There's actually a very valid reason to think about going to the movies this weekend, but far be it from me to jinx something good (hint: check out the weather forecast). Keeping in mind that you may need a dry place to be, consider heading to one of Austin's indie theaters to check out a new feature from Gus Van Sant, a documentary about two of the most argumentative roommates you're ever likely to hear and a movie that's been in limbo for 6 years.
Restless, the latest from director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk), opens Friday at the Violet Crown Cinema. In it, Annabel is a terminal cancer patient with a real passion for life. Enoch, on the other hand, has all but given up on life after he loses both of his parents in an accident. He spends his days hanging out with his best friend Hiroshi—who happens to be the ghost of a WWII Kamikaze pilot. When Annabel and Enoch meet, an irreverent romance develops, with Enoch helping Annabel enjoy her final days and Annabel proving to Enoch that life is most certainly worth living. It's perfect fodder for Van Sant's sensibilities and tissues are recommended.
In 1987, friends Eddie and Mitch moved into a small apartment in San Francisco. The thin walls allowed them to listen into the conversations of their neighbors (though thin walls were not needed to hear the screaming of these individuals), Peter Haskett and Raymond Huffman. Rarely have two such poorly matched people shared such a small space—Peter was openly homosexual and Ray was not shy about making it clear he was emphatically homophobic. Their heated and sometimes violent arguments were caught on tape and passed around on cassette becoming an underground sensation. The new documentary Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure tells the story of what went on in that apartment complex, examines the spread of the phenomenon and is a fascinating portrayal of how things went viral before the internet.
If the excellent cast (Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Matthew Broderick, etc.) of Margaret looks a bit younger than expect, it's because the movie was shot in 2005. The film then has been tangled in a confusing web of various lawsuits between Fox Searchlight, the financiers and director Kenneth Lonergan, who had final cut on the film. The story centers on Lisa (Paquin), a 17-year-old girl living in New York City who blames herself for an accident that claimed the life of a woman, and the resulting growing up she has to do to come to terms with her responsibility. The cut presented in theaters now is not Lonergan's desired version and, by all accounts, the movie doesn't quite work—but when a film with a history such as Margaret comes around, it's worth seeing just to say you did.
Beyond the Weekend
As excitement builds for Halloween, the Alamo Drafthouse house is feeding horror hunger with screenings of classic films like The Shining at the Ritz (10/9, 10/10, 10/16, 10/17). If you've never had the opportunity to experience this masterpiece of terror on the big screen, you owe to yourself to attend. The same can be said for John Carpenter's The Thing which has two screenings at the Drafthouse's Village location (10/11 and 10/13).