Pakistan’s ‘Bin Roye’ to screen Sunday

A scene for "Bin Roye."
A scene from “Bin Roye.”

“Bin Roye,” a Pakistani movie from directors Momina Duraid and Shehzad Kashmiri, will have a special one-day screening at 4 p.m. Sunday at Southwest Theaters, otherwise known as the Lake Creek 7, 13729 Research Blvd. No. 1500.

The film, which has subtitles, deals with a young woman who is conflicted when she falls in love with a man who’s courting her friend.

It stars Mahira Khan, Zeba Bakhtiar, Adeel Hussain and Armeena Rana Khan.

To buy tickets, you need to go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/login.html, or here, and create a login and password.

Greenpeace documentary to screen Sept. 9

Rex Weyler carries a banner towards a Russian factory whaling ship in 1976 in the documentary "How to Change the World. Credit: Greenpeace International (Still from 16mm film)
Rex Weyler carries a banner towards a Russian factory whaling ship in 1976 in the documentary “How to Change the World. Credit: Greenpeace International (Still from 16mm film)

The documentary “How to Change the World,” which tracks the rise of Greenpeace, will be screening across the nation in a one-night event on Sept. 9.

The screenings in Austin area are at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at Cinemark Southpark Meadows, the Arbor, the Metropolitan, the Hill Country Galleria, the Cinemark Cedar Park, the Tinseltown in Pflugerville and the Starplex in San Marcos.

Director Jerry Rothwell uses archival footage from the Greenpeace vaults in Amsterdam to tell the story of the people who founded Greenpeace and helped define the modern green movement.

In a director’s statement, Rothwell talks about how a small group of friends in Vancouver in the late 1960s “set out to shift the way people think about the place of humans in nature. Today’s Greenpeace, with its 41 national offices around the globe and 2.7 million members, had its origins in the activities of a handful of ‘mystics and mechanics’ in one small city forty years ago.”

For tickets, go to www.FathomEvents.com or click here.

Austin Film Festival announces first wave of films

The 22nd annual Austin Film Festival has announced its first wave of films.  Here are some highlights, with the rest of the announced titles below.

“Carol,” Todd Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s  novel “The Price of Salt” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara will screen along with world premieres of Brian Jett’s “Fallen Stars” and Vladamir de Fontenay and Nina Ljeti’s “Memoria” starring Thomas Mann and James Franco.

Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in "I Saw the Light."
Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams in “I Saw the Light.”

Also look for Marc Abraham’s “I Saw the Light,” starring Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams. (Williams died at 29 but looked about 50 at the time. Hiddleston is about 34, so it works out nicely.)

The film festival runs Oct. 29 to Nov.5. Look for appearances by Franco and Jason Reitman (someone makes sure to ask the latter how he feels about the Internet!), along with Jett, Kai Berry, Anthony LaPaglia and others with various projects.

A complete list of programming will be announced in September.

Here are the first ten titles:

“Carol”

Texas Premiere

Writer: Phyllis Nagy; Director: Todd Haynes

In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel “The Price of Salt,” Carol follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. Starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy and Cory Michael Smith.

 

“Casual”

New Series from Hulu

Creator/Executive Producer Zander Lehmann; Executive Producer/Director Jason Reitman

A comedy series about a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister living under one roof again. Together, they coach each other through the crazy world of dating while raising her teenage daughter.

In attendance: Creator/Executive Producer Zander Lehmann; Executive Producer/Director Jason Reitman; Executive Producer Helen Estabrook; Executive Producer Liz Tigelaar; Cast Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins, and Tara Lynne Barr

 

“Fallen Stars”

World Premiere

Writer/Director: Brian Jett

A poignant drama that chronicles the unexpected friendship that develops between Cooper, a melancholy bartender, who at thirty-six, still isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life, and Daisy, an extremely bright but socially awkward girl in her early twenties.

In attendance: Writer/Director Brian Jett; Cast Ryan O’Nan, Michelle Ang; Producer Stephanie Marin

 

“I Saw the Light”

Texas Premiere

Writer/Director: Marc Abraham

Starring Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olson, David Krumholtz, and Bradley Whitford.

 

“Memoria”

World Premiere

Writer/Directors: Vladamir de Fontenay, Nina Ljeti

Ivan Cohen is a young boy living in Palo Alto, California. Unsatisfied by his slacker group of friends, his love for a girl who doesn’t know he exists, and a dysfunctional family life, he is struggling to find his place in the world. Starring Sam Dillon, Thomas Mann, Keith Stanfield, and James Franco.

In attendance: Writers/Directors Vladamir de Fontenay, Nina Ljeti; Cast James Franco, Sam Dillon

 

“Newcomer”

North American Premiere

Writer/Director: Kai Berry

When a rookie operative’s mistake costs the lives of his entire team, he’s forced on the run and must piece together the truth by re-creating the events of the ill-fated mission with only the audio recording to guide him.

In attendance: Writer/Director Kai Berry; Cast Anthony LaPaglia

 

“The Night is Young”

World Premiere

Writer/Directors: Matt Jones, Dave Hill

Over one night, two guys meet two girls and explore what it’s really like to have a drink in LA. Or two drinks… or three… or more.

In attendance: Writer/Directors/Cast Matt Jones, Dave Hill; Cast Eloise Mumford, Kelen Coleman

 

“Paperback”

World Premiere

Writer/Director: Adam Bowers

A pizza cook who’s never left his college town meets the girl of his dreams before finding out there’s a huge roadblock to them being together.

In attendance: Writer/Director Adam Bowers

 

“The Teller and the Truth”

World Premiere

Director: Andrew Shapter

The Teller and the Truth uncovers the truth surrounding the disappearance of Francis Wetherbee, a beautiful young bank teller who’s been missing since a 1974 bank robbery in Smithville, Texas.

In attendance: Director Andrew Shapter; All Cast and Crew

 

“Youth”

Texas Premiere

Writer/Director Paolo Sorrentino

Youth explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. Starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda.

TONIGHT: Two great movies, great for different reasons

There are two essential bits of cinema screening tonight, essential for completely different reasons at two different theaters.

Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten in Hitchcock's still-fantastic "Shadow of a Doubt"
Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten in Hitchcock’s still-fantastic “Shadow of a Doubt”

Tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at Paramount, check out the brilliant Hitchcock movie “Shadow of a Doubt.” Starring Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright, “Doubt” follows a mysterious man name Charles Oakley, who may or may not have a deadly secret in his past. He arrives in Santa Rosa, Calif., the sort of prototypical small town screenwriter Thornton Wilder loved to write about, to stay for spell with his older sister’s family, including his namesake Charlotte “Charlie” Newton (Wright). The nature of evil, the end of innocence, duality, an implied incest subplot that remains incredibly disturbing and an almost Shakespearean – level of comic relief from the great Hume Cronyn: it’s all there. Just stellar.

Then at 10 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, Weird Wednesday Stainsposterpresents Diane Lane, Laura Dern and Ray Winstone in Lou Adler’s singular 1982 movie “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains!” one of the all-time great punk rock movies. Look for vintage footage of the Looters and Black Randy & The Metrosquad and the Stains themselves, an obvious precursor for all things Riot Grrl. Also essential.

‘The End of the Tour:’ Avoid if you actually like David Foster Wallace (Our grade: C+)

Film-Mental-Illness.JPEG-06

If you are a David Foster Wallace fan, you might want to skip “The End of the Tour,” a decent but not great movie that at its top-dollar best is a solid look at a lesser writer dealing with his feelings about a capital-G “Great one” by interviewing him.

It is based on David Lipsky’s 2010 book, “Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace,” a transcript of a nearly weeklong interview Lipsky did with Wallace as he was on the “Infinite Jest” book tour for an ultimately killed Rolling Stone piece.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “The End of the Tour”

‘The Look of Silence’ is that rare thing: a crucial sequel (Our grade: A)

TLOS_TV

As Paul Thomas Anderson says in “Magnolia,” “We might be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”

This is true, profoundly so, in “The Look of Silence,” the sequel to Joshua Oppenheimer’s groundbreaking 2013 film “The Act of Killing,” in which Oppenheimer interviewed men who participated in the 1965 Indonesian coup that led to the slaughter of roughly a million Communists, intellectuals and ordinary citizens. Austin-based Drafthouse Films is the distributor for both.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “The Look of Silence”

Actors strike a pose in ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ reboot (Our grade: C)

MFU-04428

Michael Phillips – Chicago Tribune

Some movies are hung up on their own moves, and they can be terrific fun if they’re directed by someone who knows how and when to move a camera.

But other movies get hung up on their own looks, which is a different, vainglorious story.

Director and co-writer Guy Ritchie’s “Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” inspired by the 1964-1968 TV series that rode the James Bond wave, tells a tale of nice suits and pretty sunglasses, and actors posing, not acting.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”

“Urban Cowboy” reboot to be shot in Austin

Rolling Stone reported Thursday that Fox Television CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman announced (at at the summer edition of the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles) a TV version of “Urban Cowboy,”  the 1980 film with John Travolta and Debra Winger.

It will be shot in Austin.

In the remake, this dude will be Latino.
In the remake, this dude will be Latino.

The show was created by “Hustle & Flow” director Craig Brewer and Fox is shooting for a summer or fall 2016 release date.

Deadline Hollywood has a lot more details, reporting that Mexican actor/singer Alfonso Herrera of “Sense8” fame has been given the Travolta (more or less) role.

Alfonso Herrera.
Alfonso Herrera.

From the Deadline piece: “He is an extremely popular rodeo circuit rider who is a puppet for the drug cartel, forced to flee Mexico after ticking off the wrong people. Now, with a price on his head, he and his sister make their way to Houston, given sanctuary by his Uncle Al, also an illegal immigrant who has made a life for himself in the United States. He’s a cosmopolitan, modern guy who has drank (sic) the best tequila, danced at the hottest clubs in Mexico and he still has a lot of play left in him, but knows it’s time to forge a new future, find new dreams.”

No word if Explosions in the Sky is going to contribute, inspirationally or otherwise, to the soundtrack, but man, that would be hilarious. [Cue man or woman, slow motion on mechanical bull, while “Your Hand in Mine” plays in the background.]

Austin Film Festival confirms a few new panels

A few new panels have been announced for the Austin Film Festival which kicks off Oct. 29. No word on who exactly is on them, but I am sure we will get there soon. Look for the following

Conversation with Jonathan Nolan (as in the brother of Christopher Nolan, creator of “Westworld,” writer of “Interstellar,” “Memento,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and more) 

Bloodline: Writing the Family Noir (as in the Netflix’s thriller “Bloodline” — season two is slated to launch in 2016.)

The Depp11408505_b_v8_adths of Development

Inside the Writers Room: Daredevil (likely to feature Christos Gage, Ruth Fletcher Gage, producer Joe Pokaski)

“Net”-working: A Screenwriters Guide to Social Media

Now That You’re Optioned, What Are Your Options?

Point of (Inter)View: Storytelling through Documentaries

Writing Pre-Existing Characters

‘Meet Me in Montenegro’ opens Friday at Alamo Lakeline

Lineea Saasen and Alex Holdridge, the writers and stars of "Meet Me in Montenegro."
Linnea Saasen and Alex Holdridge, the writers and stars of “Meet Me in Montenegro.”

“Meet Me in Montenegro,” the new movie from former Austinite Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen is opening this Friday at the Alamo Lakeline.

We didn’t get notified of its release until late Wednesday, and that was past our deadline for publishing a print review. But I’m reposting the original story about the movie. It ran in Austin360 last Sunday.

The movie is quite charming, and it’s perfect romantic summer fare. It’ll have one show each night at the Lakeline theater for at least the next week. So if you get a chance, you should check it out. Here’s the story.
Austinites who are familiar with screenwriter and director Alex Holdridge are in for a treat. His new movie, “Meet Me in Montenegro,” gives us a glimpse into his life after his 2008 critical success, “In Search of a Midnight Kiss.” And it’s quite a story.

As many film buffs know, he left Austin for Los Angeles after winning awards for “Sexless” at the 2003 South by Southwest Film Festival, with friends telling him, “You’ll never have to wait tables again!”

But adjusting to Hollywood was an up-and-down affair, with lots of meetings and projects that never came to fruition, until the ultra-low-budget “Midnight Kiss.” That led to an offer for Holdridge, a University of Texas graduate, to direct his first studio movie. But before production began, he took a trip to Berlin, where he met art student Linnea Saasen at a café.

There was an immediate spark, he says, “but I thought she was in a relationship with another guy, so it was all friendly at first. And then I learned she wasn’t in a relationship, and I was like, ‘Great!’ But I was leaving the next day, and I did actually go back to Los Angeles. But then she sent me this text that said, ‘Hey, you want to take a train down to the Balkans?’ ”

“I didn’t think he’d say yes,” Saasen says.

But Holdridge says he “was going from meeting to meeting back in LA, and it wasn’t where I wanted to be mentally, and there she was, so interesting, and I was falling for her. The winds had shifted, and I could sense nothing was going to happen in LA, so I wrote her back and said ‘I’m there.’”

Their relationship is the basis for “Meet Me in Montenegro,” which Holdridge and Saasen wrote and directed, starring Holdridge as the disillusioned but hopeful filmmaker Anderson, who thinks he’ll be returning to the United States for a studio film, and Saasen as the dance student Lina, who has received a grant and thinks she will be moving to Amsterdam. Both eventually learn that their projects have fallen through.

And when the same thing happened to Holdridge and Saasen, they came up with an idea: Why not make a movie based on a couple of people who fall in love, have the professional rugs pulled out from underneath them, and then decide to make a movie about their experience?

“This was a labor of love,” says Holdridge, who visited Austin recently with Saasen for an Austin Film Society screening hosted by director Richard Linklater, a longtime friend. “We eked the movie out over four years in five countries living out of backpacks.” They had help from their friends, of course, including the director of photography, Robert Murphy, who would film them in various locales at various times.

And they also had help from London-based musical director Stephen Coates, who wrote many of the songs for the film and who founded band the Real Tuesday Weld in 1999 after dreaming of 1940s British crooner Al Bowlly and American actress Tuesday Weld. Coates “was doing it for the love of it,” Holdridge says. “We couldn’t pay him much. But it helps the movie so much. He’s a great guy.”

Even with such help, Holdridge says they “were flat broke” when they moved back to Berlin after filming.

Then they got a pleasant surprise. “Montenegro” was accepted into the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, and even better, after its premiere, it was picked up for theatrical distribution by the Orchard.

Although inspired by their lives, Holdridge and Saasen say “Montenegro” has many fictional elements. And the movie doesn’t just focus on them. It also includes another Berlin couple, played by Rupert Friend and Jennifer Ulrich, whose relationship appears to be headed in the wrong direction: They’re contemplating going to a swingers club.

The movie has a distinct Linklater vibe, reminiscent of “Before Sunrise,” and it’s full of romantic twists and humor, as well as lots of lying to save face.

“I think it’s very much in our nature to lie about things,” says Saasen. “With all of the social media, with Instagram, you get this idea of people leading a perfect life, and you know that’s not real life. So people lie all the time. We’re afraid of any failure.”

Holdridge says he sees the movie as being “about failure and still having the nerve to go for it.” And with all the twists and turns in Los Angeles and his moviemaking life, “Meet Me in Montenegro” is a remarkable achievement, uniquely ambitious, low-budget but lushly filmed, and full of touching performances.

After the recent screening in Austin, Linklater said he loved “the feel of this movie so much because I felt the joy of creation. There’s an incredible freedom to it.”

The movie is already available on demand and through iTunes, and it’s expected to open in Austin theaters in the coming weeks.

After their visit to Austin, Holdridge and Saasen were headed to Los Angeles to discuss future projects. But if those meetings don’t produce any funding or guarantees, it’s clear that Holdridge and Saasen will continue to make movies. They have a knack for it, even if it isn’t easy.