Watch Out, Austin! February Favorites

The Cinapse guide to this month’s best screenings around town

There’s no denying that those of us lucky enough to live in the Austin area are blessed with an abundance of moviegoing experiences. Watch Out, Austin! hopes to highlight a select few of those every month, encouraging any and all lovers of film to get themselves to a theater and enjoy a good movie. Popcorn optional.


AFS Cinema: February 22-23

The ultimate nerd-out for fans of Austin film. Director Mike Blizzard and producer Lara Morgan have packed more films than seems possible into an hour and a half runtime. From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to loads of made-for-TV movies in the ‘80s (lots of them starring Willie!) to Slacker and its ilk and up to the present, Also Starring Austin takes viewers on a journey that ends with Austin being the film mecca that it is today.

BONUS: A list of almost every film in Also Starring Austin. Happy viewing!


AFS Cinema: February 26

Image result for the iron orchard

Based on a novel by Tom Pendleton, The Iron Orchard paints a picture perfect portrait of West Texas during the oil boom of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Director Ty Roberts, a native son of that region, nails it with a slew of Texas actors (like lead Lane Garrison and Austin’s own Austin Nichols) as well as authentic locations in and around Big Spring. This is a movie every Texan should experience. (Bonus Austin connection: Some scenes shot at The Driskill.)


AFS Cinema: February 17

Is there a better kind of comedy than incest comedy? I didn’t think so. In any case, local film Call Me Brother is having its Austin premiere this month, and you’ll definitely want to keep it in the…oh never mind.

Comedian Christina Parrish wrote and stars in this film about siblings who find themselves exploring some uncomfortable boundaries. But still, a comedy. Don’t be scared!


Violet Crown: February 1–7

Thank God for theaters re-releasing award-worthy films as statue season approaches, and specifically, thanks to the Violet Crown for bringing back The Rider. Our own Elizabeth Stoddard was duly impressed:

Careful cinematography and a soft-spoken lead make The Rider meditative and thought-provoking. [Lead actor Brady] Jandreau is raw and open in his portrayal of a man suffering personal crisis, stubborn to a point that one wonders how far beyond his limits the character might push himself. The quiet beauty of the film left me awestruck. Given the matter-of fact quality of the storytelling and the performances by these first-time actors, the viewer becomes hesitant to leave the world [director Chloé] Zhao has captured on film.


Alamo Drafthouse Ritz: February 3 and AFS Cinema: February 22

Ed Travis loves action movies and vouches for the Police Story franchise:

If you’ve never seen Police Story and count yourself as a Jackie Chan fan, I highly recommend seeking out this all time great. I’ve now watched Police Story II as well, which isn’t anywhere near as iconic, but still a ton of fun.

One of Jackie Chan’s most enduring brands and one of international cinema’s most successful action franchises, we’d all be better off with a little bit more Police Story in our lives.


Violet Crown: February 4

Part of Magnolia Mondays at Violet Crown, 2017’s I Am Not Your Negro is perfectly timed here with subject James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk now on screens in Barry Jenkins’s sublime adaptation. This documentary shows the power and wit of Baldwin’s persona and his necessary place in the culture of his day. Sadly, this is still relevant material for a country that continues to grapple with race and injustice.

(Also check out I Am Love and Melancholia from Magnolia Pictures.)


Violet Crown: February 14

Need Valentine’s Day plans? Well then, head down to Violet Crown for some 90’s goodness courtesy of Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson. The latter plays a young woman dealing with mental illness while the former prances around like Buster Keaton. What’s not to love? The supporting cast is fantastic as well, featuring Julianne Moore, Aidan Quinn, CCH Pounder, and William H. Macy.

Alternate suggestions: MOULIN ROUGE Movie Party at various Alamo Drafthouse locations, or BEFORE SUNRISE at AFS Cinema


Violet Crown: February 8–14

Another bring-back in Violet Crown’s Encore Series, Leave No Trace left lots of folks thinking it was one of the best movies of 2018. Ben Foster keeps getting better and better (see last year’s Galveston, as well), but here Thomasin McKenzie in the role of his daughter steals the show. A beautiful film that shows the complex after-effects of trauma and the echoes throughout a family, Leave No Trace is quiet but powerful.

(First Reformed and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? are also making return appearances.)


AFS Cinema: February 7–28


Born in Korea in 1954, Lee Chang-Dong first made an impact as a novelist before turning to film in 1983. His films, which often feature closely observed, novelistic details, have made him popular both in and outside his native country. His recent film BURNING was a breakthrough in the states and inspired us to look back at some of his earlier film works. This series is presented in collaboration with the Austin Asian American Film Festival.


AFS Cinema: February 20

A 1982 documentary featuring Charles Bukowski, Amiri Baraka, Ntozake Shange, Gary Snyder, and Tom Waits? That should be enough incentive for anyone to attend. At least anyone who’s had at least one “poetry phase” in their life. Director Ron Mann will be in attendance as part of a month long retrospective.

(Check out Comic Book Confidential and Grass, too.)

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