Daily Screens
Now I'm a 'Believer'
The latest issue of The Believer landed in our mailbox today. While we find the magazine frequently brilliant, but also weirdly dowdy and way-too-indulgent with the word counts, this time we couldn't wait to rip through its plastic casing to get to the 2008 Film Issue. Inside are feature-length pieces (Devin McKinney's impassioned case that Henry Fonda should've played the obsessive Scottie in Hitchcock's Vertigo, Jim Shepard's dissection of the original Dutch The Vanishing that winds its way to American foreign policy) and a new feature called Creative Accounting, which breaks down the $18 million budget for an actual (but sadly anonymous) indie film, plus interviews with celebrity intelligentsia (Werner Herzog in conversation with Errol Morris looks damned promising) and the usual dips into esoterica (a Q&A with Vladimir, "one of the only known filmmakers working with View-Masters") and cheek (a photo essay of the "Top Four Nonchalant Responses to Exploding Cars").

We've only had a couple hours to greedily paw through the issue – an issue, by the way, that will continue the debate that's been playing out in the Letters to the Editor section for several issues now regarding the fluctuating, but always, er, distinct, smell of The Believer. This month's issue smells like fresh paint and my childhood speech therapist's office.

4:53PM Thu. Mar. 20, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

'The Story of the America That Got Left Behind'
"He had many good qualities," David Simon said of the man the award he received last night was named for: newspaper titan William Randolph Hearst. He also noted Hearst "outran a bunch of 'em."

4:52PM Wed. Mar. 19, 2008, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

'Allez Cuisine!'
Here's a way to enjoy Uchi from the comfort of your own couch: Chef Tyson Cole will take on Iron Chef Morimoto this Sunday, March 23, at 9pm, on the Food Network.

For a less couch-bound experience of the Kitchen Stadium Showdown, check out the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar's Iron Chef Watching Party. The special simulcast will feature "behind-the-scenes" interview footage with Chef Cole -- what the Drafthouse calls "the Iron Chef Uchi 'Director's Cut.'" You can buy tickets here. All proceeds will go to the Capital Area Food Bank.

And while we're on the subject, the Drafthouse hosts another of its homegrown Iron Chef challenges on March 27. Team Alamo – chefs John Bullington, Trish Eichelberger, and Elijah Horgan – will take on the crew from Roy's, led by Chef Lawrence Kocurek. The dueling chefs will be presenting five plates each that in some way link to the night's film, Preston Sturges' masterful The Lady Eve. Diners, alongside celebrity judges (like the Chron's own Food Editor Virginia B. Wood), will vote on the winning team. Again, all proceeds benefit Capital Area Food Bank.
The movie alone is priceless – but toss in Tim League in a kimono as Chairman Kaga? Well, that's just an embarrassment of riches.

2:29PM Wed. Mar. 19, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Moving on Already
I know. It's like South by Southwest isn't even cold in its grave yet, and already we're sniffing around, making eyes at Tribeca's ass.

Actually, that particular film festival is still about five weeks away, but news just came down the pike that – count it – five Austin filmmakers will be screening there. The feature-length narrative The Wild Man of Navidad by Duane Graves and Justin Meeks will represent Texas alongside three shorts: "Polar" by Scott Nyerges, SXSW 08 alum "KID" by Miguel Alvarez, and "The Aviatrix" by Toddy Burton (who also premiered her short at SXSW 08 and is – yeah, Toddy! – a Chronicle contributor).

4:05PM Tue. Mar. 18, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Six Degrees of Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi ducked in to some SXSW showcases over the weekend while in town to catch his son's punk outfit Fiasco perform and also visit with John Pierson's RTF Master Class on Monday for a wide-ranging discussion with the students of his legendary career in film.

The extensiveness of Buscemi's acting career (IMDB credits the actor with more than 100 film and TV appearances since his start in the mid-Eighties) prompted Pierson to wonder why the game isn't called Six Degrees of Steve Buscemi instead of Kevin Bacon (an actor, Buscemi pointed out ironically, with whom he has never worked).

1:59PM Tue. Mar. 18, 2008, Marjorie Baumgarten Read More | Comment »

The Fest That Just Keeps on Giving …
South by Southwest Film announced (somewhat belatedly) on Saturday night the winners of its last two audience awards. (The bulk of the awards went out Monday night.) Voted audience favorite from 24 Beats per Second was Sascha Paladino's Béla Fleck doc, Throw Down Your Heart; top votes for the Lone Star States sidebar went to David Pomes' Cook County.

Finally, all of Dan Brown's fest trailers – which riff on the likes of 300 and Glengarry Glen Ross – are up online now. Check 'em out here.

12:20PM Tue. Mar. 18, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

NEWSLETTERS
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Updates for SXSW 2017

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Benh Zeitlin Fund Set Up
Rooftop Films has set up a donation fund to help foot hospital bills for SXSW filmmaker Benh Zeitlin (Wholphin Award winner "Glory at Sea"). Zeitlin, who is uninsured, shattered his hip and broke his pelvis in a car accident on the way to SXSW. Three more members of his crew were in the car and sustained minor injuries.

(Thanks to Spout for the link.)

5:53PM Fri. Mar. 14, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

What's the rumpus?
We'll get to the rumpus in a minute.

When we heard the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar was showing the Coen Bros.' terrific 1990 gangster noir Miller's Crossing on St. Patrick's Day, we pulled off the shelf our copy of the script – dog-eared and scribbled on and beat all to hell, exactly as our best-loved books should be. We started pawing through for quotables ("Look in your heart!"); truth be told, there are too damn many. ("Don't think so hard, Eddie. You might sprain something.")

Thusly, we give you, in part, the masterful push/pull, I-love-you-I-hate-you seduction scene between Gabriel Byrne's Irish hood Tom Reagan and Marcia Gay Harden's double-crossing vamp, Verna:

4:12PM Fri. Mar. 14, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

The Buzz on 'Humboldt County'
Seth Hyman, a film rep from Humboldt County, just called us up to let us know that the last two screenings for the fields-of-weed seriocomedy sold out not once but twice (or, um, four times altogether). Instead of turning away hundreds still waiting in line, those crafty folks at the Alamo South Lamar double-projected the film into two packed theatres simultaneously – while still having to turn away 100 people at the Tuesday screening and another 40 at the Thursday one.

The audience is certainly there, so where the hell are the buyers?

2:32PM Thu. Mar. 13, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

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