Friday, October 21, 2011

Austin Film Festival Day 1

Well, the Austin Film Festival is here again, and they've brought some great films to town. Friday night will give us the red carpet premiere of "The Rum Diary"-- with Johnny Depp in attendance at The Paramount and a screening of "Edward Scissorhands" after.  So, if you want some Depp-- get yourself to The Paramount tonight.

But what about the other films?  Thursday night I had to choose between a couple of films, and I hope I made the right decision.

Unfortunately, what I missed was "Butter," premiering at The Paramount, a small-town comedy about how an adopted girl finds a hidden talent for butter carving and then finds herself in competition with an ambitious local woman and reigning butter carving champ (Jennifer Garner) for the towns coveted butter carving prize.  They had their own red carpet premiere last night, but as quirky and off-the-wall as this sounded, (and the comparisons of Garner's performance to one of my "favorite" political characters, Michelle Bachmann) I had to skip, and instead went to go see a double feature of "DaVinci" and "Zombies" at the Alamo Ritz.

"When Dreams Take Flight" is part documentary, part historical re-creation. It follows a University of Toronto student as he and his team try to build the world's first ornithopter- a flying machine that works by flapping its wings. It also follows several other stories across six centuries and several continents of people, starting with Leonardo DaVinci, who dreamed of man being able to fly like a bird.  Yes, it seems silly-- we can already "fly"using jet propulsion and propellers, but that's what makes this journey even more fascinating.  It plays again Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Alamo Ritz and I give it a good recommendation-- if you're into these sorts of historical/man vs challenge documentaries.

Next was "Dead Heads." These days, zombies are everywhere. "The Walking Dead" on AMC is one of the best shows out there.  This flips the genre on its head, with two zombiefied dudes on a road trip as the protagonists, with a team of bounty hunters trying to take them out.  It's a zombie-comedy-road film-buddy movie. It's like "The Blues Brothers" meets "Shawn of the Dead."  Ok, maybe it's not as good as those two excellent films, but this was a fun, fresh take on the often bleak and nihilistic zombie genre. This is also playing again Sunday evening at 8:30 at the Austin Convention Center.

I'll be back later with my reviews from this weekend.

cross-posted with the Austin Post and BigShinyRobot!

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