Matt Shiverdecker's blog

Movies This Week: March 14-20, 2014


The Grand Budapest Hotel

After such an active SXSW schedule, it's understandable if you need take a few days to recuperate. It will be another week or so before specialty screenings are back at full speed, but there are still a few standout titles to let you know about. Also, two of the biggest SXSW premieres from this week are hitting area theaters. For those of you who got shut out of those, you should have more luck now.

The Marchesa just spent its first year as a SXSW venue, so the Austin Film Society will be springing back to action again this week with some cool events. They've got the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Square as an area premiere on Tuesday night. Richard Linklater is back on Wednesday with Melvin And Howard, a 1980 selection from Johnathan Demme for his "Jewels In The Wasteland" series, and Essential Cinema has the 1997 Arabic film Destiny on Thursday.  

The Alamo Ritz is firing up their 70mm projectors again for Alfred Hitchcock's glorious Vertigo. It screens from Sunday through Thursday as does Wes Anderson's last film Moonrise Kingdom which will be screened from a 35mm print (which is cool because the film only played digitally in town when it was a first-run title and the movie was beautifully shot on Super 16mm film stock). Also on 35mm this week, Christopher Nolan's Memento plays on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday night brings back Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited for one show only. You can also venture up to the Alamo Lakeline for a Cinema Cocktails presentation of Scorsese's Casino on Sunday.  

Movies This Week: March 7-13, 2014


Grand Piano

Specialty screenings are pretty much off the radar for the next two weekends because the SXSW Film Festival is taking over many of Austin's best venues. If you aren't headed out to the festival, there are still a few free community screenings that are part of SXSW. Most of them are taking place at the Marchesa, including the AFS ShortCase on Saturday afternoon. Programmed by the Austin Film Society, ShortCase is a program of short films created by AFS members and curated by a jury that includes filmmaker Clay Liford, Slackerwood's own Debbie Cerda and Lars Nilsen from AFS.

Aside from that, if you didn't pick up a SXSW badge or wristband, you'll very likely be able to buy your way into some of the encore screenings by the end of the week after the music portion of the festival gets started and the movies slow down a bit. Check out Caitlin's post for more tips on how to make the most of the festival as a local film fan. 

It's also worth noting that Lars Von Trier's controversial film Nymphomaniac, Volume 1 has just been released as a pre-theatrical VOD title. Available from most cable operators, it's also available digitally to rent from Amazon Instant Video, the Playstation Store, Xbox Marketplace and YouTube. Due to its explicit sexual content, the film is not available from iTunes or Vudu. I've confirmed with Magnolia Pictures that the VOD version is exactly the same as what is being released theatrically and is not censored. For those who would rather take it all in (so to speak) on the big screen, it opens locally March 28 at the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane and Violet Crown Cinema. Volume 2 will follow in April.  

SXSW 2014 Preview: 24 Beats Per Second


American Interior

Each year, the programmers of the SXSW Film Festival deliver a fresh batch of documentaries and films that focus on music in the 24 Beats Per Second sidebar. With such a wide variety of bands and artists performing all over the city during the festival, it only makes sense that some of them would invade our darkened theaters too. We've taken a look at some of the most promising movies premiering this year to help you prioritize what you should add to your schedule. 

American Interior (pictured above) -- Gruff Rhys, lead singer of Welsh rockers Super Furry Animals, went on a solo tour in 2012 retracing the steps of one of his relatives. Explorer John Evans left Wales in 1792 headed to America on what would be a seven year quest, searching for a lost tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans. Rhys followed Evans's path, playing music along the way and then eventually writing a book about what he learned. It was all captured by a documentary crew and the film makes its world premiere on Tuesday, March 11 at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz 1. It will also screen on Wednesday, March 12 at Stateside and on Friday, March 14 at Alamo Ritz 2. 

Movies This Week: February 28-March 6, 2014


The Wind Rises

The next few weeks of specialty screenings are going to be directly impacted by the SXSW Film Festival, but there are definitely some unique events on the horizon that you need to know about. We've already covered this weekend's Noir City festival at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in great detail here. It's an incredible opportunity to catch 10 rare film noir titles in 35mm, many in newly restored prints. There isn't much else going on at the Ritz for the next few weeks due to SXSW, but they will have select screenings of 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf Of Wall Street for those of you who still need to catch up.

The Alamo Slaughter Lane has a screening on Saturday afternoon of Medora, a sports documentary that played at SXSW last March about an underdog basketball team. Veronica Mars fans will want to head to the Alamo Village on Monday night for an Austin Film Festival screening of Beside Still Waters, the directorial debut of Chris Lowell who played "Piz" on the show. It was an Audience Award winner at AFF last fall. 

The Paramount 100 screening this week is happening on Tuesday night because of SXSW getting ready to take over that theater as well. They'll be showing a digital restoration of 1924's The Thief Of Bagdad. Starring Douglas Fairbanks, this was one of the most expensive films made in the 1920s. 

Movies This Week: February 21-27, 2014


 Like Father, Like Son

Austin Film Society's terrific Godard vs. Truffaut series closes out this weekend with a 35mm print of Love On The Run. It plays tonight and again on Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. Also playing Sunday is an collection of The Films Of Vincent Grenier. Co-presented with Experimental Response Cinema and the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, this presentation will feature the filmmaker in person. There's more Avant Cinema scheduled for Monday night with the rarely screened Anti-Clock from 1979. On Wednesday night, Richard Linklater is bringing us a 35mm print of Warren Beatty's Reds, which he says is on his all-time personal Top 10 list. Finally, Essential Cinema has the 2012 documentary Uprising on Thursday night. 

Women In Cinema will be hosting a "Casting and Directing Actors" panel on Monday night. Kat Candler (Hellion) will be moderating the panel, which is expected to feature Casting Director Vicky Boone (Ain't Them Bodies Saints, The Tree Of Life), Director Katie Graham (Zero Charisma), Director Emily Hagins (Grow Up Tony Phillips) and Actress Katherine Wilis (Friday Night Lights). This special event happens from 7-9pm on Monday night in the CMB Building, Studio 4D on the UT Austin campus. 

Alamo Drafthouse Ritz has special screenings this week of John Waters' Cry-Baby (in 35mm on Sunday night), Jess Franco's Succubus (in 35mm on Monday night) and Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (in 35mm on Wednesday night). The Alamo Village is down to their last Miyazaki retrospective title before The Wind Rises opens next weekend. You can see Spirited Away in 35mm daily through next Thursday.

Movies This Week: February 14-20, 2014


 The Great Beauty

The Austin Film Society's Godard Vs. Truffaut series continues on this weekend with a 35mm print of Godard's A Woman Is A Woman tonight and Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. There's also an austin premiere on tap Sunday afternoon for The Big Shootout with director Mike Looney, Edith Royal and members of the 1969 UT football team in attendance. The Q&A will be moderated by KLBJ's Ed Clements.

On Monday night, you can head back over to the Marchesa for "An Austinite's Guide To The 2014 SXSW Film Festival." It will feature a Q&A with festival programmers Janet Pierson, Jarod Neece and Claudette Godfrey as well as a happy hour and a filmmakers' chat about how to make the most of the fest. On Wednesday, Richard Linklater will be hanging out with a 35mm print of Sam Fuller's White Dog and Essential Cinema is bringing you a newly restored DCP of the 2002's Aleksandr Sokurov's Russian Ark on Thursday. 

If you're looking for Valentine's Day ideas, we already covered the special romantic events going on this weekend at the Blue Starlite. There will also be Casablanca feasts happening at the Alamo Ritz and the Alamo Slaughter Lane tonight. If you want to save some dough, Casablanca will continue to screen in 35mm at the Ritz from Sunday-Thursday afternoons. If romance isn't your thing, the Ritz is going to be paying tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman with a 35mm screening of Synecdoche, New York on Saturday afternoon. Proceeds from the event will be going to Hoffman's Labyrinth Theater Company in New York. A Cinema Cocktails presentation of Billy Wilder's Sabrina on Sunday at the Ritz not only has drink specials, but also includes free mini macarons from la patisserie. The movie plays again on Tuesday at Lakeline, sans free sweet treats.

Movies This Week: February 7-13, 2014


 A Field In England

The Austin Film Society has a few more screenings of the restored version of Herzog's Nosferatu this weekend. You can catch it this evening and again on Sunday at the Marchesa. The same can be said of Truffaut's Bed & Board, while the acclaimed new release Let The Fire Burn screens on Tuesday for Doc Nights. Richard Linklater had to travel to Berlin for a screening of his new film Boyhood, so he's recorded a special video introduction to Wednesday evening's 35mm presentation of Valley Girl and Lars Nilsen will hold down the post-film discussion with Louis Black. 

The Alamo Ritz is bringing West Side Story back to the big screen for the next week, just in time to get you ready for Valentine's Day. They'll be screening a 70mm print, presumably the same one that played last year which was in absolutely beautiful condition. Also at the Ritz this week: Punk In Africa and The Lorelei's Grasp on Monday night and Fellini's Casanova on Wednesday night. Alamo Lakeline and Alamo Slaughter Lane are bringing back the Oscar-nominated documentary The Act Of Killing for a special engagement. Director Josh Oppenheimer will be participating in a Skype Q&A at the 4:35pm screening on Saturday afternoon.

Alamo Village has a subtitled 35mm print of Kiki's Delivery Service on Saturday and Sunday afternoons while Porco Rosso gets the same treatment on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. These screenings are part of the Miyazaki Madness series and last weekend's showings of My Neighbor Totoro sold out, so buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment. 

Movies This Week: January 31-February 6, 2014


The Past

Congratulations to our Austin Film Society family on their beautifully spruced-up website and a massively successful launch for Richard Linklater's Jewels In The Wasteland 35mm series at the Marchesa last week. I was part of the sold-out crowd that got to enjoy a beautiful print of Scorsese's The King Of Comedy and participate in a lively post-film discussion. It continues on Wednesday night with Fassbinder's Veronika Voss and if you're interested in catching these great 80s gems in the weeks ahead, you should probably get used to buying tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

More AFS at the Marchesa: This weekend, you can catch Godard's Week End in 35mm. It plays tonight and Sunday afternoon, while SXSW favorite 12 O'Clock Boys also screens this evening. Werner Herzog's 1979 Nosferatu was recently restored and it plays on Tuesday night at the Marchesa in digitally restored DCP [ed. note, not in in 35mm as we originally reported] -- it will also have a few more showtimes next weekend. And Sunday night, Austin filmmaker Clay Liford presents the 1982 cult science-fiction classic Liquid Sky with filmmaker Slava Tsukerman in attendance.

Movies This Week: January 24-30, 2014


The Invisible Woman

In the Austin Film Society's ongoing Godard vs. Truffaut series, it's time to return to the world of Antoine Doinel this weekend. The 1962 short film Antoine Et Collette will be paired with 1967's Stolen Kisses. Both films will screen in 35mm tonight and again on Sunday afternoon at the Marchesa. On Tuesday night, you can head up to the AFS Screening Room at Austin Studios for an Avant Cinema screening of the 1929 experimental Russian film Man With A Movie Camera.

Make sure you're back at the Marchesa on Wednesday night as Richard Linklater kicks off his new series Jewels In The Wasteland: A Trip Through '80s Cinema with Martin Scorsese's The King Of Comedy screening in a brand new print. This is the first film in the 1980-1983 portion of the 35mm series, which will be programmed through May. Linklater himself will be introducing all the films and hosting post-screening discussions, so you'll want to make sure you make some time to attend as many of these as you can. 

It's going to be an incredible year for repertory screenings in Austin. We've already learned about the Alamo 100 and this week also marks the launch of the Paramount 100, which is starting off in anticipation of The Paramount Theatre's 100 birthday next year. They are programming a chronological series which is expected to include a variety of 35mm prints and new digital restorations. It begins on Wedneday with Early Silent Cinema: The Nickelodeon Years. Admission is a mere 5 cents (for this one night only) and will include Edison and Lumiere short films from 1894-1897, 1902's A Trip To The Moon, 1903's The Great Train Robbery and a series of D.W. Griffith, Max Linder and Keystone Kops shorts. 

Movies This Week: January 17-23, 2014


 Pierrot Le Fou

The Austin Film Society continues their terrific Godard vs. Truffaut series with a 35mm print of Godard's 1965 Pierrot Le Fou (pictured above). It plays at the Marchesa tonight and again on Sunday afternoon. New release Symphony Of The Soil plays on Wednesday night for Doc Night and current Essential Cinema series on contemporary Russian films has a 35mm print of Brother on Thursday. 

Specialty programming at the Alamo Ritz this week includes Terry Gilliam's Brazil, which is playing in a 35mm theatrical print at the Ritz on Saturday afternoon and Wedneday evening. FYI - there are additonal screenings this month at other Alamo locations that are playing in a DCP of the extended European cut. The Cinema Cocktails series has concocted some special beverages to go along with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat on Sunday night. Music Monday also serves up their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day screening of James Brown Live at the Boston Garden, recorded less than 24 hours after King's assassination. 

You may be looking to catch up on the nine nominated films for Best Picture over this holiday weekend. If so, you can still find American Hustle, Her and The Wolf Of Wall Street playing wide in most local theaters. The other nominees are still on the big screen in the area, but they're playing in far fewer locations. Here's where you can find them: 

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