movies this week: summer ends (in theaters)

It’s Labor Day weekend. The summer movie blitz is over. In Austin, the Paramount summmer movie classics series is over. All that’s left is the lure of air conditioning in theaters since Austin still gets triple-digit weather in September.
It’s time for the long dark interval of mainstream movie programming before the Thanksgiving and Christmas releases start closing in. It’s a good time to catch up on the movies you might have missed earlier, as they drag on for one final week in theaters or hit the discount cinema.
It’s also a good time to keep an eye out for an interesting independent film, if you live somewhere like Austin where new low-budget films appear in theaters almost every week. Some are the same old routine indy-movie fare, but you never know when you might find a little gem.

New movies in Austin this week:
The Cookout—Well, it has Danny Glover and Queen Latifah in it. Co-scripted by Queen Latifah, even. A celebrity basketball player throws a huge barbecue, and wacky hijinks ensue.
Dear Pillow—This low-budget film was shot in Austin. It premiered at SXSW this year, and Alamo Village will be showing it regularly all week. It’s about two guys, one a frustrated virgin and one who writes for porn magazines. It sounds intriguing. If I were in town this weekend I would really really want to see it but probably still not make time, damn it.
Paparazzi—A celebrity gets back at those evil photographers who destroyed his life. Yawn. Supposedly based on an idea by Mel Gibson, who produced.
Vanity Fair—The reviews I’ve read have been mixed but everyone agrees it’s lush and gorgeous to watch. Not everyone agrees on how well Reese Witherspoon portrays Becky Sharp. I read one article that noted a particular scene not found in the book contained dialogue lifted straight from Gone with the Wind. That’s not making me want to see it.
This movie has Prestige Film written all over it: Actors include Gabriel Byrne, Rhys Ifans, and Jim Broadbent. Adapted by Julian Fellowes, who scripted Gosford Park. Directed by Mira Nair, who also directed Monsoon Wedding and Mississippi Masala(and who is allegedly may direct the fifth Harry Potter movie).
We Don’t Live Here Anymore—It’s a study of two couples and the decline in their relationships. Even the presence of Laura Dern isn’t tempting me.
Wicker Park—A remake of a French suspense thriller. We know what happens when Americans remake foreign films, particularly French suspense thrillers. Do I have to make a list, starting with La Femme Nikita/Point of No Return and working my way over to Insomnia (which was Norwegian, but still)? Enough said.
Besides, I understand the appeal of Josh Hartnett about as much as I understand the appeal of Mark Wahlberg. (Both of whom will be appearing next hear in Brian De Palma’s adaptation of James Ellroy’s book The Black Dahlia. I’m pretending I didn’t hear any of this.)
Notable events/revivals in Austin:
aGLIFF, the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, is still going strong this weekend in Austin.
Evil Dead 2—Playing at Alamo Downtown at midnight on Friday and Saturday, and the following weekend at Alamo Village at midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Outfoxed—Showing at Dobie all week. I wrote a review of this movie here (scroll to the second review). Short version: it had its fun moments and I think it’s worth seeing in order to trigger your observation of media bias, but I think it was a highly flawed piece of propaganda.
I’m going out of town this weekend (blah blah usual disclaimer about having people to watch the house so don’t steal anything blah blah), so I’ll miss all of this. Even if we want to see a movie, New Orleans has nowhere near the variety of non-mainstream films that Austin does. (Isn’t that a shame? Yes it is.) Also, I am not sure we want to brave the very noisy Canal Place Cinemas again. But who knows? Maybe we’ll catch a summer film we never had time to see.
We currently have DVDs on rental for House of Games, sex, lies, and videotape (which I’ve seen, and like, but don’t feel much like seeing again), and The Front (which I’ve wanted to see since high school).

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