This year’s Dismember the Alamo zombie film fest is starting to take shape–and it’s looking good.
There hasn’t been an official announcement yet, but I noticed (during my weekly rounds putting together the film listings for Austinist–I’m not obsessive or anything) that three show pages have been added to the Alamo Lake Creek site: one for Thom Eberhardt’s Night of the Comet (aka Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies. Seriously.), one for Bruce McDonald’s slow-burning zombie talkie Pontypool, and one for Tommy Wirkola’s much buzzed about nazi zombie flick Dead Snow.
I’m super excited about Dead Snow, which I’ve been dying to see since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year.
On paper, Werner Herzog’s newest, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, is amazing: produced by David Lynch, starring Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe and Udo Kier. Unfortunately, it’s not getting fantastic reviews (it’s played at Venice and Toronto sofar). I’m not letting that get me down though–I still have high hopes for it.
For reasons probably having to do with lawyers, the trailer has been pulled from YouTube. But you can check it out here while it lasts.
Next Sunday (September 6th), they’re screening two great movies at the Alamo: Jim Jarmusch’s bizarro western masterpiece Dead Man, and Dario Argento’s horror-as-high-art classic Deep Red. Both are worth seeing, and though I own them both on DVD, I’m still bummed to be missing these rare theatrical screenings.
Dead Man is the film that got me interested in Jarmusch, and the strange, bleak, existential western still impresses well over a decade later. The opening scene’s ridiculous (in a good way) performance by Crispin Glover is, on its own, worth the price of admission. And the electric (but somehow timeless) score by Neil Young is the icing on the cake. Besides Edward Scissorhands, this is Johnny Depp’s best role, and, I think, Jarmusch’s best film.
Deep Red was one of the last Argento films I saw–even after seeing Mother of Tears. So I have a deeper affection for Suspiria, I think (as I’ve spent a lot more time with it). But I can tell you that Red is a fantastic, near-perfect example of Argento’s mad genius. And that a hell of a lot of people think it’s his masterwork.
So if you’re in Austin this weekend, I’d recommend hunkering down at the Ritz Sunday night. These two classics will make a great (but very dark) double-bill.
UPDATE: These screenings have all been canceled. Bummer. They are still showing Repo Man for Music Monday, but it will be Coxless.
On May 17th and 18th, British-born indie icon Alex Cox will present three films at the Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin. Two of the films (Repo Man and Searchers 2.0), are his. The third (Michele Lupo’s 1966 Spaghetti Western Arizona Colt) is apparently one of Cox’s favorite European Westerns, which means it’s probably quite good.
I’ve been on a mild Cox kick lately, and I’m super excited to hear him talk about his films. I’m also fairly excited to see Repo Man on the big screen with an audience.
Find tickets for these shows here, here and here.
Which reminds me, here’s the beginning of a great Believer piece about Repo Man, and a Repo-themed scavenger hunt organized by the folks at the Alamo. If you want to read the rest, I’ll lend you the issue. If I can find it.
If you’re a frequent user of Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” feature, you might have noticed that a big chunk of movies went offline at the beginning of this month (probably because the digital distribution rights expired).
And now, a month later, another batch of righteous rights are expiring. And unfortunately, a long list of Herzog films are on the chopping block for February 1st (2009). The list includes: Even Dwarfs Started Small, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Woyzeck, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Lessons of Darkness, Fitzcarraldo, Cobra Verde, Stroszek and Land of Silence and Darkness.
Bummer. Looks like I’ll have to have some kind of Herzog-a-thon this month, before they disappear. (I’m being dramatic, of course–they’ll still be available via DVD.)
It’s also worth noting that Sam Peckinpah’s brilliant 1971 thriller Straw Dogs will become unavailable on the same day. Watch it while you can. Don’t worry though, Peckinpah’s other 70s masterwork, Convoy, is safe for now.
While reading this post earlier today (via BB), I came across a link to Wikipedia’s Year In Film page, which I am thoroughly impressed by.
It’s a pretty fantastic wrap-up of the year, covering all the bases from awards to box office earnings to “notable deaths” (I had no idea Michael Crichton OR Brad Renfro died this past year). What’s great, though, is the simple, chronological list of films that came out in ’08. Even better–there are similar pages for nearly every year since the 1870s. Of course, the pages get less detailed as you go further back, but they’re still fun.
In the year I was born, films released included The Last Waltz, Animal House, Days of Heaven, The Deer Hunter, Pretty Baby, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Grease, Battlestar Galactica, Halloween, Superman, Up In Smoke, Watership Down and Revenge of the Pink Panther.
The trailer for Gary Hustwit’s new industrial design documentary Objectified is up at Gizmodo, and it looks great–kind of like a filmic Design of Everyday Things (but suspiciously lacking an appearance by Don Norman).
Though Hustwit’s name isn’t on the website yet, he’ll be appearing in some capacity at this year’s South By Southwest, and I’ll be surprised if Objectified isn’t screening as well.
If you’re a big fan of Gary’s, and if you’ve got some money to throw around, you can get your name in Objectified‘s credits (plus a whole bunch of other fun swag) for a cool $500 donation to the film, which is currently in post-production.
In case you think that a documentary about industrial design is boring, keep in mind that Hustwit is the man behind the hugely entertaining typeface doc Helvetica. He’s also one of the principals at Plexifilm, arguably the best documentary DVD label in North America.
UPDATE: Objectified will indeed be screening at SXSW this year. I’m going to get in line right now.
This essay by Alex Cox (Director of many brilliant and underrated flicks like Repo Man and Walker) has got me really, really interested in seeing Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel, which unfortunately won’t be released on DVD until February. I’ve had Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie floating near the top of my Netflix queue for a long time now, but I know embarrassingly little about the famed Spanish director. Time to fix that.
My major point, though, is that I love it when criticism is done right. Most people (wrongly, I think) tend to think of criticism as opinion–as two thumbs up or two thumbs down. But when done well, criticism is barely opinion at all; it’s part of a conversation about art, and about life. And when it’s underpinned by a passion for either one of those things, it can be just as important as the films themselves. Maybe even more important.
At the Austin premiere of the highly anticipated My Name Is Bruce, I had a drink and a friendly chat with b-movie megastar Bruce Campbell. It was a very last minute thing, and I wasn’t sure it was even going to happen until about ten seconds before it did, so the interview isn’t nearly as good as it could have been. But when you get a chance to talk to someone like Mr. Campbell, you take it. Thank you to Matt and Karen at the Alamo for making this happen on such short notice, and thank you to Ain’t It Cool News for calling in sick and freeing up an interview slot.
[Read the interview]
Fantastic Fest is so close I can taste it. But since it’s completely sold out, I feel kinda bad for folks who didn’t get badges in time. For them I’ve put together a list of publicly-accessible FF screenings and events. Check it out on Austinist.