reel paradise holiday

More tidbits:
Holiday (again)—Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is showing one of my all-time favorite movies next week, Holiday. It’s showing at midnight on Friday, August 5, which according to their scheduling means the midnight between Friday and Saturday. But I think that’s EST so for me, it would be 11 pm on Friday. I don’t have cable, and some nice people recorded the movie for me the last time it was on, plus I’m thinking about getting the Region 2 DVD. I’ve got plenty of Holiday.
Seriously, this is a wonderful movie, much better than The Philadelphia Story. My boyfriend would argue that it is better than Bringing Up Baby, but I think that might be going a little far. Besides, the two movies are entirely different in tone—the only thing they really have in common is that they both star Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I’ve always preferred the Hepburn-Grant pairing to the later Hepburn-Tracy pairing.
For those of you who are wondering if I am going to push this movie at you every single time it airs on TV … yes, I am, until it is released on DVD in the United States. Sony/Columbia owns the DVD rights so I’m not holding my breath.
(The Paramount showed a lovely print of the film last year that had been restored by UCLA. I don’t know if that’s what TCM is showing, and I don’t think that’s the print they used for the UK transfer. So if you get a chance to see the restored print of Holiday in a theater, go.)
By the way, I think Holiday would make an interesting double-feature with Igby Goes Down, which shows a clip from Holiday at the beginning of the movie. You could argue that Igby Goes Down is a remake of Holiday, updated for contemporary situations. Also, it is fun to watch a movie in which Susan Sarandon is as mean as a snake.
Reel Paradise—I saw this movie at SXSW and I am happy to learn that it has found theatrical distribution. If you visit the movie’s Web site, you can find a list of the release dates for theaters in various cities. Mostly it is playing in Landmark Theaters, with staggered release dates from Aug. 17 to Nov. 6. Dobie will start showing the movie in Austin on Sept. 30.
My review of Reel Paradise from SXSW is here. This is a quite enjoyable film, especially if you are a film geek. The Piersons were at the screening I attended and John Pierson noted that he still had the keys to the Meridien 180 theater in his pocket; if anyone wanted to go over there and show movies, he’d gladly hand over the key. I had a fleeting moment of temptation. [Via the Austin American-Statesman]

how could I forget?

This isn’t about film, it’s about TV. Yes, I do actually watch non-movie TV once in awhile, although I quit watching Sesame Street when my boyfriend moved in and developed hives from close proximity to the show. (There was an awful lot of Elmo, so I can’t blame him.)
The first season of The Muppet Show will be released on DVD on August 9. I have all the old Time-Life DVDs of Muppet Show episodes, so I’m not sure if it would be overkill to buy this DVD set too. On the other hand, I want to support this kind of DVD release. I’ll have to think about that.
Muppet Central has a very helpful article about the DVD release that lists all the special features. It does sound tempting.
Muppet Wizard of Oz is releasing on DVD on the same day. I have to confess I haven’t seen the movie, although I did tape it when it was broadcast. My Muppet-watching time certainly has decreased in the past few years.
Thanks to this news, “Mah-Na-Mah-Na” will probably be stuck in my head all afternoon.
(One more thing: You know what I wish someone would release on DVD? The segment from an episode of Martha Stewart Living in which Martha makes cookies with Cookie Monster. It is bizarre, bordering on sexually perverse, and as chaotic as a Martha Stewart show could ever get. Apparently Martha and Frank Oz are neighbors. I have a crappy copy on VHS and I would pay good money for a quality copy on DVD.)

in flagrante chumscrubber

Austin has some upcoming special screenings I thought I’d let y’all know about:
The Chumscrubber—I saw this movie at SXSW and wrote about it here. I would recommend seeing it. No, it’s not about Plankton’s sidekick hatching evil deeds against SpongeBob, it’s about teenagers who are unable to communicate with adults or even each other. That doesn’t sound as good as it is, but trust me. The movie’s Web site is here if you want to know more about the film.
The Chumscrubber is opening in theaters pretty soon (August 5, but I’m not sure if that includes Austin), but the Austin Chronicle and SXSW are sponsoring a free preview screening on Tuesday, August 2 at Dobie. Director Arie Posin and producer Bonnie Curtis will answer questions after the screening. You must read this week’s Chronicle for details on how to get tickets (I don’t know if they post that info to their Web site). [via Matt Dentler’s blog]
In Flagrante—I saw this low-budget local film several years ago. Some friends of mine were involved in the production. The 16 mm film was made by a group of people who were a film production class together at Austin FilmWorks. The movie is about a very straight-laced, conventional young couple that moves into a house next door to some very odd neighbors. Very, very odd.
In Flagrante is playing on Saturday, July 30 at 8 pm at Nueva Onda, a South Austin restaurant, as part of their weekly Movie Night. Admission is free and director Tom Chamberlain will answer questions (or will be heckled by well-meaning friends) after the screening. Nueva Onda is located at 2218 College, just northwest of S. Congress and Oltorf. I’ve never been there myself; please post a comment if you know anything about the place.
Incidentally, it appears that Nueva Onda is looking for more independent shorts and features for future movie nights, so visit their Web site if you’re interested.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen—I couldn’t get through this entry without mentioning at least one movie showing at an Alamo theater. Alamo Downtown is showing the movie at noon on Saturday, July 30, with free admission, as part of its monthly Saturday Morning Film Club screenings. I like this movie a lot, despite some shortcomings; my boyfriend can’t stand it. If you’re going to see it, see it on a nice big theater screen.
One more item: The Paramount is about to close down for a week for renovations, but you can still catch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and Masculine-Feminine this weekend. No points for guessing which two of those films are the double-feature.

sign of impending apocalypse #62

KGSR played “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” this morning. I think you have to live in Austin to understand just how bizarre that is.
See, this is why I like living here and have never wanted to leave.
I am not a big David Allan Coe fan myself, but somehow I get a kick out of that song. I might or might not have been singing along this morning. If you don’t know the song (I think all Texans are required by law to listen to it at least once, although we don’t have to like it), many people consider it the ultimate country music song. Many other people consider it lame, dumb, and even dreadful, and no, they don’t kick you out of Texas for thinking that.
Weirdly enough, that song reminds me of my paternal grandmother, even though I don’t think she ever set foot in Texas … well, of her funeral anyway. I can explain. I rode to her funeral with my baby brother in his car. The child is incapable of driving 10 feet without putting in a CD and cranking up the volume, even on the way to a funeral.
And which CD did he inexplicably decide to play as we drove down West Metairie Road? “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.” And of course we had to sing along. You can’t not sing along. The CD was loud, we were louder. There should have been nothing appropriate about it but somehow we felt better. In fact, I think we might have played it twice.
See, not only do I love this town, but I think I’m too weird to live anywhere else.

they’re coming to get you, Jette

I really hate reading weblog/journal entries that begin with “Sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, but the cat lost all its hair/ the guitar died/ the kids spilled pudding in the laptop/ I lost all my pants/ zombies!” Or whatever.
I also don’t get much of a thrill out of entries that exist just to tell me that the author won’t be around, like “Don’t expect me to post anything for the next month because it’s blueberry-picking season/ I’m reading the collected works of J.K Rowling in French/ all my furniture needs refinishing/ zombies!”
Having said that …
My job is kicking my ass around the block. We advanced from Busy Software Pre-Release Mode to Incredibly Swamped Imminent Release Mode. Theoretically I shouldn’t even be sitting here at home typing this right now, I should be in the office converting XML to HTML or testing software or deciphering edits from software developers or arguing why we shouldn’t change terminology this close to a release.
I can think of a half-dozen things I’d like to write about, plus I would love to review Batman Begins and Hustle & Flow and whatever the hell else I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. I hope I’ll be able to make time to post about a few upcoming events in Austin, as soon as I can remember where I put that information …
For the next two or three weeks, my job will suck out all my brain power and when I get home I will sit on the sofa like, well, a zombie. And I don’t mean Rob Zombie, either. (Hey, when’s his movie going to play in Austin?) Also, I’m doing some volunteer work that’s cranking into high gear. And maybe I’ll refinish all the furniture, just for fun and relaxation.
Don’t expect regular and substantial postings before August 15. Now that I’ve said that, of course, I’ll get a wild hair to write about my theories on the so-called box office slump, or write another list of gaps in the DVD market, or explain why I like the ending of the movie Alice Adams more than the book. Perhaps I’ll even write about zombies.

bad film geek, bad!

I should feel so very guilty. I bought a ticket in advance to see Me and You and Everyone We Know last night, and then I didn’t go. I got stuck in a meeting, it was storming pretty badly, I was exhausted from a personal training session at the gym at lunchtime, I hadn’t eaten, I accidentally had taken some medication that might have made me drowsy, I had a ton of stuff to do because we’re going to San Antonio today. Excuses, excuses.
So I didn’t post a review on the day the movie opened in Austin, which is a little sad, especially because I haven’t posted anything this week. Oh, the guilt.
I don’t feel too guilty, though, because at least the money I spent on the ticket I didn’t use went to a good cause (CinemaTexas), and it turned out I did in fact need the rest. The movie is playing at Arbor Great Hills all week and hopefully I will see it eventually and even write about it.
I probably won’t see any movies this weekend, though, because I’m going to be in San Antonio with my immediate family. My sister expressed an interest in seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I have no idea if any San Antonio theaters are near the area where we’re staying. San Antonio does have an Alamo Drafthouse but it isn’t near the actual Alamo.
Before I go, I wanted to let y’all know—well, at least let the Austinites know—that Alamo Downtown has posted its August schedule on the Web. Looks like a good line-up, including Antonioni’s Blow-Up, Oldboy, Tell Them Who You Are (the documentary about cinematographer Haskell Wexler, made by his son Mark), and even The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, if you’re into early Kurt Russell.
My sister will be terribly jealous because on August 21, Alamo is showing all three Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back (it starts mid-morning) with an all-day Hobbit menu. I wonder if we could sneak her back into town for this. Well, I wish we could, anyway, although she would probably want Orlando Bloom for dessert.
If you are in Austin this weekend you can see Dr. Strangelove or A Hard Day’s Night at the Paramount, Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle at Alamo Downtown, and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie for free at Alamo South Lamar.
Also, March of the Penguins is opening at Arbor Great Hills and my boyfriend and I may be weirdly tempted to see that in the next week. And I will see the Miranda July film. And catch up on my movie reviews. And finally write about my theory on the alleged box-office slump (now that it’s allegedly over). And not feel guilty when I fail to do all of the above.

more than they could handle

My grandfather has probably never seen the movie Raising Arizona, since his TV tastes run more toward sports events and old Charles Bronson or James Bond movies. And if he ever did see that hilarious Coen brothers comedy late one night, flipping through the channels, my guess is that he would not remember much about it. Not really his type of humor.
So my grandfather doesn’t even know that he missed the perfect opportunity to utter one of the most memorable lines from that film. It was the kind of opportunity that few of us will ever experience, although not exactly the kind that we would dream about.

Continue reading more than they could handle

July free-for-all: the proof

Last week I boasted that you could see a free movie in a theater in Austin every night of the week. I wondered if I could prove it.
I can. Here’s a list of free movies playing in Austin next week, one for every day in the week. Some of them are outdoors instead of in theaters; some of them are screenings of DVDs instead of reels of film. Some are in the greater Austin area … Round Rock, San Marcos, etc. But it is still true that if you’re short on cash (and have a source of reliable transportation), you can see a free movie every day around town.
Some of the films on this list are part of various theaters’ summer film series for kids. But I see no reason why grown-ups can’t sneak in. If you think it’ll be a problem, tell the theater staff that you’re meeting your sister and her kids and they’re already in the theater. Some people might not like the idea of watching a movie in a theater full of kids, but if it’s a good movie that kids like, I think it’s delightful to watch them enjoying the film. (It’s the bored kids who are no fun in theaters.)

Continue reading July free-for-all: the proof

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl’s Moving Castle: 2004, dir. Hayao Miyazaki. Seen at Arbor Great Hills (June 17).
Howl’s Moving Castle (aka Hauru no ugoku shiro) is still in a few theaters, and if it’s playing near you, I recommend seeing it in the theater, whether it is dubbed or subtitled. The best thing about this movie is the way it looks, and the charming little details of animation, which might be lost on a smaller TV screen.
I was pleased that the Arbor decided to show the subtitled version of Howl’s Moving Castle instead of the dubbed version. I doubt the movie loses much being dubbed, because I have seen other Miyazaki movies dubbed by Disney and they do a great job. But I thought I would prefer the subtitled version just the same.

Continue reading Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

AFS special screenings in July

An Austin Film Society membership is the best deal in town. You can become an AFS member for as little as $20 a year and if you see films with any regularity, the membership pays for itself easily. (I think mine paid for itself sometime in March.)
Many of the Alamo Drafthouse special screenings have AFS discounts, including the Texas Documentary Tour series. AFS nearly always has some other film series going on with weekly movies that are free for members, movies that are often hard (or impossible) to find on DVD. And every so often, AFS holds sneak previews where members can get one or two free tickets if they respond quickly enough.
Those are just the free movie perks … I haven’t even mentioned benefits and discounts for filmmakers. Because of my AFS membership, I was able to audit a master class in film at UT last semester, which was an unforgettable experience.
Also, I really like AFS-sponsored movies because you usually can buy the tickets online at the AFS Web site, which doesn’t charge extra for online ticket purchases like most movie theaters do.
Besides their regularly scheduled films, Austin Film Society is sponsoring two preview screenings in the next couple of weeks:
Me and You and Everyone We Know—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Thursday 7/14. Tickets are $5 and the proceeds go to benefit Cinematexas. Miranda July’s film won an award at Cannes and has been getting great reviews all over the place. You get to support a female filmmaker and a deserving local short film festival. Tickets are still available on the AFS Web site (I got mine) and I don’t think you have to be an AFS member.
The Bad News Bears—Playing at the Paramount on Wednesday 7/20. Tickets range from $8-50 depending on whether you’re an AFS member and whether you actually want to be able to see the film from your seat. Director Richard Linklater and cast members to be named later will be in attendance. Tickets are available through the Paramount.
As much as I’d enjoy seeing (and reviewing) this movie in advance and hearing Linklater talk about it, I’d rather see it in a theater where I don’t have to spend $40 for a good seat (although that $40 also gets you into an after-party at Dart Bowl). I wish I could get a press pass. Hey, I’m a film critic. Somebody comp me.