We Interrupt This Fest Coverage to Bring You Robert Downey Jr. and DJ Jon Favreau in Austin


Iron Man 2You were expecting some Cine Las Americas news this morning, right? I didn't make it to the one fest screening at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar on Tuesday night. I was at another screen in the same theater for a special star-studded screening of Iron Man 2 complete with gifts, Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau.

I don't have pictures, in part because no cameras were allowed in the theater -- and yes, at least one sneaky type was escorted out for bringing in a cell phone despite multiple warnings not to do so Security was tight, and for good reason. This was the first public screening of Iron Man 2 apart from the film's red-carpet premiere.

The event was the hot-ticket item for movies in Austin tonight, which is saying something. Every screen at the Alamo on South Lamar was booked already, most for special events, so there was no chance of an overflow screen being used. We were all seated about an hour early but in this digital age, so few of us had watches that it felt surreal.

When the event finally began, we were told we would see a video intro to the film, which has been done at special screenings before. But some of us just knew that this wasn't going to be a simple sneak peek. The gal next to me, who has a crush on director Jon Favreau, thought I was pulling her leg when I said I was absolutely sure he'd show. Not that I was told anything, but he was here for the very first Fantastic Fest's opening-night film (Zathura), so why wouldn't he be here ... especially since the twitterpation about this event started with him tweeting about this special screening? The video was a snarky comedy bit with Favreau trying to wrangle Downey's snipes about geeks. I told my seatmate to keep an eye on the doors, and she was enthusiastically surprised to see Favreau walk in.

Review: Kick-Ass


There are superhero movies and there are anti-hero movies and rarely do the two mix so well as in Matthew Vaughn's aptly named adaptation of Kick-Ass, the comic book series by Mark Millar, and the ultimate homage to hero movies.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an ordinary high school student who just wants to get the girl, and oh yeah, fit in.  He even goes so far as to try to make friends with Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), son of a reputed crime boss. Dave's obsession with superheroes inadvertently turns him into a YouTube superstar as the vigilante "Kick-Ass." When Kick-Ass lets it go to his head, he ends up encountering other masked heroes and things get pear-shaped.

Photo Essay: Kick-Ass in Austin


Clark Duke at SXSW 2010

With Kick-Ass opening on Friday, it seemed like time to revisit the film's screening on the opening night of SXSW. This year's festival started with a record crowd turning up for Kick-Ass, with many of the film's stars and creators in town. Although Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine), pictured above, had not been to SXSW before, he revealed that this wasn't his first time in Austin. He admitted that he loved Austin and had planned to move here after college, but landed in Los Angeles instead.

SXSW Quick Snaps: Fun with Katie Aselton


Katie Aselton of THE FREEBIE

Filmmaker and actress Katie Aselton (The Puffy Chair) had a little fun on the red carpet for the SXSW premiere of her husband Mark Duplass's warm-hearted comedy Cyrus, in which she had a small role. Katie also directed and starred with Dax Shepard in the romantic drama The Freebie, which played SXSW Film this year. More photos from the Cyrus red carpet feature Jay and Mark hamming it up for the camera, and can be seen on the Slackerwood Flickr page.

If you want to find out more about Aselton, read Steph Beasley's interview with her at Austinist, where they discuss moviemaking and marriage and exchange mutual compliments.

[Photo credit: "Katie Aselton Credentialed", by Debbie Cerda for Slackerwood on Flickr]

SXSW Quick Snaps: Edward Norton Times Two


Edward Norton at CYRUS Premiere

So far, SXSW Film has been a whirlwind of panels, red-carpet premieres, films, interviews and celebrity sightings, with barely enough time to breathe and eat before the next "can't miss" event on my schedule. What's been most amazing is how comfortable and relaxed major stars and filmmakers have been at SXSW premieres, including Jean Pierre-Jeunet (Micmacs à tire-larigot) and Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus) hamming it up for the cameras. The biggest highlight by far has been Edward Norton, who I've seen several times over the weekend. He and Tim Blake Nelson were busy with the premiere of their film Leaves of Grass on Friday night at the Alamo South Lamar -- you can see him below on the red carpet for that film.

At our interview on Saturday afternoon Edward stated that he was looking forward to catching a movie while at the festival. Therefore, it was not a surprise to see him make a quiet and subdued entrance into the premiere of Cyrus on Saturday evening (pictured above).

SXSW 2010 Day 4: Earthling and Centurion


Only four hours of sleep.  But the beer-soaked clothes are cleaned, and I'm as awake as I expect to be on day four of SXSW. 

This afternoon I had the opportunity to chat with Erasing David's David Bond. His documentary on the lack of secure privacy in government databases is a wake-up call to anyone who thinks, "I've done nothing wrong, so there is nothing to worry about." Check out my review. You have another chance to see Erasing David at the G-Tech theater in ACC at 11 am. Not only will Bond be there, but one of the investigators tasked to finding him as he attempted 30 days off the grid. Based on our lively conversation today, I predict it will be a good Q&A.

Yesterday I took a quick tour of the incredibly packed Film/Interactive Trade Show. What a circus. Today, I actually spent a little more time there, or tried to. I just was not feeling it.   But then, I hadn't had breakfast yet. It took me nearly 9 hours between an orange juice and an actual meal. I got a kick out of seeing the matador and the bull heading over to the trade show together. 

2009 in Review: Biggest Regret


Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan movie posterI'm sick to death of studio fanboy marketing. It pisses me off when some studio jerks throw out clips -- or, even worse, a first reel --  of some upcoming movie. We're supposed to get all excited and spread good word of mouth to build marketing demand for their film. And then -- the coup de grâce of this sucker play -- we get to pay full admission to see the entire film once it's released.

No thanks.

One of my favorite studio marketing ploys happened a couple years ago, when the first season of Star Trek was remastered with new optical effects and released on high-def video. To promote the box set, the studio did limited theatrical showings of "The Menagerie," the two-part episode that recycled footage from the unaired (and Kirk-less) Star Trek pilot. Sure, it was a marketing event to support the boxed-set release, but it was well worth the price of admission to see old Trek on the big screen.

That's why, when Alamo Drafthouse announced a special screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan early in 2009,  I was all excited. I own the DVD, but I'd love to see the movie again on the big screen -- especially the ground-breaking "Genesis Device" sequence. Also, the Star Trek reboot movie was scheduled for release that summer, which I was eagerly awaiting. This seemed like a great lead-in for the new Star Trek movie.

Premiere Slackery News Tidbits

Men Who Stare at GoatsI've got plenty of Austin film news to share today, from premieres to DVD news to some articles you won't want to miss. Here we go:

  • Slackerwood is sponsoring a special preview screening of The Men Who Stare at Goats (pictured at right) on Thursday night. Follow our Twitter feed to find out how you can get free passes.
  • The general release date for Richard Linklater's latest film, Me and Orson Welles, has been pushed back to December 11. No word yet on whether that's the date when the film will open in Austin.
  • However, if you live in Austin, you can see Me and Orson Welles at the Austin Film Society gala premiere on Monday, November 30 at the Paramount. Tickets are on sale now for AFS members, and will go on sale for the general public on Nov. 9. Linklater will be at the event along with actors Zac Efron and Christian McKay. Proceeds from the screening benefit the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund.

Fantastic Fest Rolls Out the Undead Carpet at the Paramount


Dead Carpet

This year's Fantastic Fest has featured several gala events that brought all kinds of people to the historic Paramount Theater. Last Friday, Zombieland was the featured premiere. Moviegoers could be "zombified" by makeup artists from Eerie Industries, which also assists with the special effects for Zombie Manor, a haunted adventure in Arlington. Zombie Manor brought along some of their star zombies, who walked the red carpet before the living celebrities arrived. Director Ruben Fleischer and co-stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone were in attendance for the special screening. The event was open to the public as well as Fantastic Fest attendees.

The horror comedy Zombieland focuses on two men -- Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) -- who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. I saw a press screening earlier in the week, and had to resist referencing Columbus's "Zombie Rules" afterwards.

'Shorts' Premiere Turns Congress Ave. into a Carnival

Red carpet events continue in Austin this week, and I cut my Cinemapocalypse experience a few hours short at 7:30 am so I could rest before another special event on Sunday afternoon.

Writer/director Robert Rodriguez, producer Elizabeth Avellán, and cast members Jimmy Bennett, Trevor Gagnon, Devon Gearhart, Jake Short, Jolie Vanier and Rebel Rodriguez walked the red carpet this past weekend at the Paramount Theatre for a special screening of their new movie Shorts. The event was a benefit for local organization Thoughtful House Center for Children, and included a free post-screening carnival including rides, sno-cones, cotton candy and more. Danny Trejo, whom I photographed at Cinemapocalypse, made an appearance as well as Richard Linklater. Rebel and Racer Rodriguez worked the red carpet like pros, answering questions and posing for photos.

When I'm working the red carpet I will rarely ask folks the same question, but due to Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellán's strong involvement in the Texas Motion Picture Alliance and film incentives I wanted to hear from both of them on the subject. Here's how they answered the following question:

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