movies this week: I need more time

The universal forces that control film (no, I don’t mean Sony and Time-Warner, either) must have looked down from their celestial screening rooms last weekend, shuddered at the number of mediocre films opening in theaters, and decreed that this would be a better week. And believe me, I am truly thankful. (Also, I finally got my expectorant from Amazon yesterday … no more formula! yay!)
Most of the movies opening in Austin this week look very promising. I can think of at least two that I want to see while they are in theaters, and a few more I think I’ll enjoy on DVD. And of course there are still some movies hanging around from previous weeks that I haven’t seen, like Garden State and Silver City.
Why is the weekend only two days long? Why are night movies so expensive? How will I make time for everything I want to see? How important is a good night’s sleep, anyway, if you’re lying down watching movies instead—isn’t that sufficiently restful? I wish.

New movies in Austin this week:
Bright Young Things—Stephen Fry directed and adapted Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies. I like Stephen Fry. I like Evelyn Waugh (The Loved One is one of my favorite books … although not at all one of my favorite movies.) Jim Broadbent and Peter O’Toole are in it. It looks like something I’ll probably end up missing in theaters and seeing on DVD, where I am sure it will be just fine.
The Corporation—The premise of this documentary looks fascinating: it’s about the history and development of corporations in America. However, it is 2.5 hours long. Again, something I might enjoy more on DVD, where I could take a break in the middle.
A Dirty Shame—I think anyone who reads this site regularly is aware that I have been looking forward to seeing John Waters’ latest film, in which Tracey Ullman plays a housewife who suffers a concussion and suddenly becomes amazingly sex-crazed. I have the soundtrack for this (yes, signed) and it’s amusingly bizarre; let’s hope the movie is the same way.
The real shame is that by missing the preview of this movie last night, I missed getting to see it at Alamo Drafthouse. Now I have to see it at Arbor and suffer through that horrible Regal package of commercials and shameless shilling for shitty movies. Yes, I know I complain way too often about pre-movie commercials. Consider it one of my charming little quirks.
(Look at it this way: you’d rather hear the occasional lament about pre-movie commercials than my barely coherent rants about George Lucas or Chris Columbus.)
First Daughter—This is the movie opening this week that I find least interesting. We had a first daughter here in Austin. There were wacky hijinks at the Chuy’s. I see no reason to watch more of that kind of thing in a theater. Admittedly this movie is directed by Forest Whitaker (probably best known for his role in the first 20 minutes of The Crying Game) and it has Michael Keaton in it, whom I like when he’s being funny. One of the writers, Jessica Bendinger, also wrote Bring it On, but I wasn’t that enamored with that movie either.
The Five Obstructions—I have not yet been tempted by a Lars von Trier (Dogville) film. This sounds intriguing, though: von Trier challenges Jorgen Leth to remake a 1967 short film of Leth’s five times, but specifies different challenges and limitations on the film every time. Austin animator Bob Sabiston, who worked with Richard Linklater on Waking Life, did the animation for one segment of this movie. Maybe I can do another late-night theater run in my pajamas like I did last Sunday for Dear Pillow.
The Forgotten—The TV ads for this movie snagged my boyfriend’s interest, but it sounds like the whole movie is not as interesting as its trailers. Julianne Moore is mourning the loss of her child when she discovers all sorts of weird supernatural suspenseful goings-on. Gary Sinise also gets involved. The ads encourage you to think this is a stepchild of one of M. Night Shyamalan’s movies, but it is in fact directed by Joseph Ruben, who brought us Sleeping with the Enemy. Personally, I do not think I can watch a movie in which Moore plays a character named Telly with a straight face, because I will wonder if she likes triangles and if she’s planning to spend some time with Elmo and Rosita later on.
Shaun of the Dead—I would rush out to see this movie tonight, except that my boyfriend pointed out that perhaps we should watch some George A. Romero zombie movies first so we could get all the in-jokes. This is one reason why I keep this man around. (Also, he makes the best pancakes ever.) I have to love anything advertised as a “romantic comedy with zombies,” especially if the emphasis is on comedy.
So next weekend we are hopefully going to have a Romero fest just like the Russ Meyer fest we are having this weekend, and then we can top it off with Shaun of the Dead. Mmmm.
Taegukgi Hwinalrimyeo (The Brotherhood of War)—This is a Korean film that shows the Korean War from the viewpoints of both North and South Korea. According to the Austin Chronicle, it is the most expensive ($12 million US) and popular film in South Korean history. I suppose it would be tacky to compare it to Gone with the Wind. Plus, it’s supposedly a whole whole lot gorier.
Notable events/revivals in Austin:
Baraka—The Paramount claims that this was its most popular movie this summer, so it is bringing the film back this weekend for more showings. I would be interested to hear why people flocked to this plotless but pretty 1992 film, because even after watching the trailer for it before every single movie the Paramount showed this summer, I had zilch interest in seeing it.
(Dear Paramount: Could you bring back Holiday and Stage Door instead, please? Maybe in a few weeks? Thanks ever so.)
Cinematexas International Short Film Festival—At Alamo Downtown, The Hideout, and other venues Wed-Sun Sept. 22-26. See the Cinematexas site for details.
The Outsiders—Playing in Republic Square Park on Wed. 9/29 at 8 pm. My sister loves this movie to death, although I have never found it particularly compelling. Still, it’s an excuse to see movies outside, which is great fun.
The Phantom Tollbooth—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Sat. 9/25 at noon for FREE. I didn’t realize that you don’t have to be a kid to go to the Alamo’s Saturday Morning Film Club movies. I may have to see this. Directed by Chuck Jones.
The Shawshank Redemption—Playing all week at Arbor. This is one of those theatrical re-releases that occurs before a special edition DVD releases. My question is, do I need to see this movie in a theater, or will it look okay on DVD? Beause my confession is that I haven’t ever seen it. I read the Stephen King story on which it is based, but never got around to the movie. It’s on The List, but I bet I won’t have time to see it in theaters this week unless I am truly motivated.
There’s no actual film screening attached to this, but Richard Linklater is signing copies of the new Criterion DVD of Slacker today (Friday) at Waterloo at 5 pm. Don’t ask him about the upcoming crappy DVD release of Dazed and Confused, though.
If you live in/near Austin, I’d also like to encourage you to check out the Alamo Drafthouse schedules, since the downtown location just updated its Web site with the October and November lineup. You also can pick up a printed copy of the schedule. They have all kinds of wonderful goodies planned, including cool horror movies on Monday nights in October for $1. (And Suspiria around Halloween! That may be worth staying up until midnight.)
And it looks like Austin Film Society is going to have a Jean Arthur retrospective at Alamo Downtown in November, which you know I am going to tell you about in detail about a dozen times beforehand because these are all good 1930s movies, some of which are not available on VHS or DVD. (They’re not showing A Foreign Affair, but they did show it last year and you can’t have everything).
We currently have seven, damn, seven rental DVDs on the little table at home: three Russ Meyer movies, The Philadelphia Story (I want to see how good the transfer quality of the DVD is before I buy it), Escape from New York (my boyfriend’s choice), The Front (yes, still), and House of Games (which my boyfriend watched already this week but told me I should see since I like caper/heist movies).
We need another day in the week this week. Maybe two days. Or I guess we could plan to do nothing but watch movies this weekend. Why not?

3 thoughts on “movies this week: I need more time”

  1. Baraka is in effect one long trailer, about an hour and a half’s worth. If the short trailer didn’t appeal to you, skip the real thing. (Especially given the Paramount’s seats.) I saw it Fri. night, however, and really enjoyed it (in spite of not following my companion’s suggestion to “stoke up on the kind green bud” beforehand). It’s a long, sweeping visual poem that helps point up how big the world is and how little of it most of us are likely to see in a lifetime; also makes good points about the balance between nature and technology, and how disrupted that balance is for an urban-dweller. All without words. However, given the appearance of the audience the other night, I fear it’s only preaching to the choir…
    Shawshank Redemption is plotwise very faithful to the book. Robbins and Freeman aren’t who I would’ve cast in their respective roles (not that I can tell you who I would) but both are nonetheless very good. It’s not necessarily a big-screen movie so you could probably get away with a DVD viewing.

  2. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about The Forgotten, either, so Rob went to see it without me, and he reports that it’s more X-Files-ish than the trailers would lead you to believe. He liked it.

  3. You could probably get away with Shawshank Redemption on TV, but I hope you have a good-sized screen. The first time I saw the movie, the visuals are what stayed with me longest. (I still refer to it as ‘that blue and gray movie’ when my brain freezes up and I can’t remember titles.) Don’t know if you’ll love that aspect as much as I did, but I kinda thought the cinematography added something to the emotional vibe they were going for. So…uh…it’s not like Matrix or Crouching Tiger or some other movie where you lose much of the story without the visuals, but you will be sacrificing a bit of something. In my humble opinion, anyhoo.

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