Jette Kernion's blog

Paramount Summer Film Series Kicks Off Tonight


CasablancaThe Paramount's Summer Film Series begins tonight with, as is traditional at the Paramount, Casablanca. This year, the film is paired with Key Largo for a Bogie double-feature.

The summer film series' schedule runs through early September, with the usual Gone with the Wind on Labor Day weekend and Lawrence of Arabia the weekend after. Other perennial faves include Breakfast at Tiffany's (how all of you can get past that awful Mickey Rooney character is beyond me, but I know tons of people adore this film); 2001: A Space Odyssey, because it looks so cool on a big screen; and the 70mm visual extravaganza Baraka. Many of the films are paired with Warner Brothers cartoons this year, which I usually enjoy (and prefer to the live-action serials Paramount has sometimes included in the past).

The schedule has few surprises, but that's what the Paramount's summer films are all about. For cultural diversity, you go to Austin Film Society screenings. For edgy culty programming, you go to Alamo Drafthouse. If you want to see a beloved Hollywood film with an audience that loves that film as much as you do, you go to the Paramount.

Quick Snaps: Iron Man Flies at Alamo South


On Monday night, I headed over to Alamo on South Lamar for a sneak preview screening of Iron Man. (Thanks to Blake for letting me be his plus-one for the evening.) You know how it is at Alamo; they can't just show a movie and be done with it, there has to be a little something extra. The lagniappe for Iron Man was a guy in a jet pack dressed as Iron Man who soared above the crowds before we went into the theater for the movie. In addition, Alamo founder Tim League donned his own Iron Man costume and hosted a costume/trivia contest.

The above photo was taken by Mary Sledd [update: apparently Marc Savlov took it using Mary's extra camera ... sorry about that], and is part of an Alamo Drafthouse Flickr set from the event. Check out the whole set for some great photos by Mary and others. (I'm actually in the lower-left corner of this one, although it's not terribly flattering.)

If that's not enough excitement, Alamo Drafthouse videotaped the jet-pack flight for your viewing pleasure. At least if you're watching the video you won't need earplugs like we did at the actual event.

You'd think the movie would be anticlimactic after the live jet pack flight, but I enjoyed Iron Man very much and would certainly recommend seeing it. However, don't do what I did and leave before the credits are over -- apparently there's an amusing post-credits tease that I'm sorry I missed. On the bright side, that'll give me an excuse to see the movie again.

Movies Next Week: Thank You, Matt


Matt Dentler just listed a bunch of cool film events (and concerts too) for the week of April 28 through May 5. Fabulous, and less work for me. Thanks, Matt! Wish you didn't have to go in June ...

Movies This Week and Other Austin Film News


Let's see what's going on in Austin theaters in the next week.

  • I've reviewed two movies opening locally this weekend, over at the recently revived Celluloid Eyes: Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Young@Heart. Neither movie especially grabbed me, but would be fine for one of those weekend afternoons when you just want to go to a theater and see something mildly entertaining, and have no expectations.
  • Movies currently playing that I haven't yet seen, but might like to watch, in order of preference (this is mostly meant as a handy checklist for my husband and I to use for one of those weekend afternoons etc.): The Counterfeiters, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (which we ended up seeing today), Penelope (still at Cinemark in Round Rock!), The Unforeseen, In Bruges, Leatherheads, Run Fatboy Run, and maybe Zombie Strippers if we were in that kind of mood.
  • Cine Las Americas started earlier this week, and the festival runs through April 24 at assorted venues.
  • You can see Shine a Light, Martin Scorsese's documentary about the Rolling Stones, all week long at the IMAX theater.

See you next Wednesday


Where I am this week: Moving Image Institute in Film Criticism and Feature Writing, in New York. No bluebonnets, but lots of bagels. I'll be back next week (really Tuesday night, not Wednesday, but I couldn't resist the stupid film joke). In the meantime, visit some of these fabulous sites for your Austin film news.

SXSW 2008: Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards

Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards On the opening night of SXSW this year, I traded an evening of filmgoing for something I hadn't done before: attending the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards over at Austin Studios. The event is a big fundraiser for Austin Film Society, with tickets and tables going for way more money than I could afford, so I figured that covering the event as press would probably be the only way I'd ever attend.

The evening began with a red carpet setup at the entrance to the event. I was advised to get there early because a lot of celebrities are honored at the awards ceremony, so tons of media would be there, especially video cameras. Video cameras take up a lot of room on a red carpet and still photographers can have trouble squeezing into a good spot where they won't be bonked on the head with a camera or potentially stumble over a tripod. I staked out a spot near the end of the actual carpet, where the long line of video cameras ended. I was right next to the IFC video crew, which was good because any time they started pointing their camera at someone, I figured I should too.

SXSW 2008: More Reviews and Photos


Nerdcore Rising at ACC

Shameless self-promotion, you gotta love it. But if you want to get a better impression of SXSW than what you're reading here ... okay, it's still shameless self-promotion. Here's a list of the movie reviews and other features I wrote for Cinematical during SXSW this year:

SXSW 2008: 'Goliath' at the Paramount


Zellner brothers and Wiley Wiggins at SXSW screening of Goliath

That's right, it may be April but Slackerwood isn't done with SXSW yet. Who knows, maybe we'll still be posting photos in August. To keep that from happening, I'm posting photos without cropping them nicely or sprucing them up in Photoshop, so my apologies for the red-eye and other flaws.

On the last night of SXSW, one of the films I caught at the Paramount was Goliath, which was shot in Austin. I'd been looking forward to seeing this film, to the point where it took a schedule rework in order to catch it (note to self: next year, get to Alamo Ritz films supersupremely early to avoid sellouts). On the other hand, this meant I was able to see it at the Paramount, which is a better venue for local filmmakers because they're always so happy that their film is actually showing at this iconic Austin theater.

Austin at AFI Dallas


I know, AFI Dallas has already started, but I'm running behind right now -- hell, we still have SXSW stuff yet to post on Slackerwood. That post-SXSW bug really slowed us down. I went to AFI Dallas last year, the film fest's first year, but it was impossible for me to get to Dallas this time, and I'm definitely feeling sorry I'm not there.

Anyway, in case you're up there now or about to go, here are some of the films shot in Austin, or made by Austin filmmakers, playing AFI Dallas:

Six Man, Texas -- Some friends of mine were involved in editing this movie and creating the website, so I'm naturally biased. I saw this film in a rough cut and at the Austin cast/crew screening a couple of months ago, and I'd recommend it. I don't normally like watching football, but this documentary about six-man high-school football teams in Texas focuses more on the change and decline of small Texas towns.

Baghead -- I saw this at SXSW and it's pretty funny. Read my email interview with the Duplass brothers for more background on this movie.

Crawford -- I reviewed this movie for Cinematical during SXSW. Check it out if you can -- I heard the first AFI Dallas screening sold out before the fest even began. You also can read my email interview with director David Modigliani.

Quick Snaps: Steve Buscemi at University of Texas


John Pierson and Steve Buscemi

How do you get students to show up and act enthused about class on the Monday after South by Southwest and Spring Break? If you're John Pierson, you bring in actor Steve Buscemi, who was so popular that the class moved to the Austin City Limits studio. Buscemi spoke for nearly two hours to Pierson's RTF master class at UT last night. He and Pierson held a conversation about the films he'd acted in and directed, and then he patiently answered many student questions.

I enjoyed hearing Buscemi talk about Interview, which he directed and acted in -- it's a remake of the Theo van Gogh film. He also spent time talking about one of his first films, Parting Glances, and how he went from being a firefighter to being able to pay the bills as an actor. Pierson pointed out a funny Texas connection: Early in his career, Buscemi appeared on an episode of Miami Vice, where his character was beaten up by, of all people, Willie Nelson.

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