Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Hindi movie hideout from the heat

Now that the heat’s truly upon us for real, those of us without air-conditioning seek out the cool spots. I’m talking about the movies. Because they’re super-long and because the brand-new releases are screened here in Austin almost weekly these days, the Hindi (or “Bollywood”) movies are a great attraction. The Chron always mentions them as new in town, but merely summarizes plots because there aren’t advance screenings. The NYT has lately been reviewing these movies (Chak de India, this week’s offering, with no dancing, alas, and Cash, which showed here last week and had a lot of hip-hop influences in the choreography). It’s always possible to Google using “wikipedia hindi movie [title of movie–in this case Chak de India”] for cast lists and links to reviews and official sites. This week’s movie stars Shah Rukh Khan, whom I think of as the Fernando Colunga of India (if you follow telenovelas, you’ll know what I mean, except that Fernando Colunga doesn’t dance). The Tinseltown South site has the most accurate schedules. Tinseltown is the current screening location for these movies. When I fall in love with the music from one of these movies, I usually find it at MGM Indian Foods. Right now, I’m listening to the music from Fanaa. We’re very lucky to be able to see these movies on the big screen, where they belong for their cinematic qualities, which always provide a visual treat, in the same way that so many of the Cantonese and Mandarin movies do. The Austin Public Library (Spicewood and Howson, e.g.) is beginning to acquire Hindi movies, which is wonderful, but they truly deserve a gigantic screen.

Drafthouse Round-Up: Robosaurus and Downtown Closing

I didn’t make it out to the final night of the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown last week or the Robosaurus / Transformers opening extravaganza at Alamo South Lamar last night. We did see Robosaurus resting on his way into town at Slaughter and the I-35 frontage road on Sunday. My 8-year-old is still wondering what cruel world kept him from attending. My wife did take him down there yesterday afternoon to check things out, but they didn’t take photos.

Here’s a round-up of links from those who did make it out to those events.

Alamo Downtown’s Last Night:

Robosaurus at Alamo South Lamar:

Update (07.06.07 9:17AM CDT): Drafthouse Henri links the best of robosaurus videos on YouTube.

Alamo Attempts Novel Way To Raise Moving Cash

As Alamo Drafthouse Downtown prepares to face its last week at the Colorado location before they close down for the summer in anticipation of the move to the Ritz, they’ve made the news for another reason: the South Lamar location had computer problems this week and has overcharged customers, some multiple times.

That’s one way to raise money for the move. ;)

On another note, former Metblogger, Marc Savlov has an Alamo Downtown remembrance in this week’s Chronicle and Jette Kernion is running an Alamo Downtown blog-a-thon on Monday. Be sure to get your posts to her.

“Deadly Obsession”

“Deadly Obsession”, a psychological suspense/horror film is filming at the Studio Estates in Kyle, TX. It also just so happens that yours truly is one of the stars. I didn’t even know this place existed. It’s pretty cool. There is a “guest house” where the top 5 stars of the film can stay and so far it’s just been me and my creative partner (who was also cast in one of the lead roles) in the whole house. This has been, by far, my best film experience so far. The cast and crew are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. Some of my adventures thus far can be found in this saga.

If you’re interested in getting some experience on a feature film crew, they are still looking for more Production Assistants. There is no pay, but you do get three meals a day and can stay on site if you like (there are a couple of houses where many people are staying and sleeping on air mattresses).

If you’re interested, contact the production office at 512-535-0446 and ask for Lara Gwinn, the Production Manager.

Not in wide release

Catch The Wendell Baker Story while it’s here in town and enjoy all those Austin locations. If the reviews are to be believed, this movie is not to everyone’s taste, but I liked the imdb comment in which the writer said, “I hope this doesn’t sound derogatory, the scenery in the film made me want to visit Texas for the first time ever.” It’s not a pretty movie; any beauty in it is that of Austin, mostly South Austin, including my own street, although there are other recognizable places (including the Four Seasons and the old power plant, complete with freight train in the background) and some nearby locations out of town. A friendly review in the New Yorker (NYC is one of the few places showing this movie) in passing calls Austin “the global center of slackerology.” I loved the Johnny Canales joke: “Jou got it!” The lighting’s not kind to any of the actors and parts of the direction and script leave a few things to be desired (there’s quite a bit of fortune-cookie philosophy), but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. If for no other reason, see this picaresque for its many views of Austin, some already altered since filming in 2005. You will laugh.

Need to kick your screenwriting into gear?

I know a whole lot of us creative types in Austin. Actors, film makers, writers, musicians, painters, and more. You may remember when I posted about NaNoWriMo, where people strive to write 50,000 words in the month of November. There is always a large Austin group that gathers to write and support each other. Well now it’s time for your screen writers to give it a go.

June is Scriptfrenzy month! You or you and a writing partner write a feature length screenplay of 20,000 words or more in the month of June. In my past participation in NaNoWriMo, I found it a great exercise if nothing else and you meet some really great people. It can really unclog the mental pathways and at least get you putting something on a page. It’s all about quantity, not quality, but you never know, you might end up with a decent first draft!

SXRC: Sunday

Sunday was awesome- I feel bad for all the SXSW volunteers who had to wear flyers about daylight savings taped to their shirts because, yeah, I totally forgot.

I got sweet parking and arrived in time to still be early for Suffering Man’s Charity, a film starring, produced by, and directed by Alan Cumming, who was present for the screening. I thought it was hysterical, but then again I love black humor. Ran out for a bit of lunch with Branaaan at El Mercado, which was delicious. After that I scooted over to this panel about email faux pas, and that was pretty great. People send really boneheaded emails, it seems. Then it was on to the Horror films of today panel, moderated by Harry Knowles. Then it was time for He Was A Quiet Man, a film about love and workplace violence, which was pretty great, but it wasn’t NEARLY as entertaining as the director’s rant against HD during the Q&A. You could practically hear the color drain out of people’s faces.
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SXReCap: Saturday

Friday at SXSW wasnt really aything to write home about for me- I saw Sisters at Alamo South Lamar, and sadly, I hated it. It just seemed disjointed at the end, and had gratuitous violence with no redeeming value towards the story. The great Stephen Rea was wasted in this movie, and that’s saying something.
After that it was later than I thought (all the movies so far have gotten out like, 20 minutes later than I thought they would) so I missed The Lookout, but I heard it was really great. I ended up going to the BlogHer Meetup at Freddie’s on S. 1st instead, which was a wise choice- SO much fun. I went home happy.

Today started bright and early, got a great parking spot and hit it hard for my 10am panel. It was mostly panels today but I did see The Ten at the Paramount, which lived up to all the hilarious hype I’d heard and was followed by a Q & A with the director and some other people and OH MY GOD PAUL RUDD.
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SXSW Film: Greencine Recap of Conversation with Linklater

Greencine has a recap posted of the Conversation with Austin’s own Richard Linklater from a SXSW film conference panel earlier this afternoon.

Pan’s Labyrinth

195997691_cd6c1d0e96_m.jpgMy wife and I had a chance to see Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, Pan’s Labyrinth (IMDB) on Tuesday night at the Metropolitan. The former Austinite and Austin Film Society advisory board member’s new film is grabbing its fair share of critical acclaim as it goes into wider release today. The Austin Chronicle is running a cover story this week. There’s also a pretty good video interview with Del Toro about the film here.

Pan’s Labyrinth returns to the same setting as 2001’s The Devil’s Backbone. I managed to catch a screening of that at Dobie back then, but I think it only ran here for a short time. Both films are set in Spain in the early 1940’s when Franco’s fascist army terrorized much of the country. Devil’s Backbone was more of a ghost story and precedes Pan’s Labyrinth by a few years. I’d categorize Pan’s Labyrinth as a fantasy. It’s a dark fantasy though. Don’t go into this one with the kids. There are some fairly brutal scenes. The visuals are amazing, particularly the now infamous Pale Man, who’s sure to join Pinhead from Hellraiser and Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street in your cast of favorite nightmarish villains. His scene evokes memories of a Heironymous Bosch painting. The stories don’t depend on each other, so it’s not necessary to have seen Devil’s Backbone to enjoy Pan’s Labyrinth. Check it out.

Update: I somehow missed Jette’s review when I posted this earlier this morning. And I forgot two other things. First, that Pan’s Labyrinth also reminded me somewhat of Heavenly Creatures and second that if you’re interested in that time period in Spain’s history, check out Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.

Photo from Mr Babyman via Flickr

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