weekend at the movies
While your friendly neighborhood web-slinger is busying trying to reboot himself all the way to the bank, many Austin screens are bright with quality independent fare. This weekend, make the time to see a low-fi comedy about a long-standing sibling rivalry and Woody Allen's latest European love letter.
This Weekend at the Drafthouse
The latest film from brothers Mark and Jay Duplass (Jeff, Who Lives at Home) is another step in the evolution of filmmakers (even though it was filmed right after Baghead in 2008) uninterested in sweeping, grand emotions but more focused on mining true feeling and meaning from interactions between expertly crafted characters.
In The Do-Deca Pentathlon, family man Mark and his gambling bachelor brother Jeremy resurrect a childhood competition wherein the better brother is decided over the course of a 25 event Olympics. In typical Duplass fashion, the film is full of laugh-out-loud comedy as the brothers attempt to hide their deadly serious competition from their loved ones. Underneath the surface, though, The Do-Deca Pentathlon is a look at the subtle seeds of tension that exist inside any typical family.
Following the enormous success of Midnight in Paris, the latest in his streak of Europe-set films, Wood Allen drops idiosyncratic characters into another city in To Rome with Love. In one of the four intercut (but not interconnected) stories, Alec Baldwin is a successful architect turned apparition who visits his old street where he befriends a young designer (Jesse Eisenberg) and becomes an invisible advisor in the young man's love triangle with his girlfriend (Greta Gerwig) and his girlfriend's best friend (Ellen Page).
Another story sees Woody Allen himself playing a father and opera director who comes to Rome with his wife (Judy Davis) to meet his daughter’s (Alison Pill) future husband and discovers the boy’s father is a gifted singer under a very specific set of conditions. In a third story, Roberto Benigni is a common worker who wakes up to find himself a celebrity.
Finally, a young couple is split up and tempted in different ways when the young man is forced to pretend a prostitute (Penelope Cruz) is his wife and the young woman finds herself face-to-face with her favorite actor. The Roman stop on Allen's European tour is a light affair, but full of the charm and wit everyone has come to expect from the prolific filmmaker. (To Rome with Love also opens Friday at Regal Arbor Cinema and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.)
Beyond the Weekend
The Alamo Drafthouse continues its Hitchcock series (moved temporarily to the South Lamar location while the large house at the Ritz undergoes some wiring updates) with the 1953 nail-biter I, Confess.
Montgomery Clift is Father Michael Logan, a priest who keeps mum regarding the details of a murder he learns about from a man in a confessional and finds himself the target of the police investigation. Of course, things spiral out of control from there. Do not pass up the chance to see some under-appreciated Hitchcock films on the big screen, on 35mm film while you still have the chance.