This Week at the Movies
At the Movies: Thrillers, Scott Pilgrim revived and masturbation
As Austin waits (semi) patiently to see if the heat will truly break this weekend, there's no shortage of films opening across town waiting to be watched. While the outdoor thermostat may be turned down ever so slightly, it's still reliably cool inside so don't pass up the chance to see a slick French thriller, a decade's spanning star-studded drama, Scott Pilgrim's 1-up and/or a sex comedy anthology all about masturbation.
This Weekend at Violet Crown
Opening Friday is the new French import Point Blank, a thriller from director Fred Cavayé whose previous film, Anything for Her, was remade as The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. In Point Blank, Samuel is a nurse-in-training who is drawn into the seedy criminal underworld of Paris when he treats severely injured thug Hugo. In order to convince Samuel to spring Hugo from the intensive care unit which is under police guard, Hugo's cronies kidnap Samuel's pregnant partner Nadia. This kicks off a series of confrontations and chases as Samuel struggles to make sense of the situation into which he has fallen and save Nadia. The best thrillers of recent years have been imports (from Cavayé's debut to the masterful Argentinean The Secret in their Eyes) and Point Blank promises to continue the trend.
This Weekend at the Drafthouse
Despite a strange opening day on Wednesday (8/31), this is the premier weekend for The Debt, playing at the Alamo Drafthouse's South Lamar location. A remake of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, the film tells the story of a group of Mossad agents (Sam Worthington, Martin Csokas, and Jessica Chastain) sent to East Berlin in the 1960s to capture and bring back to Israel for trail a notorious Nazi war criminal. The film jumps between the mission in the 60s and a time in the late 90s when the trio (now played by Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, and Helen Mirren) reunites after a book is published about their mission and they are forced to face some long-hidden secrets about what happened in Berlin and its continued impact on their lives. Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Proof) has assembled an all-star cast for this historical drama-thriller and it's an easy recommendation based on pedigree alone. (The Debt is also now playing at Regal Arbor Cinemas)
The Drafthouse's Ritz location is beginning a new midnight movie series called The Late Show and it will start in September with Friday and Saturday night screenings of films the Alamo programmers have deemed cult status-worthy. Kicking everything off is a movie many waited to see at home which, until now, was their loss as Scott Pilgrim vs. the Worldis a wickedly cinematic love-letter to all things geek; a movie with truly ahead-of-its-time kinetic energy, editing and sound design that demands to be experienced on the big screen. If you missed Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim during its theatrical run, you can make up for that mistake now.
Beyond the Weekend
Beginning Monday (9/5) Fantastic Fest will present nightly screenings of Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die) and Joe Swanberg's (Nights and Weekends) anthology film Autoeroticat Alamo South Lamar. The film tells the stories of four Chicago couples and their exploration of sex—be it with one another, other people or (as the title would suggest) themselves. It seems wrong to pass up the chance to see a masturbation-centric sex comedy anthology crafted by two of indie filmmaking's current stars.