Quick Snaps: Last Night at the Dobie


Dobie marquee

I wasn't at the Dobie Theatre last night when Landmark showed movies there for the last time. I did go to the theater on Saturday and took some photos during the daytime, which I'll share a little later this week. It was unfortunate that the theater closed during the same weekend that hundreds of students were moving into the dorms above it, but many local Dobie lovers still persisted in getting to campus for one last movie there.

Among the faithful was Austin filmmaker/film lover Tate English, who saw the last movie at the Dobie last night, and snapped a couple of photos of the Dobie's final message to Austin on its marquee. You can see the other side of the marquee after the jump. If you're on Facebook, you can also see Tate's entire Facebook album from his last evening at Dobie. Thanks again to Tate for giving Slackerwood permission to publish these pictures.

Quick Snaps: Say Goodbye to the Dobie Theatre (for Now)



I didn't realize it would happen this quickly, but Landmark is closing the Dobie Theatre this Sunday, August 22. We knew back in April that Landmark planned to give up the theater, but somehow I'd hoped that we would hear about a new tenant to run the movie theater before it closed.

I'm a little sad about it, but you know what? I think the last movie I remember seeing at Dobie may have been Baghead. That was the July 4 weekend in 2008. A lot of other people are feeling upset about it and they haven't been to the theater in years either. It hasn't been a film-festival venue in a couple of years, either. Landmark made the decision last year to show more first-run Hollywood movies there and fewer arthouse/indie films. It isn't the Dobie I knew when I moved to Austin in 1991, the one that played Hands on a Hardbody for just about an entire year.

Apparently there is some interest in the theater reopening without Landmark. I've heard a few vague whispers about that myself, but nothing definite. In the Austin Movie Blog article linked above, a spokesman for Carlton Group, which owns the Dobie Mall, said, "We want to get [Dobie Theatre] back to its heyday." But is that even possible?

The Changing Landscape of Austin Movie Theaters


Gold Class Cinemas"If movie ticket prices are $29, the recession must be over." That was the sentiment I heard on Twitter from several people as announcements about Gold Class Cinema opening theaters in Austin and Dallas hit the news yesterday. I have to say, I blinked at the ticket price myself.

The Gold Class Cinema announcement is just one piece of recent Austin news about local movie theaters. The landscape is changing around here. Is it because of the economy, because we have Alamo Drafthouse theaters, or because the ways in which we watch movies are changing? Probably a little of everything.

First of all, Gold Class Cinemas will open a theater in The Domain on May 7. The theater sounds very swanky, and very much in tune with the rest of The Domain: reclining armchairs (with pillows and blankets available), a menu of upscale appetizers and entrees, intimate theater size ... and tickets ranging from $22 to $29. There's also a bar that looks very nice from the photos we've received. We're hoping to check it out soon in person and will certainly report back.

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

Review: Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

The summer movie season started last Friday, which means most screens will be showing Hollywood's blockbuster hopefuls. Smaller films have to fight for screens, and usually don't last much longer than a week or two. Still, it's possible to see these films locally. Austin is currently the test audience for an Anchor Bay theatrical release -- a thriller currently playing at Dobie that will expand to screens in Los Angeles and Phoenix later this month.

Director Brad Soref and Producer Donald Zuckerman brought Not Forgotten to Austin this weekend, including a special Austin Film Society screening with a Q&A, and at least one sold-out screening on a sunny Saturday when Pecan Street Festival and other summertime events were all competing with each other.

Not Forgotten is a twisted thriller that begins with unsettling images of a murder then cuts to an idyllic small-town softball game. Jack Bishop (Simon Baker, pictured above) is coaching his daughter's team, and everything looks close to postcard perfect. Even Jack's wife, Amaya (Paz Vega) has a great relationship with her stepdaughter, Toby (Chloe Moretz).

SXSW 2008: Updated Guide to Film Fest Venues


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.

Austin Film Fest Closing Night!


It's a big night at the Paramount, of course, with Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Grace is Gone lighting up the big screen at the Bullock, but it's also your last chance to see a couple of the really great films that may not be coming to your local cineplex soon. Heck, you could spend the whole night at the Dobie and be supremely entertained:

America Unchained - in this amusing doc, a British gent decides to try driving a 1970 Torino station wagon from L.A. to New York without eating, sleeping, or tanking up at a chain restaurant/hotel/gas station. It's this last that becomes really difficult. A great audience flick. 6:00 p.m., Dobie.

First Saturday in May - There's a lot of buzz around this documentary about the Kentucky Derby, and rightfully so: it speaks from an insider's perspective and keeps things interesting by never letting the story rest for long. Even if horses aren't your thing, any sort of sports enthusiast should check this out. 7:45 p.m., Dobie.

Blood Car - In the very near future, gas is up to $30 and an enterprising young vegan inadvertently invents an engine that runs on blood. If you're thinking Roger Corman blood and guts and unpleasantness, you're half right -- it's all played for laughs, and rather successfully. If you're any kind of comedy or horror enthusiast, this is a can't-miss. 9:30 p.m., Dobie.

Tickets are $8 at the door. Visit for more information.

Two BIG Comedies Tonight at AFF


I awoke this morning to an e-mail from Kelly Williams, the film program director at the Austin Film Festival, with news of two films playing tonight that comedy fans won't want to miss.

RicklesFirst the good news - we're screening two really amazing comedies at the festival on Tuesday night. You know I'm a big comedy snob, so, I would not just recommend anything.

The bad news is that that you have to pick.

I'll be at the Arbor for our TBA #3 - which is MR. WARMTH, THE DON RICKLES PROJECT - I just locked this film last week and I'm really excited about it. It is directed by John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers) and features interviews with everyone from Clint Eastwood to Robert DeNiro to Sarah Silverman - all about the great Don Rickles. It features a lot of footage of Rickles and will be awesome.

The producer of the film, Bob Engelman, is here with the film and he'll be at the screening for a Q&A after the film. He has a ton of great stories. Please come out for a great movie and Q&A!

Mr. Warmth - Tuesday, Oct. 16th at 9:30 - Regal Arbor

The other film is THE LIVING WAKE, a really original film, unlike anything I've seen come into the festival in years, plus it just won a Special Jury Award for Comic Vision at the festival this weekend. It is really funny and the writers of the film - Peter Kline and Mike O'Connell (also the lead actor - see him now before he's a huge star) will be in attendance.

The Living Wake - Tuesday, Oct. 16th at 8:00 - Dobie Theater

Thanks and I hope to see you at the festival,


Individual tickets to these screenings are $8 at the door. Film passes for the Austin Film Festival (which runs through Thursday) are $35, which is still a bargain since you could easily see five movies in the remaining nights of the festival. Badge holders are admitted first, then film pass holders, followed by individual ticket holders. For more information please visit

Movies This Week: Renoir, Office Space, and a Garage Sale

I've been out of town for a long weekend in the New Orleans area, where they really could use more indie/arthouse theaters, although that's not exactly a priority post-Katrina. Still, my youngest brother is terribly envious of the diversity of film choices we have in Austin, which is why I hope he doesn't see the following list. He's not going to be in a good mood until he gets to see Superbad, and that doesn't reach theaters for another 10 days. If he were here, these are the movies and film-related events I'd be telling him about:

  • The Paramount is showing Rules of the Game tonight and Wednesday, and I would love to see this Jean Renoir movie again, especially since it's a restored print. I can't go (I actually have to see Daddy Day Camp tomorrow) but you should all go for me and tell me how wonderful it is. Other Paramount movies in the Summer Classic series this week include a David Lean double-bill of Brief Encounter and Summertime on Thurs. and Sunday, Fellini's La Strada on Sunday, and Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast on Monday.
  • The "Sing-Along" version of Hairspray will be showing for the rest of the week at Barton Creek Cinemark (the one that's not in the mall). I still need to see the non-sing-along version myself, although I am wary after what happened with The Producers. (more films after the jump)

A handy guide to SXSW Film Fest venues


Alamo on South Lamar

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

SXSW Film Festival has six venues this year, and if you've never been to Austin you may not know where all the theaters are located and all of their little quirks. You might think it's possible to run from the Paramount to Alamo on South Lamar on foot in ten minutes, and you'd schedule movies accordingly, and then be sad later. Or you might make it through the entire festival without trying the root-beer float at Alamo Drafthouse.

I thought I'd offer a guideline to the Austin theaters playing SXSW movies 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 in between or even during the movies.

The SXSW film venues are a little different this year -- the Arbor is no longer on the list. This is a shame in one way, because it's a very nice venue and a good place for locals with cars to see movies. On the other hand, trying to drive across town to catch a movie at the Dobie right after seeing one at the Arbor is something I'd rather not attempt again. SXSW has added another screen at Alamo on South Lamar instead, which is more convenient to downtown.

The official SXSW Venues PDF provides a list of theaters with a map, including nearby hotels and film party venues. This useful page also has info on bus service: "Cap Metro’s Film Fest Flyer (Route 3) stops within a few blocks of nearly all the Film Fest venues. Ride from downtown to the Dobie (from 8th and Brazos) or Alamo South (from 3rd and Colorado) for just 50 cents, or buy a Day Pass on the bus for just $1 a day. Buses leave around every 20 minutes and run from 6am to midnight on weekdays, with reduced schedules on weekends. See, call 474-1200, or see the CapMetro flyer in the 'Big Bag'" (which I assume is the bag you get at registration).

Update 3/6/07: The B-Side Unofficial SXSW Other Site Guide includes a venue page with a Google map display for each venue, which you can use to get directions to/from the venues. Here are the six SXSW theaters, with info on location, nearby food, and nearby wireless. If I've missed some tips and tricks that you think belong in this guide, please add a comment or email me and I'll be happy to update this entry.


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