‘Clouds’ puts spotlight on Binoche, Stewart (Our grade: B)

Juliette Binoche, left, and Lars Eidinger in a scene from “Clouds of Sils Maria.”
Juliette Binoche, left, and Lars Eidinger in a scene from “Clouds of Sils Maria.”

Michael Phillips | Chicago Tribune

Now 60, and always more of a wry classicist than a maverick, writer-director Olivier Assayas is one of the steadiest and most reliable filmmakers in contemporary cinema. I like his latest, “Clouds of Sils Maria,” a great deal; it’s beautifully acted and has a few wise (if familiar) things to impart regarding how age and experience must make way for, or at least accommodate, the brashness of youth.

» Read full review on MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Clouds of Sils Maria”

A look at the drama behind a Dior fashion show (Our grade: B)

“Dior and I” looks at the first fashion show coordinated by Raf Simons of Dior.
“Dior and I” looks at the first fashion show coordinated by Raf Simons of Dior.

Kenneth Turan | Los Angeles Times

They don’t call it haute couture for nothing.

As the involving new documentary “Dior and I” demonstrates, the “high” in high fashion indicates the complete and total seriousness, the almost religious fervor, with which the creators of serious fashion go about their work.

» Read full review on MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Dior and I”

‘Salt of the Earth’ horrifies, stuns — and offers hope (Our grade: A-)

Photographer Sebastiao Salgado has witnessed some of the world’s most explosive and horrific events, as detailed in “The Salt of the Earth.” This image was taken during the oil field fires during the 1991 Gulf War in Kuwait.
Photographer Sebastiao Salgado has witnessed some of the world’s most explosive and horrific events, as detailed in “The Salt of the Earth.” This image was taken during the oil field fires during the 1991 Gulf War in Kuwait.

Sebastião Salgado spent decades going to the most hellish places on earth and documenting a litany of misery through photography. And about a decade ago, he hit a wall. His soul seemed empty, he said. So he did what he could to save himself. He began what he and his wife call the Genesis project, focusing on pristine parts of the Earth and grandiose landscapes.

These efforts are documented in the new documentary “The Salt of the Earth,” co-directed by Salgado’s son, Juliano, and famed filmmaker Wim Wenders. And it’s one of the most shocking — and inspiring — documentaries of the year.

» Read full review on MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “The Salt of the Earth” 

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: That is one angry robot (Our grade: B- )

Iron Man and the Hulk team up in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Iron Man and the Hulk team up in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

There aren’t too many obstacles more daunting for a filmmaker than colossal expectations. Joss Whedon has to deal with a whole lot of them in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

The plot threads get a bit tangled, but “Ultron” opens in midbattle, as the Avengers — Tonk Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.); Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); Thor (Chris Hemsworth); Bruce Banner, aka the rampaging Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); Captain America (Chris Evans); and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) — take down another base belonging to international terrorists HYDRA.

» Read full review at MyStatesman.com | Find showtimes for “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

Giveaway: ‘Age of Adaline’ tickets


Blake Lively’s latest film, “Age of Adaline,” stars her as a woman who has remained 29 years old for almost eight decades. Adaline meets a young man and spends a weekend with his parents, where she makes a decision that will change her life forever.

The movie came out last weekend, but if you haven’t had a chance to see it, we have five pairs of tickets to the film that are good at any AMC theater in Austin while the film is in theaters.

» Read our review of “Age of Adaline” «

To win the tickets, send an email to austin360@statesman.com with your name by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 1. Five winners will be chosen from the entrants and notified by 5 p.m. Friday. Non-winning entrants will not be notified.

HBO’s “The Leftovers” filming in Austin

leftovers-768The second season of HBO’s often-intriguing, often-exceptionally depressing series  “The Leftovers” has moved its production from New York to Austin.

The second season will take place in Texas rather than upstate New York. Returning cast members include Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Chris Zylka, Christopher Eccleston and Carrie Coon.

The show’s first season was based on Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel of the same name; the second season is slated to feature original material.

Though there is no word as to whether the show will be set in Austin, it seems unlikely, given that the first season was set in a fictional town.

That said, as anyone who commutes on I-35  has dreamed of Austin with 2 percent fewer people.



Comics and blockbusters Q&A with Laura Bishop of Austin Books and Comics

Austin360’s big summer movie preview (featuring a few famous superheroes) is coming up on Friday, AND Saturday is Free Comic Book day!

Join us for a live chat at 10 a.m. on Friday with Laura Bishop of Austin Books and Comics, who will be discussing Free Comic Book day, the blockbuster movie season and what she’s looking forward to from both.

My 5 picks for summer movies


We’re doing our big summer movie preview on Friday, and it looks like a big year. While I’m not a fan of the summer season, several movies stand out. Here are my top five (most of which I will have seen by the end of May in Cannes). And some of these might not open till later in the year. We’ll see.

Woody Allen’s latest movie, “The Irrational Man,” could be good. At least it’s playing in Cannes, and it’s supposed to be in theaters by late summer, but who knows? It deals with a philosophy professor “who finds a will to live when he commits an existential act,” or so the press notes say. Joaquin Phoenix stars, with Emma Stone. It’s scheduled for a late summer release, but no definite date inAustin.

“Carol,” by Todd Haynes, looks intriguing. It deals with a lesbian relationship, and Cate Blanchett stars. She’s fantastic. It’s an arthouse film, and may or may not, open this summer. But it’s sure to be one of the year’s most interesting.

Gus Van Sant directs “The Sea of Trees,” which stars Austin’s Matthew McConaughey. It’ll have its world premiere in Cannes this May, but it may not be in theaters for a while.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” looks awesome from the trailers, and I’ve always been a fan of the series, so I’m happy to see this reboot. With the wildly underrated Tom Hardy. May 15.

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” wowed Sundance and is expected to be released June 15 in Austin. A small, independent film with big buzz.

Austin movie site Slackerwood to shutter

The Austin-based, Austin-focused movie news -n-views website Slackerwood will cease posting new material May 27, Slackerwood editor JetteKernionposted today.

“I feel like it’s time for me to mlogo_classicove on,” Kernion said on the site.

“Why close the site?,” she wrote “Because Slackerwood doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless editor, to paraphrase Jon Stewart. Editing and publishing Slackerwood, while often delightful and rewarding, is a time-consuming job. After nine years, I’d like to spend that time doing other things, like more writing.”

Check out her full post.

Salut, Jette, and good luck.

TONIGHT: Savage Gold at the Austin Film Society, “Mr. Arkadin” at Drafthouse Ritz

Tonight’s cool screenings:

Savage-Gold-LogoMax Meehan and Lars Nilsen present yet another dope edition of Savage Gold, their carefully programmed, faintly insane series of “strange and unseen materials” from the collections of, well, VHS collectors.  As their webpage puts it, “These shows are for the most adventurous viewers, offering everything from microbudget, shot on video action epics to homemade music videos and more.” Tonight, 8 p.m. $5, AFS Screening Room (1901 East 51st St) . Here is the tickets link.

Also tonight, as part of the Drafthouse’s Orson Welles extravaganza, check out a 35mm confidentialreportwellesprint of the strange and often misunderstood 1955 movie “Mr. Arkadin” aka “Confidential Report.”  Welles plays a billionaire who contracts an American outlaw to investigate his past. Further scrambling an already complicated movie, there is no “director’s cut” or definitive version of “Arkadin.” The Drafthouse site notes that there are “at least eight different cuts of the film, three radio plays, a novel, and several long-lost sequences. ” Here is a primer.
In that, “Arkadin” is a great example of the notion of unreliable narrator (or narrative unreliability) made literal in the physical object of the movie, inadvertently anticipating remix culture, YouTube cuts, fan culture, etc. The story of “Mr. Arkadin” is never really over; this is just one version.   Tickets are $10.25, show starts at 7 p.m.