This Week at the Movies
What to Watch: The petty squabbles of the bourgeoisie and the importance ofsexual expression on Austin screens
The past couple of weeks have seen the new release stream slow to a trickle, giving everyone time to catch up on the end-of-year releases. This week, though, indie films are once again making their ways into Austin theaters. Let's take a look at a playful film from a directing legend and a powerful film from one of the most exciting young voices in American independent film.
This Weekend at Violet Crown
The 78-year-old legend Roman Polanski never ceases to surprise with his ability to deliver consistent results while adding new tricks to he seemingly bottomless bag. His new film Carnage, adapted from the play "Le Dieu du carnage" by Yasmina Reza, is perhaps his lightest and most consistently funny work to date.
Don't be fooled, though, the subtext is loud and clear when two sets of parents sit down to civilly discuss an attack on one's son by the other's. As the deliberation progresses, things get increasingly out of hand, passive aggression breaking through to become quite active. Carnage is a stab directly into the heart of upper class social mores and it's brought wonderfully (and hilariously) to life by Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet, each looking to be having some of the most fun of his or her career. (Carnage also opens Friday at Regal Arbor Cinemas.)
This Weekend at Regal Arbor Cinema
Premiering almost exactly one year ago at the Sundance Film Festival and playing for the first time in town at the Austin Film Festival, Pariah is now opening for a run in Austin. It is the story of Alike (Adepero Oduye), a teenager living in Brooklyn who is comfortable with her sexuality (she's gay) but hindered from expressing it. Her mother (Kim Wayans) has her suspicions and isn't shy about expressing her hate of the possibility, while Alike's father (Charles Parnell) chooses to ignore the signs.
Torn between being forced to wear dresses at home and trying to live comfortably in the clothes of her choosing when sneaking out at night, Alike is a young woman coming of age and in danger of sprouting wings that aren't hers. The emotionally heavy experience of Pariah never feels like watching actors on a screen; these are real people with real souls laid bare in front of the audience. Writer/director Dee Rees is obviously channeling something deeply personal and as a result her film is one of the best American independent features in quite some time. It is simply unmissable.
Beyond the Weekend
On Wednesday (1/18) join author ("Ready Player One"), screenwriter and Austinite (you may have seen him driving around town in his DeLorean) for a special screening of his film Fanboys at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. The film is about a group of high school friends who are still connected by their shared love of the Star Wars franchise. When they learn that one of their own may lose his battle with cancer before Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace premiers, they hatch a plan to drive to and infiltrate Skywalker Ranch for a chance to see the movie early. This screening is a benefit event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and tickets are on sale now.