The Austin Chronicle

Film Flam

By Kimberley Jones, March 2, 2012, 12:04pm, Picture in Picture

Based solely on the premise of the two television shows he’s created – last season’s Lone Star, sadly axed early, and the just-debuted Awake – we might speculate Austin writer Kyle Killen has a special yen for split personalities. Our verdict? More, please.

Awake, which premiered last night on NBC, is equal parts crime procedural and psychological drama. After a devastating car crash, Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) finds himself straddling two separate realities: one in which his wife died in the accident, and one in which he lost his son instead. In each reality he has a different partner and a different shrink; the therapists are played, with kicky good cop/bad cop seesawing, by the soothing Cherry Jones and the spiky BD Wong. The sleuthing (one case per reality, with crossover) was the weakest element of the episode, but that may simply be that it got shorter shrift next to the elaborate premise explanations that necessarily dominate a curtain-raising pilot. As with Lone Star, I wonder what kind of legs the show will have – will the split-reality premise bear fruit or peter out frustratingly? – but I’m very happy to sit and watch how it all plays out. Only wish they’d found a way to work the ever-watchable Jason Isaacs’ Jackson Brodie brogue into the show…

The pilot is currently free to stream on and to download on iTunes. It’s also available to HuluPlus subscribers. Extra long trailer below.


Filmmaker, poster designer, and February Chron cover boy Yen Tan is now $40,000 closer to getting his new feature film made: The Vilcek Foundation, whose mission is to honor the contributions of foreign-born scholars and artists living in the U.S., announced this week that its very nice-sized grant would go to help fund production of the Malaysian-born, Austin-dwelling Tan’s new film Pit Stop, about “parallel stories of two gay men in a small Texas town.” Tan hopes to go into production this spring; you can read more about Tan in Josh Rosenblatt’s recent profile (“Sleight of Hand,” Feb. 10, 2012) here.


Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr.’s award-winning doc, Incendiary: The Willingham Case, is now available on DVD, as well in digital form for rent or purchase on iTunes. DVD extras include filmmaker interviews and an epilogue that updates the Willingham case, which was built on junk science and ended with a man executed. You can read more about the case and the film in Jordan Smith’s 2011 interview with the filmmakers.


We’re cutting a big close on this one, but if you happen to be both a Hollywood hopeful and an impulse buyer, you can still sign up for screenwriter/novelist/comedian Owen Egerton’s two-day screenwriting course to be held this weekend at the Alamo Ritz. As Egerton puts it, “I figure the best place to watch a film must be the best place to learn how to write one. Plus, beer.” Sold! Facebook event page can be found here; PayPal link to register, located here.


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