Matt Shiverdecker's blog

Movies This Week: August 16-22, 2013

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The upcoming week is absolutely packed with incredible archival screenings to tell you about, and there are a couple of new releases that are worth making time for as well. First up, let's focus on the Austin Film Society, who are continuing their Johnnie To series with 35mm screenings of 1999's Running Out Of Time this weekend. In advance of the upcoming local opening of Computer Chess, AFS is also hosting Andrew Bujalski on Sunday afternoon for a Q&A at a rare 35mm screening of Funny Ha-Ha. Essential Cinema presents the outrageous pre-code Night Nurse with Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Cable in 35mm on Tuesday night while director Matt Wolf is stopping by on Wednesday for a Doc Nights premiere of his new film Teenage

The Paramount Summer Classic Film Series has a some tremendously well-programmed 35mm double features on deck this week including Spirit Of The Beehive and Pan's Labyrinth on Sunday, and Chinatown and Sweet Smell Of Success on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. They've also got a special Austin Pride screening of The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Stateside serves up a digital Bergman double feature on Sunday as well with The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries

As always, the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has a little something for everyone booked this week. Broadway Brunch returns tomorrow with the 1954 version of A Star Is Born, starring Judy Garland, in 35mm. Kid-Thing, the latest film from local filmmakers The Zellner Bros., is also screening tomorrow afternoon. On Sunday, there's a 16mm Sprocket Society matinee, another Shintoho Mindwarp double feature and a Karen Black memorial screening of Five Easy Pieces in 35mm. Looking ahead into the week: Music Monday has a print of the stunning Jazz On A Summer's Day that has me strongly considering staying out late on a school night, Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy shows up with a few random 35mm shows from Tuesday to Thursday and Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious plays on Wednesday night as part of the She Died With Her Boots On Western series. 

Movies This Week: August 9-15, 2013

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The Act Of Killing

It seems as though opening movies on the weekend isn't enough for the studios during the competitive summertime marketplace. Two films this weekend actually were released on Tuesday night (We're The Millers and Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters) to get a jump on their share of the box-office pie. In addition to several wide releases, there's a new Woody Allen comedy and one of the year's best documentaries hitting town. But first, let's take a look at some of the unique repertory screenings that are happening around town over the next week.

Austin Film Society launches their Films Of Johnnie To series tonight with a 35mm booking of The Mission at the Marchesa. That will play again on Sunday night and there are three more Hong Kong classics on deck in the weeks ahead. The Essential Cinema Pre-Code Stanwyck series packed the house last week for a rare look at early talkie Mexicali Rose. This Tuesday night, you won't want to miss Ladies They Talk About, a gritty women-in-prison tale from 1933 that AFS programmer Lars Nilsen calls "one of the glories of pre-code cinema."

If you're looking for something more contemporary, AFS has a special advance screening of Sundance fest favorite In A World... on Thursday night. Director/writer/star Lake Bell will be in attendance at the Marchesa and this gives you a chance to see it before it opens in town later this month. 

The incredible World Cinema Classics portion of this summer's Paramount lineup is in full swing with many highly recommended films that you'll want to savor on the big screen. This Saturday and Sunday, you can take the whole family out to see The Red Balloon, White Mane and The Neverending Story at the Paramount while the Stateside has a more decidedly grown-up double feature on Sunday afternoon of Fellini's Amarcord and De Sica's Umberto D. A fully restored 35mm screening of 1967's groundbreaking documentary Portrait Of Jason is also taking place at the Paramount on Saturday and Sunday evenings, co-presented by Polari

Movies This Week: August 2-8, 2013

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Blackfish

This is one of those weekends where I've been actively creating an evolving list for myself to try and figure out how many movies I can realisically fit in over the next few days. While not much is happening in terms of new releases, there is a true embarrasment of riches when it comes to local classic film screenings.

Do you want to see A Clockwork Orange in 35mm at the Alamo Ritz on Saturday? Maybe you'd prefer a Keith Coogan double feature at the Ritz with Adventures In Babysitting and Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead tomorrow evening? How about catching Back To The Future and The Karate Kid in 35mm at the Paramount on Sunday? Those picks alone would fill up your weekend, but then you could try to squeeze in a double feature of digitally restored titles from the new Shintoho Mindwarp series followed by a 35mm screening of Trainspotting at the Ritz. After all of that, I really hope that you got paid this week, because you have a lot of tickets to buy over the next 72 hours alone. 

Looking ahead to mid-week, you're not going to get a break. The Paramount begins an amazing lineup of World Cinema Classics that begins on Tuesday with double features of 8 1/2 and Nights At Cabiria followed by Le Petit Soldat and Max And The Junkmen. Also on Tuesday night, there's a CineBrew event at the Violet Crown. They'll be screening David Lowery's 2009 SXSW favorite St. Nick with Lowery in attendance along with producers James Johnston and Adam Donaghey, and cinematographer Clay Liford. All attendees will be getting a pint of Amarillo Hefe and tastings of Pioneer Yellow Rose with their ticket purchase as well. 

Review: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

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Big Star: Nothing Can Stop Me Now

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is the latest of a recent crop of buzzworthy documentaries that introduces viewers to talented artists who struggled to find mainstream success when their music was originally released. The story of Memphis rockers Big Star includes incredible artistic achievements followed by snowballing bad luck. When band members Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel formed in 1971, Chilton was reinventing himself a few years after having a #1 hit single at the tender age of 16 with "The Letter" (by his previous band The Box Tops).  

Everything about the early days of Big Star predicted great things to come. After recording their debut album, the cheekily titled "#1 Record", at Ardent Studios in Memphis, the album's release was set to be distributed as one of the first rock albums on Ardent's record label deal through the legendary Stax Records. That label had just signed a deal with Columbia Records, which should have provided Big Star with nationwide distribution through a major label with plenty of marketing power. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Stax went bankrupt, Columbia never promoted the record, and it quietly sold 20,000 copies in markets where it had radio airplay and could be found in a handful of stores. 

Co-directors Drew DeNicola and Olivia Mori bring this heartbreaking struggle to the big screen with plenty of archival footage combined with present-day interviews with music journalists, surviving band members, extended family members and musicians who were influenced by the band. The film was partially funded with the help of Kickstarter, which illustrates just how rabid the fanbase for Big Star remains even all these years later. With only three albums under their belt, they may not have ever had Billboard chart success, but they inspired a lot of people who somehow found their way to the music to start their own bands. 

One of the interview clips that perfectly captures the essence of Big Star comes from Robyn Hitchcock, who says that discovering the band's music was like "a letter that was posted in 1971 that arrived in 1985, like something that got lost in the mail." The success of this film will come not just from fans, but also hopefully from people just discovering their new favorite band over 40 years after their inception. 

Movies This Week: July 19-25, 2013

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Ryan Gosling stars in "Only God Forgives"

When you combine all of the titles that are opening wide in theaters this weekend with the specialty screenings in Austin, you have almost an overwhelming amount of titles to choose from at the movies. Hopefully, this summary will help you nail down a schedule and get out there to see as much as humanly possible. 

For my money, the most exciting choice in town is the Austin Film Society booking of Louis Malle's Viva Maria! You'll get the beauty of Bridget Bardot and Jeanne Moreau in 35mm as members of a cabaret act who accidentally invent the striptease. Upon its original American release in 1965, the film was dubbed in English, but these screenings will be in French with English subtitles. This is one I've always intended to see and I can't imagine a better way to catch it for the first time than in a 'Scope print at the Marchesa. It's playing tonight and again on Sunday evening. 

This week's selections for the Paramount Summer Film Series include The Pink Panther and A Shot In The Dark on Saturday and Sunday. The early show on Saturday features a Scavenger Hunt that gets underway at 11:30 am. A double feature dubbed "Naughty, Bawdy 1933" also takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday with Dinner At Eight and Design For Living. All titles at the Paramount are presented in 35mm. 

Movies This Week: July 12-18, 2013

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The Way, Way Back

[Editor's note: Please welcome our newest contributor to Slackerwood, Matt Shiverdecker.]

There's an incredibly diverse slate of repertory films in town over the next week, starting with the continuation of the Traveling Circus series from the Austin Film Society. You'll want to head to the Marchesa for Max Ophuls' Lola Montes, a gorgeous Cinemascope spectacle bursting with colors that will leap off the screen in 35mm, tonight and Sunday night (Elizabeth's preview). For those of you who recently watched HBO's Love, Marilyn documentary, you won't want to miss out on Tuesday night's Essential Cinema selection of The Prince And The Showgirl, also screening at the Marchesa in 35mm.

The Paramount's Summer Film Series continues to serve up an eclectic batch of films over the next week including Wim Wenders' Wings Of Desire and a digital screening of Truffaut's new wave classic The 400 Blows at the Stateside, both happening tonight. Also on deck, an Audrey Hepburn double feature Saturday and Sunday with Breakfast At Tiffany's and Roman Holiday. If that's not enough for you, they have a "Swingin' Britons of the 1960's" theme Tuesday and Wednesday nights with Casino Royale and What's New Pussycat, and the lesser-known Pulp and The Ipcress File on Thursday. All Paramount screenings are in glorious 35mm.

The Alamo's Beasts Vs. Bots series brings you multiple options this weekend at the Ritz, including the 1955 creature feature It Came From Beneath The Sea on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, a 35mm screening of Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah on Sunday afternoon and late night Monday and even a rare 35mm screening of the animated Transformers: The Movie from 1986 on Sunday night. If you're looking for a Ritz experience with decidely less monster action, you may want to have a drink or two at Sunday's Cinema Cocktails booking of Billy Wilder's The Apartment (which will be presented in a new digital restoration).

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