Alamo Drafthouse

Ken Marino Brings Austin His 'Burning Love'


By Lara Morgan

Reality television has almost become a parody of itself. Utilizing the exact same editing style and transitions (set to indistinguishable, beat-driven music) and sensationalized dramatic situations, the genre is a redundant and perverse copy of life. No wonder, then, that aside from mockumentary-style shows (The Office, Parks and Recreation), no one has really touched reality TV. I mean, how can you cleverly mock the utterly mockable?

Well, the Yahoo! web series Burning Love, created by husband-and-wife duo Ken Marino (The State, Party Down) and Erica Oyama (Childrens Hospital) does just that, with blazingly hysterical results. Watching the series for my third time through at the Alamo Drafthouse this past Saturday, with Marino and Oyama present, Burning Love was more hilarious than ever.

The show follows Mark Orlando (Marino), a dimwitted firefighter who is looking for love, but isn’t picky: trying to find "someone who can make [him] laugh, but isn’t afraid of robots. Maybe somebody… ethnic?" In keeping with The Bachelor rules, Mark lives in a mansion with 16 women, getting to know them on group and one-on-one dates, faced with the impossible task of eliminating one or more girls in his weekly "hose ceremony."

Of course, Burning Love being a comedy, rather than having a harem of sane women throwing themselves at him -- well, as sane as someone seeking marriage from a television show can be -- Mark finds himself surrounded by the likes of a homeless woman (Malin Akerman), an 84-year-old grandmother (Helen Slayton-Hughes), a drunk who doesn't believe in pants OR panties (Natasha Leggero) and an "exotic" blonde named Ballerina (the always-funny Ken Jeong). As funny as Marino is as the shallow and clumsy bachelor, the series wouldn’t work without the barrage of comedic bachelorettes who battle not only for Mark's love, but also for the most laughs.

'In Cold Blood' with Kat Candler at Cinema Club


By Rachel Hudson

Whether referencing Truman Capote's spine-tingling novel In Cold Blood or Richard Brooks' blood-curdling 1967 film of the same name, the chilling tale of the Clutter family murder is undoubtedly horrifying and incredible. The movie In Cold Blood tells the story magnificently, and there is no better place to see the in-your-face cinematography of Conrad Hall and truly remarkable acting of literally every character, principal or minor, than on the big screen.

The Alamo Drafthouse is home to the Cinema Club series, which screens movies that the programmers have deemed to be essential classic films from cinema history. Each month, two of the programmers and a prominent film historian introduce the film and then lead a discussion afterwards.

For In Cold Blood, the film historian was Kat Candler, an independent filmmaker (Hellion, Love Bug) and film instructor based here in Austin. Candler's enthusiasm and passion for film and In Cold Blood were palpable and contagious, and the two programmers who spoke with her had done their homework, and had many interesting factoids to share about the production of the film. Do you know how Capote chose Brooks to direct the film adaptation of his novel? According to one programmer, Capote and Brooks both attended a dinner party at which John Huston was berating each and every guest. Brooks was the only man who didn’t cry when given hell by Huston, and Capote took notice.

Did you know that the studio didn’t want to hire unknowns to play Dick and Perry, the two murderers? Brooks chose Robert Blake to play Perry Smith and Scott Wilson to play Dick Hickock, to whom he bears a striking resemblance. The studio complained and tried to get Paul Newman and Steve McQueen into the roles, but Brooks stood his ground, and thank goodness! Having stars play the parts would have changed the essence of the film, not to mention we would have missed the superb performances given by Blake and Wilson.

Quick Snaps: Alamo Drafthouse Returns to Reserved Seating


Alamo Drafthouse tickets from 1999

The Alamo Drafthouse announced earlier this month that they are finally moving towards full reserved seating. So far, the Village location is the only theatre in the chain where it will be implemented. All shows at the Village are 100 percent reserved seating, which started yesterday (July 30).

Unlike earlier tests, however, there will be no upcharge for reserving your seat. In recent years, the Alamo Drafthouse team has been considering alternatives to their general seating plan (you know, folks showing up about 45 minutes before screening time, lining up in loud queues in the lobby, hoping to snag a good seat when the theatre opens). They tried out something like the Southwest Airlines cattle-call, priority seating.

Local Success Mondo Tees Hits New Sales Milestone


The Dark Knight Rises by Olly MossAlamo Drafthouse spinoff Mondo Tees has reached a new milestone.  The boutique store opened in the original downtown Drafthouse location on Colorado, selling t-shirts and custom posters for Drafthouse events.

Over time, Mondo has built a powerhouse brand name working with in-demand poster artists and building a license portfolio for major film franchises. Sales of the extremely limited-run print editions have become notorious for selling out mere seconds after being announced.

Since the debut of the new Mondo gallery during SXSW this March, three month-long shows have featured a theme or artist resulting in dozens more sold-out pieces, which inevitably can be found on eBay listed for prices several times the original cost of purchase (at least). Mondo has also worked with studios to produce several posters given only to attendees of midnight film openings at IMAX locations.

This week, fresh from a San Diego Comic Con trip selling a number of show-exclusive prints, Mondo announced a first-of-a-kind sale for the store. (The trip itself followed the announcement Mondo had acquired the license for a run of posters featuring the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films.)  

For 24 hours on July 18, Mondo would accept orders for a poster by fan-favorite artist Olly Moss commemorating the opening of the final entry in Christopher Nolan's Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises. Rather than specifying the usual limited run of 200 to 400 prints, the edition size would be determined solely by the number of orders placed that day. No problems with overloaded servers, no problems with selling out, no dreaded eBay "flippers," just a really cool poster that any fan could have for $40.

Montopolis Scores 'Man with a Movie Camera'


By John Elder

I'll go ahead and say it: 3D movies are AWESOME. But what's next? What comes after 3D? Perhaps 4D? Maybe 3D plus smell?

After viewing Man with a Movie Camera this past week, I believe I have the answer. Visualize a film where not only the picture jumps out at you, but the music jumps out at you too. 3D music. I'm talking about taking a real band, putting them right there in the theater, and having them perform the soundtrack live as you sit back and enjoy the film. I'm thinking the future of film is at least 7D. That's right. 3D visuals plus 3D audio and add in 1D for great food and drink at The Alamo Drafthouse and we're talking about a full on 7D experience.

Now let's take a step back. Man with a Movie Camera was an awesome experience, but it was released 83 years ago in 1929, so it was not "real" 3D. This didn't matter, because, like I said, I was able to take in this classic flick while a live band performed an original score. Bravo to these musicians! All seemed to be Austin locals and very active in the music scene. The band was led by Justin Sherburn and consisted of a six-piece group called Montopolis.

This was a film about film, and that truly is multi-dimensional. I know, its probably not the first time you've seen or heard of a "film about film," and it certainly will not be the last time. That in itself says a lot about the influence of Man with a Movie Camera, because it is the grandaddy of all films about film. We nearly start and end in a movie theater. What could be more fitting? There is a brilliant sequence where blinking eyes and opening and closing shades are juxtaposed with the viewing of a rack focus and iris adjustment. It is clear the director means to show the camera as the human eye or vice versa.

'Klown' Filmmakers Sneak Their Outrageous Comedy in Austin


By Julian Singleton

A sold-out crowd snaked its way out into the parking lot of The Alamo Drafthouse, the line surrounded by innocent-looking pink posters advertising the "funniest movie of the year." Below the proclamation, an exhausted, bespectacled man wearing soiled briefs and a tank top. Excitement ran rampant for the advance screening of Danish export Klown (Klovn: The Movie), which only heightened as Alamo founder Tim League warned the audience that they would "see some things that night they could never unsee." Over the next hour and a half, League's words of warning proved themselves to be unforgettably truthful.

Klown features comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen (two of the movie's writers) as themselves, two thirty-something best friends who plan a raunchy weekend getaway -- an escapade disguised to their wives as a relaxing canoe trip. After Frank's wife questions his fatherhood potential, however, Frank takes it upon himself to kidnap his introverted 12-year-old nephew Bo and take him along for the ride.

Without ruining some of the film's best jokes, much is made about the shortcomings everyone faces when seeking (and failing) to prove their masculinity -- from leaving a family member behind when escaping a burglary to accepting a flick on the nose when failing to read your book club's selection, and all the awkward threesomes in between.

Klown is based off a hit six-season TV show from its native Denmark, which as attracted such infamous talent as Lars Von Trier, who guest-directed an episode. The feature version first made its way stateside at last year's Fantastic Fest, where League bought the film for release via distribution arm Drafthouse Films. Later in the night, League hinted that the original series could be released in the United States, depending on the success of the film.

Drafthouse Films Announces New Releases, Alliance Program


Drafthouse Alliance

Drafthouse Films released The FP this week on DVD and Blu-ray as well as digital video -on-demand (VOD) platforms;   Bullhead follows with a similar release on June 26. The FP, which premiered at SXSW 2011, is about gang wars that take place using a dance-fight video game. Academy award nominee Bullhead -- which also took home Fantastic Fest 2011 "Next Wave" Spotlight awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor -- is an intensive character study amidst the violent and disturbing world of a criminal beef trade. Read my Fantastic Fest review as well as Don's review for more about my favorite film of 2011.

To encourage sales of Drafthouse Films titles, the company launched a new "Drafthouse Alliance" membership program this week. A subscription (which costs about $125) allows members to receive either a Blu-ray or DVD along with digital download of a current Drafthouse Films title of their choice, as well as the next nine releases shipped automatically.

'Color Me Obsessed' Brings a Non-Musical Twist to Alamo's Music Mondays


Color Me Obsessed posterBy Virginia Yapp

Immediately after the sold-out screening of Gorman Bechard's documentary Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, the first questions asked of the film's director at the Q&A were about something many audience members may have had on their minds: "Why didn't you use any of The Replacements' songs in your documentary? Was the rock doc's lack of 'Mats tracks due to copyright issues? Wouldn't you have put music in the documentary if you had been able to get it?"

Fair enough. Color Me Obsessed may be just about the only movie shown as part of the Drafthouse's signature Music Mondays programming that had not a single note of music. Instead, the documentary -- true to its title -- examines the fervent fandom surrounding the iconic '80s rock band from Minneapolis, rather than presenting the band's greatest hits interspersed with archival footage and photos. You might consider this the anti-concert film.

Berchard, who has been touring the world with his film for about a year now, claims he made the conscious decision not to use music to tell the "potentially true story" of The Replacements. Instead, he filters the band's modest rise and major fall through the mouths of friends, journalists and fellow musicians that knew the band back in its heyday. Tom Arnold, Lori Barbero and Grant Hart are just a few of the talking heads who make an appearance, along with regular fans.

While Color Me Obsessed follows a fairly linear path -- sketching out general details of the band's raw, punkish beginnings in the early 1980s to its critical success in the mid- to late 1980s to its sad unraveling in the early 1990s -- it's clearly more interested in providing insights into the communal, comforting aspects of fandom than delving into messy, personal details about the "janitor, a kid and a drunk" who comprised the band (along with drummer Chris Mars, of course, whom the film's talking heads all count as the sanest of the four).

Rant: Tim League is Wrong, Bring on the Texters


Last week, the Internets were atwitter with news from CinemaCon in Las Vegas. During a panel discussion, Regal Entertainment Chief Executive Amy Miles proposed that allowing moviegoers to text might be a way to lure more people into theaters. Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League took to the microphone to declare that would happen over his dead body.

There was an immediate outcry among film fans. They condemned the proposal, and sang kudos for Tim.

That's great, except maybe Tim's wrong.

First, the Alamo Drafthouse has packaged various "bad movie viewing experiences" into popular programming events. The Alamo presents quote-alongs, sing-alongs, and heckle-alongs (sometimes by texting). Heck, they've even turned the worst movie experience imaginable into a product: crying infants during "Baby Day" screenings.

Why shouldn't Regal and Cinemark have the same opportunity to boost their net bottom line with creative programming? In fact, I'd rather they do that and lay off the blaring pre-show ad reels.

Film on Tap: Burton Baton Meets the Waco Kid


Sam and ChipFilm on Tap is a column about the many ways that beer (or sometimes booze) and cinema intersect in Austin.

The most significant local event that infuses film with beer is the annual Off-Centered Film Fest (OCFF), now in its fifth year in Austin, which runs Thursday, April 19 through Saturday, April 21 this year. A collaboration of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the festival features craft beer-themed films and events.

Tickets go on sale today for the OCFF, which includes a Rolling Roadshow screening of Mel Brooks' comedy, Blazing Saddles, a spaghetti Western feast paired with selections from the Dogfish Head portfolio and a special screening of the short-film fest finalists. As usual, Dogfish Head founder and head brewer Sam Calagione will be on hand for all of the festivities and this year he's bringing along his favorite comedic actors, writers and directors including David Wain (Wanderlust), Ken Marino (Role Models, Wanderlust) and Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad),  to co-host and cavort as they celebrate film and beer. As I learned in my interview with Calagione last year, he was roommates with Marino and Truglio in New York and they served as his "quality analysis" for his homebrew experiments.

Nothing quite says Blazing Saddles like a quote-along with a buttload of cap guns, pies, and baked beans on hand at the Thursday night Rolling Roadshow screening in downtown Austin's Republic Park. Like last year's Strange Brew event, in addition to Dogfish Head selections several local breweries will represented, including Independence Brewing, Real Ale Brewing and Live Oak Brewing (Sam Calagione seen above with Live Oak founder Chip McElroy). Special kegs will be on hand from (512) Brewing, Circle Brewing, Hops & Grain, Jester King, South Austin Beer and Thirsty Planet. Members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild will be manning a booth where you can not only join the guild as an enthusiast, but also "pie a brewer" for a small donation to benefit this non-profit supporting Texas craft beer-related mission.

Find out more about this special weekend and a report of the offerings at the new Alamo Slaughter after the jump.

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