"...In the heat of battle and overwhelming violence, who really knows what the hell is going on? Certainly not the Major General, whose relayed-by-satellite-uplink directions to his Humvee-bound soldiers (“Turn left at the alley!” “Which alley?!”) as they try to rescue their downed comrades have the feel of too little, too late. Despite the visceral carnage in the film -- and how could you in good conscience not include it? -- Black Hawk Down is an amazingly well-shot picture, by Slavomir Idziak and Scott himself, whose always keen eye is working triple overtime here..."
"...Something literary yet wacky, something that would allow Lawrence the chance to flex those comic muscles. The result of this is Black Knight, which ransacks Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in search of urban yucks and comes up lacking in almost every department..."
"...Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder and Benjamin Millepied. After 2008’s conventionally plotted, overpraised The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky dives back into another competitive sport of sorts in the deliciously wackadoodle Black Swan..."
"...Speaking of said family, Collette (United States of Tara) plays the boy's mother, and she's funny and fierce and deeply moving, much like the picture on a whole. There are a few minor missteps in The Black Balloon (which has won just about every award under the sun in its native Australia, in addition to the Crystal Bear for youth-oriented films at the Berlin International Film Festival): the occasional off-putting quirk, a song-and-dance bit..."
"...It’s only a movie, right? But Bulger’s reign of terror is still fresh in the minds of his victims (or their families, in the case of those he had executed). By necessity, Black Mass begins in a hole it can never dig out of..."
"...Well-meaning Caucasians in Bad Brains tees believe they're progressive when attending Jesus Piece shows, but 41 years on, punk hasn't escaped its origins of white rebellion. In an upcoming narrative short, Austin writer/director Ryan Darbonne explores black punk musicians existing in a scene that's largely white and how that fits into the larger cultural identities of people of color...."
"...The Social Network has been dominating the awards season something fierce, but leave it to those contrarians at the Austin Film Critics Association (of which I am proud member) to buck the trend, naming Black Swan its best film of the year...."
"...Trying to turn Bethany's fortune and calling attention to Austin's ignored places of rest is Six Square, a nonprofit representing Austin's black cultural district. The group has invited national experts, scholars, local activists, and community members to participate this week in what's being billed as The Homecoming, a celebration of Austin's black cemeteries..."
"...While national publications did produce some dogged reporting on the saga, those same outlets' narratives of Conditt's character echo the typically soft, infantilizing, and empathetic treatment of white male suspects as compared to their black counterparts, and even victims. Bringing up petty criminal histories or drug use of black suspects while noting academic achievements and religious backgrounds of white suspects are among the stories' hallmarks...."
"...The Austin Film Critics Association announced its top picks of the year yesterday, with Darren Aronofsky's psychosexual drama Black Swan taking Best Film and an additional four prizes, including a Best Actress win for Natalie Portman. The actress has swept virtually every critics' group awards out there for her turn as a deranged prima ballerina; indeed, her AFCA Best Actress decision was one of only two categories that didn't require a second ballot (Aaron Sorkin's win for Best Adapted Screenplay was the other early lock)..."
"...They clutch their newest Poe CD (Haunted) and absorb homeroom orders from the Borders manager ("Those who have brought Poe's CD must take the inner sleeve of the CD out of the jacket for Poe to sign, those who have bought the CD at Borders may present the CD jacket to be signed."). Poe, a lanky young blond woman wearing black and a yellow rain slicker, sits on a table with her brother..."
"...However familiar and even tiresomely repeated a proposition by now," writes Marshall Frady on the first page of Jesse, "it nevertheless remains the case that the fundamental American crisis is still that of race." Similarly, retired New York Times columnist Tom Wicker begins Tragic Failure with the statement that "the continuing separation of whites and blacks into hostile and unequal classes... is the fundamental cause of the political deadlock, economic inequity, and social rancor that mark American life." Both books thus begin by attempting to dispense quickly with the predominant racial reflex of white Americans: Denial that race remains a problem in the United States...."
"...Take "The Black Cat", his 1843 short story about the declining relationship between a man and his pet. It's really a tale of the damaging influence of alcoholism on a once-sane man, up there with William Hogarth's famous 1751 etching, Gin Lane, and Charles Bukowski's Factotum..."
"...11]: I have been an Austin Chronicle reader (quasi … see below) for 10 years, and this is my first letter to the editor. I so enjoyed, and didn't, your article on Richard Linklater's Me and Orson Wells by Louis Black..."
"..."A black sheep boy dissolves in hot cream,..."
"...Dear Editor, It was interesting reading last week's stream-of-consciousness column by Louis Black [“Page Two,” May 7] – partly about the markers that indicate the start of summer – and Harry Knowles' letter to the editor about Black (“Knowing Black”) [“Postmarks,” May 7]. When I lived in New Orleans, we used to mark the start of summer as those minutes right after the Neville Brothers finished their set on the last Sunday of Jazz Fest..."
"...In mid-February, Ethan Hawke was in town for a two-night berth at the Austin Film Society, screening a 35mm print of Before the Devil Knows You're Dead – Sidney Lumet's last film and one of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman's great performances – as well as taking part in a conversation with his longtime collaborator and friend Richard Linklater, who, incidentally, is the subject of a new documentary by Louis Black, Richard Linklater: dream is destiny, co-directed with Karen Bernstein. With all three screening films at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival, they gathered at Louis Black's home in Hyde Park for a 90-minute conversation, presented here and only lightly edited. ETHAN BEING INTERVIEWED BY RICK AND LOUIS..."
"...Linklater believes in intensely rehearsing the cast before the film starts shooting, which bears results on the screen. Regularly Linklater gets some of his veteran actors to hit career highs, including Matthew McConaughey, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Keanu Reeves, and Jack Black (his performance in School of Rock is one of his best)...."
"...Louis Black, You are the man. I love the sensibility and brevity of your work and The Austin Chronicle..."
"...Austin barbecue has been the focus of regional and national media attention for the past few years now, and the bright lights have attracted a new generation of aspiring pitmasters. After putting in some years working the pits at their family's renowned Lockhart barbecue temple, twin brothers Mike and Mark Black struck out to make their mark in the Texas capital..."
"...Right after that, George heard about a public meeting hosted by Mark Black and his father Terry, of the Black barbecue family, regarding their plan to turn a property they owned in the Dripping Springs area into a wedding venue. Although the property belongs to Black Market Investments, a business entity owned by Terry Black and his sons, Mark has led efforts to develop the property..."
"...Tony Leung Kar-Fei (of The Lover) stars alongside Hong Kong heartthrob Chow Yun-Fat (this Tony Leung is not to be confused with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, who starred opposite Chow in John Woo's Hard Boiled) in what is actually A Better Tomorrow III (and you will of course remember that John Woo directed numbers one and two) directed by sometime-Woo-collaborator Tsui Hark, who, if memory serves, attended UT Austin some time ago. (Got that? Good… we're gonna have a quiz later.) Chow is Mark, the gangster with a heart of gold from A Better Tomorrow I and II, although this time out, director Hark has given us a prequel of sorts, set during the final days of the Vietnam war, in which we come to understand how Chow's multi-sided character came to be that way (very much along the lines of the opening to Lucas' Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where we caught young Indy first laying hands on that trusty bullwhip and fedora; here, however, we see how Mark got his cool Ray-Bans, black duster, and twin .45s)..."
"..."You have to be very careful, because anything you do will reflect on your entire tribe. I'm certain the first black families that moved into the suburbs felt the same way..."
"...Lansdale, 57, readily admits that Hap Collins from Vanilla Ride – his first Hap and Leonard crime novel in eight years – is his alter ego. An idealistic but jaded former Sixties activist with both a liberal bent and a blue-collar lifestyle, Hap teams with Leonard Pine, a gay, black Vietnam vet, to whoop ass and take names in a series of East Texas-set novels, of which Vanilla Ride is the seventh..."
"...11 North American first time looks, and 51 feature debuts. The SXSW Film roster has arrived, with big features like Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, the debut of Starz's American Gods adaptation, and documentaries on subjects from the Grateful Dead to Black Lives Matter...."
"...The Lord of the Rings trilogy managed to keep it real despite its heavily laden special effects, while more than one of the Harry Potter movies just seemed like a showcase for the technical wizardry of computer geeks. Based on the bestselling series of children’s books created by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles starts off promisingly by empathetically depicting the fear and anger children feel when their parents separate, but ultimately its human emotions are dominated by goblins, trolls, and other CGI-generated creatures running amok on the screen..."
"...Ostensibly, the film follows four black college students who are trying to hone their identities while students at the mythical Ivy League college Winchester University. The film’s title echoes the name of the radio show hosted by Samantha White (Thompson), a firebrand who looks and dresses like Denise Huxtable..."
"...That said, I'm not sure the actual fruit of Bristol's labors isn't as much a part of the problem as the solution. This locally shot black comedy, like Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, examines the bizarre feedback loop that exists among celebrity psychopaths, the increasingly tabloidized mainstream news media, and, not least, our own bad selves, the slavering, goonish consumers for whom no meaningful line exists between entertainment and real life..."
"...Is it just us, or is the Austin Film Festival doing some kind of an elaborate dance of the seven veils? It seems every week there's some new tantalizing goody revealed about the upcoming fest. This week's tasty bit: AFF announced today ten titles from this year's lineup, including three intriguing-sounding documentaries about black comedy (Robert Townsend's Why We Laugh), screenwriting (Peter Hanson's Tales From the Script), and the 2008 national party conventions (Barry Levinson's Poliwood)..."
"...Starring: Gary Anthony Williams, Chi Mcbride, Billy Dee Williams, Neil Patrick Harris, Aunjanue Ellis, David Chappelle, Denise Richards, Chris Kattan and Eddie Griffin. How do you parody a genre that as often as not is so over the top as to effectively be a parody of itself already? Lee (cousin to Spike) tackles the blaxploitation films of the Seventies with enough good-humored gusto to pull this one off somehow, thanks in large part to Eddie Griffin's irresistibly cool panache and an above-average script (by John Ridley and Michael McCullers) that takes color-blind potshots at everything black, white, and all shades of gray without ever devolving into the kind of infantile scatological humor that's marred so many comedies of this stripe since the Zucker-Abrahams team behind the Airplane! series finally hung up their wings..."
"...These troubles are epidemic, though, with families and marriages cracking up over money problems and his own son being menaced by loan sharks. Not even a worsening case of black lung can distract Danny from his dream of leading Grimley to the All-England championship..."
"...Directed by: David Frankel. Starring: Jack Black, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Rashida Jones, Rosamund Pike, Kevin Pollak, Joel McHale, Tim Blake Nelson and Anjelica Huston...."
"...Director Newby visualized the design of the film as a western, making use of the genre's spatial dynamics (open plains, isolated homesteads) to illustrate visually the struggle between Christianity and paganism. Shot in black-and-white, the film's beauty is magnificent..."
"...The internet has a lot of ideas (shocking, I know) about what film has fired the most gunshots (apparently it’s 1998’s The Replacement Killers, or perhaps 2001’s Black Hawk Down, but I’m quite sure John Rambo is in there somewhere). Well, director Peter Berg has entered the arena with Mile 22, his fourth collaboration with Marky – er – Mark Wahlberg, beginning with Lone Survivor in 2013, moving on to oil-spillsploitation Deepwater Horizon, and then the Boston Marathon bombing procedural Patriots Day in 2016..."
"...Directed by: Barry Levinson. Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler and Christopher Walken..."
"...Cancer-stricken George (Kline) begins the film as a standard-issue Hollywood eccentric: He infuriates his neighbors on a tony, seaside Orange County cul-de-sac by urinating outside his shack-like house, and he works at a suitably whimsical job (architectural modeling done entirely by hand, complete with tiny thatches of faux grass lovingly glued into place). Sam (Christensen) begins the film as a conventional Troubled Goth Teen: Heavily pierced, black-clad, and bedaubed with Urban Decay eyeshadow, he huffs fumes in his room and considers a summer job in gay hustling..."
"...Directed by: Antonio Banderas. Starring: Fannie Flagg, Noah Emmerich, Robert Wagner, Richard Schiff, Rod Steiger, Meat Loaf Aday, Cathy Moriarity, Lucas Black, David Morse and Melanie Griffith..."
"...Produced by Andrew MacDonald and Danny Boyle -- the pair who brought us Trainspotting and Shallow Grave -- this feature debut by former documentarian Allen is a drug-fueled, nihilistic, free-for-all ride through the streets and alleys of modern-day Swansea, South Wales. While at first glance, Twin Town appears to be a direct continuation of Trainspotting -- right down to its mordant black humor and over-the-top drug use -- it's a far more scattershot affair..."
"...The plot is borderline indecipherable to the uninitiated, but I’ll give it a go. Young Jake Chambers (Taylor), a smart, artistic kid living just outside of New York City, suffers from terrifying dreams of another world in which Roland (Elba), a gunslinger straight out of Zane Grey, tracks the Man in Black (McConaughey) as the latter attempts to destroy the titular tower that rests at the center of all realities..."
"...Early on, she meets and is smitten with one of her industrialist father’s potential clients, the English baronet Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston), who’s arrived in Buffalo seeking funding for a engineering project in his native Cumberland. He and his sister Lucille (Chastain, cool as black ice) end up returning to their crumbling ancestral manse with Edith and her money (they hope) in tow..."
"...The national attention garnered by Austin's homegrown barbecue joints and the overall Texas barbecue renaissance has inspired expansion plans among longtime Central Texas barbecue stalwarts. Kent Black, of Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, told us recently he's making progress with his foray into San Marcos, where he's opening a barbecue restaurant with a scenic beer garden later this year..."
"...The acclaimed theatre company continues to break artistic ground and fill seats in its newly redecorated Eastside venue, it's been on the road and in the planes, and now 2005's iteration of its annual celebration is going to smack you upside the entertainment plexus. You have an ox you need stunned? Bring it to the Black Eye Ball, a fundraiser that'll pack enough punch to send half a herd of Santa Gertrudis to Slumberland..."
"...They really need a good brick-and-mortar spot in which to expand their pit capacity... Another multigeneration contingent of a venerable Lockhart barbecue family announced their intention to take on the Austin market last week when brothers Mark and Michael Black (great-grandsons of Edgar Black Sr.) hung a banner on the old Holiday House (1003 Barton Springs Rd.) proclaiming "Black's Barbecue – A Lockhart Family Tradition – Coming Soon." However, Eric Lenderman, operations manager of the original Black's Barbecue (215 N..."
"...Gov. Rick Perry has appointed former lobbyist Mark Miner to replace his outgoing director of communications Robert Black..."
"...There's no way to overstate just how good Wilson is in this film. As winningly inept train robber Roy O'Bannon, his goofy, laconic delivery matches his tired black chaps and fringed rawhide jacket to a tee: He's Robert Redford's Sundance Kid filtered through a hickory haze of Woody Allen quirks, hanging on to his last vestige of male pride as all those around him head off for greener pastures..."
"...In the spirit of bullshit consumer holiday Black Friday, "Playback" presents a list of some of Austin's most precious vinyl. Whereas today labels release super-limited runs to incite collectability, these largely private press editions were put out in small batches because minimal finances and fan bases dictated it..."
"...They should have stopped when she died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 four years ago this month, and really, they never should have begun. Watching a supremely talented hot mess spiral downward into the black maw of too much, too soon, isn’t merely the great American pastime, but the not-so-great human pastime..."
"...Clad in black, Reeves plays the villainous, cash-heavy Yank Donaka Mark, who ensnares Chen’s pure-of-heart Tai Chi fighter in a slimy underground fight club. True to the tropes of the chopsocky morality plays produced by the Shaw Brothers Studios, there’s a vengeance/redemption heartbeat at the crimson core of the film...."
"...Shot in just 12 days, the black-and-white Much Ado About Nothing is the antidote to Whedon’s Marvel Comics franchise. (He’s traded the blockbuster for the little movie, the superhero for Hero.) Set in an affluent, tree-lined Los Angeles suburb (Brentwood, perhaps?), the film takes place over the course of a weekend party in which the guests drink martinis, roast marshmallows, and conga late into the night..."