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Me and Orsen Welles Premiere December 3, 2009

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On Monday night the Paramount Theater on Congress Ave. opened its doors to the premiere of Richard Linklater’s “Me and Orsen Welles”.  Crammed together like sardines, the media and throngs of young girls waited around the red carpet for Linklater, Christian McKay , and Zac Efron to arrive at the premiere.

Linklater was soft-spoken, and humble.  He made his way through along the red carpet briskly, waiting by the door for the Efron and McKay.  This is his 15th movie premiere, and one of many he has premiered in Austin.  He mentioned that he walked 5 blocks from his home in Austin to get to the premiere.

Christian McKay charmed the pants off of the crowd.  He was making his big screen premiere, recreating his role as Orsen Welles seen only on Broadway in the past.  McKay threw up the Texas Longhorns symbol and asked why so many people were doing that around Austin.  He was excited about being involved in Linklater’s adaptation.

“I think I am the only actor who has been asked to lose weight to play Orsen Welles,” Mckay joked.

Efron spend a lot time at with the media at the beginning of the red carpet.  As he walked through the crowd, girls wept, screamed and screeched. I am not even sure they knew what movie was premiering, but they were certainly happy Efron had come to Austin. Efron was rushed inside so more screaming fans could see him before the movie premiered.

The red carpet was exciting, urgent and added even more life to Congress Ave.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox Impresses December 1, 2009

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Fantastic Mr. Fox could have gone two different ways.  The all-star cast, including George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray could have saturated the film with too much star power. Or the combination of Hollywood heavy-weights and detailed animation could create an impressive and fun movie to watch.  Obviously, the latter occurred.

Fantastic Mr. Fox was directed by Wes Anderson who adapted the screenplay from Roald Dahl’s novel.  Those expecting a dysfunctional family story after watching other Anderson movies like The Darjeeling Limited and The Royal Tenenbaums will be surprised.

With Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson has created an exciting story about a fox and his family trying to survive a pretty suburban life (an animal suburb complete with Badger Lawyers).  In the opening scene Mr. Fox (Clooney) promises his wife (Streep) that he will give up stealing chickens so that they can raise their future son (Schwartzman) in a safe environment.

Mr. Fox and family seem to be doing okay, they even move into a swankier new residence (a tree on top of a hill), even though Badger warns Fox that the meanest three farmers live at the foot of the hill.

Ultimately, Mr. Fox’s step up in life is also his demise.  After moving into the tree he begins to steal again, and this time at a grand level.  He hides it from Mrs. Fox for awhile, but eventually she and the awful farmers find out.  A head-hunt ensues, and the entire neighborhood that Fox lives in falls under attack.

What sets this movie apart from other animated films is the stop motion used throughout.  Stop motion gives this movie a style and movement that is both visually appealing and allows the characters to show emotion through facial movement.

Fantastic Mr. Fox, although not very similar to Where the Wild Things Are, feels like a children’s story for adults.  The trend is refreshing, and allows older siblings to enjoy the same movie their younger siblings enjoy.  The dialogue is witty, and laugh out loud funny.  But the story is tangible, the conflict simple and the ending exactly what a child (or adult) wants to see.

Restaurant Trends- Austin, Texas November 30, 2009

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Restaurant trends come and go, and often without most of Austin realizing there even was a trend going on.  However, airstream trailer restaurants have taken over much of South Austin within the last few years.  Savory meals can now be conveniently found curbside no matter what your taste buds prefer. From the Trailer Park Eatery on South First St. to the strip of restaurants on South Congress, they are thriving in the middle of a recession that would threaten the existence of any new restaurant popping up in Austin.

Let’s take a look at a few trailers around Austin that have either recently burst onto the Austin restaurant scene or are already established

1. Roppolo’s Pizzeria- this joint has been going strong for more than a few years now.  With locations on and off of Sixth Street, you are bound to stop here after last call to pick up a big ol’ tasty slice of pizza.  Toppings range from regular pepperoni to supreme to plain cheese.  Your alcohol-induced taste buds are sure to enjoy a slice whenever you are downtown or making your way home.

 

2. Torchy’s Tacos- Whether you have made it to the permanent location on South First or the trailer located in the Trailer ParkEatery, you have probably heard of Torchy’s Taco’s.  With a new special every month and plenty of taco choices, Torchy’s keeps everyone satisfied.  Just don’t expect to find a healthy option when you head to Torchy’s.  Deep fried chicken and avocado’s, jalapeño sausage, plenty of cheese and more than a few meat choices will be sure to take a few years off of your life.  But true to their slogan, Torchy’s promises “Damn Good Tacos,” and that is exactly what you get.

 

3. Mighty Cone- Located on South Congress in what is clearly a strip mall of trailer eateries. Mighty Cone offers a slightly odd take on food in a cone.  You choose between chicken and shrimp, fried almond batter or plain meals wrapped in a tortilla.  Or you can go for traditional sliders, but you are sure to receive everything (even fries) in small cones.  Try to go on a nice sunny day so you can sit on the red picnic tables and watch the pedestrian traffic on South Congress.

 

4. Flip Happy Crepes- This place could be called the mother of the satisfying trailer foods. Featured on the food network as part of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown the trailer located at 400 Jesse St., one block behind Romeo’s on Barton Springs Rd, serves up a variety of handmade crepes that will leave you craving more.From savory crepes with ingredients such as caramelized onions, chicken and goat cheese to classic sweets like Nutella and fruit, the ladies of Flip Happy, Andrea Day Boykin and Nessa Higgins, truly know how to make your taste buds Flippin’ Happy. Though the trailer is closed Monday’s and Tuesday’s check out their culinary success Wednesday through Sunday or call your order in to beat the line.

5. Lulu B’s- A slightly smaller trailer, yet with a lot to offer. Serving up Vietnamese sandwiches, spring rolls, salads, smoothies, coffee and bubble teas the trailer off of S. Lamar is a popular destination for those grabbing lunch on the go, or with time to spare to sit and enjoy a meal amongst the oak trees.  You can go light, with Shrimp and Avocado rolls complimented with a spicy peanut sauce, or really satisfy your hunger with sandwiches such as lemon grass chicken.   For under ten dollars you’ll be sure to treat yourself to yet another south Austin gem.

“Old Dogs” embarrasses Travolta and Williams November 30, 2009

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“Old Dogs”, starring Robin Williams and John Travolta can best be described as a poor attempt of a movie.  Very reminiscent of 2007’s “Wild Hogs”, the movie attempts to mix physical humor with a wholesome story.

However, once again Walt Becker, who directed both movies, fails miserably.

Williams and Travolta are business partners who have been best buds their entire life.  They are about to seal the biggest deal of their lives, and then Williams finds out he is the father of seven-year old twins.

The twins were conceived while Travolta and Williams were in South Beach recovering from Williams first divorce.  What ensues is a horrible display of physical comedy, ranging from a spray tan incident, to Seth Green (who I was horrified to see in this movie) getting kidnapped by a gorilla.

It was horrible to see two giants of Hollywood stumble through a movie that was either for kids or middle-aged people (I couldn’t tell).  Watching this movie was uncomfortable at times as well, like when we had to see Williams in his skivvies, or when Travolta attempted to make facial paralysis funny.

I wish this movie hadn’t been made, but more importantly, I wish I hadn’t seen it.

Thanksgiving college football- a league of its own November 28, 2009

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When you think of Thanksgiving, you think of turkey, dressing, pie and if you are from Texas: football.  In particular, Texans think of the Texas vs. Texas A&M game.

This game has happened each year for the past 116 years either on Thanksgiving Day or the day after.  And no matter what the ranking of either team, you wouldn’t be able to make a safe bet on the game.  The Lonestar Showdown, as it has been known since the rivalry began, isn’t about who is ranked higher or who has the better record.  The game is about who shows up to play some football.

This year’s game, played on Thanksgiving, was the closest game between the two teams that I have seen in years.  The Aggies struck first, early in the first quarter, and I think Longhorns around the country were worried for a second or two.  But the Horns got on the board with about three minutes left in the first quarter.

A lot of us couldn’t believe that the Aggies were keeping up with the Horns, every touchdown the Horns scored, the Aggies answered.

We were reminded that when it comes to college football, anything can happen.  We were reminded that when it comes to Aggies vs. Longhorns, ranking doesn’t matter.

Finally in the third quarter the Horns were able to create a two possession buffer that looked to save their BCS national championship hopes.  The Aggies came within a field goal in the fourth quarter, but their hopes were crushed by a Texas team yearning to return to the national championship after a three-year hiatus.

After watching blowouts all week, it was exciting to see a college game that woke all of us up out of our food coma’s.  We appreciate the Aggies coming out and playing a hell of a game.

Adam Lambert walks line between entertainment and embarrassment November 28, 2009

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Adam Lambert performed at the American Music Awards earlier this week, and really confused me.  A firm supporter of expressing yourself through art and entertainment, I couldn’t tell if what I was watching was entertainment or just for the sake of shock value.

Lambert was reported saying that he didn’t see a difference between his performance and the MTV Video Music Awards where Madonna kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

But that brings up another question, what sort of relevance or freshness does his performance bring to pop-culture?  Madonna performed “Like a Virgin” at the very first VMA’s in 1984, and her sexually charged performance was revolutionary.  It could be equivalent to the first time people saw Elvis Presley perform for the first time.

But Lambert is no Elvis or Madonna, not even close.  So his performance offers nothing relevant, fresh or revolutionary to our popular culture.

Another question for Lambert is what is he trying to express through his performance?  Did he have a political or ideological message in mind? As far as I am concerned, and according to news reports Lambert had no message in mind.  His actions were spontaneous and therefore I can only conclude that his performance was for the sake of shock-value and offers no value to the entertainment biz.

 

Zac Efron to visit Austin for premiere of “Me, and Orsen Welles” November 22, 2009

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On November 30th “Me, and Orsen Welles” will premiere in Austin, Texas.  Richard Linklater’s film premiere will be for the benefit of Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers Production Fund.
Starring in the film is Zac Efron, probably best known for his leading role in “High School Musical”.  Efron plays the “Me” role in a movie described as a coming of age “dramedy”.  I only hope that the comedic weight isn’t resting on Efron’s shoulders.

After watching his comedy bore-fest hosting SNL recently, I can’t imagine how he could handle himself in a feature film that promises laughs and drama.

Perhaps we should all wait and see if Efron will make up for “17 Again”, and steer his film career in a better direction.  It is clear that Efron has star power, and could be involving himself in films that would cement his big screen quality.  He did take a step in the right direction by hosting SNL.  The live show is really at a great point right now and anyone involved with it is making a pretty smart career choice.

Here’s to hoping that “Me, and Orsen Welles” is another step in the right direction for Efron.

Friday Night Lights November 22, 2009

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Friday Night Lights is a show I am pretty much unaware of, and I feel like I am probably not missing out on much.  I don’t really even know anyone who takes the time to watch the show either.  My roommate watches it from time to time, but he only watches it for the beautiful people.  

So what is the actual draw that has kept the show going for four seasons?  Is it only the beautiful people?  Or does the show have a legitimate story line that people are interested in?

I read recent news that the show had introduced a rocker female role to the show.  Perhaps introducing edgy roles is keeping the show going.

I did find it interesting that the rocker girl was a UT student.  Stephanie Hunt dropped out of school and just happened to get an audition for the show.  She had to quickly learn how to play bass adequately and actually wrote an original song for her audition.

 

Lead roles confirmed for Predator reboot November 22, 2009

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Topher Grace and Adrien Brody have been confirmed for the lead roles in Robert Rodriquez’ remake of 1987’s “Predator”.  Although Grace and Brody are no Schwarzenegger, I trust that Rodriguez knows what he is doing.  He must have something interesting in the works, because Grace and Brody are really delicate men.  After recent movies like “Planet Terror” and “Sin City”, I am excited to see what Rodriguez will do with this remake.

Look forward to Rodriguez’ “Machete” to tide you over until July 7th when “Predator” is set to be released.

 

Andy Roddick pulls out of Barclays ATP World Tour Finals November 22, 2009

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Andy Roddick announced that he would not be competing in the years Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.  He injured his knee while playing in the Shanghai Masters tournament about a month ago.  

“I am really disappointed to miss the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. I love playing in London and I’ve heard so many good things about the venue. However, I have not fully recovered from my knee injury and I won’t be able to compete. One of my goals in 2010 will be to qualify for this event again.”

Number 6 in the world, Roddick was the runner-up in last years Wimbledon tournament but has not been able to even practice since hurting his knee.

Roddick will be replaced by Swede Robin Soderling who was the first alternate in line to replace any of the 8 players competing in London.