Alamo Drafthouse

'Best Worst Movie' Trolls Around Austin

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Best Worst Movie goblins in AustinThe documentary Best Worst Movie kicks off a cross-country tour tomorrow with a week-long run in the best city possible for such an event ... this one. It's not that I'm biased about Austin, although I am, but this is a town where screenings of the cult film that is the focus of the doc, Troll 2, sell out like crazy. In fact, Troll 2 events at Alamo Drafthouse and Rolling Roadshow are featured in the documentary, and you can even catch a nostalgic glimpse of the original Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado. Opening the movie in New York or LA first would have been downright wrong.

As all good Troll 2 fans know, Troll 2 isn't actually about trolls. The monsters are in fact goblins. And to promote Best Worst Movie, a pair of goblins have been venturing around Austin all week, visiting some of the city's finest and most unusual landmarks. You have to admire their dedication -- after all, you didn't see any Na'vi bumming around Barton Springs to promote Avatar, or sad teen vampires lurking around the Daniel Johnston frog mural for the Twilight movies.

You can view the full set of photos from the "Austin Goblin Tour" on the Facebook page for Best Worst Movie, including stops at Iron Works (but aren't they vegetarian?), Toy Joy, Spider House and I Luv Video. The Best Worst Movie folks have kindly granted me permission to show you a few of my favorites from other stops on the tour, below the jump.

Alamo's Zack Carlson Will 'Destroy All Movies!!!' Before Fantastic Fest

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Destroy All MoviesLast September, just before Fantastic Fest, the Slackerwood gang recorded a very memorable podcast with Alamo Drafthouse staffer Zack Carlson. Like many Alamo staffers, Zack wears many hats: shorts programmer for Fantastic Fest, lead programmer for Alamo Drafthouse in general and the guy who intros and programs Terror Tuesday. During the podcast, he quietly mentioned that he was finishing up a book he's been working on for the last five years that would be out some time in 2010, so "published author" is about to join Zack's other titles.

Since Jette and I were at Alison Macor's book signing over the weekend, it got me thinking: I hadn't heard about Zack's book in a while. I asked him about it yesterday, and guess what? Not only did I find out that the book's available for pre-order, but I got a little teaser about a special event scheduled to happen in Austin during this year's Fantastic Fest.

Edited by Zack Carlson and fellow Austinite Bryan Connolly, Destroy All Movies!!!: The Complete Guide to Punks on Film is a reference book that provides a complete guide (900 pages!) to every punk or new waver to hit the big screen, including interviews and stills. Fantagraphic Books is the publisher. The description on Amazon makes it look like a must-have for anyone who calls themselves a cinephile, or an Alamo-ite.

Quick Snaps: Double-Theater Double Feature

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Ball of Fire

I realize you all are looking at the above photo and thinking, "Those double-features on the Paramount marquee are in no way unusual. Jette, did someone spike your oatmeal?" Hang on, and I'll tell you the whole story, with another photo to give you a hint after the jump.

It was August 2006. I loved the movie Ball of Fire and wanted to see it at the Paramount. I didn't feel a need to see His Girl Friday again, though. I was in a double-feature mood, but not for that double feature. I knew what I wanted to see instead. So I skipped the August 1 screening -- which it turned out Quentin Tarantino attended, as many people reported later -- and set my sights for the evening of Wednesday, August 2.

Tap-Dancing Zellners, Putting on the (Alamo) Ritz

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Zellner brothers

On Monday night, I headed to Alamo Drafthouse Ritz for an evening titled "Zellneroids! The Zellner Brothers Short Film Cavalcade," not sure what to expect. I did not expect live tap-dancing and singing, that's for sure.

Nathan and David Zellner are Austin filmmakers who have been making films in Austin, primarily shorts, for more than 10 years. Their short films have played festivals around the world, including Sundance. Sundance was also where their feature film Goliath premiered in 2008. I reviewed Goliath earlier this year when it was released on DVD.

Need More Fest? Sample 'Taste of SXSW' Encores at Alamo

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SXSW Film 2010We're more than halfway through the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, and some of us are starting to experience that slightly panicky feeling that we haven't seen as many films as we wanted and are going to miss a few we were dying to see. Normally I'd advise some deep breathing, a yoga pose and the understanding that this happens every year and it's just the way the universe works. However, Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz has decided to give Austinites just one more chance to see some of the films the Alamo staff especially enjoyed at SXSW this year: Rejoice and Shout, Monsters, Outcast and Red White & Blue.*

The best part is that the "Taste of SXSW" screenings are open to the general public. These are equal-opportunity screenings where anyone can buy a ticket from the Alamo website. You don't have to wait in a long line in the rain only to find out that the badgeholders got all the seats this time.  They're spaced throughout the week so you don't have to see three movies in a day if you're starting to feel a little burned out by that schedule.

The screening times and descriptions from the Alamo website are listed after the jump.

Austin Theaters Support 'Eat Local Week'

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Fresh Poster

Two of Austin's most-loved theaters are showing their support for the community with special screenings during Edible Austin Eat Local Week. Kicking off December 5, this week provides opportunities for Central Texans to explore and celebrate the abundance of local food by eating out and shopping at participating area restaurants and markets. Money raised by participating businesses will go towards YouthLaunch's Urban Roots, a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture to effect change for 14- to 18-year-olds, and to nourish East Austin residents who have limited access to healthy foods.

On Saturday, December 5, the Paramount Theatre presents a special screening of the powerful and inspiring food documentary Fresh, which has been compared to the eye-opening Food, Inc. Joel Salatin, who is featured in the film, will join Fresh director/producer Ana Sofia Joanes for an audience Q&A after the screening. Ticket prices are $15, $25 and $100. The limited $100 tickets include reserved seating and admission to a pre-screening reception with Joanes, Salatin and other featured guests in the State Theatre lobby. The reception will feature Austin's top chefs preparing locally sourced food tastings and local beverages. The event will also provide opportunities to meet and connect with many of Austin's local food nonprofit and support groups. Tickets are on sale now.

AAAFF Dispatch: Day Three

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LA Renigen and HP Mendoza

What a great day at Austin Asian American Film Festival.  I managed to see four features despite a migraine, because the last film was the one film I absolutely had to see (and it didn't disappoint). 

The day started with People in the Shadows, a documentary on people in the streets of Tehran. It was more verite, and not enough cinema for me (specifically, not enough context). 

But then there was White on Rice, with a quick introduction by co-star Lynn Chen. Hiroshi Watanabe (Letters from Iwo Jima) plays Jimmy, who, despite being in his forties, is still relying on other people to get by -- currently his sister, nephew, and long suffering brother-in-law. When his brother-in-law's niece Ramona (Chen) comes to stay, Jimmy becomes obsessed.  Look for a supporting role by James Kyson Lee (Heroes), including an unexpected breakfast-cereal-related costume scene.  It's funny, and a crowd pleaser, which is good, because it was another sold-out crowd.

AAAFF Dispatch: Days One and Two with Chi Pham

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The Austin Asian American Film Festival's second night has ended.  The only film on Opening Night, The Speed of Life by UT's Ed Radtke was sold out.  I didn't make it to the opening party because I had to get up in the morning.  I did get a chance to talk briefly with Chi Pham by lucky happenstance. [pictured above, center].  

Chi Pham happened to strike up a conversation with a friend and me and ended up sharing quite a bit of his story. Pham plays Dad in All About Dad, the story of a domineering Dad who just can't control his kids any longer.  Pham had quite a journey into becoming a bit of a celebrity. Mark Tran and his production were in jeopardy of shutting down because they couldn't find a bilingual actor to play the father. They scattershot posters all over San Jose, California.  Pham happened upon one, but before he could actually have the audition, his home was lost in a fire, and lost his voice for some time.  But despite the circumstances, he was hired.  He's quite a character, too.  After the screening of All About Dad he was surrounded by dozens of people wanting a photograph with him. 

Range Life Fall Tour Brings Seven Indie Films to Austin

Range Life and the Onion's AV Club are bringing a week's worth of special engagement screenings to Austin starting on the 14th.  All are independent comedies, with the first film, White on Rice, is screening as part of the Austin Asian American Film Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. With the exception of White on Rice, all films are at 9:30pm at the Dobie.  Check out the list below, as three films will include Q&A, and one will be followed by a live band performance. 

For more information about the Range Life Fall Tour '09, or to view trailers, go to their website

AFF09 Daily Dispatch: Day Three

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This is the stair-iest festival. My knees are killing me.  I seem destined to be climbing lots of stairs, to the point my poor knees can't take. or close to it.  Stairs at the Driskill. Stairs at the Ritz. Stairs at all the party venues.  Owwie.  I may have to put in a worker's comp claim (just kidding, Jette). 

AFF09-SatPanels-dI missed the morning panels, because not having alarms set meant I woke up when I was good and ready, and that was far too late for panels before lunch. So I was very envious when Rich Vázquez tweeted about a very personal panel up on the Capital lawn with Tom Skerritt and some teachers (aka the "Teaching Storytelling Through Screenwriting" panel).

It also meant I missed the An Education screening, which has caused an uproar among some because it was booked at a small venue.  I'm rather surprised, because at least one badge holder I know got there less than a half hour before it was scheduled to start, and there was even room for me.  Remember folks, the TBAs are locked into specific time slots and venues, and the festival has to accommodate certain restrictions and demands when playing films, too many to name here. This is a festival and conference, emphasis on the conference in the first few days. Having films that early in the day is relatively new for the fest.  And the film is opening in Austin in less than three weeks. And the two TBAs filling the Paramount slots are bigger films.

To me, it's a non-issue. Of the things to be frustrated with, a wide-release film coming out in a few weeks is very low. Besides, the emphasis needed to be on the Awards luncheon, which, of course, I missed.  While I'm a little sad my friend and fellow Austinite Patrick Sullivan did not win in his category, he beat out nearly 4,000 people to get to the finalist round.  And from what I've seen on twitter today, Sitcom Teleplay winner Benjamin Healy is an Austinite. 

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