Hiddleston channels Hank Williams in ‘I Saw the Light’

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Tom Hiddleston does something quite hard to do in “I Saw the Light:” He sings the songs of country music legend Hank Williams with charisma and conviction.

He also bears a striking resemblance to the singer, who died at the early age of 29, and this helps in bringing the story of the working-class Alabama man who improbably rose to the highest ranks of country music despite — or perhaps because of — his multiple demons.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “I Saw the Light”

‘Everybody Wants Some:’ The jocks are all right

 

As enjoyable as moments are in Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some” — and there are plenty in this very well-acted, well-shot, elegantly edited comedy — how you feel about it by the end might revolve around how you feel about spending nearly two hours with guys who may or may not have beaten you up in high school.

Linklater may be one of the most beloved American filmmakers of the age, but the dude did play baseball at Sam Houston State, and at its core, “Everybody Wants Some” is, in fact, a film about jocks — charming as they can be.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “Everybody Wants Some”

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Austin Film Society grants open for submissions

The Austin Film Society’s annual fund for emerging Texas filmmakers, the AFS Grant, is open for submissions.

During this year’s grant cycle, AFS will hand out more than $100,000 in cash grants. The application is online at austinfilm.org, as are grant instructions, a grant writing tip sheet and information about live instructional workshops offered in El Paso, Dallas, Houston, Forth Worth and Austin. Since 1996, the society has awarded more than $1.7 million in cash and services to Texas filmmakers.

In addition to cash grants from AFS Grant fund, this year’s grant partners are offering applicants a range of services and cash for many different production phases.

New this year, AFS is partnering with Colaborator and the Texas Motion Picture Alliance to offer the Colaborator Narrative Short Film Grant, which will provide $5,000 in production funds and support for one narrative short film project.

The Stuck On On DCP In-Kind Grant will award one theatrical digital cinema package for two different feature-length films.

Kodak Motion Picture Film will create a 35mm exhibition film print to one film of any length, and the grant recipient can to screen their print in a theater in Austin. Kodak will also continue their in-kind grant of $5,000 of motion picture film stock.

This year’s Austin Film Society Powered by Dell Grant includes an in-kind Dell post-production suite, valued at $10,000. The MPS Camera and Lighting Austin Grant offers $10,000 in equipment rentals and production services.

The grant will close for submissions on June 2. Applications are reviewed over the summer, with the panel of national film industry representatives convening in Austin in late August to determine the recipients. Winners will be announced in early September.

Tribeca Festival yanks anti-vaccination film by Texas filmmaker

Robert DeNiro, founder and director of the Tribeca Film Festival, has yanked the anti-vaccination documentary “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Conspiracy” from the lineup.

Andrew Wakefield (photo: Jay Janner)
Andrew Wakefield (photo: Jay Janner)

Directed by anti-vaccination activist, Austin resident and discredited autism guru Andrew Wakefield, the film and Wakefield were the subjects of a 2015 Statesman story.

Wakefield was stripped of his British medical license in 2010 after his 1998 study linking the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism was found to be fraudulent, a study which largely kicked off the modern anti-vaccination movement.

Last week, De Niro, who has an autistic child, defended the film’s inclusion, then released a statement Saturday saying he had changed his mind after reviewing the film with members of the scientific community.

In a statement, Wakefield said, “We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art and truth. Tribeca’s action will not succeed in denying the world access to the truth behind the film ‘Vaxxed.'”

 Wakefield, who has maintained his innocence, continues to be one of the most controversial figures in contemporary medicine.

Watch Melissa McCarthy’s new Alamo Drafthouse ‘don’t talk’ PSA

Actress/physical comedy dynamo Melissa McCarthy has provided her services to Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse for one of their signature “don’t talk” PSAs. The results are … beefy.

Credit: Alamo Drafthouse via YouTube
Credit: Alamo Drafthouse via YouTube

In the clip uploaded to YouTube on Monday, the “Bridesmaids” star takes a break from her fitness regimen to explain why patrons should keep their screens to themselves. Also, she pumps iron (ish) with fitness models.

Watch the PSA below.

Also coming to a theater near you, Drafthouse or otherwise: McCarthy in the “Ghostbusters” reboot.

‘Krisha’ deals with a very rocky homecoming

ENTER_MOVIE-FAIRCHILD_LAThe character of Krisha is an aging alcoholic who’s full of dread and foreboding but who’s going home for a family celebration. The press notes say that it’s Thanksgiving, but the movie never says what time of year it is. However, Thanksgiving doesn’t appear to be a good bet, since the crepe myrtles are blooming outside.

The rest of the family is concerned about Krisha’s return, wondering whether she’ll set off a full-scale disaster. At first, we don’t know the backstory, but it’s clear that Krisha is a mess.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com

Right back with ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ family and loving it

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From the opening scene of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” where you see just a hand spraying Windex on an icy car door to get it open, you are right back in the lives of the Portokalos family. Very little has changed, which is comforting.

It’s like you’ve been invited to an hour-and-a-half dinner with the family you haven’t seen since 2002. Patriarch Gus (Michael Constantine) can still turn any word into a Greek word. Matriarch Maria (Lainie Kazan) is still hovering over her children. Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) will never stop sharing way too much information. Cousin Nikki (Gia Carides) remains the life of the party with her teased up hair and pulled up cleavage. The grandmother (Bess Meisler) is still this shadowy figure who can sneak up on you at any moment but is probably the wisest person there.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”

‘Eye in the Sky’ shows dilemmas of modern warfare

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Colin Covert – Minneapolis Star Tribune

The two-edged sword of combating terrorism through unmanned strikes is the focus of “Eye in the Sky.” Helen Mirren stars as an all-business British colonel remotely leading a crucial drone operation to capture Islamic militants gathered in a secluded safe house in Nairobi, Kenya.

Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood and screenwriter Guy Hibbert deliver a morally complex thriller polished to a brilliant shine. British, Kenyan and American intelligence units, working together, keep the terrorists under reconnaissance using cameras on a missile-armed spy plane flying at 20,000 feet, their “Eye in the Sky.”

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com

In ‘Batman v Superman,’ the audience is the biggest loser

Henry Cavill stars as Superman in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Warner Bros.)
Henry Cavill stars as Superman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Warner Bros.)

There’s a concept in American jurisprudence called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” It means evidence that is obtained illegally cannot be used in court. It means that the product of something bad remains bad.

The deeply unpleasant “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is, in a different sense, fruit of the poisonous tree that is the equally execrable 2013 “Man of Steel,” though both would be valuable exhibits if comic book fans ever sue director-of-both Zack Snyder for character assassination on behalf of the titular heroes.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com » Find showtimes for “Batman v Superman”

New season of ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ shooting in New Mexico, not Texas

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, for El Rey Network and Miramax. L to R; Briana Evigan as Sonja Lam and D.J. Cotrona as Seth Gecko.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, for El Rey Network and Miramax. L to R; Briana Evigan as Sonja Lam and D.J. Cotrona as Seth Gecko.

Central Texas recently got some good news that AMC will start filming the new series based on Philipp Meyer’s “The Son” here this summer. But there’s one troubling development regarding another longtime project that started in Austin.

Robert Rodriguez, who has been shooting his El Rey Network series “From Dusk Till Dawn” at his local Troublemaker Studios, has decided to begin filming season three of the popular show in Albuquerque, N.M.

The new season will have 10 hour-long episodes with a returning cast of D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Jesse Garcia and Jake Busey.

The new season will follow the travails of the Gecko brothers who have to fight their way through vampire empires in Texas and New Mexico.

Rodriguez has long been a proponent of shooting in Texas, and most of his films have been shot here. But the Texas Legislature has cut funding for the film incentives program overseen by the Texas Film Commission, and New Mexico’s program is more alluring, in financial terms.