Alamo Drafthouse

violet crown cinema

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. The Violet Crown Cinema Location: 434 West 2nd St. Austin, TX Date Opened: April 29, 2011 No. of Screens: 4 Current First-Run Titles: Her, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle

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Those looking for for human/smartphone romance still have a few years of waiting before today’s technology catches up with Her‘s. But if you’d be satisfied with a little hostility from your semi-sentient operating system, here’s some good news. Alamo Drafthouse, the theater chain already renown for its stringent “don’t be a jackass while the movie is playing” rules, has upped its own ante by courting Siri to record a vaguely threatening “Don’t Talk or Text” PSA to play before all screenings of Her.

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Alamo Drafthouse Essential Movies

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Forever Fest

Most of the time, cinephiles and pop culture junkies who can’t make it down to Austin, Texas for a super-cool event taking place in that fine city bemoan their inability to make it SXSW (music! film! bad hats!) in March or Fantastic Fest (a steady diet of movie food! blood!)  in September. But when it comes to festivals I’m personally heartbroken to be missing, it’s all about next month’s inaugural Forever Fest. Created by Brandy Fons (PR whiz) and Sarah Pitre (lead programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse), Forever Fest “is a celebration of girlie pop culture, a weekend for fans of female-centric films, books and television to come together and enjoy their obsessions without shame.” It’s basically the dream festival for ladies (and dudes, too!) who still feel a connection to the cheeseball movies of the nineties, freely dive into the rich YA culture of today, and aren’t so shabby at karaoke no matter what sort of jams they are belting out. Forever Fest is the type of festival that a lot of people probably fantasize about conducting via sleepover in their own home, without ever thinking that it could actually be launched at a movie theater over an entire weekend. But it can! And it is! Forever Fest will kick off on November 1st, and it will utterly consume the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin for the next three whole days. Pack your coziest pajamas, kids. After the break, take a looksie at the seven Forever Fest events we’re […]

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The Dreamers

The morning’s best writing from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Randy Quaid Independence Day

It’s high time we celebrate the on-screen boozer who saves the day, adds some comic relief, falls into spiraling depression or a combination of all three. To do that, we’ve invited on Alamo Drafthouse Ritz programmer Tommy Swenson — the man behind a tipsy August lineup in honor of The World’s End – who knows more than a thing or two about movie drunks. Plus, our big interview this week is with Drinking Buddies writer/director/producer/editor Joe Swanberg who will take us into the craft brewery of his mind. Double plus, Geoff and I respond to this article about intentionally bad movies, and tie it into the overall theme as loosely as possible by drinking a beer beforehand. And after. What? It was a long day. You should follow Joe Swanberg (@joe_swanberg), Tommy Swenson (@80s_Lightning), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) for more fun stuff on a daily basis. And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Download Episode #27 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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AlamoDrafthouse_Summer83Logo

Though the Alamo Drafthouse already declared 1982 “the greatest summer of movies ever” with their Summer of 1982 screening series last year (which we giddily participated in ourselves), the team behind the very successful screening series has now conceded that, hey, 1983 was pretty sweet, too. In celebration of another great year at the movies, the Drafthousers are now rolling out their brand new Summer of 1983 screening series, one that features the “crown jewel of that summer,” no less than Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi on the big screen. While all the titles featured as part of the Summer of 1983 will show in all Alamo Drafthouse markets (Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, TX; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; and Ashburn and Winchester, VA), Return of the Jedi will only play in Austin at the Drafthouse Slaughter Lane on May 25. To celebrate, the theater promises no less than “an all-day, galactic-sized celebration.” But what can the rest of us Drafthouse-goers except to see this summer? How about Trading Places, Scarface, The Killing of Satan, Risky Business, The Deadly Spawn, Octopussy, Screwballs, WarGames, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and
Jaws 3-D? Sounds pretty sweet, right? Want tickets? Point your browsers right HERE. And after the break, check out the official trailer for the Summer of 1983 to get even more excited than you already should be for this event.

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Alamo Drafthouse logo

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. It’s time to remember the Alamo. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, that is. Every week, we showcase another movie theater from around the world as a “Movie House of Worship,” and we tend to save certain cinemas to feature during certain film festivals they’re affiliated with. Naturally, with SXSW going on this week, an Alamo location is necessary. But which one? Normally I’d go with the Alamo South Lamar, but that’s out of commission this year. Also, Brian recently wrote up a great tribute to the theater on the eve of its temporary closing. And who is best to assign an entry on an Alamo theater? I would do it, but I’m not a local and there are plenty of people who know the brand and locations better. I decided the best way to go this week is more open. Invite all you readers to share your experience with any Alamo Drafthouse theater. Answer the usual questions of why you worship there, what is your take on the food and what’s a recent (or not recent even) screening of note. Are you a year-long regular or a visitor who only sees the inside of an Alamo during SXSW or Fantastic Fest […]

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alamo-yourhighness

A fledgling movie geek, still wet behind the ears and eyes, arrives in a town called Austin and heads to a movie theater he read about online. The first Alamo Drafthouse he ever visited was the location on South Lamar near downtown, a matinee screening of Hot Fuzz no less. The entire direction of his life was forever altered by the time the credits rolled and he paid his first check. It’s true that my subsequent move to Austin was entirely motivated by a desire to be nearer the Alamo and to reap the benefits of the immersive and eclectic film education it offered. It was a bizarre gamble, one hard to explain to family and friends. “You want to move away from everything you know to be closer to a movie theater?” Their consternation was understandable because it sounds crazy, but to me the Alamo was never just a movie theater and could not be defined by brick and mortar. It was a haven for incurable cinephilia; a place where every real world distraction was stripped away to allow for full transportation by the images flickering on the screen. It was the gateway to an entirely different, and much needed, appreciation of film. I was languishing in southern town with no film culture whatsoever and faced with the option of either returning home to a city that could do little more to nurture my passion, or strike out to this new place where I barely knew anyone and make a […]

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Alamo South Lamar

Austin movie fans have already said farewell to one iconic Alamo Drafthouse. The Colorado Street location in the heart of downtown was a rickety kind of temple to cinema passion. Scrappy and genuine, the warehouse-district screening beacon closed in 2007, hiked a few blocks down to the Ritz and re-opened as the chain was expanding. Now, the South Lamar — which has become the cornerstone through events like Fantastic Fest — is being razed and will re-emerge from the Earth anew in the fall. Fighting back the tears, Brian Salisbury shot and Luke Mullen edited a video tribute to the theater that made them move across the country to Central Texas. For those who know it best, it’s a fitting celebration, and for those that don’t, its farewell message also acts as a nice backstage introduction.

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Miami Connection

A rock band who practice Tae kwon do and sing about the joys of friendship. Ninjas who move noisily between drug deals on speeding pocket rockets. Welcome to the dangerous world of Orlando, circa 1987, and the little film that found a second chance on eBay. Miami Connection opened and closed in central Florida in 1987, never to see public exposure again, but when an industrious Alamo Drafthouse employee bought a print online for $50 a legend was reborn. The film follows a group of friends who go to college during the day and rock out at night as the house-band for an Orlando nightclub. Their world is shattered though when they’re forced into a confrontation with a rival band, poorly dressed gang members and drug dealing, motorcycle riding ninjas. Let’s listen to some commentary!

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In lieu of a Movie Houses of Worship column (in part due to a lack of entries from readers), this week I’d like to discuss a part of the cinema industry that I feel needs addressing. Think of it alternately as a sermon, to keep the religious aspect of moviegoing analogy going. The topic of this sermon is dine-in theaters, aka movie-grills, aka Drafthouse-type cinemas. The other night I attended the grand opening of a new Movie Studio Grill location in Duluth, GA. It’s a beautiful place, one of the more upscale dine-in movie theaters (leather chairs!) yet not so hoity toity as those that sell themselves on signature cocktails and fancy foods sprinkled with magic truffle dust and such. And for the most part I had a great time in spite of the movie shown to us being the very messy Hyde Park on Hudson (in a way, though, the film’s culture-clashing themes worked for the fancy   digs meets bar food concept). I should point out for full disclosure, by the way, that I was fed at this event. Not that it should influence anything since the experience has prompted a larger complaint about this cinema concept. I honestly wasn’t a fan of most of what I ate, though my companion (okay, it was my mom), loved every bite.

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Culture Warrior

Two weeks ago, thousands of people read a restaurant review in full for the very first time. Many of these people don’t live anywhere near the restaurant, or would have no intention of visiting it if they did. Pete Wells’s Socratic takedown of Guy Fieri’s bloated American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square is an exemplary work of fiery, hilarious, righteously indignant criticism. By constructing nearly the entire review through questions, Wells paints a detailed picture of his experience while simultaneously explicating, point-by-point, its astronomical failure. So why the hell am I writing about a review of a restaurant on a movie site? As the vast reception and ensuing conversation about Wells’s review indicates, the implications of this singular work stem far beyond food criticism. Movie critics and restaurant critics may seem to have as much in common as apples and celluloid in the world of written evaluation. However, as leisure activities, movie theaters and restaurants share a great deal. After all, dining out and moviegoing just about weigh even in the ritual of the American first date, and these activities are regularly combined, sometimes simultaneously (thanks, Alamo Drafthouse!). But beyond the disparate objects of analysis, Wells’s work brings to light several important concerns particular to the enterprise of film criticism.

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The Hobbit Martin Freeman

It’s not unfair to say that Butt-Numb-a-Thon 5 turned me into a cinephile. Something about the combination of seeing Oldboy and Buster Keaton’s death-defying The General with a live accompaniment shook something loose in my brain. I was fortunate enough to have parents that shared their favorites with me through the magic of AMC and TCM, but sitting in the Colorado Street Alamo Drafthouse, surrounded by strangers and beautiful cinema was graduation time. For those who don’t know, the easiest explanation for BNAT is as a 24-hour film festival put on with the bottomless knowledge of Harry Knowles from Aint It Cool and the showman’s flair of Tim League. Sometimes that involves eating scrambled eggs after watching the live birth in Teenage Mother or getting a Fleshlight just before seeing Hobo With a Shotgun. At any rate, Harry has just posted the application (complete with explanation for why you need to fill one out) that could become your ticket to attending. If you’re curious about what’s played before, here’s a great place to look, but the line-up is always a giant surprise. That element makes the event even more special, but given the timing and the festival’s history, it’s probably a good bet that a certain Peter Jackson movie will be on tap (and Jackson himself might make another appearance). Beyond that, it’s a mystery, and hearing what Harry has up his sleeve is a thing of joy. So if the thought of learning that you’re about to see a rare print of Orson […]

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Tim League

There are few elements of the Fantastic Fest experience that are quite like being in the vicinity of Tim League. Of all the great things people will tell you about attending Austin’s premier fall festival, this is one that sometimes falls below the radar, but only because there is so much to love about Fantastic Fest. It’s an atmosphere that’s at once easy and difficult to describe. A large gathering of movie-loving people, a number of which are bearded young men, is one way. But to simplify it to such a degree would be an injustice. That’s what people who look down their noses at Fantastic Fest say about it. And it’s much more than that. It’s a gathering of those — old, young, male, female, alien and otherwise — who have a love for genre cinema. They come from all around, from right around the corner to Scotland and beyond. They love the movies and they love the experience. An essential part of the experience is the shenanigans that seem to break out around the festival’s co-founder. Sure, he’s the CEO and founder of one of the countries fastest growing and most talked-about theater chains, a promising independent distribution company and the owner of several local establishments that will show you a nice night on the town. But Tim League is, above all, present for the party. He’s the first one to jump into the fray and get his hands dirty (and potentially bloody). Father of two and self-described as having […]

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Machine Gun Woman

It’s September again, kiddies, and by this point we shouldn’t even have to remind you what that means. Don’t recall? We’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with “Fantastic Fest.” Over the years, it’s been my great honor to be a part of the Film School Rejects Fantastic Fest Death Squad. Years ago, seems nearer to a century, I was charged with whipping a ragtag group of noobs into shape for their very first fest; giving them a series of tips and tricks as to how to handle the grueling eight-day geek gauntlet. To my delight, and frankly my utter shock, we lost not one man that year. The Death Squad’s sophomore outing presented new challenges for the now novice crew. Yet with a little help from a second batch of advice, we were once again victorious. It’s been two years since that second assault, and the squadron has settled into comfortable ease with Fantastic Fest’s demanding grind. They now navigate the week as seasoned veterans. However, there are advisements that even a veteran would do well to heed. Even if you similarly count yourself in this old salt category, you too may find merit in these prescriptions.

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Future Alamo Drafthouse

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s about to be your deviant nightly gut punch of pure awesome. Pure. Awesome. Our evening begins with a look at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. Some of you may be wondering, “why lead with something so local in a column that’s read in over 50 countries?” Because it’s relevant to our upcoming barrage of coverage from Fantastic Fest. You see, the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar is where Fantastic Fest lives. This year, it’s been repainted to look like it’s part of the movie Frankenweenie. Next year, it will look like the futuristic CineMecca you see above. The booking of flights for Fantastic Fest 2013 begins now, friends.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

I received ton of emails after my “What Works for Austin Filmmakers?” post last week, which provided me with motivation to continue on with part two this week. One thing is obvious, this is a very touchy and emotional subject. Several filmmakers contacted me with their personal insights, all of which will appear one way or another in this or subsequent posts. Some emails were critical of certain members of the local film community, but I will not mention anyone’s names. My goal is to do whatever I can to help foster a more supportive and successful film community, so I am not here to get in the middle of any personal grievances. I do think there is a certain level of validity in many of the claims, but I will keep the criticisms as general as possible. So, I ended my last post with my thoughts on micro-budget genre films and promised to discuss comedies next. Comedies have long been a part of micro-budget filmmaking (especially student films), but most of the time these comedies lack a strong script and passable production quality. Austin is extremely lucky in that it has a very talented go-to pool of comedic actors (I’m looking at you, Chris Doubek, John Merriman, Kerri Lendo, Ashley Spillers, Heather Kafka, Kelli Bland, Paul Gordon and everyone else whom I am forgetting at this particular juncture), but its the films with impressive writing and production values that have historically achieved a higher level of success. This is how […]

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; every bit as important as Time Cop. This is the Film School Rejects column celebrating movies that are damme stupid, damme shallow, and damme awesome! Every week we tear into a lovably bad film like it was a Belgian waffle, which by the way was the nickname of our indecisive foreign exchange roommate in college. We will roundhouse a cinematic stinky cheese in the face with mockery, making plenty of surprise sex faces in slow motion as we do so. But as we are kicking it, we are simultaneously revealing our fondness for these flicks; kicking in the face with the other foot the notion that they are without merit. It’s actually a very difficult maneuver that has us executing a groin-punishing mid-air split. As we ice down our tender bits, we will gorge ourselves on a nauseatingly tasty snack themed to the movie we just watched. This week, the Alamo Drafthouse played host to one of the most epic showcases of epic film epicness to ever be epic. In celebration of the impending/now(ish) release of The Expendables 2, a tribute to one of its newest cast members was conceived. Three classic Jean-Claude Van Damme films, at least as classic as that combination of words allows, would serve as the appetizer for the bloody bullet feast that was sure to be The Expendables 2.

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Austin Cinematic Limits

P.J. Raval and Kelly Williams had barely unpacked from their trip to the Sundance Creative Producing Labs when IFP announced that Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary and Hellion were selected as part of its Project Forum for the 34th edition of Independent Film Week (September 16-20, 2012). Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary (directed by P.J. Raval, produced by Sara Giustini) was chosen in the Spotlight on Documentaries category which contains 49 other documentary features currently at an early financing stage to those nearing completion. Hellion (written and to be directed by Kat Candler, produced by Kelly Williams) will participate in the No Borders International Co-Production Market which includes 42 other narrative projects in development. Austin will be represented by a third film at IFP, Clay Liford‘s script-in-progress, Cutlet (written and to be directed by Clay Liford, produced by Angie Meyer and Brock Williams), which will participate in the Emerging Narrative section with 24 other feature scripts in development. The purpose of Independent Film Week is to provide opportunities for filmmakers to connect with financiers, executives, influencers and decision-makers who can help them complete their projects. A slate of 165 films were selected by IFP for this year’s Project Forum.

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