Daily Screens
Magic Eight-Balling the Oscars
Save our annual autumnal cuddle-up to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas (sometimes, when we’re feeling lowly, we cheat and break it out in June), there are few traditions we hold fast to. But the Oscars? Well, that’s a no-brainer. (And sometimes a full-weeper – dead-people-montage aside, we totally teared up when C. Kaufman won a few years back.) We like it best when we’re in our jammies, with mimosas, and practicing our very own “I’d like to thank the Academy” on pee breaks.

In anticipation of Sunday night’s broadcast, Senior Film Editor Marjorie Baumgarten and I, and maybe some others, will be gnashing over the Oscar noms and making our predictions with Merle Bertrand on his KMAC show “The Director's Cut” tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 23) at 10am. You can livestream the show here.

9:36AM Fri. Feb. 22, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

The King of Fuzz Tonight!
Just a quick reminder: Biker/surf maestro Davie Allan and his Arrows will be at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz tonight, Feb. 20, at 9pm (see our own Margaret Moser's interview with the king of fuzz.) They'll be playing live before a screening of biker movie Devil's Angels, a film so obscure Quentin Tarantino has only ever screened a trailer for it at a QT Fest.

Don't let the Christmas albums fool yah: This is the man behind the fuzz on the soundtrack for Roger Corman's Hell's Angels-baiting The Wild Angels (the "social organization" was so incensed at Corman's portrayal of them as a biker gang they swore revenge – by suing him for $1 million for defamation.)

But let's not forget tonight's feature, starring John Cassavetes in the same year as his Oscar-nominated supporting role in The Dirty Dozen. It's also the only (and rarely seen) biker movie directed by Daniel Haller, who spent most of the '70s and '80s working on every TV drama from O'Hara, U.S. Treasury to Airwolf. But he will always be remembered as the director who brought not one, but two H.P. Lovecraft stories to the screen: 1965's Die, Monster, Die! (aka The Color out of Space) and 1970's The Dunwich Horror.

11:53PM Tue. Feb. 19, 2008, Richard Whittaker Read More | Comment »

Gordon Green Goes Ganja
The trailer's up for Pineapple Express, one-time Austin resident David Gordon Green's collaboration with Superbad's Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Green (who made the gorgeous All the Real Girls and dirty-Gothic Undertow) may not seem like the obvious choice for a comedy about two stoners on the lam, but when I interviewed him about a million years ago (er, 2001) – my first-ever filmmaker interview, in fact – he enthused then about his fondness for Seventies cop and/or car genre pics like Electra Glide in Blue. Pineapple appears to be channeling some of that enthusiasm – even the name (which refers to an extra-special strain of weed) sounds like a throwback; by the time m.i.a.'s "Paper Planes" kicks in on the trailer and James Franco kicks his foot through a windshield while still driving, I was sold. It's a redband trailer, which means only them's over 18 are welcome to enjoy the pervasive language, drug use, sexual references, and violence.

3:26PM Fri. Feb. 15, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

SXSW 08 Gets Bloody
Good news for gore fans and insomniacs (that may be a tautology): Six horror films will be getting their world premier as part of the returning 'Round Midnight stand at South by Southwest.

Last year's 'Round Midnight saw early screenings of Severance, zom-com Fido, the Peter Jackson-sanctioned Black Sheep and the U.S. debut (whoops, make that regional) of the amazing The Signal, which may be the most innovative and artful horror movie since David Cronenberg went legit, and gets a broad release on Feb. 22. Then there was the U.S. debut of New York-based were-rat shocker Mulberry Street, and the world premiere of Borderland (based loosely on the bizarre and horrific 1989 murder of Mark Kilroy in Matamoros, Mexico. The UT student was sacrificed by a drug gang as part of a religious ceremony.) Post-SXSW, both films were picked up for the After Dark Horrorfest (the one-week only nation-wide horror festival): now, as part of the 8 Films To Die For, both get a DVD release on March 18.

This all comes after the world debut at SXSW 2006 of post-modern slashermentary Behind the Mask: The Leslie Vernon Story, which has become a cult classic. So not a bad blood-stained record, really.

5:34PM Tue. Feb. 12, 2008, Richard Whittaker Read More | Comment »

Instant Replay
Can't wait for Michel Gondry's new Jack Black-Mos Def comedy Be Kind Rewind? Well, the Alamo Drafthouse is here to whet your appetite. Their new-ish competition arm, Filmmaking Frenzy, is hosting the Rewind Kindly competition, in which any schmo with a camera can remake his or her favorite films, DIY-style. Submissions are up online now for your viewing and voting pleasure. You'll have to register first, but what's a few seconds filling out online forms when you can waste a whole work day watching the likes of Bambi retold in four minutes of fart jokes and awkward birthing scenes?

(Thanks to the Chronicle's Mike B. for alerting us -- you can check out his hi-larious T2 redo here.)

10:57AM Mon. Feb. 11, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Start Engines, Open Wallets
So you've seen the lineup for SXSW Film, and you wanna make sure you're first in line for the latest Joe Swanberg? Best way to do that is get yourself a film pass before they sell out (guaranteed). SXSW Film Passes go on sale at Waterloo Video tomorrow. They're $70 each – which is actually a ridiculously small amount if you do the math: nine days of film, as many movies a day as you can cram... like we said, you do the math.

3:06PM Fri. Feb. 8, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

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At the Altar of the Archival
Longtime Austin serious-cine devotees all have their Texas Union Theater stories. I don't have many, unfortunately – a long-forgotten Adrienne Shelly film; a scratched print of Breathless with white subtitles that washed out completely in the white-sheet bedroom scene, leaving nothing but Belmondo and Seberg, smoking, making sexy eyes; a pre-restoration screening of Bertolucci's The Conformist that completely undid me (that dance! those dames! that wooded shootout!).

1:10PM Thu. Feb. 7, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

For a Limited Time Only: Sharks
One of the great things about cinema in Austin are the goodly number of documentaries that get a big-screen outing. The downside is that, like any limited release, documentaries pretty much depend on these rare screenings to determine their future, and it's all-too-easy to forget that they won't be around for as long as a big-budget extravaganza. So, no pressure.

Take Sharkwater (Favorably reviewed this week by our own Marc Savlov.) Director Rob Stewart does have a habit of sticking himself in front of the camera as much as he does the sharks (hey, it worked for Jacques Cousteau.) But he also binds together the threads of a story of the culinary arts, ecology, big business, international politics, activism, and gangsterism to show how shark fin soup might actually destroy the world.

10:24PM Sun. Feb. 3, 2008, Richard Whittaker Read More | Comment »

Grimly and the Ghouls
Sometimes it can take some time after a film festival to wade through everything picked up at the vendor tables. But Cannibal Flesh Riot!, the debut mini-feature by director-writer Gris Grimly has turned out to be one of more wonderfully gruesome acquisitions from last month's Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. A tribute to 50's drive-in horror, Ray Harryhausen and psycho-billy music, it's the black-and-white tale of two redneck flesh-eating ghouls and their unfortunate final visit to the graveyard.

The movie, best described as Tex Avery's Evil Dead, is an object lesson for filmmaking hopefuls in turning $6,000 into a fun little calling card. Mixing hyped-up live action, stop-motion, green screen, and a dash of CGI, it proves how available technology has become for film-makers.

Grimly (who counts Neil Gaiman as a fan and collaborator) is best known for his artwork for some of the more delightfully gothic kids books, like vampire romance Boris and Bella, and his own Wicked Nursery Rhymes. "I’m not necessarily a children’s book illustrator," he explained, "as much as I like monsters and horror.”

1:37PM Sun. Feb. 3, 2008, Richard Whittaker Read More | Comment »

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