By Charity Lee
When you think of the perfect movie-loving date night, you definitely have a Texas-sized menu of options. You could enjoy the Austin Film Society-sponsored “Goddard vs. Truffaut” series at the Marchesa, a night on the town at the Paramount on Congress, or even woo your date with a melody at one of the famous local Alamo Drafthouse sing-alongs. However, if you want to get retro, the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In is the perfect classic alternative to an in-house film this Valentine's Day.
On the most romantic night of the year, the Blue Starlite will present a classic double feature of Breakfast at Tiffany's, starring Audrey Hepburn as the sassy and wild young bachelorette, Holly Golightly; and Casablanca, starring the hunky Humphrey Bogart. I’m a big fan of the former with its hilarious featured roles and its non-conventional romantic comedy setup. I also have never been to an outdoor movie so my tickets are printed, my vintage drive-in speaker is ordered and I’m ready to snuggle right from the seat of my little Nissan Sentra.
This week marks the beginning of a film event that will no doubt turn out to be of lasting importance to many Austin movie lovers and the local film scene in general. The city's own Richard Linklater (if you're reading Slackerwood he needs no introduction) will begin presenting a series of films from the early 80s that, for various reasons, impacted him both as an appreciator and creator of independent cinema.
"Jewels in the Wasteland: A Trip Through '80s Cinema with Richard Linklater" begins Wednesday and is set to continue through May. The first five films have been announced so far, and aside from the time they were released ('81, '82 or '83), they seem to have little in common. That's the best part. This isn't a series simply curated by Linklater; he'll actually be on hand after each screening and will sit down for a conversation with Austin Film Society Programmer Lars Nilsen to discuss the whys and hows of that night's selection.
"What makes this such a momentous series to me is that we all get to share the simple joy of talking about movies with Rick," Lars told me in a email.
Take a look at the initial lineup below and don't wait too long to get your tickets; if the Austin film community is paying attention, these screenings should all be well attended.
Street-style photography seems almost pedestrian now, with blogs like The Sartorialist, Humans of New York or (my favorite) What Ali Wore popping up every day, but this wasn't the case when photographer Jamel Shabazz started snapping pics in the '70s. A friend of the artist says he was "capturing life in its purest form."
Shabazz depicted the history of his NYC borough, documenting the early days of hip-hop culture, the fashion and lifestyle he saw day-to-day in the subway or walking the streets of Brooklyn.
Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer (2013) delves into the photographer's influential work and follows some of his current-day activities. Director Charlie Ahearn's previous work includes 1983's Wild Style, a hip hop docudrama. In this film, Ahearn includes interviews with cultural figures such as Fab 5 Freddy and KRS-One among others.
Austin Film Society will show the Shabazz documentary this Sunday, Jan. 12 at 4pm [tickets] at AFS at the Marchesa. Watch the trailer below.
On Mondays and Wednesdays starting today (July 22) through August 5, Austin Public Library's Carver Branch invites you to watch some wonderfully terrible movies. The library is calling it the Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Bad Film Festival. These screenings are free and open to the public, showing in the Carver library's meeting rooms [map] at 6:30 pm. Do you dare to partake?
Here's the lineup:
- Monday, July 22, Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) -- Directed by Roger Corman, this film has folks stuck on an island under the control of giant crabs who happen to eat brains.
- Wednesday, July 24, The Thing with Two Heads (1972) -- Ray Milland plays a bigot who has to share a body with convict Rosie Grier. Here's the trailer:
Last year the Alamo Drafthouse inaugurated their signature wine series featuring classic movie themes with the inaugural Princess Bride-inspired "Bottle of Wits" Inconceivable Cab and As You Wish White.
Today, Alamo revealed their second wines in the limited edition series: The Cannibal Chianti and Suit Yourself Pinot Grigio, inspired by Jonathan Demme's Academy award-winning 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs. The wines will be available at The Silence of the Lambs Feast at select Alamo Drafthouse locations nationwide -- the Austin event will be held June 19 at the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter. I had the chance to sample the wines as well as the feast at a press preview on Tuesday night at the Slaughter location.
The Cannibal Chianti is an Italian wine (DOCG, for those in the know) from a vineyard located between Sienna and Florence. This dark fruit-forward medium-bodied wine gets its flavor from a blend of 85% Sangiovese with small amounts of Canaiolo and Malvasia del Chianti. Suit Yourself Pinot Grigio is a crisp and light-bodied white wine featuring grapes from California’s Central Coast and inland vineyards. The light citrusy finish makes it suitable for summertime enjoyment.
It's like Christmas in May for Austin classic film fans. Last week the schedule for the summer classic film series at Paramount and Stateside was announced. Movies from various decades will screen in 35mm at Paramount and digital HD projection at the Stateside from late May through early September. The lineup this year is lighter on the screwball genre than I would prefer, but there is still oh-so-much to choose from. There's sure to be something for everyone.
Tickets for each film are $8 (this covers double features as well) online. If you expect to see many, buying Flix-Tix or becoming a Film Fan could be a worthwhile investment. [Pro tip from Jette: The higher-level Film Fan memberships include free garage parking during the movies.]
Here are some of the selections we Slackerwood contributors find noteworthy:
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967) -- Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty rob banks in Arthur Penn's game-changing crime romp that blazes through north Texas [my Lone Star Cinema post]. (Wed 5/29 at 10 pm, Stateside)
- The Wild Bunch (1969) -- Sam Peckinpah's brutal Western stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan. You all know I'm squeamish about violence and yet this is one of my very favorite films. I refuse to listen to any news about a remake involving Will Smith. (Wed 5/29 at 7:15 pm, Stateside) -- Jette Kernion
Indie film The Brass Teapot will be making an appearance in Austin on Thursday, May 23. Ramaa Mosley makes her feature directorial debut with the movie, basing it off of her 2007 short of the same name. Tim Macy scripted both the short and the feature.
It stars Michael Angarano (Sky High, Snow Angels), Juno Temple (Dirty Girl, Killer Joe) and Houston native Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls). it originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, and hasn't screened in Austin previously.
The Brass Teapot follows John (Angarano) and Alice (Temple), a young newlywed couple struggling to make ends meet. Feeling down on their luck, they happen upon an antiques store where Alice discovers a unique brass teapot. It appears to be just another junk-store find until the couple discovers that the teapot can give them all the money they desire -- in exchange for hurting themselves.
Vowing to stop once they hit their first million, John and Alice go on a journey of black eyes, burnt hands and any other ailment in between. The story very much follows the theme of "be careful what you wish for." The film also features an all-star cast of Bobby Moynihan, Matt Walsh, Jack McBrayer and Alia Shawkat.
The screening is made possible by Gathr, a new service with the simple goal of bringing films to a city or town that might not otherwise get to screen it (or at least not get to screen it for a while). It's similar to Austin-based Tugg in the sense that it's a screening-on-demand model, in which a minimum number of tickets must be reserved in advance in order for the screening to take place.
The screening starts at 7:30 pm, and tickets are still available for only $10.Be sure to reserve your seat soon if you want the screening to take place. (Who knows when this film will hit Austin theaters!) The screening must meet its ticket quota in a little less than a week.
You can out find more information about The Brass Teapot screening on the Gathr website.
Slackerwood is giving you the chance to see The Kings of Summer next week, almost a month before it opens in Austin theaters ... and at no cost. This popular Sundance 2013 comedy will have a preview screening on Thursday, May 9, at 7:30 pm at Regal Arbor. Austin Film Society has offered us a limited number of spaces on a will-call list to give to Slackerwood readers -- each space is for two people (you and a guest).
If you're on the list, you and your guest will have "secured" space in the theater -- the theater isn't being overbooked, although specific seats aren't reserved for you. This means you won't have to stand in a long line wondering if you'll get in. However, I'd recommend getting there early anyway, in case there's a standby line for unfilled seats.
The Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age movie about three young men who run away from home and spend the summer building and living in their own house in a remote wooded area. The teens are played by Nick Robinson (no, not that one), Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias. The supporting cast includes Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Alison Brie.
Former Austin film critic Chase Whale reviewed the movie for Twitch when he saw it at Sundance under the title Toy's House. He praised the script and called the movie "an unforgettable coming-of-age comedy that's sweet, witty, and brings back the joys of being young and full of life."
Here's what you have to do to get on the list for this screening: Use the Slackerwood contact form to send me a message with your name and email address. I'll add your name to the list, which I'll send to Austin Film Society, and they'll have it at the Arbor that night. Check in at the box office when you arrive. The deadline to send me your info is 10 pm on Friday, May 3 so I can forward all the names to AFS in time for the screening.
The drought in Texas shows no sign of letting up and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reports that approximately 22 percent of active community water systems are on voluntary or mandatory water use restrictions as of April 17, 2013.
But the water crisis is not limited to just Texas -- it is a constant source of concern across the globe. The producers behind An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc. and Waiting for Superman focus on the global water crisis in the 2012 documentary, Last Call at The Oasis. Written and directed by Academy Award winner Jessica Yu (Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien), Last Call at The Oasis presents evidence about why the global water crisis will be the most critical issue of this century.
The film explores the role of water for our daily existence, as well as those communities across the world that are struggling with the lack of this essential resource. It features statements from activist Erin Brockovich and journalist Alex Prud'homme along with notable experts like climatology scientist Peter Gleick, hydrologist Jay Famiglietti and law and public policy professor Robert Glennon.
For more details about the movie, read Christopher Campbell's review from its 2011 premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, in which he says it's "necessary viewing for anyone on the planet who drinks water."
Last Call at The Oasis is currently available for viewing online, but you can catch a special screening of this documentary at the Alamo Drafthouse Village on Monday, April 29 at 7 pm. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Texas Water Foundation, a nonprofit organization created for "the purpose of generating a heightened public awareness among all Texans regarding the vital role water plays in our daily lives."
You'll see a familiar name from the local film industry amongst the Texas Water Foundation Board members, which include former Texas senator J. E. "Buster" Brown, former TCEQ Chairmans and Commissioners Kathleen Hartnett White and Buddy Garcia -- Austin Film Society founder and filmmaker Richard Linklater currently serves as a director.
One of the breweries I featured in my first Film on Tap column is Hill Country-based Jester King Craft Brewery, one of the winning plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) regarding labeling and marketing. That case helped grease the wheels for the Texas Legislature to work closely with the TABC, craft brewers and other stakeholders to introduce legislation that impacts Texas craft brewers. The bills have made it through the state Senate, with a House vote expected by mid-May.
Jester King is participating in a less controversial endeavor next month, as the Violet Crown Cinema (VCC) has announced their new series CineBrew, a retrospective film program paired with regional craft beer tastings.
The series debuts on Wednesday, May 15, and will feature Jester King's Metal series of farmhouse beers: Black Metal, Funk Metal and Viking Metal. Brewery representatives will discuss the brewing process and how each of the beers attains its own style. My personal favorite featured is the farmhouse imperial stout, Black Metal, along with Funk Metal, a sour barrel-aged stout. Viking Metal is a truly unique beer aged in an Old Tom gin barrel and based on the ancient Swedish Gotlandsdricka, brewed with birchwood smoked malt, juniper and Myrica gale.
Viewers can enjoy the craft brew while watching the digitally remastered and previously unavailable 1992 documentary Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance vs. Judas Priest, preceded by local filmmaker Kat Candler's powerful short film Black Metal, which screened at Sundance and SXSW this year.