and ways to earn money. Aluminum-can recycling and lemonade sales can only go so far in today's economy, so affordable entertainment will be a valuable commodity this summer.

That's where Slackerwood is here to help, as we offer our fourth annual guide to free and cheap summer movies in Austin and the surrounding area including Cedar Park and the City of Round Rock. Some programs are outdoors so double-check to see what you can and can't bring -- such as lawn chairs like seasoned Rolling Roadshow fan Dshanya Reese is modeling above. Some film programs are offered in non-theater venues such as local libraries and a track-and-field lawn. The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in is closed for a season break as they re-locate into new space at Austin Studios. A couple of the major multiplex theatres as well as Alamo Drafthouse feature their annual kid-friendly summer programming.

A select few Alamo Drafthouse fans will win two free tickets to movies at the Alamo all summer long. Check out this page for details -- in a nutshell, you must join the Alamo Drafthouse mailing list, visit and "like" the Alamo Drafthouse Facebook page where you will be able to enter your name and email address, and then tweet about it. Five winners per market (Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Winchester) will be randomly drawn on June 25.

Programming for adults, especially independent film fans, is also plentiful this summer. Cinema East is at a new East Austin location for 2012, and is hosting a Launch Party at Cheer Up Charlie's on Thursday, May 31, to unveil its third season of outdoor film screenings.

If you have more info about a series or know about something we've forgotten, please let us know in the comments. We'll update this list over the next couple of weeks as we receive updates on more summer movie events.

The Intern's Lot: Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars


By David Chisholm

If you've never heard of it, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is a 1973 concert documentary directed by D. A. Pennebaker, detailing David Bowie's very last performance in the role of Ziggy Stardust, his extraterrestrial alter ego. A little over a week ago, I had the enjoyable experience of seeing Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars at Austin's own Jo's Hot Coffee as part of the Austin Film Festival "Living Record" series.

The first time I ever saw David Bowie, he was spandex-clad, singing with puppeteered goblins and trying to steal a baby in Labyrinth. Now, as an adult, I have a slightly fuller view of the man. I appreciate the influence he had on Iggy Pop, and I love his acting choices over the years. I truly enjoy almost every period in his musical career (and there have been a lot), but my absolute favorite part of David Bowie and his creative genius is the Ziggy Stardust period. These are my most beloved albums, and this is his most fascinating character.

So, how had I never seen the singular performance from that period caught on video -- especially when it had been captured by the genius of D. A. Pennebaker? I truly don't know. I can be very lazy, and I'm guessing that had something to do with it. Thankfully, Austin Film Festival is here to provide me and anyone else who enjoys free movies the opportunity to correct that mistake.

Arriving just as the colorful credits began running across the projection screen on the back wall of Jo's, I whispered my food order to my wife and left her to snatch up the only remaining table, and began to enjoy the film I had been meaning to see for years.

Opening with backstage footage showing Bowie donning the first of the five elaborate costumes he would wear throughout the evening, and then smoothly moving into a rollicking performance of "Hang On to Yourself," Pennebaker seems to have easily captured the spirit of this phase of Bowie's career. Originally intending to only film a handful of songs, the director was inspired to shoot an entire film after seeing the first of two nights on the tour. What he ended up capturing with that quick decision is a brief glimpse at one of the most important moments in rock ‘n roll history.

Catch a Preview of 'Bully' Next Week


Bully poster imagesI'm happy to tell you about a free preview screening for the documentary Bully next week, before it opens in Austin theaters on Friday, April 13. Bully is a movie about children and teens who are the targets of seriously bullying in and around schools, and what they and their families are doing to try to deal with the problem. The film, partially shot in Fort Worth, previously screened in Austin during Austin Film Festival last year, when it was titled The Bully Project. You can read my mini-review from AFF at

Bully has been in the news lately because the MPAA originally gave the documentary an R rating, which would have made it difficult for teenagers to see the movie. However, on Thursday, the MPAA rated the movie PG-13 after some minor cuts for language were made. An intense scene on a bus that director Lee Hirsch thought was pivotal to the movie (he's right) was able to remain with the new rating.

Slackerwood has 25 sets of passes to give away to a preview screening on Wednesday, April 11 at 7 pm at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. To get the passes, click this link and log into Gofobo or create a user account. (You do need a Gofobo account to get the tickets.) If prompted, enter the code SLACK993T. You will receive a pass via email that you must print and bring to the theater.

But wait ... there's more. If you are an Austin Film Society member, AFS is also giving away passes for the Wednesday night screening. Visit the AFS page for the event and log in to the AFS website to get the link and code to obtain passes. (Again, you need a Gofobo account.)

Please bear in mind that more passes are given away for preview screenings than there are available seats -- you are not guaranteed a seat with your pass. I recommend getting to the theater no less than an hour early to ensure you get into the movie. Each pass admits two people, so find a friend to take with you.

Now you have two ways to get a chance to see Bully next Wednesday night for free. What other reason do you need?

SXSW 2012 Guides: Extra! Free Movies and Events!


SXSW Film 2012 logo

Updated March 10 with a new section on free non-SXSW screenings!

I've been getting a surprising number of email messages this year that run along these lines: "We know there are a ton of cheap and free concerts and parties with live music during SXSW, what about free movies?" SXSW has set up several screenings and film-related events that are free to the public this year. In addition, I've found at least one other free movie-related event happening during the fest that I can recommend. If I've missed anything, don't be shy about letting me know in the comments.

Remember that although these events are free, you might have to pay to park near some of the venues. Check out our Guide for Locals and Passholders for some parking and transportation tips.

Free Panels and Events

Women in Cinema's SXSW Panel: Wednesday, March 14, 7-9 pm, Studio 4D, CMB, The University of Texas
This event might have been perfect for the SXSW Film Conference, but is actually on the University of Texas campus and is sponsored by Women in Cinema, a UT student organization that supports student filmmakers. The group's brought together a powerhouse panel of female filmmakers and actresses who have films at SXSW this year -- a don't-miss lineup. UT instructor Kat Candler (Hellion) is moderating the panel, which includes Houston filmmaker Kelly Sears (Once It Started It Could Not End), Megan Griffiths (Eden), Amy Seimetz (Sun Don't Shine), Annie Silverstein (Spark), new-to-Austin Hannah Fidell (The Gathering Squall), producer Kim Sherman (V/H/S, Sun Don't Shine), and actress Anna Margaret Hollyman (Somebody Up There Likes Me, Gayby). I can't believe this event is free.

AFS Announces SXSW 2012 ShortCase Winners

Photo Still from Mijo (My Son)

This year's SXSW Community Screening: Austin Film Society ShortCase will be held Saturday, March 10 at 11 am in the Canon Screening Room (aka Rollins) at the Long Center, and will feature short films by Central Texas filmmakers ranging from Richard Garriott to Bob Ray.

I was pleased to be invited to curate the ShortCase -- I've said for years that I'd love to help host a short-film festival. The response from AFS filmmakers was overwhelming, with over 100 short films submitted in a two-week timeframe. I cried, laughed, and screamed -- and even hit the Rewind button a few times to savor certain scenes. AFS Interim Artist Services Manager Austin Culp, intern Reid Connell and I worked together to select the 10 best films to fill the 90-minute screening time. It was a daunting task with so much wonderful content representing the talent of AFS filmmakers, but we somehow agreed on the final slate. 

For filmmakers who didn't make the cut, we hope that you'll submit films for future ShortCase events -- I'm already formulating a cunning plan to get some of the content into a screening later this year. Feedback will be provided to filmmakers who requested it, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of the programs available to the AFS filmmaker members.

Without further ado, here are this year's SXSW ShortCase films.

See 'The Artist' for Free on Wednesday 12/21


The Artist

Free is good. Good and free is better. So Slackerwood is making it easier for you to see the film The Artist for free next Wednesday night at the Regal Arbor.

There is a reason The Artist is getting so much buzz; it's simply one of the most delightful films I've seen in a long time. It's got all the charm of the classics from the 1920s and 30s from the leading man's mustache to the comic relief dog. George Valentin is a silent film star with the world at his feet ... only to have the world change on him. As George's career fumbles, his protégé's career takes off, and where does that leave George? The cast is fantastic and the score is delightful, and anyone who ever appreciated the structure and panache of vintage films will enjoy every minute.

So here's what you need to know:  

The Archivists Are in Town: Free Movies for All!


Nothing Sacred

I can't be the only one thrilled to hear the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is holding its 2011 conference in Austin this week. If you're not thrilled, you don't know what this means: Fascinating and well-restored movies screening at the Paramount, all free to the public. The last time AMIA held its annual conference here was 2005, and for me it was as though the circus was in town. In fact I was tempted to run away with them and become an archivist myself, except a) I don't want to go back to school, b) I don't think I'd be good at it and c) it's not a profession with many job opportunities in Austin. (As opposed to film criticism? Well ...)

The fun kicks off tonight at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, with the AMIA "Reels of Steel" competition at 11:30 pm. Film buffs and archivists will be bringing all kinds of rare and interesting film and video clips from their personal collections to screen. Admission is free and first-come, first served.

More free movies are screening all day long on Saturday, November 19 at the Paramount -- you could get down there early and stay all day, paying only for parking and a meal or two. At 9 am, they'll show Nicholas Ray's 1976 film We Can't Go Home Again. At 10:45, the 1966 film Passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Grab some lunch and go back for a collection of home movies from around America at 1 pm. Then at 3 pm, you can see a restored version of the 1977 documentary Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives.

Syndicate content