Movies This Week: November 1-7, 2013

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12 Years A Slave

I hope you weren't looking for any time to recover from another great Austin Film Festival because there is a lot going on this week, including two more festivals for your viewing pleasure.

First and foremost, the first annual Forever Fest is happening downtown at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. Tickets for a 35mm screening of Empire Records tonight are scarce, but you can still snag some to catch Sixteen Candles tomorrow night and the price includes an Eighties prom afterwards! There are lots of other fun events happening throughout the weekend, including a cute animal clipshow from Buzzfeed and a young adult lit panel with the creators of Go Fug Yourself. Check out the full lineup and get ticket information at their website. And read our interview with the festival founders.

The Cinema Touching Disability Festival is now in its tenth year and will be taking place this weekend up at the Alamo Village. Tonight will feature the documentary Getting Up: The Tempt One Story, while Saturday's programming includes SXSW favorite The Crash Reel.

The Austin Film Society has some great first-run arthouse titles in the mix this week at the Marchesa. They'll be featuring Jem Cohen's Museum Hours on Tuesday night. The acclaimed drama had its U.S. premiere earlier this year at SXSW and is currently in limited release around the country. If you can't catch it on Tuesday, it will play again next weekend. Informant (Elizabeth's review) also is screening on Wednesday night in conjunction with The Austin Chronicle. The documentary was recently tagged as Essential Viewing by The Dissolve and there will be a panel discussion after the film including the director of the film via Skype. The week will close out with an Essential Cinema presentation of Ozu's A Story Of Floating Weeds in 35mm.

This week's Alamo Drafthouse highlights are truly top-notch. The Ritz has daily screenings of a rare 70mm print of Aliens happening Sun-Thurs. They'll also be showing Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Sunday night, a brand new 35mm print of Dennis Hopper's Out Of The Blue on Monday night and there's a special book signing on Wednesday night to celebrate Matt Zoller Seitz's new book on Wes Anderson that will bring The Royal Tenenbaums back to the big screen again.

The Alamo Slaughter is going to be hosting a special advanced screening of Alexander Payne's Nebraska on Tuesday night with a Q&A simulcast featuring Bruce Dern and Will Forte courtesy of a new live national series from the New York Film Critics. Finally, Drafthouse Films is also releasing their reissue of the 1979 sci-fi thriller The Visitor this weekend at the Village and Slaughter Lane locations.

Movies We've Seen

12 Years A Slave (pictured at top) -- Steve McQueen's follow-up to Shame is one of the first big Oscar contenders of the year. Based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup, a free black man who was taken and sold into slavery in Louisiana. Elizabeth's review praises the performance of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is likely on his way towards a Best Actor nomination in January. (Regal Arbor, Violet Crown Cinema, expanding next Friday to additional theaters)

About Time -- The latest romantic comedy from Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Love Actually) is about a man who can travel in time and decides to use that power for love, and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy. Debbie says, "About Time is a delightfully inventive love story not just about a romance but love for family." Look for her review this weekend. (wide)

Angels Sing -- This locally shot holiday flick stars Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton and a host of Texas musicians. It played at SXSW earlier this year where Mike called it "easily the best Christmas movie since 1983's A Christmas Story." (Alamo Slaughter Lane, cable and digital VOD)

Blue Is The Warmest Color -- Easily one of the most controversial films in recent memory, this steamy French import hits our shores with a restrictive NC-17 rating, but it's worth noting that at home it earned a rating equal to our PG-13. If you've got three hours to spare over the next week, it's time to invest them into this acclaimed lesbian romance. Marcelena's review says that the movie "perfectly captures both the joyous new elements of budding love all the way down to the gritty, exposed parts." (Arbor, Violet Crown)

Ender's Game -- South African director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) tackles this futuristic sci-fi epic, adapted from Orson Scott Card's novel. Mike says it's "at best an above-average adaptation that is still very much worth seeing." Read his review this weekend for details. (wide, available in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D) 

Also Opening In Austin

Free Birds -- In this animated feature, Owen Wilson voices a turkey who is pardoned by the President on Thanksgiving and then goes back in time to try and stop the birds from becoming a holiday staple at dinner tables across the country. Additional voice actors include Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler and George Takei. (wide, available in 2D and 3D)

Last Vegas -- It's always good to see Hollywood create something aimed at an older audience, unfortunately it's often predictable garbage like this senior citizen version of The Hangover. The trailer looks embarrasing to all involved. Something tells me that we'll see this one earning a few Razzie nominations. (wide)

Man Of Tai Chi -- This is the directorial debut of Keanu Reeves and it debuted at Fantastic Fest earlier this fall. Genre fans who want to see this on the big screen should check out select showings at the Barton Creek Mall over the next week, but the film is also available to rent at home. (AMC Barton Creek, cable and digital VOD)