Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse July Previews Reel

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Sometimes blogging means taking the lazy way out. In this case that means a quick embed of the previews reel video for the July events at the various branches of the Alamo Drafthouse. Sometimes I miss the individualized promo trailers for the various events, but I like the consolidated approach since it means I learn about all the upcoming events at once. Missing something just because I hadn't seen the right set of trailers used to drive me nuts.


July's Alamo Previews from Henri Mazza on Vimeo.

Movies This Week and News and Things

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I want to try a new format for quick links to Austin screenings and news, because I'm lazy. Let me know how you like it, maybe it can become a regular Friday thing. And next time there may be a photo or two.

  • Alamo Drafthouse posted a Flickr set from their recent Incredible Hulk premiere event.
  • It's not too late to zip over to Arbor tonight to see Z: A Zombie Musical at 7:30 pm. If you miss it, several Austin video stores have the DVD (Encore and I think Vulcan or Waterloo, I'll have to find out and get back to you).
  • Lars has started a blog for Weird Wednesday, which is fun to read even if you never go to the midnight WW screenings because you have to get up at the crack of dawn on weekdays (like me).
  • The Paramount has a cool new website for its Summer Classic Film Series.
  • Austin Film Festival is bringing in Polly Platt on July 13 to chat with Tom Schatz as part of a special screening of The Last Picture Show. I've heard her speak and I can't recommend this enough.
  • Alamo's July/August schedule is now available to view as a PDF. I have GOT to get into that Hellboy 2 screening to see Guillermo del Toro. (I've had a crush on him since I saw him at Austin Film Festival in 1999, so all you Hobbit lovers get the hell outta my way and let me in.)

This format doesn't look all that different from the old Movies This Week, does it? The big difference is that I'd rather link to news and screening times than write it all out for you. But you don't mind, do you?

WWTLD? Austin Film Society Knows

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The Landlady in Kung Fu Hustle

Austin Film Society sent me the best mini-poster last week, on the back of a schedule for its latest film series, Making the World Laugh: Global Comedy. I put it right by my computer, and whenever someone starts bugging me, or tries to strong-arm me into doing something, I look over at that image and think, "What would The Landlady do?" And then I kick butt.

If you want your own image of The Landlady to gaze upon during difficult moments, you should head on over to one of the great comedy films in the AFS series, which starts tonight with Alain Resnais' Private Fears in Public Places. Next week, you can see The Landlady herself in Kung Fu Hustle, and the rest of the lineup is equally stellar. The movies are all screening on Tuesday nights at Alamo on South Lamar. Admission is free if you're an AFS member and cheap ($4) if you're not. Consider getting tickets in advance on the AFS website, because their series films often sell out in advance.

Now, if someone would just find me a "WWTLD" bracelet, I'd be able to handle any situation.

Robert Redford and Laura Dunn on 'The Unforeseen'

[Editor's note: The Unforeseen, a documentary about development in Austin that focuses on Barton Springs, has been playing at Alamo Drafthouse (first at South Lamar, currently at Ritz) for a few weeks now and is apparently still popular enough to stick around. If you haven't seen it, now's the time -- the lovely cinematography makes the documentary worthwhile to see in theaters. To whet your interest in the film, here are some excerpts from director Laura Dunn and producer Robert Redford, who were in Austin in March to promote the film.]

Laura Dunn, director: "A little over 5 years ago now, a group of us who really love Austin came together and started working on this film. We saw it as being the story of the long-running battle over Barton Springs and specifically lensing it as a microcosm for what's going on everywhere in communities across the globe. As we grow, how do we protect our most precious natural resources, like Barton Springs?

"I worked on this film for over 5 years and interviewed hundreds of people ... everyone from real estate developers to environmentalists to lobbyists to politicians to swimmers to long-time Austinites to artists, scientists, you name it. It was pretty exhausting.

Quick Snaps: Iron Man Flies at Alamo South

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On Monday night, I headed over to Alamo on South Lamar for a sneak preview screening of Iron Man. (Thanks to Blake for letting me be his plus-one for the evening.) You know how it is at Alamo; they can't just show a movie and be done with it, there has to be a little something extra. The lagniappe for Iron Man was a guy in a jet pack dressed as Iron Man who soared above the crowds before we went into the theater for the movie. In addition, Alamo founder Tim League donned his own Iron Man costume and hosted a costume/trivia contest.

The above photo was taken by Mary Sledd [update: apparently Marc Savlov took it using Mary's extra camera ... sorry about that], and is part of an Alamo Drafthouse Flickr set from the event. Check out the whole set for some great photos by Mary and others. (I'm actually in the lower-left corner of this one, although it's not terribly flattering.)

If that's not enough excitement, Alamo Drafthouse videotaped the jet-pack flight for your viewing pleasure. At least if you're watching the video you won't need earplugs like we did at the actual event.

You'd think the movie would be anticlimactic after the live jet pack flight, but I enjoyed Iron Man very much and would certainly recommend seeing it. However, don't do what I did and leave before the credits are over -- apparently there's an amusing post-credits tease that I'm sorry I missed. On the bright side, that'll give me an excuse to see the movie again.

"Big Man Japan" Invades the U.S., Austin First

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Alamo Drafthouse head honcho Tim League is pretty sure this is the first time this has ever happened: Austin will host the U.S. theatrical premiere of a non-Austin film, a week before it moves to New York and L.A. The film is Big Man Japan, an energetic and satirical take on Japan's beloved giant monster genre. Directed by the wildly popular Japanese televison comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto, Big Man Japan crafts a new mythology of giant warriors who defend Japan in times of crisis, and what happens when their legend falls out of favor -- and their numbers dwindle to just one.

The film has played a few festivals but releasing studio Magnolia Pictures was so impressed with the Alamo's enthusiasm for the film that they're opening the flick here. A strong performance could mean more premieres in Austin and/or a wider release for Big Man Japan, so if you're a film geek you owe it to yourself and to geek cinema to buy a ticket and plant your butt in a seat. Several times if necessary. Big Man Japan has a midnight show tonight and a week's worth of daytime and evening shows through May 1. See you there.

New May/June Alamo Guide is out

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alamomayjune08Well, the electronic PDF version, anyway. You won't see the print edition for a few days but don't let that stop you from obsessively planning the next two months' worth of screening activities.

I haven't had a chance to really pore over it but a few things did catch my eye:

• The Sex and the City "Ladies' Nights" -- Ladies only, which means the managers, servers, etc will all be women. Cosmopolitans will be served (oh yeah, the Ritz has a full liquor license now) in souvenir stem glasses. (My wife argues that the servers should all be hot men but so far as I know she does not work for the Alamo programming team.)

• Live Jet Pack Guy at the Iron Man sneak preview!

• Seth Rogen, James Franco and more in attendance for Pineapple Express sneak preview.

• Summer Camp (free for kids) shows return, with My Neighbor Totoro and Batman the Movie topping my must-skip-work list.

• Plus the usual assortment of mind-bending strangeness that usually happens on Weird Wednesdays and Terror Thursdays.

See you at the Alamo! Download the PDF of the May/June 2008 Alamo Guide here.

SXSW 2008: Notes from the Fest So Far

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I'm jotting down a few observations from this year's SXSW Film Festival. I'll use some of these when I revise the film venue guide next year, and some are just, you know, little bits and pieces of miscellany.

  • Both Alamo Ritz theaters are filling up fast, at any time of day, for just about any movie. I've only been to one movie at Ritz where the theater wasn't filled to capacity. I think some out-of-towners just plain like the Ritz and will watch anything there. If you're going to see a movie at Alamo Ritz, no matter how obscure it sounds, get there early. At least Sixth Street is a colorful and interesting place to stand in line.
  • I found out Alamo Ritz doesn't have public wireless access. A server told me to try the Iron Cactus wireless access next door, but warned that Alamo's walls are very thick (soundproofing, which you absolutely need on Sixth Street) so it might be difficult. I couldn't connect. So use your Alamo Ritz time to order a nice meal, not check your email.
  • In my venue guide, I noted that I often park at St. David's Episcopal -- it's halfway between Alamo Ritz and Paramount. I paid $7 to park there on Monday, which is higher than the $5 it was last year, but that's fine. On Wednesday, the parking fee there was $15. That's ridiculous and obnoxious. I think it might be best to stay with the Convention Center garage parking, which is $7 all through the fest, and just get used to the walk. (That's not at all convenient if you're going only to Paramount, though.)

Quick Snaps: Sidewalk Reunion at 'Bama Girl Premiere, SxSW 2008

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'Bama Girl Premiere

Erik Jambor (formerly Sidewalk, now at Indie Memphis), Alan Hunter (Sidewalk FF), and Catherine Pfitzer (Sidewalk FF) at the world premiere of 'Bama Girl at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.

SXSW 2008: Updated Guide to Film Fest Venues

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Alamo on South Lamar

Note: A 2010 guide to SXSW Film Fest venues is now available.

You might remember Slackerwood's handy SXSW film-fest venue guide from 2007. We've compiled an even handier guide for 2008. The theaters have changed slightly, primarily due to the downtown Alamo Drafthouse location moving to Alamo Ritz. (The old Drafthouse venue is now a trendy nightclub ... where the Facebook Film Garage is being held during SXSW. Very strange.)

These guidelines to Austin theaters playing SXSW movies are intended to help visitors who want to maximize the number of films they see in a day, or who want to make sure they're able to find decent meals between or even during the movies. The most important thing to remember is that you can't walk between all the SXSW venues and you shouldn't try. To get to Alamo on South Lamar or even the Dobie, consider finding a cab, bus, friendly Austinite with a car, or even renting a bicycle to use during your time at the fest.

If you're interested in taking the bus (which costs a whopping 50 cents per trip, or $1/day), Capital Metro's Route 3 can take you from downtown to Alamo South Lamar, and you can take Route 1/101 or the Red Dillo (which is free) from Congress Ave. to the Dobie. I recommend using the Trip Planner to figure out your schedule, and allow plenty of time especially during rush hour.

Here are the six SXSW 2008 theaters, with info on location, nearby food, and nearby wireless access. If I've missed some tips and tricks (or good nearby places with wireless), please add a comment or email me and I'll be happy to update this guide.

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