Jette Kernion's blog

Slamdance Lineup Includes Some AFF Faves


Slamdance 2010Slamdance Film Festival has just released their list of competition features for the 2010 fest, and two titles popped out at me. These are both films that Slackerwood reviewed (and liked) during Austin Film Festival 2009, and both of them have Austin connections.

  • Cummings Farm is a comedy about several couples planning an weekend orgy outing on a farm. Actor/screenwriter Ted Beck is from Austin, and actress Yasmine Kittles was also in the Austin-shot 2006 film Gretchen. In her review, Jenn Brown called Cummings Farm "raunchy and insightful" and was impressed with Beck's performance.
  • I called The Scenesters a "noir-mumblecore-L.A. homage comedy" in my review. The film is about some would-be auteurs who are shooting crime scenes and stumble across what they think is a serial killer murder mystery. Actor/writer/director Todd Berger and actor Kevin Brennan are both former University of Texas at Austin film students.

Review: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans


Bad Lieutenant

My goodness. I hardly know where to begin. Werner Herzog took me on the strangest trip, with Nicolas Cage as my erratic, no, insane tour guide, and I still feel exhausted and weirdly exhilarated every time I think about it.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is not a conventionally Good Movie. It's not gonna sweep the Oscars. I stifled laughter in the wrong places, and in a few places I simply could not stifle a giggle. But I must say there was never a dull moment, and it was rarely predictable ... and how many movies can you say that about these days? I was having far too much fun to look at my watch or take notes or fidget.

Review: Me and Orson Welles


Me and Orson Welles

I am not only a sucker for 1930s comedies, but I also love movies that are set in the 1930s. The dialogue! The costumes! The music! And especially the hats. I love a good hat in a movie, right up there with a well-written script and a lack of treacly sentiment.

Fortunately for me, Me and Orson Welles has a well-written script, no treacle, and lovely Thirties period costumes, including a few sharp hats. The latest film from Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater is set in New York City in 1937, when Orson Welles decided to stage Julius Caesar at the newly dubbed Mercury Theater. Local screenwriters Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palmo, Jr. adapted the novel by Robert Kaplow.

Austin is All Over Sundance 2010


Bryan Poyser, by Carol Epstein on Flickr

The Sundance 2010 lineup was announced over several days last week, and you can find Austin connections everywhere. We may not have had a huge amount of representation in the Spirit Award nominations, but Sundance is almost as Austin-y as SXSW this year. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but it's still exciting.

The biggest Austin-y news is that local filmmaker/AFS staffer Bryan Poyser's feature film Lovers of Hate is one of the films in competition at Sundance this year. If you've been reading Poyser's blog, you know all about it (well, not all, but a lot of interesting stuff). The film is about two brothers attracted to the same woman.

Lovers of Hate was shot in Park City last year after Poyser (pictured above) attended Sundance, and also here in Austin. The cast includes a number of locals, including filmmaker Alex Karpovsky (Trust Me, This is All Made Up; and Poyser played his roomie in Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax), Chris Doubek (Harmony and Me, Poyser's The Cassidy Kids), and Heather Kafka (the "unfit mother" at Carl's Jr. in Idiocracy). The cinematographer is David Lowery (St. Nick), sometimes of Austin and Dallas, the producers include Jay and Mark Duplass, I could go on and on with local ties. I hope we'll get the chance to see it here at SXSW 2010.

Slackery News Tidbits, December 7

Texas Archive of the Moving ImageIt's Monday morning, so let's see what's been in the news recently for Austin filmmaking and movie events.

  • Austin filmmaker Kat Candler's short Love Bug just won the audience award at the Little Ripper Film Festival for short films, in Melbourne, Australia. The film has played a number of Texas film fests this fall, including Austin Film Festival, where it won the Narrative Short Audience Award.
  • Save the date: Looks like Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek will be holding an Evil Dead trilogy movie marathon on March 26, 2010. Groovy. We'll post more info as it's available.
  • Texas Archive of the Moving Image is holding an open house on Wednesday, December 9, at 501 Studios from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. I don't know much of anything about this organization so I'm hoping to stop by and find out more. They promise refreshments and some screenings of films from their collection.

Review: The Road


It's the holiday season, and that means we get a lot of relentlessly cheerful comedies in theaters. But it's also the Oscar season, which means we get some heavy-duty dramas. The Road is one of the latter -- in fact, you may find the post-apocalyptic drama a refreshing antidote to forced holiday cheeriness.

I've heard some complaints from people who read Cormac McCarthy's book before seeing the movie that they felt the adaptation of The Road has pulled some punches -- it's not as relentlessly downbeat as the book. Personally, I think the movie is one of the most grim I've seen in a long time, and I didn't need to see babies cooking on a spit to reinforce the film's tone.

Watch Locally Made 'Pigeon: Impossible' Online


Pigeon ImpossibleAt Fantastic Fest this year, I was pleased to see that one of the animated shorts was from a local filmmaker -- Lucas Martell's Pigeon: Impossible. I was even more pleased that it turned out to be one of the funniest shorts in the collection.

The film is about a secret agent with a briefcase and what happens during an encounter with, well, a pigeon. The street where the action takes place is supposed to be set in Washington, D.C., but I noticed some oddly familiar landmarks, like the Driskill and the Paramount. Look at the picture on the right to see what I mean.

Martell's short animated comedy also played Austin Film Festival this year. Pigeon: Impossible is now available online for everyone to enjoy. It's a little more than six minutes long, and just what you need to add some fun to your morning. Check it out after the jump or directly on YouTube.

Slackery News Tidbits, Nov. 19

TXFHOF 2009 119Here are a few news items related to Austin films and filmmaking from this week. Well, I say "a few," but once I started digging them up, it's actually been a pretty busy week! The news includes updates on local filmmakers' projects, awards, casting news, and other useful info.

  • Austin company B-Side Entertainment has just announced that Sundance Film Festival will use the company's scheduling engine for its 2010 online film guide. If you're going to Sundance next year, you'll get to use the very helpful Schedule Genius program to fit all the movies you want to see into the most efficient time possible. B-Side also powers the film guides for local festivals Fantastic Fest, Austin Film Festival, Austin Asian American Film Festival and aGLIFF, and provides an unofficial guide for SXSW.
  • Bad news for local filmmaker Richard Linklater (pictured at right): As part of Miramax's big cost-cutting drive this month, they have put his romantic comedy Liars (A to E) on hold. Movieline reports that Linklater doesn't have another project currently in the works yet, although we suspect it won't be long before he's his usual busy self. [via Austin Movie Blog]
  • Speaking of Linklater, Austin Film Society would like you to know that tickets are still available to the Austin gala screening of his latest film, Me and Orson Welles, on Monday, November 30 at the Paramount. Linklater will be in attendance along with two of the film's stars, Zac Efron and Christian McKay.

DVD Review: Gretchen



After wishing for more than three years that Gretchen would become publicly available so I could persuade people to see it, I'm happy to report that the locally made feature is now available on DVD. Watchmaker Films, with its usual attention to detail, has given the film a very nice release with some meaningful extras.

Gretchen premiered in 2006 at SXSW, then won director Steve Collins the Best Dramatic Feature award at LAFF that summer. It's appeared on the Sundance Channel and was screened here as part of Austin Film Festival's "New Directions Summer Film Series" this year.

The title character (Coutrney Davis) is a tragically awkward high-school girl, out-of-step with the world in her turtlenecks and heavy sweaters and plastic hair ties. Gretchen likes Ricky Marichino (John Merriman), who envisions himself as a rebellious biker dude, but he treats her like dirt and eventually her temper flares in a destructive way. Further adventures land her with similar guys, and she eventually has to decide how she wants to deal with them and with herself.

Review: An Education


An Education

The premise of An Education sounds icky, quite frankly: an older man dating a high-school girl with the permission of her parents. Even in the Sixties ... creepy. Distasteful. But when the older man is Peter Sarsgaard, the young woman is Carey Mulligan, and the screenwriter is Nick Hornby, the charm factor increases substantially and the ick factor, while still adding a dollop of tension, doesn't prevail.

An Education is based on the memoirs of British journalist Lynn Barber, transformed here into young Jenny. It's early 1960s London, and Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is in her last year of high school (or whatever they call it in England), trying to keep her grades up so she can get into Oxford. Her suburban parents (Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) are eagerly supporting this ambition -- in fact, they're probably the ones behind it. When an older man helps Jenny get her cello home one day (no, that's not a euphemism), he turns out to be David (Peter Sarsgaard), a wealthy and cultured real-estate agent. He and his dashing friends want to include Jenny in their social circle, and her parents succumb with only a few little white lies.

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