Local Theaters

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.

AFF09 Daily Dispatch: Days Six and Seven


You miss me yesterday? Wondering why I didn't write a dispatch? Well, I was home, watching DVD screeners, so I could get a couple reviews in. So now you know about two films you should catch on Thursday. And I mean that seriously; just because I wasn't overwhelmingly in love with a film does not negate its merit.

This afternoon, I headed over to Guero's for a Baghdad Texas party.  I couldn't stay long, but I did have a chance to talk about movies with co-writer Shaneye Ferrell (pictured above), who also plays Kathy, the FBI agent, in the film.  We talked about the disappointment in the "Hollywood happy ending" and the draw to complex, humanized villains. I wish I could have stayed longer, but only had time to meet actor Booka Michel before I dashed off to The Donner Party.

Me and Slackery News Tidbits


Me and Orson WellesI thought we were having a slow news week, but the local film news really added up. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Statesman's Out and About blog released the results of the newspaper's "Best Austin Movie Theater" poll. No surprise: All four Austin-area Alamo theaters were in the top four slots, although we're a bit disappointed that Village and its snazzy 4K digital didn't rate a bit higher. Bigger surprise: Tinseltown Pflugerville tied for fifth place with the Bob Bullock IMAX theater. Jette saw a movie at the Pflugerville theater in June and found the picture and sound quality atrocious -- some of the speakers weren't working at all. Readers, what charms of Tinseltown Pflugerville are we missing?
  • Richard Linklater's latest film, Me and Orson Welles (pictured at right), now has an Austin release date of December 4. If you want to see it sooner, the movie will play the Houston Cinema Arts Festival on Nov. 11, as the opening-night film, with Linklater attending.
  • The first speakers for the SXSW 2010 Film Conference were announced this week: Argentine musician/composer Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain, Babel) and comic-book artist Gilbert Shelton, a former Austinite who is currently involved in adapting his Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers into a movie.
  • Speaking of SXSW, if you didn't catch We Live in Public at the 2009 fest or during this week's limited run, it's playing in Austin for another week, daily at Alamo Ritz. Wish we'd thought of this sooner, but Alamo totally should host a Tweet-Along night for this documentary.

Quick Snaps: Wandering Seats from Hogg


Hogg seats

I was walking around the UT Austin campus recently and passed Hogg Auditorium. Hogg is used as a classroom these days, but when I went to UT, the student union showed movies there. I wish I had a photo of the inside for you -- it looks more like a movie theater than an auditorium, and even has balcony seating. It's lovely without being too fancy.

For some reason, some of the theater-I-mean-auditorium seats were outside of the building. Were they being sent off for cleaning? I have no idea. But I took advantage of the opportunity to snap a photo. I don't think the seats have changed much since I used to sit in them for movies.

Hogg was never what you might call the latest greatest high-tech theater. It was notorious for the bats that would fly behind the screen sometimes. But I had one of my most memorable moviegoing experiences there, my first semester at UT. My long-distance boyfriend had just broken up with me, it had been a miserable weekend with a lot of crying in the dorm-room shower (the only private place possible), and for whatever reason, I decided to go see a movie to cheer me up. Hogg was showing one of my favorite movies ... Brazil.

This is Not Your Living Room: A Theatergoer's Primer -- Part Two


Half-Ass-a-Thon Audience

Have you recovered from Part One yet? If so, read on for more basic theater etiquette.

Personal Space. Just because you put your feet up at home does not mean that's okay in the movie theater. No one should have to share an armrest with your toes, or be forced to look at them in the seat next to them. If you put your feet on the tables at an Alamo, I hope the waitstaff puts theirs on your food.

Hats Off, AKA Bouffant Be Gone. Seriously, if your thinning hair makes you so self conscious that you can't remove your hat indoors, either sit in the back row or talk to your doctor. As for you, Big Hair, the 50's want their bouffants back, and no wants to get whiplash trying to look around you. If you don't sit in the back, pay for the seats that you block.

This is Not Your Living Room: A Theatergoer's Primer -- Part One


"Hot Fuzztival" audience

Dear Austin,

I love Austin, and it's film geek heaven. But apparently fewer and fewer of us know how to properly behave in theaters. It seems Austin's movie audiences are getting worse, even at the Alamo.

The theater is not your living room. And you are not alone in it. It's past time for a Theatergoers Primer.

Stop Talking. Shut it. When you arrive in the theater, stop using your outside voice. It is acceptable to talk, but quietly, not like you're at a nightclub. When the lights dim, so should your conversation. Stop talking during the trailers, as some people are actually trying to enjoy those, even if they are available online. When the film talks, no one should be talking.

Planning Dinner and a Movie in Austin


Shanghai, by Kent WangDisclaimer: Before you think this is just another blog post about the Alamo Drafthouse, guess again! Since I got to know Jette and Jenn through sitting through dozens of films at Fantastic Fest, I do find it challenging not to blog frequently about the Drafthouse. With that said, some moviegoers are not comfortable with food service during a film and find it distracting to have servers moving about or their neighbor scraping the bottom of the salad bowl (hey, the garlic ranch is tasty!). You have other options when it comes to a good dinner-and-movie experience in Austin.

Here are some of my personal recommendations:

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