2.28.2012

trailer tuesday

this week's entry is for ridley scott's prometheus (2012). let's hope it lives up to expectations.

2.27.2012

who gives a good goddamn?

i got your oscars right here.

see you next year, saps!

2.24.2012

mulberry fields forever

click the photo to read my reminiscence of the muriel winner for the fiftieth anniversary award of the best film from 1961.

2.21.2012

trailer tuesday

this week's entry is for terry gilliam's the adventures of baron munchausen (1988).

2.18.2012

starlite by lamplite

all this rain in the last 48 hours made our usual venue a little swampy so, for the first time, we moved starlite cinema series indoors. much like most things starlite, things worked out just like they ought to.

the inclement weather and other obligations also kept attendance down this time but even that worked out in our favor. it resulted in an evening of interesting conversation and a cozier atmosphere in which to take in a program of belated valentines. we started things off with michel ocelot's intricate papercut animation, the three inventors (1980), which we were able to enjoy that much more thanks to some translation help from lara wakefield and christophe borgnon. from there, we went on to our feature for the evening, jean vigo's l'atalante (1934), a film that may have benefited from the more intimate setting even more than i could have anticipated. in retrospect, it's a film that seems best shared in small groups, passed along like a confidence. a cool night, a fire in the hearth and one of world cinema's loveliest experiences - forget virginia, starlite is for lovers.

next month promises to be very exciting, as we are undertaking our first two-part program. in march we begin a journey into the hardboiled world of my favorite knight-errant private eye, philip marlowe, with howard hawks' the big sleep (1946).

bogart and bacall's chemistry is off the charts and raymond chandler's dialogue (with a script assist from william faulkner) is whip-smart and razor sharp. it is one of the undisputed classics of the genre and kicks off our first multi-installment program in style. we are going to slate this one for 3.24.12 to give everyone time to catch their breath after all the sxsw craziness. showtime will be at 7:30. here is the facebook event page if you'd like to rsvp there. if you need more info just let me know. part two of the marlowe double bill will coincide with our second anniversary screening in april and will feature one of my favorites of all time. hope you can make it to one or both.

2.16.2012

unsung chihiro

i was lucky enough tonight to finally make it to the first leg of the studio ghibli retrospective at the alamo drafthouse for the final screening of the restored 35mm print of hayao miyazaki's spirited away (2001).

it's the second time i was able to see it on the big screen and it was every bit as magnificent as i remembered. miyazaki's through-the-looking-glass fable remains my favorite animated film, unrivaled, even by his other fine work. the screen barely seems able to contain the imagination on display and the execution is peerless. what really makes the film for me, though, is chihiro. i just wanted to make a brief note about why i think she belongs in the pantheon of great cinematic heroes. the obvious reason would be for her purity of heart, which is considerable, but that is not why i nominate her. that is to be expected from a character like this and, while it is admirable, it is not necessarily unique, in miyazaki's universe especially. what sets her apart for me is the fact that her heroism is so deeply rooted in pragmatism. she still occasionally suffers emotional setbacks, momentarily overcome by sadness or fright, but when she's up against it she does the most heroic thing any of us can do - her best. she has the wherewithal to do all she can and the optimism to believe that it will be enough. if you could distill the essence of this character down into a gesture or movement, she is the personification of a deep breath then a step forward.

that's not to say she is a stoic. she is full of delight, comedy, wonder and adventure. those are the reasons you come to care about her and pull for her in the first place. by the time you learn what she's really made of, it's like a reward. she affirms your faith in, and affection for, her with every act of kindness, nobility and bravery. it's simply her instinct to do what needs to be done, the very definition of heroic. she will always be one of my favorites.

spirited away may have come and gone but you still have the next three weeks to catch some excellent films:

castle in the sky (1986), 2.17.12 - 2.23.12
my neighbor totoro (1988), 2.24.12 - 3.1.12
nausicaä of the valley of the wind (1984), 3.2.12 - 3.8.12

check the alamo south lamar calendar for tickets and showtimes.

see you there.

2.15.2012

vote early and often

ok, the biggest awards of the season are upon us - the muriels.

from now through 3.4.12 the results of our voting will be posted regularly at the above link and eventually collected, along with our individual lists, here. if you're a regular around here, you know how stridently anti-list and anti-award i am. lists, on the internet and elsewhere, are almost always garbage to generate traffic and spur arguments that illuminate nothing. awards for art are patently ridiculous, as the subjective nature of the whole endeavor makes the result immeasurable, unquantifiable from one to the next. so, bear in mind when you read my results i am not saying "best" so much as "my favorite". the nature of the muriels is much more about devoted fans kicking cinema around and, with any luck, spreading the word about films in a way that might excite people to seek them out, if they haven't already. i have posted a handy muriel-approved button to the right of the screen here so you can just click that to check on the daily updates. enjoy and i hope you discover something fun and new.

2.14.2012

trailer tuesday

this week's entry celebrates the holiday with george mihalka's my bloody valentine (1981).

2.07.2012

trailer tuesday

i know the offerings around here have been few and far between lately. i am really sorry about that. after the difficult start to the new year when i try to sit down and write something lengthy about movies it feels a little ridiculous and trivial. i am working my way back into it and i promise that queue de gr√Ęce and everything else will resume in good time. in the meantime, i will at least keep tuesdays going. this week's entry was inspired by my favorite li'l devourer of worlds, mae laszlo. get in the way, get eaten! ladies and gentlemen, my favorite monster movie of the last twenty years, bong joon-ho's the host (2006).