"...Has it really been 18 years since the first Cine Las Americas International Film Festival debuted in Austin and brought with it an astonishing wealth of Latin American and indigenous filmmaking? Well, yeah, it may seem like only yesterday that the scrappy upstart of Austin's increasingly crowded festival circuit began its annual April overload of awesome sin fronteras filmmaking, but that's just because its programming is so sublime. What other multilingual, community-based, nonprofit, cinematic arts organization has brought us Buñuel in the off-season, year-round free screenings, and a guarantee that once spring arrives, a weeklong film festival will be under way once more? (We're not counting that great behemoth in the room, SXSW.)..."
"...Critics everywhere, including those at the Chronicle, are gushing about it, even though they don't have much good to say about it. Many of them even admit, rather parenthetically in midgush, that it's not actually very good filmmaking, but that doesn't seem to dampen their spirits. Rodriguez and Tarantino are stuck in a rut of mimicking and paying homage to a genre of films of which 95% was not very good to begin with..."
"...The completed film, which draws heavily on the Austin music scene, is due to open on Friday, September 3 at the Alamo Drafthouse. In advance of the premiere, Linklater sat down with Bob Ray to talk about the new movie and discuss the evolution of the Austin filmmaking scene over the past 10 years...."
"...This was the same camera he had used countless times to capture such revelatory and landmark family events as my first treacherous spoonful of Jell-O and my devil's food-besotted third birthday. Similar fiascoes were recorded for familial posterity in households during the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies heyday of Super-8 home filmmaking...."
"...Kit Carson. CQ, the debut feature by Strokes music videographer and Coppola family upstart Roman (brother to Sofia, son to Francis), has a plot skinnier than its star's waistline, and like the leggy, insouciant Angela Lindvall, it manages to be enormously easy on the senses while simultaneously spinning a pop-art confectioner's idea of a cotton-candy love note to Sixties Euro-filmmaking tropes..."
"...Like that diaphanous, doughy crescent, it's a fleeting, delicious treat, gone before you know it, and it lingers on the palette like the warm memory of love. There are no great shocks in Girl on the Bridge, no masterful turnarounds of style or technique, nothing that leaps out at you and shouts, “This is new! This is amazing!” and yet the film is new and amazing -- it takes you back to the days when French filmmaking and French filmmakers were the darlings and saviors of the cinematic cutting edge..."
"...Increasingly, it seems that Adam Sandler’s filmmaking career functions as a means of financing his family vacations. The Grown Ups series (two films, so far) gathers together Sandler’s comedy buddies for amusing but aimless rendezvous amid nature..."
"...This Danish movie, which won top prize at last year's Berlin Film Festival, is also recognized as the third product of the Dogma 95 Collective. What does that mean? It means that, like the other two Danish films that preceded it -- Lars Von Trier's The Idiots (opening in Austin in coming weeks) and Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration (as well as Harmony Korine's token American work julien donkey-boy) -- Mifune conforms to strict production standards designed to strip filmmaking of its artificiality and pretense and focus on storytelling and non-technological truths..."
"...Kids and movies have been as inseparable as kids and Saturday afternoons since filmmaking began. Growing up in upstate New York in the mid-Seventies (well before the advent of Sony's Playstation, which regularly sucks my brain dry as an adult), my parents more often than not had to pry my glazed eyes away from Channel 13's Monster Movie Matinee and toss me out on my rear to experience the (allegedly) healthier wonders of the natural, hopelessly uncinematic world out-of-doors..."
"...But after about 40 minutes, just as boredom with this naturalistic cityscape threatens to set in, the film takes a startling shift. It breaks the fourth-wall conventions, abandoning the fiction of a realistic fiction, and in the process exposes the filmmaking apparatus and the urgent realities that go along with that..."
"...Chronicling the production of Rodriguez's drive-in vampire/gangster epic from conception to martini shot, Full Tilt Boogie is as much a sociology lesson on the politics of a major film shoot as it is a dry, sardonic comedy of errors and frayed nerves. Above all, though, it's manna from film geek heaven as a roster of semi-indie luminaries (in spirit if not in budget) such as Tarantino, Keitel, and the great Michael Parks (remember Then Came Bronson?) parade before Kelly's camera and offer their insights on the filmmaking process..."
"...The Indonesian-born brother/sister filmmaking duo of Ken and Livi Zheng scores high points for creating a new take on the undocumented-immigrant badass story (hola, Machete), and for their obvious martial arts skills, but this first feature from the pair is ultimately hobbled by a paucity of credible acting. Oaken line readings reverberate between the well-choreographed kickboxing action and the narrative through line, which finds the Zhengs, as Ken and Alice Qiang, arriving in the port of Seattle via shipping container..."
"...It’s an “on Earth as it is in heaven” homily that resonates a time or two, no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs may be. It’s not great filmmaking, or even good filmmaking for that matter, but you may find yourself saying “Amen” nevertheless...."
"...Will 2011 go down as the year the Austin horror filmmaking community definitively established itself as a vital hub for gore? Consider the evidence: At the time of this writing, there are just under a dozen horror films either in preproduction, production, or postproduction, with several already having spun off into other projects, like cranial projectiles from a zombie's blown-out skull spatter...."
"...The movie's writer-director Bahman Farmanara stars in his film as a character who is not exactly autobiographical but is nevertheless a figure who bears a great resemblance to the filmmaker. Smell of Camphor clearly reflects Farmanara's personal experiences, beliefs, and attitudes -- a filmmaking approach which, in itself, indicates a degree of liberalization in Iran's political and artistic atmosphere..."
"...Starring: Romeo Fabian, Jed Allan, Jeremy Williams, Patricia Manterola, Michael Nouri and Carman. Talk about your niche marketing … Christian filmmaking seems to be all the rage these days -- or at least it looks that way from deep down here in the Bible Belt..."
"...Starring: Maggie Cheung, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nathalie Richard, Bulle Ogier, Lou Castel and Dominique Faysse. Bizarre and beautiful, this French take on the madness inherent in independent filmmaking rivals Tom DiCillo's Living in Oblivion as the most realistic depiction of the myriad trials and tribulations that accompany the creation of a new film..."
"...No one will ever accuse vintage Chan of being overly feminist, nor are you likely to see Andrea Dworkin receiving a producer's credit any time soon, but Chan's good humor and PG-13 antics are so infectiously over the top that it's hard to hold the man accountable. Chan's style of filmmaking has more to do with the old Mack Sennett two-reelers than it does with modern feature filmmaking, although in this particular case it owes just as much to the Spielberg/Lucas camp, and, in particular, the Indiana Jones series..."
"...(You may remember that her one, true love, Zhou, left her at the end of the first film to wait for the blessed Immortality Flower to blossom atop the sacred mount, or something like that.) When Zian disrupts the wedding ceremony of Kit and Kam, massacring the Lineage members on hand, Zhou returns from the mountain put a stop to her rampage. That may not sound like much (or, perhaps, too much) to the uninitiated, but directors Yu and Yeung pack every bit of their filmmaking prowess into The Bride with White Hair II making it a powerful, affecting entry into the Hong Kong swords and sorcery genre..."
"...Araki's directorial style is post-Godardian, using title cards and grainy, black-and-white interviews to counterpoint the vignettes documenting the trials and tribulations of this group of friends. Pointedly funny at times, Totally F***ed Up is often a politically reactionary piece of filmmaking that occasionally tells the straight, heterosexual establishment just where to put it..."
"...Starring: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Lou Castel, Werner Schroeter, Eddie Constantine, Hanna Schygulla, Margarethe Von Trotta and Ulli Lommel. Beware of a Holy Whore is Rainer Werner Fassbinder's -- the Seventies' enfant terrible of foreign filmmaking -- quintessential film..."
"...Several previous efforts, shot entirely in Taiwan, were substandard efforts that eventually resulted in a serious bout with depression and Woo's near-conviction that, as a filmmaker, his life was over. A Better Tomorrow proved him wrong, though, and went on to break all existing box office records in Hong Kong cinema, establishing a new star on Asian filmmaking's horizon and ensuring Woo's future bankability (not to mention that of his longtime leading man, Chow Yun-Fat) in the international market..."
"...Spaniard Almodóvar's first feature (alternately called Pepi, Luci Bom and the Other Girls on the Heap) was shot in 1980 in 16mm and later blown up to 35mm. Stylistically, Almodóvar's first film is notable for its lack of polished filmmaking technique (the shots are crudely composed and murky, the editing and continuity barely perfunctory)..."
"...Largely a straightforward bio-pic, A Brief History shows us the young Hawking as an undisciplined boy genius only able to harness his tremendous gifts under the threat of total muscle loss that would leave only his brain, heart and lungs functioning and the exigencies of marriage that impelled him to support his wife and family. The pairing of this maverick of science with this iconoclast of filmmaking seemed like an ordained match..."
"...It’s tempting to become exhausted playing “how did they do that?” but thankfully, the story is so compelling, you forget you’re watching dogs act; the craftsmanship of this film is that stunning. There is a vagueness to Mundruczó’s theme, incorporating eugenics, classism, and the struggles of the oppressed, but it works because of the amazing performances and the risky, genre-defying filmmaking that he throws into this kitchen-sink narrative..."
"...Of the thousands of men who have traveled from virtually all points on the restless American map, Moss follows the heartrending downward spirals of a handful, but finds his film’s focus by centering on avuncular Lutheran pastor Jay Reinke. A family man who (refreshingly) takes the Christian mandate to care for one’s fellow man by turning his small church into a blessed sort of bed-and-breakfast shelter for the flood of “overnighters.” As a portrait of one good man attempting to do right by his faith, this is a compelling piece of filmmaking..."
"...As an example of one of the most rarefied genres of filmmaking – the two-character action-drama – Gravity stands above and apart from everything that’s come before. What’s more, Cuarón (Children of Men), writing with his son Jonás, has topped James Cameron’s flawed but vastly underrated deep-sea catastrophe romance, The Abyss, in its existential observation of the human condition in ultimate survival mode..."
"...Another pair of filmmaking brothers aims for the big time with this faith-based national release that soft-pedals the Christianity while playing to the anti-abortion faithful. Inspired by the story of pro-life activist Gianna Jessen, October Baby takes as its subject matter the untold lives of the survivors of failed late-term abortions..."
"...J comes to live with this Ma Barker and her boys when his own mother (and Smurf’s estranged daughter) dies of an overdose. This occurs in the film’s opening sequence, a bit of filmmaking so taut and effective that the memory of it threatens to dwarf the rest of the film..."
"...Macy, Leslie Mann, James Spader, Kat Dennings, Jolie Vanier, Trevor Gagnon, Devon Gearhart, Leo Howard and Rebel Rodriguez. This time around it’s another family film for Rodriguez, whose filmmaking career at this point has two modes: kid pics and grisly adult fare..."
"...Starring: Gamazon and Dominique Gonzalez. AFS@Dobie It's well-nigh impossible to watch or discuss Gamazon and Llana's riveting and relentless debut feature without the word guerilla coming to mind – in every respect, this rocketing thriller is one of the purest examples of no-budget, seat-of-the-pants, gloriously DIY filmmaking since The Blair Witch Project in 1999..."
"...Starring: Lee Yeong-ae, Choi Min-sik, Go Su-hee and Lee Seung-shin. AFS@Dobie If you're a latecomer to the South Korean filmmaking phenomenon that is director Park Chan-wook, I'll say only this: Park is one sick puppy, and I mean that in the very best sense of the phrase..."
"...1, and I’m still reeling from the trip. In a country famous for its exhaustively over-the-top filmmaking, India’s Shaadi No..."
"...Turner. There's a certain majesty to German director Boll's unmistakable style of filmmaking: a freedom from art, talent, skill of any formal kind, and the sheer pigheadedness to keep going at any cost and damn the straight-to-video market..."
"...It’s Scorsese’s best work in years, sidestepping the overwrought and overproduced overkill of Gangs of New York in favor of a more streamlined approach: The film has the glossy look and dynamic feel of one of Hughes' hyper-aerodynamic aviation prototypes. It's less Spruce Goose and more P-38, and when the Scorsese opens up and fires on all cylinders, as in a sequence re-creating the spectacular aerial dogfights in Hughes’ first foray into filmmaking – 1930's Hell's Angels – The Aviator captures the seat-of-your-pants thrills of a true pioneer..."
"...Finally, the film for those individuals who have one of those Charlie Manson T-shirts tucked away in their closet beneath their Einsturzende Neubauten tour swag. Director Jim Van Bebber is something of a cause célebrè in the underground-filmmaking world..."
"...Kirk (Prochnow) as though he were still awaiting his beloved elixir "tranya" from ye olde Star Trek episode to know that you’re in for a treat with this rip-roaringly bad Dutch-American suckfest. It’s been ages since I’ve seen a horror film that was genuinely entertaining by dint of sheer ineptitude, but, by golly, the wait was worth it: House of the Dead is astoundingly bad filmmaking, the sort of senseless, mind-warping goulash that makes all the mediocre shriekers of the past few years, say, Valentine or Darkness Falls, seem positively Oscar-worthy by comparison..."
"...DeMille directing a sumptuous golden-toned Far Eastern historical epic – with a cast of thousands and lots of elephants – and you’ll envision something along the lines of what director Chatri Chalerm Yukol (himself a prince and member of the royal family) has created in this film. The formality of the performances and the stateliness of the images echo an earlier era of filmmaking and storytelling..."
"...Together they uncover the secret of the titular stone and, uh, much fun is had by all. But you already know that, don't you? Columbus, who got his start working for that other notable director of youth filmmaking John Hughes and was thus somewhat suspect when it was announced that he was to helm the Potter adaptation, manages to capture the delicate magic of Rowling's book while simultaneously crafting a very solid piece of Hollywood filmmaking..."
"...There's no way to adequately describe how nonsensical Battlefield Earth actually is – I can only say that if you have two hours to kill and feel up to the task, this may actually be one of the funniest misfires you're ever likely to see. A brilliant example of the “So Bad It's Good” school of filmmaking, this ranks right alongside such infamous stinkers as Plan 9 from Outer Space and Showgirls..."
"...Occasionally, Poe will gussy up the non-action by freezing the tail ends of scenes, but most of the proceedings drag on endlessly. It's an exercise in so what? filmmaking that has marked the restless, ambivalent edge of American indie filmmaking for some time (Tom DiCillo's meandering Box of Moonlight springs to mind as a good example of this)..."
"...Quite simply, he lacks the finesse it takes to make it in today's cutthroat world of mutual appreciation and amore. Having secured $60,000 in production funding from a mysterious, unseen, foreign-accented backer named Elie, Berkowitz and his agent begin filming a series of 20 dates, by the end of which, presumably, the director will have either found what he's looking for or at the very least have a salable piece of filmmaking..."
"...Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis, Rupert Graves, Giovanni Guidelli, Barbara Jefford and Helen Mirren. Historians looking back at the last ten years of filmmaking might well dub this period the “E.M..."
"...If the Austin Film Festival is playing six degrees of separation with this year’s honorees, it’s going to have to try a little harder: director/prodcuer Ron Howard, the just-announced recipient of the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award, is just one lousy degree removed from Mitchell Hurwitz, who was revealed last week as the 2009 Outstanding Television Writer Award recipient. Howard of course produced Hurwitz’s show Arrested Development, and narrated, too: That alone earns our most warm-hearted congratulations..."
"...He withdrew after that one semester feeling the program to be too elitist and attitudinally racist. But that semester combined with an adolescence spent reading how-to books about filmmaking readied Rich for the project ahead..."