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This suburban Houston outpost of the venerated Austin-based chain functions like the rest of the Alamo Drafthouses - you order food and drinks (including booze!) from your seat, and the staff brings it directly to you. Special screenings complement more mainstream offerings.
Picture Zero Dark Thirty with bright pullovers and laser guns and you’ll have Star Trek Into Darkness, whose heavy-handed political parallels just might feel smart in a summer of Vin Diesel crashing cars. In the opening minutes, Khan Noonien... More »
Picture Zero Dark Thirty with bright pullovers and laser guns and you’ll have Star Trek Into Darkness, whose heavy-handed political parallels just might feel smart in a summer of Vin Diesel crashing cars. In the opening minutes, Khan Noonien Singh (Benedict Cumberbatch) terrorizes London, then makes like Osama and flees to the mountains of an enemy planet, causing Starfleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to order his assassination, sans trial. Here justice will be served by the blubbering James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), who so bleeds his humanity across the Enterprise's deck that it's a wonder Chekhov (Anton Yelchin) doesn't slip. Again, the central conflict is between the Captain's swaggering impetuousness and the cold-blooded logic of First Mate Spock (Zachary Quinto). After setting up its War on Terror allusions, Star Trek Into Darkness becomes Paradise Lost in Space: It's a battle for the good captain's soul, as Kirk is torn between Spock's wisdom and Admiral Marcus's war-mongering. Can Khan destroy him simply by smashing his moral code? J.J. Abrams externalizes Kirk's turmoil by making him spend every second scene suffering unsolicited advice about what to do. The character feels neutered, despite an early romp where he beds twin hotties with tails. His only real love is for the Enterprise, that hermaphroditic ship shaped like three phalluses and a flattened boob. Abrams, meanwhile, lifts Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan's climax, thievery that will enrage the devout as it suggests the Star Trek saga is merely a game of Mad Libs in which he plugs characters and catastrophes. « Less
Where has Robert Downey Jr. gone? There's no doubt he’s the star of Iron Man 3; he sprints through the picture like a neurotic panther. And yet he's curiously absent, detached in a Zenlike way from the whole affair. The nakedness that defines his... More »
Where has Robert Downey Jr. gone? There's no doubt he’s the star of Iron Man 3; he sprints through the picture like a neurotic panther. And yet he's curiously absent, detached in a Zenlike way from the whole affair. The nakedness that defines his best performances has become, paradoxically, a kind of mask, not unlike the sleek, airbrushed-looking one he wears as the superhero incarnation of cocky kajillionaire Tony Stark. Today, Downey could play Stark in his sleep. The jittery self-doubt, the look-at-me hubris, the Boy Scout cluelessness about women: He's become so proficient in his believability that you can hardly believe a minute of it. Maybe you don't need to believe much in Iron Man 3. This is the first in the franchise to be directed by Shane Black, and only the second picture the prolific action screenwriter has made. (The first was the marvelously nerve-jangling Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, also starring Downey.) On the plus side, Black has a puckish sense of humor, and shows a healthy resistance to the comic-booky self-seriousness of the Batman movies. The villains in Iron Man 3, for example, include the Mandarin, a pointy-bearded sage who’s half Osama bin Laden, half Ming the Merciless. He's played with bug-eyed hamminess by Ben Kingsley, and the movie is spooky, silly, or both whenever he's onscreen. But the big problems with Iron Man 3 are less specific to the movie itself than they are characteristic of the hypermalaise that's infected so many current mega-blockbusters-- too much plot, too much action, too many characters, too many pseudo-feelings. The mechanics of Iron Man 3 are complex and rambunctious, like Keystone Kops, bouncing off one another and ultimately canceling one another out. « Less
Much more entertaining than you might expect for one with "fast" or "furious" or "six" in the title, director Justin Lin's Fast & Furious 6 offers the series' most resplendent parade of chases and crashes yet, all shot and cut in that radical new... More »
Much more entertaining than you might expect for one with "fast" or "furious" or "six" in the title, director Justin Lin's Fast & Furious 6 offers the series' most resplendent parade of chases and crashes yet, all shot and cut in that radical new style, the one where audiences can apprehend in one viewing just what is supposed to be going on. In the most exciting sequence, there's a tank to be brought down, a hilariously high and long bridge, and winning business with a harpoon. That ridiculousness is topped by the climax, when the franchise's action figures must stop a cargo plane from taking off. Everybody races at what seems to be impossible speeds, for what seems to be 15 minutes, down what certainly is the world's longest runway. There's nothing to laud here in terms of storytelling, and the dialogue is all quips and exposition, but Lin aces something rare: the spirit of freewheeling play. His chases seem to take place in the mind of a 10-year-old, and there are few of the stiff dramatic scenes that in earlier editions suggested that 10-year-old's Hot Wheels had gotten stuck in the sandbox. Tyrese is given more one-liners than he's had since 2 Fast 2 Furious. Warheaded leads Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson leaven their hulking by making it clear their characters relish the mayhem. And the non-vehicular action is ace, especially an extended womano a womano between Gina Carano and Michelle Rodriguez, and one sublimely dumb bit of tag-team ass-kicking from Diesel and Johnson. « Less
Is calling a film's narrative structure "airtight" a compliment or a pejorative? Clockwork storytelling can entertain, yet such mechanisms can also seem overly constructed, like one of those essays that gets high scores from the SAT folks. If one... More »
Is calling a film's narrative structure "airtight" a compliment or a pejorative? Clockwork storytelling can entertain, yet such mechanisms can also seem overly constructed, like one of those essays that gets high scores from the SAT folks. If one of those essays became an animated movie it might be Epic. This rather average-scaled adventure concerns a young woman, MK (voiced by Amanda Seyfried), who visits her father, Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), with hopes of talking him out of his reclusive lifestyle. Bomba's life's work is attempting to prove that a fantastical society of miniature people lives in the nearby woods. MK's cynicism turns to belief when she is shrunken down to thimble-size and winds up a player in the battle between the forces of good and evil in the forest world. Christoph Waltz has tons of fun in his role as the chief baddie, surely the best-cast voice here. Epic, presented in 3D, is noteworthy for its depictions of characters flying (birds are the energy-efficient vehicles of this green society) and swinging through the woods, with image depth that practically hypnotizes. With its array of goofy sidekicks (Aziz Ansari as a slug almost runs away with the whole picture) and carefully crafted relationships, Epic certainly manages to tell a compelling tale. Yet in a post-Up era where animated films can pulse with profound truths, the question remains: Is mere entertainment enough? « Less
There's a scene in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby in which Leonardo DiCaprio's hyperrich, super-awkward Jay Gatsby takes it upon himself to redecorate the bachelor pad of his less-prosperous friend, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). Gatsby's old... More »
There's a scene in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby in which Leonardo DiCaprio's hyperrich, super-awkward Jay Gatsby takes it upon himself to redecorate the bachelor pad of his less-prosperous friend, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). Gatsby's old flame, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), is coming to Nick’s for tea. Eager to impress her, Gatsby has brought in boughs draped with explosive white flowers, macaroons in every color of the paintbox, and tiered cakes straight out of Marie Antoinette's court. "You think it's too much?" he asks Nick. Nick offers the polite answer: "I think it's what you want." The Great Gatsby is both too much and what Luhrmann wants, less a movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel than a movie version of Jay Gatsby himself. It’s polished to a handsome sheen and possesses no class or taste beyond the kind you can buy. And those are the reasons to love it. The performers often look lost, but the movie moves, breathes, and has color on its side. Though Fitzgerald couldn't have known it, he wrote a scene tailor-made for 3-D, the one in which Gatsby rummages through his collection of brilliantly colored silk shirts and tosses one after another toward his lady love. In Luhrmann's vision, they float down around Daisy like polychrome snowflakes. It's all so fake. It should all be so horrible. But really, all Luhrmann has done is build a crazy art deco Taj Mahal to the glory of The Great Gatsby. Like Gatsby, Luhrmann is a faker but not a phony. Fitzgerald knew the difference. Can we see it, too? « Less
The unlikeliest of all the Hangover trilogy's comic implausibilities might be its four pampered, rich-boy leads unironically calling themselves the "Wolf Pack" without anyone ever making fun of them. In the old slobs-versus-snobs comedies, the... More »
The unlikeliest of all the Hangover trilogy's comic implausibilities might be its four pampered, rich-boy leads unironically calling themselves the "Wolf Pack" without anyone ever making fun of them. In the old slobs-versus-snobs comedies, the snooty rich kids were always the antagonists, bullying the nerds and cheating at cross-camp field days. We identified with the slobs because Americans like underdogs, and also because the slobs were so often played by Bill Murray. Now the snobs have seized the cultural momentum, and with The Hangover Part III director Todd Phillips continues casting frat dicks as underdog heroes beset by foreigners, shrewish women, and even animals. "So he killed a giraffe—who gives a fuck?" says Bradley Cooper, in what amounts to a candid articulation of the trilogy's worldview. Cooper's Phil is defending the sub-neurotypical Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who has, indeed, beheaded an adorable giraffe. Unlike its predecessors, The Hangover Part III doesn't open with the aftermath of a substance binge. Alan has quit taking unspecified meds, causing him to behave like an enormous bastard, so the "Apple Dumpling Gang"-- sorry, "Wolf Pack"--agrees to accompany him on a cross-country road trip to an inpatient psych facility. They're intercepted by the first film's crime boss, Black Doug (Mike Epps), and his boss, Marshall (John Goodman), who force the "Special People’s Club"-- sorry, "Wolf Pack"-- to undertake a quest for the psychopathic Leslie Chow (Dr. Ken Jeong), who has stolen $21 million in gold bars. The ensuing plot involves an elaborate housebreaking, Mexican jail, some dead dogs, some dead chickens, base-jumping over Las Vegas, and a lot of punching down at lower-status characters. « Less
There are two things you can do when you realize that if you don't get away from your family, you will lose your mind: A) Leave. B) Buy some ''this...
Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson star in this coming-of-age story.
Valentine's Day is coming up and if you're not in a relationship right now, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that at least you're not married to comedian and frequent Chelsea Lately guest, ... More »
The Alamo Drafthouse people are known for bringing you great movies and TV to their big-screens every week. Plus, the "coolest movie theater in the world" serves booze, which is never a bad thing, and... More »
Today, January 10, the 1980s romance that made young girls everywhere want to learn the cha-cha, Dirty Dancing, will screen at Alamo Draft House in Mason Park. When DD came out in 1987, I was forbid... More »
December 21, according to the Mayan calendar, is supposed to be the end of the world. Or at least the end of the world as we know it. And if there's only time for one more party, it better be a good o... More »
Event Review: Big Screen Classics: Scrooged
SEVEN BUCKS, just to get in the door?? Time for the owners to wake up and smell the decade. It ought to be a flat $5, all the time, 24/7!
Want my business? Better wake up and conduct yourselves accordingly. Sheesh!!
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