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Review: Clouds of Sils Maria

16 hours ago

You may have already heard a few things about Clouds of Sils Maria -- including that Kristen Stewart achieved the nearly impossible by winning a major French acting award in a French movie playing opposite the French goddess (emphasis mine) Juliette Binoche

This is a fine starting point, but there is so much more (so much more) to talk about here. Director Olivier Assayas has made a film that explores the kind of relationship not usually depicted onscreen (and rarely with such grace and intelligence), while here and there upending traditional narrative and editorial techniques to great effect. 

Binoche is the star of the film, meaning she has more screen time than anyone and also plays a film star named Maria Enders. Maria is enjoying artistic success even as the inevitability of middle age -- terrifying for an actress -- starts to make its presence known.

Maria first finds fame when she plays a young, »

- Caitlin Moore

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Movies This Week: May 1-7, 2015

1 May 2015 12:00 PM, PDT

 

Multiplexes will be filled with superheroes this weekend as the new Avengers film touches down on almost 4,300 screens nationwide. A movie that big doesn't leave much room for anything else (even the Alamo Drafthouse isn't adding new titles this weekend at area locations aside from the Marvel sequel), although a few specialty releases are poised to breakthrough and we've got some recommended events for those of you who are not up for a comic-book blockbuster. 

Austin Film Society is teaming up with the Premiers Plans Festival of Angers, France this weekend for a New French Cinema series of Texas premiere screenings at the Marchesa along with special guest filmmakers and programmers from the fest. This program is part of the Sister Cities initiative between Austin and Angers and begins tonight with Spartacus & Cassandra, an acclaimed documentary from director Ioanis Nuguet, who will be in attendance for a Q&A. This »

- Matt Shiverdecker

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Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

1 May 2015 9:00 AM, PDT

The day is finally here, and fans assemble for the follow-up to Marvel's 2012 Joss Whedon-directed hit movie The Avengers. This week's new release, Avengers: Age of Ultron, was also written and directed by Whedon, creator of hit TV franchises Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly.

Marvel continues to tie events in its film franchise to its TV series Agents of Shield, which provides a plausible reason for the group of superheroes to reunite in search of Loki's sceptre. The sceptre has fallen into dangerous hands in the wake of Shield's collapse, as witnessed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of Shield. The recapture of that artifact leads to the creation of Ultron, a new and deadly cybernetic enemy bent on the team's destruction.

James Spader voices Ultron, and it's hard not to like the villain perhaps more than the heroes with his matter-of-fact quips and insults, »

- Mike Saulters

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Box-Office Alternatives: Salt of the Earth

29 April 2015 9:30 AM, PDT

Wim Wenders' captivating documentary The Salt of the Earth (2014) opens Friday in Austin after numerous festival screenings and heaps of critical praise. The Oscar-nominated documentary film follows famed photographer Sebastiao Selgado as he embarks on one of the most ambitious projects of his 40-year career in an effort to capture the planet's true essence and beauty.

I've no doubt that Wenders' Salt of the Earth is the wonderful piece of filmmaking others have claimed it to be. Yet when I hear the phrase "salt of the earth," my mind can't help but think of the stirring 1954 independent drama of the same name as well as the important social significance it conveyed and the controversy that surrounded the movie.

Set within a New Mexico mining town, Salt of the Earth (1954) centers on husband and wife Ramon (Juan Chacon) and Esperanza (Rosaura Ruevueltas), a happily married couple expecting their third child. »

- Frank Calvillo

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Site News: Slackerwood Prepares to Wrap Up

27 April 2015 11:00 AM, PDT

I've been writing for and editing Slackerwood now for about nine years -- a long time, especially on the internet. And while it's been a wonderful experience, I feel like it's time for me to move on.

May 27, 2015 will be the last day we'll publish content to Slackerwood. The site will still remain online and searchable but it'll be an archive, essentially. Over the next month, we'll be winding down with a few final editions of regular columns and other coverage.

Why close the site? Because Slackerwood doesn't deserve an even slightly restless editor, to paraphrase Jon Stewart. Editing and publishing Slackerwood, while often delightful and rewarding, is a time-consuming job. After nine years, I'd like to spend that time doing other things, like more writing.

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- Jette Kernion

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