Movies This Week: January 4-10, 2013


Don Coscarelli and Tobe HooperLast night, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar hosted its final screenings until its remodel this fall with a night jam-packed with fundraisers, special presentations and filmmaker guests including Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) and former Austinite Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist) -- seen above chatting in the lobby. Coscarelli presented John Dies at the End, which opens later this month in theaters but is available now on Amazon Instant Video. Hooper was on hand for a screening of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a double feature with Texas Chainsaw 3D, which opens in theaters today. I chose to watch a 35mm print of Jackie Chan's Rumble in the Bronx, but heard enough audience reaction to know the highlight of the double feature was Hooper's original production.

With the temporary closing of South Lamar, Alamo Village is now home to Austin Film Society's Essential Cinema. The theater reportedly has 80 fewer seats, so buy tickets online early. Coming up this week on Tuesday, January 8, at 7 pm is Untold Scandal, a Korean film based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses and set among 18th-century aristocracy. The Housemaid award-winning star Do-yeon Jeon portrays the chaste widow Lady Sook (Jeon Do-Yeaon), who is sought after by one of Chosun's most notorious playboys. Tickets are available for $8 online. Read Elizabeth's preview of the new Essential Cinema series.

Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock hosts Ladies Night Out on Wednesday at 7:30 pm with the classic romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany's. Tickets are only $5, and there are drink specials on margaritas, sangria and half-price bottles of select wine.

Quite a few fans of Django Unchained have clamored for a viewing of the 1966 film Django, directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Franco Nero as a man caught between warring factions. The Alamo Drafthouse is offering several screenings from Saturday through Wednesday at various locations and times.

Movies We've Seen

The Impossible -- A dramatization of one family's horrifying experiences during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. I wouldn't be surprised if Watts receives an Academy Award nomination for her raw portrayal of a mother who struggles to survive injury and more in this tale. Read my review. (Violet Crown, Regal Arbor, Cinemark Tinseltown 20)

Texas Chainsaw 3D -- Continuing the legend of the homicidal Sawyer family from Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror cult classic, Alexandra Daddario stars as a young woman who inherits a Texas mansion with more than just ghosts. This one isn't shot in Austin but rather Shreveport, Louisiana. Rod says it "takes a chainsaw to the concept of what it means to be a good movie. This film provides viewers with a weak story, muddy and gimmicky 3D imagery and a complete lack of scariness. Go rent the original, you'll be better off." (wide)

Promised Land -- Matt Damon portrays a natural gas company salesman whose corporation wants to tap into the available resources in a rural community, but he and his colleague Sue (Frances McDormand) meet with resistance from the locals and environmentalist Dustin Noble (John Krasinski). Don says, "Regardless of its political stance, it's an entertaining and often moving film with plenty of relevance to our times." Check back for his review on Saturday. (wide)