( 3 stars, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times) Consider Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett), the heroine of "The Gift

." Her husband was killed in an accident a year ago. She has three kids. She gets a government check, which she supplements by reading cards and advising clients. She doesn't go in for mumbo-jumbo. She takes her gift as a fact of life; her grandmother had it and so does she. She looks at the cards, she listens to her clients, she feels their pain, she tries to dispense common sense. She is sensible, courageous and good. She lives in a swamp of melodrama; that's really the only way to describe her hometown of Brixton, Ga., which has been issued with one example of every standard Southern gothic type. There's the battered wife and her redneck husband; the country club sexpot; the handsome school principal; the weepy mama's boy who is afeared he might do something real bad; the cheatin' attorney; the salt-of-the-earth sheriff, and various weeping willows, pickup trucks, rail fences, country clubs, shotguns, voodoo dolls, courtrooms, etc. When you see a pond in a movie like this, you know that sooner or later, it is going to be dredged. "The Gift" could have been a bad movie, and yet it is a good one because it redeems the genre with the characters. Blanchett's sanity and balance as Annie Wilson provide a strong center, and the other actors in a first-rate cast go for the realism in their characters instead of being tempted by the absurd. The movie was directed by Sam Raimi and written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson. They know the territory. Raimi directed Thornton in "A Simple Plan" (1998), that great movie about three buddies who find a fortune and try to hide it; Thornton and Epperson wrote "One False Move" (1992), about criminals on the run and old secrets of love. The movie is ingenious in its plotting, colorful in its characters, taut in its direction and fortunate in possessing Cate Blanchett. If this were not a crime picture (if it were sopped in social uplift instead of thrills), it would be easier to see the quality of her work. By the end, as all hell is breaking loose, it's easy to forget how much everything depended on the sympathy and gravity she provided in the first two acts. This role seems miles away from her Oscarnominated "Elizabeth" (1998), but after all, isn't she once again an independent woman surrounded by men who want to belittle her power, seduce her, frame her or kill her? A woman who has to rely on herself and her gifts, and does, and is sufficient.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is proud to announce the opening of it's second location at the recently vacated Village Cinema Four. More details inside...

JUNE 30
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THE GIFT

APRIL 1

SNATCH

( 4 out of 5 stars, Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle(

TRAFFIC

O, BROTHER WHERE ART THOU
(3.5 out of 5 stars, Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

BLOW

( 4 out of 5 stars, Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle( Ritchie's follow-up to last year's smash hit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is likely to polarize the critical camps (and already has, for the most part). Its hyperviolent comic bloodshed is sure to offend some, while others will embrace the film's ferocious editing and manic, rocket-fueled pace (courtesy of editors Jon Harris and Les Healey). And then there's Tim MauriceJones' snappy, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink cinematography. Snatch is nothing if not watchable: It has the insane, popcorn rhythms of a Road Runner cartoon, and for that reason alone it's a minor masterpiece. Never have so many characters done so much damage to each other with such an interesting assortment of ordnance. In this respect the film echoes the wild excesses of the gangsterific shoot-'em-ups arriving from Hong Kong circa 1990. It's John Woo minus the thieves' code of honor, transposed to modern-day comic-Cockney London. In other ways, Snatch also updates classic British heist comedies such as Charles Crichton's celebrated The Lavender Hill Mob -no Alec Guinness, of course, but we do get ex-soccer bad boy Vinnie Jones and an incomprehensible Brad Pitt. It's almost a fair trade. Like Ritchie's previous film, Snatch revolves around a spindly series of oftenconfusing storylines that eventually meet up and pay off, big-time, in the final reel. There's the unlicensed boxing-match promoters Turkish (Statham, who also narrates the proceedings) and Tommy (Graham), who run afoul of vicious bastard Brick Top (Ford) when their fighter takes a permanent dive into oblivion. In his place, they enlist the aid of Irish Gypsy bare-knuckles boxer Mickey O'Neil (Pitt), a fast-talking schemer with a penchant for first-round K.O.s. Then there's Avi (Farina), a New York-based diamond importer on the trail of a 84-carat super-rock stolen from Antwerp by gambling-obsessed Frankie Four-Fingers (Del Toro). Avi, his British connection Doug the Head (Reid), and a trio of East-London lowlifes (James, Gee, Ade) are all involved in the race for this mighty chunk of inanimate carbon against the legendary Azbekistani psycho-killer Boris the Blade (Serbedzija), who, like everyone else in Snatch, wants the rock for himself. Ritchie pulls out all the stops with Snatch -- the film has (rightly) been compared to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, although it certainly feels as though Ritchie is trying to top himself here, and to his credit (and my amazement) he does. Snatch is a tighter, more resilient film than its predecessor in every way right down to the opening titles. It reminds me of when a young Aussie wunderkind named George Miller pulled off the unthinkable and topped Mad Max with the exuberantly psychotic The Road Warrior. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Now that's entertainment!

Far and away the best film of the year, and perhaps of the past decade as well. At its core, the film is a soberminded look at the drug trade, from an all-inclusive angle that takes on both the War on Drugs' policymakers in our nation's capital to the dealers, users, cops and DEA agents on the streets, and everyone in between. Instead of taking the easy way out, with a blanket statement about the inherent evils the international drug market creates, Soderbergh tackles virtually every angle of the hellish business of drugs and drug control. He's like a naturalist poking around in the brush, overturning every rock he finds to reveal the slimy, crawling creatures beneath, holding them up to the light and allowing us a painfully cleareyed view of their squirmings. The film intertwines three distinct storylines. All three of these complex storylines are interwoven so skillfully that the whole nasty affair plays out like a modern-day Dickens novel, if A Tale of Two Cities had featured shoot-outs and teenage whoring. Unlike the pale, dry scenes on the Mexican side of the border, Soderbergh shoots the Washington and Georgetown locales through a heavy blue filter, emphasizing the duplicitous, shadowy goings-on. On either side of this so-called "war," however, the level of intrigue is virtually equal: There are no good guys in Soderbergh's tale, and even those closest to the law are tainted. Traffic, surprisingly, features a couple of the year's best cameos: Real-life U.S. politicians, such as Senators Orrin Hatch and Barbara Boxer, turn up in a D.C. party scene. In such a massive, thoroughly impressive cast as this one, it's difficult to single out a single actor as The One, but Benicio Del Toro's scruffy Tijuana cop is, frankly, a revelation. His jaw-droppingly smooth portrayal of Javier Rodriguez, a generally decent sort of man caught up in a web of officially sanctioned bullshit so sublime and massive that its very existence boggles the mind, is amazing. His is the sort of performance that Best Actor awards are made for, and this one role single-handedly redeems an entire year's worth of multiplex crud. Nearly as amazing is Erika Christensen's long, slow ride to hell as Caroline. By the time Michael Douglas hits the streets to search for his lost progeny, it's like George C. Scott's similar odyssey in Hardcore, only worse. There's not a bad or flat performance on display here, an amazing thing given the size, scope, and running time (147 minutes) of the film. What's even more amazing is the fact that Soderbergh has managed to accomplish in one film what policymakers on both sides of the Drug War fence have been trying to do for decades. He brings the war back home and lets us view its ravages from seemingly every angle at once. It's a thrilling, powerful movie, and one that certain people in certain quarters may have at one time called dangerous. Some of them may yet still.

Whether you leave the theatre loving or hating the Coen brothers' latest is going to depend a lot on your past experiences with their films. The Barton Fink camp -- serious, edgy, surrealists all -- are likely to find the proceedings here too silly. It's the Coens at their most goofy, raising the stakes on Raising Arizona's low-brow shenanigans by expanding the canvas to include not just the dusty backwater burgs they love so well, but also the whole of Depression-era Americana. It's a sprawling film and the comic tone matches Joel and Ethan's broad, comic brushstrokes to a T -- this is what you get when you give these two sufficient finishing funds (you can thank France's Studio Canal) and zero suits-on-set. Silly or not, however, the fact remains that O Brother is a remarkable film. From its performances on down to director of photography Roger Deakins' sun-baked, dirty-ochre cinematography, the film is all of a piece. As the opening titles inform us, the plot owes much to Homer's Odyssey (although the Coens themselves have gone on record saying that, really, they hadn't bothered to read the damn thing until just lately). Clooney, Turturro, and Nelson are, respectively, Ulysses Everett McGill, Pete Hogwallop, and Delmar O'Donnell, a trio of chain-gang escapees seeking a (possibly mythical) treasure while on the lam from a diabolical sheriff. Their travels take them all across the depressed, dustbowl South, out of one jam and into another, their paths crossing and re-crossing a bizarre series of characters (some fictional, some less so) until they finally return to their “home” and accomplish Everett's main mission: the search for his estranged wife Penny (Hunter). While the film may at first seem to be little more than a finely crafted cluster of Coen-style setpieces (which, in many ways, it is), the whole of it is thematically united by a particularly affecting Americana/bluegrass score from the likes of Harry McLintock, Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, and the Soggy Bottom Boys. The latter is in reality Clooney, et al. The boys on the lam are the boys in the band, having recorded an unknown-to-them hit record that becomes the film's unofficial theme song. It's worth the price of admission (and then some) to see Clooney perform the track in disguise and onstage at a political rally overseen by Charles Durning's scheming Governor Pappy O'Daniel. Again, it's silly stuff to see this American heartthrob and icon dancing about like a scarecrow on corn liquor, but it's also one of the most commanding comic performances I've seen lately. At his best, Clooney, who seems to be channeling the spirit of Johnny Depp as Ed Wood by way of Errol Flynn, could give Jim Carrey a run for his money -- the role is that outrageous. As in most Coen brothers films, it's the smaller roles that make the film. John Goodman's Cyclopean bible salesman turns out to be both a hoot and a holler, and The Practice's Michael Badalucco -- as gangster George “Don't call me Babyface” Nelson -- is one of the Coens' better sidetracks into human parody. I wouldn't agree that this is the Coen brother's best film, as some have said. Fargo and the underrated The Hudsucker Proxy are more fluid and rely less on their penchant for unstable comic characters. But O Brother manages to be somehow more sympathetic to these oafish-seeming simpletons. By the end of the film you realize nothing in the filmmakers' world is as simple as it at first appears.

excerpted from Harry Knowles Ain't It Cool News Review The first GREAT film of 2001, that I know for certain about, will be being released sometime in April. Many of you will not believe me, that’s fine. Be skeptical… walk into that theater thinking I’ve pulled down the big bucks for hyping this if you must, but I’m telling you… In the same type of genre as GOODFELLAS… I prefer BLOW. And when I last talked to Moriarty… he was in the same boat. Why? First it starts with the script by David McKenna (AMERICAN HISTORY X) and Nick Cassavetes. McKenna brought an amazing structure to the film… condensing a man’s entire life into a feature film. Cassavetes placed that man’s soul into the film. This is the true story about a man you probably have never heard of. He is sitting in a Federal Prison for bringing in a shipment of cocaine. It wasn’t a GIGANTIC deal. He’ll be out in 2015 or so. But this man has touched and affected the lives of nearly everyone on the planet because he happened to be a connection… a piece to the puzzle, the key guy that brought cocaine into the United States through a partnership with Pablo Escobar. America’s cocaine problem started through this man and a barber… began on beach selling pot with his childhood best friend to surfers and beach bunnys. Did you ever see that PBS series on how the Personal Computer came to be? About that group of slackers drinking canned cokes and eating pizzas while being stoned and screwing around and making that first PC? I remember while watching that thing that I was just beside myself with awe at how something so world changing could’ve come from something as simple as a bunch of buddies shooting the shit and activating and working on their ‘crazy idea’. George Jung and California with that group of people happened to be the kindling that began the fire that swept up the entire world… still affects the entire world. What is brilliant though is we see how something like this happens. We see that it wasn’t this EVIL man out to ruin millions of lives… but just a guy trying to make a buck and stick by his friends… trying to hop around the system… This is quite possibly the best film I have seen come out of New Line. I was completely engrossed by the film…. I am definitely set to pick up the Bruce Porter book that the film was based on. I was devastated by the film. When it came to a close and I was actively sobbing, I saw Moriarty facing the wall and hand abreast his temples. Mongo landed on the floor… flat on his ass. We were sucker punched… the air taken out of us. It is personal and told with all the heart in the world. As you watch it, you can’t help but to feel great remorse for a man that caused more suffering and bliss than any man has any right to. It is a story about human nature, about repeating mistakes you thought you learned from, about tragedy and elation. This is the story about cocaine and the United States, and I hope to God NEW LINE markets the hell out of this one, and rereleases it this Fall for awards considerations. The music, cinematography, acting, writing and direction are absolutely of the finest possible quality. Look for Moriarty’s review very soon. I’m sure he is going to be just as happy with it as me. And as for you… Just be content with the knowledge that the possibility is very high that you’ll see at least one truly great film this year…

In the current climate of rampant theater closures in Austin, Tim and Karrie League, owners of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, offer a small piece of positive news. We are proud to announce that we have signed a lease with the Village Shopping Center to renovate and take over operations of the Village Cinema on Anderson Lane. The Theater will be called: The Alamo Drafthouse North (at the Village). We will be extending out concept of dinner, drinks and movies to the north Austin location. The Village will continue to operate as a first run theater on three screens and one screen will be a rotating screen, showing calendar films, eclectic programming and local films. The theater will also be available for parties, meetings and special events during off hours, and there is ample parking day and night to accomdate meetings and movie screenings. We will be completely renovating the interior, adding Dolby sound to the screens and replacing the existing seating.  We hope that the Alamo Drafthouse North will be a welcome addition to the film scene, and we look forward to working with and serving the Austin community to bring more good movies to our city. We expect to be open in mid to late June, so stay posted to www.drafthouse.com for details about the opening date and the big opening bash!

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE NORTH OPENING SOON!

Since September, 2000 MR. SINUS has been selling out weekly shows at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas. Fans of comedy, film, and, of course, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 television program have been filling the seats, hungry for this unique multimedia event. Mr. Sinus picks up where the now-defunct TV show left off, only this time the comedians are live, front row center at the theater. This quarter, check out screenings of Xanadu and Star Trek 5: the Final Fronteir. The regular Mr. Sinus slot is now Fridays at 9:30, but Check the calendar, www.drafthouse.com or the weekly Chronicle for showtimes.

APRIL 1-JUNE 30 2001

MAY 11 9:30

The Austin Chronicle and Vulcan Video Present:
(1989, d. Sammo Hung, 95 min., $6.50, 4.50 student) You would think a typical pedicab driver from Macao wouldn't get into much trouble, right? Unfortunately, if your pedicab driver is Sammo Hung, trouble always comes calling. Fortunately, Sammo knows kung-fu and is readily prepared to use it. Pedicab Driver balances itself between being a softhearted love story and a brutal revenge tale. A strange mix that results in one of Sammo's finest performances as well as directing effort. PD is worth the price alone just to see Sammo and HK great Lau Kar Leung (Liu Chia Liang) go toe to toe!

PEDICAB DRIVER APRIL 1, 6:00 & 8:45

Cine Las Americas is celebrating its fourth festival of New Latin Cinema in 2001 and again is showcasing contemporary films from diverse Latino cultures such as South America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

CINE LAS AMERICAS APRIL 13 & 14

(1980, d. Kenji Misumi, 86 min., $5) Itto Ogami is the Official Decapitator for the Shogun, who has apparently gone either impossibly corrupt or insane (the Shogun, not Ogami). The Shogun sends ninja to kill Ogami, but they only slay his wife instead, leaving the executioner to care for his infant son, Daigoro. Ogami instructs the infant to choose between a brightly colored ball, and his unsheathed sword. If the child chooses the ball, Ogami will send him "to be with his mother". Daigoro, however, reaches for the naked steel, and so begins their journey on "the road to hell". And that road proceeds to be littered with the corpses slain by Ogami's blade. Don't expect the elegiac grace of the Chinese martial arts films here; the fights are nasty, brutish, and short - Ogami can kill with one blow, and doesn't like to waste time - but they're still crackling with a creative energy rare in western films of this sort. Apparently in medieval Japan, all the men had approximately five gallons of blood in their body, under enormous pressure. Damn near everybody gets to die an ugly, ridiculously gushing death.

SHOGUN ASSASSIN THURS-SAT APRIL 26-28 MIDNIGHT

A few of you lucky souls may have seen the trailer for this classic grindhouse title at Butt-Numb-A-Thon 2000; you know what to expect. For the rest, this is a holy grail title of sexploitation and not for whimps. Come with an open mind and we will blow you away.

MAY 30 - MIDNIGHT IT HAPPENED IN HOLLYWOOD

(d. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1989, 123 min., $5) "Santa Sangre is a throwback to the golden age, to the days when filmmakers had bold individual visions and were not timidly trying to duplicate the latest mass-market formulas. This is a movie like none I have seen before, a wild kaleidoscope of images and outrages, a collision between Freud and Fellini. It contains blood and glory, saints and circuses, and unspeakable secrets of the night. And it is all wrapped up in a flamboyant parade of bold, odd, striking imagery, with Alejandro Jodorowsky as the ringmaster. When I go to the movies, one of my strongest desires is to be shown something new. I want to go to new places, meet new people, have new experiences. When I see Hollywood formulas mindlessly repeated, a little something dies inside of me: I have lost two hours to boors who insist on telling me stories I have heard before. Jodorowsky is not boring. The privilege of making a film is too precious to him for him to want to make a conventional one. It has been 18 years since his last work, and all of that time the frustration and inspiration must have been building. Now comes this release, in a rush of energy and creative joy." - Roger Ebert, Chicago SunTimes

JUNE 14-16, MIDNIGHT

(d. Fernando Di Leo, 1976, free admission, a.k.a. Blood and Bullets, The Big Boss and Scarface Killer) Neglected Italian crime film starring Jack Palance as the Scarface Killer. Di Leo also directed Wipeout, featured in last year's QT Quattro film festival.

APR 4 - MIDNIGHT MISTER SCARFACE

(Migrating Forms, Winner of the Best Feature Award at the 2000 New York Underground Film Festival, $5, $4 student) A man and woman meet in his apartment for an anonymous game of sexual "chicken," indulging their darker appetites for gratification and psychological mastery until one of them cracks. "This homemade feature puts all our stupid, starstruck, shopping-mall indies to shame. Fotopoulos is the most important new director I've seen in many years, creating distinctive visions seething with ontological unease." - Ed Halter, Year End Top Ten List, NY Press. Screening before the feature will be the locally-shot short film Pleasureland, directed by Bryan Poyser. A video store customer discovers that the porno tapes he rents are actually people, fully ready to give him what he wants. Both James Fotopoulos and Bryan Poyser will be in attendance at the screening.

MIGRATING FORMS & PLEASURELAND WED, APRIL 18 9:30

The Cinematexas International Short Film Festival presents

(d. Frank Oz, 1986, PG-13, $5, 94 min.) "At a time when so many movies show such cold-blooded calculation, here's one heedless enough to be fun. Little Shop of Horrors arrives with enough baggage to make it into a thoroughly timid project - what is less likely to make a fresh movie than a long-running stage hit? - and yet the movie has the offhand charm of something that was concocted over the weekend. This is not only a musical and a comedy, as we expected, but also a revue of sorts: Comic actors such as Bill Murray, John Candy and James Belushi have walk-ons, and Steve Martin almost steals the show as a sadistic, motorcycle-riding dentist. Yet at the heart of the movie is a basic sweetness, an innocence that extends even to the centerpiece of the story, which is a man-eating plant named Audrey."- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS MAY 10-12 MIDNIGHT

(d. Sergio Sollima, 1966, R, $15) Sergio Sollima's gripping and operatic spaghetti western is one of the greatest in this under-rated sub genre. Lee Van Cleef was never better than here as Jonathan Corbett,a legendary gunfighter and would be congressman who is hired to track down a child murderer. His pursuit of this man, played with panache by Thomas Milian, is plagued by doubts that maybe this is not the man he should be chasing. These doubts are well realised and lead to the final big gundown that gives the film its title.The music by Ennio Morricone is rousing and memorable and gives this exciting film its own identity. - imdb. All you can eat Spaghetti Western, tickets go on sale March 28 at 5:00 PM, Tickets are $15 and include all you can eat pasta, focaccia and Caesar salad.

BIG GUNDOWN SAT, APRIL 28, 7:00 PM

(d. Fred Williamson, 1977, R, free admission) Fred Williamson directs and stars (as Mr. Mean) in this blaxploitation classic from 1977, features a really cool performance by the Ohio Players. Forgotten gem from Fred "THE HAMMER" Williamson.

MAY 16- MIDNIGHT MR. MEAN

(d. Tim Hunter, 1986, $5) The general plot is straightforward stoner guy kills stoner girlfriend, leaves her body by the river, and brags to all of his stoner buds - but there are darker undercurrents that stir up thoughts about the disillusionment of youth, the devaluation of women, and the death of Sixties idealism. Director Hunter is a whiz at pacing and keeps the plot rolling while he further muddies the waters with his intriguing montages. You can't help but get sucked into the world of these characters, whose lives are orchestrated by Crispin Glover's Layne, who sounds like Perry Farrell and lives on a steady diet of speed and weed. Daniel Roebuck is wonderfully creepy as Samson, the slow-eyed and slow-witted killer. As painful as it is to admit, Keanu Reeves, young enough to have the barest traces of peach-fuzz on his upper lip, gives a solid performance, proving once again that he plays burn-outs very, very well. Of course, Dennis Hopper's Feck is like Dennis Hopper's anything else - spacey, edgy, and odd.

THE RIVER'S EDGE MAY 31-JUNE 2 MIDNIGHT

FRI JUNE 15

APR 18 - MIDNIGHT PRISON GIRLS
(1972. d. Tom Disimone, free admission) From the director of Chatter Box and Reform School Girls comes the most controversial movie ever made based on confidential prison sex reports. With this film, we guarantee a doosie.
Mullet Tribute Night, sport a mullet, get in for $2
(1987, d. Joel Schumacher, 97 min., $5) Recent divorcee Lucy Emerson and her two sons, Michael and Sam, move to Santa Carla California to start a new life. It turns out Santa Carla is the murder capitol of the world. It's not a surprise when the town turns out to be crawling with the undead. It isn't long before Michael falls for a beautiful girl at an amusement park and soon finds himself enmeshed in the politics of a vampire underworld. When Sam and his new friends begin to suspect Michael of being a vampire the plot begins to thicken. Before the film, see the Alamo's special mullet slide show and register to win a copy of the infamous mullet book.

FRI JUNE 1 THE LOST BOYS

(d. Ivan Hall, 1980, free admission) Karate champions from across the globe lock limbs in a no-holds-barred fighting contest in a secret N ambian desert fortress. A psychotic, exiled Nazi kung fu coach and his kung fu dwarf sidekick planned the competition to seek revenge against his Japanese counterpart who bested him in a tournament during World War 2.

JUNE 20- MIDNIGHT KILL OR BE KILLED

Live musical accompaniment by the Golden Arm Trio
(1929, d. G.W. Pabst, 100 min, $10, $12 day of show) G.W. Pabst's creation scandalized Berlin when it was released in 1929 and his adaptation of Frank Wedekind's play continues to marvel audiences today. It showcases the pioneering talents of Louise Brooks, a young, relatively inexperienced American actress the director favored over Marlene Dietrich. Pabst and Brooks' portrayal of a seductive but otherwise innocent prostitute who unwittingly brings down all who come in contact with her ushered in a revolutionary consciousness in popular art that clashed with Hollywood, censors, and other guardians of public morality, but nevertheless lives on today. The Golden Arm Trio has composed and performed numerous silent film scores for the Alamo's silent film series, which have all received lavish praise from audiences and press alike:: Battleship Potemkin, The Wind, The Lost World (with Brown Whornet) and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (with Friends of Dean Martinez). "Golden Arm Trio's Graham Reynolds' exquisitely furrowed performances on both piano and percussion continue to be just as awe-inspiring as his compositions. Is there anything this man can't do?" --Greg Beets, Austin Chronicle

PANDORA'S BOX

MAY 17-19 MIDNIGHT

APRIL 4 & 10, 7:00 & 9:45

Ain't It Cool News, The Austin Chronicle, Sapient & Big Brothers Big Sisters present the Saturday Morning Film Club

(1985, d. Joe Dante, 109 min., free admission for kids and accompanying adults) Although it features great performances by young up-and-comers Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix, Joe Dante's Explorers is all but forgotten a mere 16 years after it's original release. It came close on the heels of the mighty Goonies and Back to the Future, and was a bit lost in their collective wake. The Saturday Morning Film Club team, however, feel that Explorers deserves another look. From a kid's perspective, Explorers is the coolest story ever told; three best friends build a rocket ship in their backyard and blast off to meet an alien spaceship. Every child I have ever known that has watched this movie has been enraptured, even motivated at the end of the film. Dust off the Radio Shack 101 Electronic Projects kit, because after Explorers you may have a budding rocket scientist on your hands.

EXPLORERS SAT, APRIL 28, 12:00 NOON

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
(1990, d. Steve Barron, $5) A glass jar with four baby turtles falls into the sewer and shatters, dousing these lovable orphan amphibians in super-potent radioactive ooze. A wandering Japanese rat named Splinter finds the mutated turtles and raises them in the kung fu tradition of his former master, thus creating the ultimate crime-fighting quartet: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The turtle suits were Jim Henson's last creative effort before his death in 1990.

JUNE 21-23, MIDNIGHT

MAY 18 9:30

($6, $4.50 students) Imagine a silent movie with beats instead of an orchestra, or seeing a film where the composer of the score is right in the middle of the action: supareal is all that and more. In the tradition of the Alamo Drafthouse's silent film/alternative scores series, supareal blends Japanese animation and dj culture. Each night features a different set of DJs and different anime features. Thursday (Double Bill): Luna vs. Kite and grant stevens vs. Lain Friday: grant stevens vs. Perfect Blue Saturday (Tag Team): Jason Jenkins and Coy C vs. Ninja Scroll
Perfect Blue will be screened in 35mm, all others, digital video

SUPAREAL: LIVE DJ'S vs ANIME THURS-SAT APRIL 5-7 MIDNIGHT

(1994, d. Michele Soavi, 100 min., a.k.a. Dellamorte Dellamore, $5) Soavi transcends the Italian Giallo tradition to give us not only enough art and philosophy, but plenty of wanton and hilarious violence to digest. Rupert Everett (My Best Friend's Wedding, A Midsummer Night's Dream) stars as Francesco Dellamorte, a gravekeeper in an Italian village. For some unexplainable reason, the dead have the habit of rising from their graves a week after their deaths, and it is up to Dellamorte and his misshapen, retarded assistant Naggi to put them back in their graves (via ye old Fulci/Romero fashion i.e. shooting them in the head). A series of bizarre circumstances befall Dellamorte, as he tries to make sense out of a world falling apart around him.

CEMETERY MAN APRIL 19-21 MIDNIGHT

MAY 2 - MIDNIGHT SAVAGE STREETS
With Linda Blair as a sometimes topless, crossbow wielding, 80's street punk vigilante, how far wrong can you go? Undefensable exploitation from the last great decade of the genre. There's enough jarring 80's in this flick to make your eyes bleed.

AN ALAMO REMOTE SITE EVENT ON THE BANKS OF THE COLORADO SAT & SUN, MAY 19 & 20

DELIVERANCE

(d. Tsui Hark, 1983, $6.50, $4.50 student) The Alamo proudly welcomes the grandaddy of all Hong Kong costume/kung-fu/swordfighting epics! After graduating from UT Tsui Hark promptly returned to his native HK to make a series of period piece action flicks. Of these, Zu easily surpasses all in form and content. Zu represents a marriage of groundbreaking special effects and ingenious HK stuntwork. Starring a slew of top HK actors and actresses in top form (Sammo Hung, Adam Cheng, Bridgette Linn, and returning Alamo favorite, Yuen Biao to name a few), whizzing, flipping, and jumping all over the screen!

ZU WARRIORS OF MAGIC MOUNTAIN JUNE 3 6:00 & 8:45

Vulcan Video and the Austin Chronicle present:

FRI JUNE 22

Live musical accompaniment by The Asylum Street Spankers (d. Charlie Chaplin, 1925, 81 min, $10, $12 day of show) Chaplin conceived this oddball tale from accounts of the Donner party cannibal tragedy in the western Sierras. In fact, much of the film was shot outside Truckee, only miles from the site of the famous incident. Austin's infamous old-timey acoustic ensemble, The Asylum Street Spankers perfectly compliment the mood and style of the hard-drinking, hard-living prospector town. The Spankers premiered this score at the Alamo last year and have since toured it everywhere from Hoboken to San Francisco.

THE GOLD RUSH

APRIL 25, 7:00 & 9:45

(d. John Boorman, 1972, R, 102 min.) Join the Alamo for the first in a series of non-traditional cinema outings: a canoe trip down the lower Colorado, terminating in a barbeque and concert by the side of the river. When the sun goes down, the 35mm projector will fire up and we will watch Deliverance on a full size movie screen erected on the banks of the rushing river. Deliverance is a shocking film classic. Based on the powerful James Dickey romance, the plot goes like this: four friends decide to spend the weekend descending the dangerous and treacherous rapids of Georgia's last unpolluted river, willing to test their manhood in this hostile environment. This is just the premise of the most distressing and astonishing motion picture filmed back in the seventies. With a budget no higher than 2 million dollars, the English filmmaker John Boorman directed this terrific masterpiece about human cruelty (represented by the local's inhabitants) and the fight for survival that lives inside every mans heart (represented by Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox). Vilmos Szigmond's blinding photography opposes two "parts": the untouched nature's beauty and the perversity that waits for them in the margins. Tickets are $50, and include canoe or kayak rental, food, beer, and the movie. Tickets for this event go on sale April 19 at 5:00 PM at the Alamo box office.

(d. Dario Argento, 1970, 96 min, free admission) Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) is an American reporter living in Rome who witnesses what appears to be a murder. Trapped by a glass wall, he can't intervene, but does manage to scare off the killer. Wounded, the victim survives, and Dalmas's curiosity drives him to look further into the story, but he soon finds himself and his girlfriend in jeopardy and stalked by the would-be murderer. Director Dario Argento's debut film is a remarkable work, more restrained than many of his later films. Based on an obscure l950s pulp novel, Bird draws heavily on Hitchcock, as well as on American novelists such as Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich.

JUNE 6 - MIDNIGHT BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE

(1981, d. Ivan Hall, free admission) Steve Chase, secret kung-fu agent for hire from Kill or Be Killed, is contracted by Kandy Kane, daughter of a famous scientist who has created an alternate fuel source from potato extract. Dr. Kane has been kidnapped by the evil kung-fu cult leader "Marduk" who has discovered that all humans who ingest the potato fuel become brainwashed kung-fu zombies who obey only him. Steve gathers a rag-tag group of warriors (most of whom appear to be homeless alcoholics) to help him defeat Marduk: There's "Gypsy Billy" (the street brawler), "The Fly" (a zen-like white guy who talks in Confucius-speak), "Gorilla" (the huge black guy who can pick up a full grown man with each hand), and "Hot Dog" (the out of shape but psychotic "A-Team Murdock" guy). Please don't pass up the opportunity to check out this flick.

JUNE 27- MIDNIGHT KILL AND KILL AGAIN

(d. Mark Lewis, 60 min., $6, $4.50 students, KLRU members & AFS) Most of us best know the chicken from our dinner plates: whether as thigh, wing or drumstick. We barely pause a moment to consider the bird's other virtues. This new film by Mark Lewis (Cane Toads and RAT) expands the frontiers of popular awareness and delightfully exposes how this small, common and seemingly simple animal can reveal itself to be as complex and grand as any of God's creatures. The film not only allows us to rethink our relationship with a creature we have heretofore taken for granted but also it provides us a lens by which we look at ourselves. A "Natural History" for an animal like no other.

THE TEXAS DOCUMENTARY TOUR NATURAL HISTORY OF THE CHICKEN WED, APRIL 11, 7:30

The Austin Film Society presents:

(1969, d. Jack Starret, 95 min., free admission) King of the biker movies, William Smith (Any Which Way You Can, Invasion of the Bee Girls) sells out his motorcycle gang for a national magazine article and has to go on the lam to escape the wrath of the California biker community . Director Jack Starret also directed such cultural milestones as the Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky and Hutch and Quentin Tarantino's fave: The Dion Brothers.

APR 25- MIDNIGHT RUN ANGEL RUN

(1989, d. Stephen Herek, 90 min., $5) Early in his career, Keanu Reeves took the role he was destined to play, a role that continues to creep into every performance he has given since: Ted "Theodore" Logan. Some deem Bill and Ted as the nadir of post-modernity, where history is flattened out, where the dead, largely white, largely European-American, largely male Great Figures are made the subject of infantile mockery, taken out of the period in which they dominated and dumped into one where the majority of yokels don't even know their name. We here at the Alamo don't know much about that. What we do know is this movie ROCKS, it's one of the funniest, most-quoted, worthy-of-repeat-viewing teen movies ever created, and bringing this class of movie to you may just be the Alamo's predestined purpose. Before the film check out the World Premiere of the locally made short: Bill and Ted's Matrix.

BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE THURS-SAT, MAY 3-5 MIDNIGHT

(1973, d. Umberto Lenzi, Free admission, Aka: Sacrifice, Mondo Cannibale, Deep River Savages and the Last Survivor) Man From Deep River is an early entry into the long tradition of Italy-spawned white-man-learning-the-savage-ways-of-the-jungle film. Directed by Umberto "Cannibal Ferox" Lenzi, and featuring the ample assets of A-list jungle savage beauty Me Me Lai.

MAY 23 - MIDNIGHT MAN FROM DEEP RIVER

On an amazing double bill with HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT
(1981, d. Gerald Potterton, 90 min, R, $5) "It's pro-drugs, pro-sex, pro-hot- chicks-with-their-tops-inadvertently-falling-off. It's in six rockin', variable-quality animated segments, and makes almost no sense whatsoever, except for the way every female winds up getting naked one minute after appearing on screen. This is probably one of the few films ever in which two stoned aliens accidentally vacuum into their  Pac-Manesque spaceship an Earthwoman secretary, who is in turn hit on by  a robot: "I've been programmed to be fully proficient in sexual activities. Wanna go steady?" The robot proceeds to promise her a Jewish wedding. At this point, you either are absolutely desperate to see this movie or are completely turned off beyond belief, so I'll stop." - Brown University Film Society Review

MAY 24-26, MIDNIGHT

(1980, d. Paul Naschy (Jacinto Molina), free admission) A.k.a Return of the Wolf Man. An evil witch brings back to life the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, who was executed several centuries ago for murdering young women and bathing in their blood. Naschy is a God of Spanish horror cinema.

APR 11 - MIDNIGHT THE CRAVING

(1985, d. Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman, $5) "As a child I loved to stay up late and watch USA Up All Night This allowed me to sample pretty much every major Troma movie, and I discovered the meaning of the phrase "guilty pleasure". As I got older I stayed away from Troma, as their movies radiated the kind of feeling you get from wearing a shoddy Halloween mask too long and getting nauseous inhaling the cheap rubber fumes. But after sampling the delightful Tromeo & Juliet I decided to return to my roots and check out the directors edition of the classic Toxic Avenger. While I was right in remembering the films as the guiltiest of pleasures, the cheap charm of the film was undeniable, and there was a ton of gore in the movie that I never saw on T.V. Arms are severed, guts are ripped out, seeing-eye dogs are shot, and children's heads are crushed- and it all looks pretty good! You really can't bad-mouth a movie that has its hero stuff a little old lady in a washing machine. If you're a gore fan with a high thresh hold for bad taste, then give the Toxic Avenger another shot- I did, and I'm a better person for it. I think." - IMDB

TOXIC AVENGER - THE DIRECTOR'S CUT JUNE 7-9, MIDNIGHT

The man, the myth, the zombie killing LEGEND, Bruce Campbell, returns to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in a blaze of glory. We will be premiering his new documentary film Fanalysis, which turns the tables on the fanboy community and examines the phenomenon of fandom from the eyes of the star. Bruce will also introduce screenings of Evil Dead 2 and be signing copies of his brand new book: If Chins Could Kill, Confessions of a B-Movie Actor. Check www.drafthouse.com for details and ticket information.

HAIL TO THE KING BABY! BRUCE CAMPBELL WEEKEND JUNE 28-30

(1994, d. Kevin Smith, 92 min, $5) Fresh out of film school (yes, he went), Smith directed a modest 16mm black and white feature with a budget not even sufficient for a car purchase. But with help from a multi-credited cast and a script full of witty bar-stool jokes with language that would ban you from grandma's house forever, the result: is an instant cult classic. Clerks is Kevin Smith's theatrical debut (initially released on a whopping 50 screens) and hits a chord with today's "tweener"-aged crowd. The far-from-Baby-Boomers, but not quite Gen-Xers get the most out of this flick. Throw in a high school degree and your enjoyment level increases ten-fold. See deleted scenes, the alternate ending and rare Kevin Smith tidbits before the film.

THURS-SAT, APRIL 12-14 MIDNIGHT

($6, $4.50 students) Skip Elsheimer, founding geek of Raleigh, North Carolina's A/V Geeks, comes to the Alamo with fabulously bizarre educational and training films from his immense film collection. "I now find myself with more than 8000 16mm educational films in my house. I spent most of the nineties collecting film from school and government auctions. These films were regarded as obsolete and useless by the state who would take anything to get rid of them. If I didn't get them, who knows where they would have ended up - a dumpster, maybe? So now I show the films every chance I get and have planned various projects, to exploit their hidden celluloid riches. " Skip Elsheimer, AV Geeks In this program expect to see gory fake industrial accidents, a Disney animated sex ed film, a film about meat processing and marching bands, an LSD trip film and more!

BEST OF THE AV GEEKS THURS, APRIL 26 9:30

The Aurora Picture Show presents

Vulcan Video and the Austin Chronicle present Hong Kong Sundays

(d. Stephen Chow, 1994, $6.50 adult, $4.50 student) The comic stylings of Stephen Chow Sing Chi once again grace the Alamo screen for a 3rd Hong Kong Sunday. If you missed God of Cookery or Forbidden City Cop then this is another perfect opportunity to be introduced to the Chinese Mo Lai Tao (translated as "makes no sense") comedy. FBWL delivers action, romance, and comedy in true HK fashion. The plot concerns 007's return to service from a hiatus as a meat vendor. Expect to see familiar "hong kong-ified" elements from the James Bond series- gadgets, guns and girls!

FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE SUN, MAY 6 6:00 & 8:45

FRI JUNE 8

SAT JUNE 30

Ain't It Cool News, The Austin Chronicle, Sapient & Big Brothers Big Sisters present the Saturday Morning Film Club

(d. I. Robert Levy, 1974, R, free admission, 73 min.) Robin Williams' first feature film effort is a wacky sex comedy, the likes of which hasn't been seen in theaters in 20 years.

CAN I DO IT TILL I NEED GLASSES

MAY 9 - MIDNIGHT

(d. Jules Bass, 1967, free admission for kids and accompanying adults) Mad Monster Party is a fantastic addition to our cultural landscape. The Jack Davis designed puppets, the Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine) style satire, the great voices (including the irreplaceable Boris Karloff) and the surf guitar/spy music/monster mash soundtrack all combine to make a unique viewing experience, enjoyable for all ages. Most importantly, this film presents the greatest assortment of classic monsters in one epic story - Dracula, The Werewolf, Frankenstein's Monster, The Creature, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Mummy, King Kong, The Invisible Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Peter Lorre inspired Igor! Mad Monster Party was produced by the Rankin/Bass team and features the stop motion animation featured in better known holiday classics Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.

MAD MONSTER PARTY SAT, MAY 26, NOON

JUNE 13- MIDNIGHT CRITTERS
(1986, d. Stephen Herek, 82 min, R, free admission) Bounty hunters from outer space track down furballs with a taste for flesh that are terrorizing a small town. Great low-budgeter that's funny and frantic stuff. An absolute gem. Followed by three sequels. Hell, even Roger Ebert liked it, give it a shot.

(d. Roger Corman, 1963, 86 min, G, free admission for kids and accompanying adults) Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Vincent Price and a very young Jack Nicholson team up with director Roger Corman and composer Les Baxter to create the quirkiest, funniest Edgar Allen Poe send-up ever created. Although the sets are creepy, the on-screen action is wacky and fun for all ages, the cinematic equivalent of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion.

JUNE 30, 12:00 NOON

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