Daily Screens
The Peaks and Peeks of Sundance
No coy excuses for the absence of Marginalia over the last few months. But the blog is back and now mobilizing to check out the 2008 Sundance Film Festival's peaks and peeks. Beginning this weekend, Utah's Wasatch mountains will be seen from picturesque solid ground (no ski slopes for this klutz) but the festival films will be viewed from an up close and personal position. Join me in the annual search for the Sundance heat.

1:37PM Mon. Jan. 14, 2008, Marjorie Baumgarten Read More | Comment »

God Praise the Queen
They called Steve Coogan, Simon Pegg, and Team Gervais/Merchant, not to mention punk, long before our side of the pond caught on. So it’s no surprise that the Brits have seen the future of the South by Southwest Film Festival … and let’s just say they’re urging shades. Number one on the Guardian’s list of predictions for film in the year 2008: “The new Sundance is SXSW.” By now, It’s old hat calling Sundance old news, but kudos to our British compatriots for recognizing SXSW’s role in the ascension of mumblecore. The only downside? They predict SXSW Film’s so hot, “Paris [Hilton] is probably packing her bikini as we speak.” Yikes.

1:07PM Sat. Jan. 12, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

A New Revolution?
Ding dong: The Golden Globes are (more or less) dead. In the wake of a celebrity walk-out (stars like George Clooney pledged not to cross the writers' picket lines), NBC announced today it was killing Sunday's broadcast, choosing to air instead a brief news conference. The Envelope, the L.A. Times's arm devoted to award-season speculation, said this: "The scrapped program would be the first awards show to fall victim to the Writers Guild of America strike, and February's Academy Awards also could be in jeopardy."

Which makes me wonder: Will the insane web machine of awards-show prognostication also fall victim? Site after site, from the Envelope to bloggers like The New York Times' Carpetbagger David Carr and Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells have been running numbers for months now, waxing incessantly over opening-day receipts, brand-name recognition, and Academy demographics. But if the awards shows are reduced to, well, the awards, and nothing else – stripped of their glitz and public profile – maybe we'll all lose interest in them as sporting events.

Doubtful, but consider this: Mass audiences may just tune in to the Independent Spirit Awards, the only WGA-approved show out there. Imagine: a world where the watercooler talk made for hot debate over which newbie deserves the John Cassavetes Award. (The home state vote goes to Chris Eska for August Evening). The Spirit Awards air on IFC on Saturday, Feb. 23.

5:13PM Tue. Jan. 8, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

The Ending Was Only the Beginning
Still gnashing over No Country for Old Men's No Easy Answers for Moviegoers knockout of an ending? You're not alone. Slate's spirited yearly throwdown, Slate's Movie Club, devotes some time to No Country's last act here and here (Dana Stevens, a detractor, made me laugh out loud with this: "No Country succeeds in the way Javier Bardem's pneumatic cattle-gun succeeds in annihilating his victims: It blows a hole in our brains, over and over again, without explanation, and then asks us to walk out going, 'Wow, that was quite a hole you blew in my brain. Thanks.'") The gang also devotes some time to unpacking the year's other controversial movie ending, from There Will Be Blood.

4:10PM Tue. Jan. 8, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Support the Strike, Local Edition
As part of the ongoing Utter Reading Series, local acting dynamo Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (you'll recognize her as Tyra's mom from Friday Night Lights) will be directing her Austin School of Film Advanced Acting students Tuesday night as they perform from local scripts once in development that had to hit the brakes when that pesky writers' strike hit. It's a swell lineup, one this Michener Center alum knows well – UT professors Alex Smith (The Slaughter Rule) and Stephen Harrigan (King of Texas) and recent Michener Center grads (and personal drinking buddies), writing team Lee Shipman and Diego McGreevy. The show – called Film Writers Strike Again! – starts at 7pm, Jan. 8, at BookPeople. Get out and support the cause of good writing.

5:08PM Mon. Jan. 7, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Josh Rosenblatt Has Seen the Future, and It Isn't Pretty
The Year 2008 in Film, Culture, Uprising: Speculation

This week, my fellow Chronicle Film critics and I looked back at 2007 and came up with our list of the 10 best movies of the year. After many long days and nights spent deliberating, arguing, and soul-searching in local diners and strip clubs, we came to the consensus that 1) the Coen Brothers are as good as they’ve ever been, 2) Juno star Ellen Page has a long career ahead of her, and 3) you should never eat breakfast at a strip club.

Now that we’ve looked back at 2007, I would like to take a few moments to look forward to 2008. Below are my month-by-month predictions for the world of film and television, both nationally and here in Texas. Please remember these are just my speculations, my sense of what might happen, so if it doesn’t work out the way I say it will, don’t come up to me next January all a-grin and rub it in my face that I was wrong. Any jackass can make fun of someone for being wrong in his predictions about the future; it takes a special kind of jackass to make those predictions in the first place. That being said, if I’m right about all this, each and every Chronic reader owes me $1, which, if my math is correct, means I will be $137 richer come Jan. 1, 2009.

Anyway, without further ado, my month-by-month predictions for the coming year. Let me just say that there is quite a bit of sex and violence in the following piece, so young children and people who are easily offended are advised to begin reading now.

4:26PM Thu. Jan. 3, 2008, Josh Rosenblatt Read More | Comment »

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SXSW Rolls the Dice on Its Opening-Night Film
It's the second day of the new year, so it must be time to talk South by Southwest 2008 (T minus two months and counting!). The gang across the way (seriously – they live on the other side of the beach volleyball court) has just announced their opening-night Festival film, 21, about the true-life adventures of a group of card-counting MIT students who take Vegas by storm.

3:43PM Wed. Jan. 2, 2008, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

Homer for the Holidays
Normally I don't go in for the swag, but this one isn't half bad. To promote the DVD release of The Simpsons Movie, a "team of Simpson Elves will be everywhere giving out free yellow Simpson's Santa Hats" on Saturday, Dec. 15, from noon to 4pm. I know, I know: "Everywhere" doesn't exactly narrow the field, but a further hint from the publicist says something about readers having to swim up "creek" ... which leads us to believe that Barton Creek Mall is the place to be. Happy hunting.

9:43AM Wed. Dec. 12, 2007, Kimberley Jones Read More | Comment »

We Don't Need No Stinking Schedule!
Anyone visiting the Original Alamo website last Wednesday would have seen a last-minute addition to the schedule at the Alamo Downtown at the Ritz. An extra early-evening (well, 10pm) Weird Wednesday impromptu screening of the gloriously mad Black Devil Doll From Hell. Rather than being a surprise screen-filler, this kind of quick addition to the listings could become commonplace.

In what booker Lars Nilsen calls a "nascent idea," the Ritz will be adding a little more flexibility to its scheduling. Trying to book the theater two months in advance for the brochure could create problems. For example, the opportunity to host Vincent Gallo's RRIICCEE was comparatively last-minute. So rather than publicize a schedule it can't always keep up with, they'll be taking a more innovative approach. "With the first two months of the Ritz we have already started leaving holes in the calendar," said Nilsen. "This lets us make on the fly decisions about programming based on developing availability and audience demand."

3:24PM Mon. Dec. 3, 2007, Richard Whittaker Read More | Comment »

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