Alamo Drafthouse

Star Trek: Turning 10 Minutes into 126 and Loving Every Minute

Star Trek 2009

Updated: Alamo has posted photos and video from the event.

Austin is the film geek town, and everyone knows it. Fantastic Fest goes out of its way to put on special screenings throughout the year and giving priority seating to badgeholders, and they completely topped themselves, even when considering the Hellboy II screening last year. This was supposed to be some "never before seen by the public" footage from the new Star Trek film a few hours before the official world premiere in Australia. Fantastic Fest decided to pair it up with the the second film in the franchise, considered to be the best, The Wrath of Khan. With free popcorn and soda. And rumors of shirts and other goodies.

We didn't get 10 minutes. We got 126. With Leonard Nimoy, producer Damon Lindelof, and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Hours before the official world premiere in Australia.

Suspicious minds like mine thought something was up when we saw press seats with personalized seating assignments. Then the intro included the writers and the producer. When The Wrath of Khan started and it was a really bad picture, which quickly burned out, we all knew. The switch was on.

'The Toe Tactic' Returns to Austin

The Toe Tactic

One of the more memorable films of SXSW 2008 was The Toe Tactic, which filmmaker (and animator) Emily Hubley is bringing back to Austin for a series of special screenings cosponsored by Austin Film Society.

It's a little film that takes a low concept and does it very, very well, mixing live action and animation, personal myth and emotion. The story is simple; Mona is mourning her father, and trying to find her lost wallet. Anyone who's ever felt there are forces meddling in their lives will sympathize, as Mona has a bunch of poker playing cartoon dogs meddling in her life.

It's a very poetic story; one friend disliked it for that reason, but that's what made me really enjoy this film last year. I highly recommend checking it out, as director Emily Hubley will be in attendance at the 4/5 and 4/6 screenings; it will also screen on 4/13. More information at the Austin Film Society website.

Slackery Non-SXSW News Tidbits

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TXFHOF 2009Why does this entry include a photo of Brendan Fraser from the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards, you might ask? The answer is that I have no idea. I didn't feel like digging around for something more relevant, and at least this photo is funny. And no, this is not part of a covert plot to feature a Hot Dudes of SXSW photo gallery on Slackerwood. Although, since someone did suggest such a thing ...

Ahem. Anyway. Onto the latest Austin film-related news:

  • If you missed Bradley Beesley and/or his doc Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo at SXSW this year, you can say hi to him and hear about his film on Wednesday afternoon. He's visiting Ellen Spiro's documentary class at UT from 6 to 8 pm, and visitors are welcome. There may even be snacks. The class is in CMB (the brown building at Dean Keaton and Guadalupe), in Studio 4D.
  • Congrats to the Alamo Village for getting a spiffy new projector, a Sony 4K digital that can project 3D movies. I wish it had arrived before Coraline was in theaters, since I'm not especially excited about Monsters vs. Aliens. However, this also means that all first-run movies at the Village will now be digitally projected, and that should be pretty cool. Alamo programmer Lars Nilsen says (via Facebook), "It makes all other digital cinema look like a bear pooped on it."

Quick Snaps: Zack Shows SXSW His 'Troll 2' Tattoo

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Zack at Best Worst Movie

I've got plenty of SXSW 2009 photos to share, but one of my favorites is from the Best Worst Movie screening on Friday night. Best Worst Movie is a documentary about the weird cult phenomenon of the film listed as the worst on IMDb, Troll 2. I should have known that the movie would have an Austin connection, namely Alamo Drafthouse. One of the Troll 2 events shown in the film took place at the old Alamo on Colorado. It was nice to see the old place again. In addition, Austin-turned-L.A. filmmaker Nick Robinson was interviewed at the Alamo screening, and Rolling Roadshow did a big event where Troll 2 was shot, so we also saw Tim League and Zack Carlson.

Zack was at the Q&A Friday night along with the Best Worst Movie filmmakers and some of the original Troll 2 cast. And in the documentary, you see that he is such a big fan of the film that he got a tattoo to commemorate it. So naturally, during the Q&A, everyone started chanting for him to take off his shirt and show off the tattoo. Thus, the above photo. But wait, there's more.

Check Out Encores of SXSW Movies at Alamo

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Updated 3/22: SXSW Film badgeholders get in free; anyone else should buy a ticket through Alamo.

If you haven't been able to watch any SXSW films this week, you've got a second chance. Alamo Ritz will show four SXSW films on Sunday as part of a "Taste of SXSW" series that I hope continues in upcoming weeks/months. Even if you've been at SXSW Film Festival, you may have missed one of these. These screenings aren't part of SXSW, so you need to buy tickets through Alamo Drafthouse.

  • Beeswax -- Plays at 1:45 pm. I can recommend this one, which I reviewed for Cinematical. Beeswax was shot in Austin and half the filmmakers in town have minor roles.
  • Anvil! The Story of Anvil -- Plays at 4:30 pm. I missed this movie last night because I was too chicken to deal with downtown parking. But on the Sunday after SXSW, parking shouldn't be a problem. It's a documentary about a heavy metal band that's been touring on and off for 30 years now.
  • Adventureland -- Plays at 7:30 pm. This is the latest film from the director of Superbad and stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart.
  • Ong Bak 2 -- Plays at 10:10 pm. Tony Jaa's martial-arts sequel played only at midnight during SXSW, so if you're a little more of an early bird, you can see this Sunday night.

Quick SXSW Snaps: 'The Overbrook Brothers' at Alamo

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SXSW 2009

I saw The Overbrook Brothers on Monday night (it was Monday, wasn't it? the days are starting to fuzz together). This is the first feature film from Austin filmmaker John Bryant. If you saw his short Momma's Boy, this film is actually an expansion.

The photo is from the Q&A afterwards. That's producer Chris Ohlson, John Bryant, and actors Nathan Harlan and Mark Reeb. The high point of the Q&A -- or low point, if you like your humor refined -- was a discussion about an intimate prosthetic that Reeb had to wear in one scene. Other cast members who weren't at the screening but might look familiar to you are Cyndi Williams (Room) and Steve Zissis (Baghead, Momma's Boy).

The Overbrook Brothers was funny and over the top, and it's playing once more during SXSW. You can catch it Saturday night at 10 pm at the Paramount.

Quick Snaps: SXSW 2007 Nostalgia Trip

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 Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado

I'm working on the 2009 SXSW Film venue guide this week, and updating everything including some of the old photos of the theaters. I love this photo from SXSW 2007 and wanted to try to find a way to include it, but of course the Alamo Drafthouse at 409 Colorado is no longer with us. So I'm posting the photo now, instead. Get your SXSW nostalgia out of the way, and then you can start looking forward to SXSW 2009, where five Alamo Drafthouse screens will be devoted to festival films.

Now I'm going to try to find a decent photo of the ACC theater. Expect the guide within the week!

Movies This Week: Vampires and Synecdoche and Shorts

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Charlie Kaufman at AFF

I know, you're all going to see Quantum of Solace this weekend, and you don't care what else is playing, nor will you be influenced by my opinion of the film (it didn't meet my expectations, which admittedly were high). On the off chance that you're not into the latest Bond outing, here are some highlights of movies playing in local theaters this week:

  • One of the favorites at Fantastic Fest this year is opening this week: Let the Right One In, a Swedish film about pre-teens in love, and school bullying ... and vampires. A sweet film, with some lovely moments, and a gore level that was low enough to be acceptable to my squeamish self. Arbor and Alamo South are both showing this film.
  • If you're more of a Twilight kind of person, Austin Film Society still has tickets left to the film's Austin premiere on Thursday, November 20 at the Texas State History Museum's IMAX theater. The remaining tickets are $50, but include an invite to an after-party with director Catherine Hardwicke in attendance.

Fantastic Fest Flashback: 'Role Models' and 'Repo' Guests

David Wain and Paul Rudd at Fantastic Fest

Two movies opening in theaters today played at Fantastic Fest earlier this year, so it seems like a good time to share some photos from those events. (Yay, I have an excuse to post the photos late without looking like I procrastinated! Ahem.) Plus, some of us will use any excuse to post pictures of Paul Rudd. I am not ashamed to admit that.

Role Models was one of the "super-secret screenings" at Fantastic Fest, playing at midnight near the end of the fest. The movie stayed a secret for awhile because for whatever reason, a lot of people thought the screening would be My Name is Bruce with you-know-who in attendance. Something on Bruce Campbell's website sounded like a hint. But then the website changed, people In The Know hinted other things, and someone whispered the title to me about ten minutes beforehand. Even then, I didn't believe them until we were in the theater and the title was announced. Someday I should keep track of every rumor about secret screenings during Fantastic Fest, the wilder guesses are hilarious.

Bruce Campbell Interview: The Outtakes

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Tim League and Bruce Campbell at Alamo

As I may have mentioned in passing, Alamo hosted some screenings of the film My Name is Bruce, which Bruce Campbell stars in and directed, late last month. Campbell attended the screenings and did some Q&As (as you can see in the above photo). I tried like crazy to find out if I could get an interview with Campbell for Cinematical, ultimately gave up, and then the night before, found out I would be able to interview him. I felt like I'd been given an early birthday present from the universe.

Cinematical published the interview last night -- you can read it here. It's not a short interview, but I hit a point where I simply could not cut one more line, because everything left was so interesting. (Thankfully, my editors agreed with that assessment.) Nonetheless, some good portions of the interview didn't make it into my final cut because they didn't work well with the general flow of the piece. I've posted those snippets after the jump for your reading pleasure, along with my favorite photo of Campbell taken during the Austin Q&A.

I'm very satisfied with the interview because it wasn't terribly fanboy-ish. I feel like I talked more with Campbell the filmmaker than with the guy who played Ash and Elvis, if you know what I mean. This may mean that I aimed for the wrong audience for the piece, but whatthehell. He's thoughtful about low-budget filmmaking and distribution while still using words like "dealio" and "blasteroo," so maybe there's something for everyone.

I also reviewed My Name is Bruce for Cinematical -- currently I'm the only critic giving the film a "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I hope that'll change as the movie progresses on its road tour around the country. My husband and I had a good time watching it, and I think it's best seen with as large and enthusiastic an audience as possible.

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