Versatile Texas actor Bill Paxton’s career was all over the place in the best way

Bill Paxton, looking concerned, as Fred Haise in "Apollo 13"
Bill Paxton, looking concerned, as Fred Haise in “Apollo 13”

Fort Worth-born actor Bill Paxton, he of “Aliens,” “Big Love” and “Apollo 13” fame (among many, many other roles) has died from complications during surgery. He was 61.

Paxton was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007 and given a Texas Medal of Arts award in 2011.

Several folks on Twitter noted that he was one of the only people ever killed by an Alien, a Terminator and a Predator, a distinction he disputed in a 2011 interview with the American-Statesman. (“That’s not technically correct,” the actor (said). “I was only maimed by the Terminator. I only had what I call a traumatic encounter with the Terminator.”)

Paxton started appearing in films in 1975 but came to public prominence in 1986 as the cowardly Private Hudson in James Cameron’s “Aliens.”

Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson in "Aliens," extremely scared of getting stabbed by Bishop.
Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson in “Aliens,” extremely scared of getting stabbed by Bishop.

In a brilliantly paced film full of ground-breaking action and serious terror, Paxton was impossible to forget. His hysteria was visceral, and it helped that he was blessed with the most quotable lines: “Game over, man! Game over!” and “Seventeen *days*? Hey man, I don’t wanna rain on your parade, but we’re not gonna last seventeen hours!” He was incredibly annoying and completely fantastic.

Paxton’s career was all over the place in the best possible way.

He showed up in the cult favorite “Near Dark,” the video for New Order’s “Touched By the Hand of God” and was critically acclaimed in the still-underrated “A Simple Plan.”

He was astronaut Fred Haise in “Apollo 13,” starred as the complicated polygamist patriarch in HBO’s weird and excellent series “Big Love” and directed a very strong Matthew McConaughey in the 2001 thriller “Frailty.”

He played a soulless killer on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” a nasty fellow cameraman opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler” and was currently filming the show “Training Day” for CBS when he died.

The guy was everywhere for 40 years. Hollywood will miss him a lot.

Alamo Mueller will open March 9; tickets on sale now

Alamo Drafthouse Mueller will open for business March 9.

The increasingly-insanely-popular-on-a-national-scale, Austin-grown cinema chain’s sixth location in the city will feature the usual mix of first-run films and curated specialty programming, nice seats with individual tables and all kinds of food.

Alamo Drafthouse Mueller is also home to Barrel O’ Fun, a bar and event space. Yay, booze!

mueller_drafthouse_800_600_81_sThe Alamo is located in the heart of the Mueller neighborhood next door to the Thinkery.

How great would it be if the Thinkery started a program in conjunction with the Drafthouse that let parents drop off their kids off at the Thinkery in a supervised environment — essentially babysitting at the Thinkery — while the parents go to a movie?

 Staff training days begin March 3, where those eager to get a first taste of Alamo Drafthouse Mueller can enjoy discounted food and non-alcoholic drinks while staff trains in the new space.

Tickets are on sale now, with the first shows on March 3 and 4 offered exclusively to the Alamo’s highest-level Victory members.


 Alamo Drafthouse Mueller features six auditoriums that range from 45 to 140 seats, with combined seating for 609 moviegoers. Free, four-hour validated parking is available in the McBee garage located adjacent to the theater.

The theater will offer its own unique twist on the Alamo Drafthouse’s food and drink menu, with new items like chilaquiles and a grilled jerk chicken sandwich along with longtime Alamo Drafthouse menu favorites such as the brussels sprouts, smoked bacon and goat cheese pizza.

Inside Alamo Drafthouse Mueller is another destination all its own: Barrel O’ Fun.

By day it’s a family-friendly hall with a vintage boardwalk feel, complete with functioning carnival games. When the sun goes down, however, the “R-E-L” on the sign goes out and the space transforms into the “Bar O’ Fun.” The carnival games fold into the ceiling to reveal a curated selection of fine spirits and craft beers, with an emphasis on barrel-aged offerings (naturally) and craft cocktails.

Barrel O’ Fun bar Manager Ryan Hollowell comes to Alamo Drafthouse with deep cocktail and draft beer experience, most recently as the opening bar manager for Lonesome Dove in Austin.  In addition to the rotating local tap wall for the theater and the bar, Ryan will oversee the barrel-aged cocktail program and themed specialty drinks for the cinema. The Barrel O’ Fun will also feature an array of old-fashioned soda fountain classics, like the Pineapple Fizz Up, real egg creams and the Cherry-Lime Rickey.

During happy hour and most weekday evenings, Barrel O’ Fun will feature a schedule of entertainment that will include DJ sets, live bands, Geeks Who Drink quizzes and more. Most live music shows in the space will be all-ages. Families and kids will also enjoy a selection of special events with hands-on creative activities during early evening and weekends.

Barrel O’ Fun will offer its own carnival-inspired menu designed to delight both kids and adults. Younger palette-friendly eats like mac and cheese and hand-battered Corn Pups can be found alongside more grown-up dishes, like the cedar-planked pork belly.

New Ryan Gosling movie trailer full of Austin spots; help us ID them all

One of the most thrilling manifestations of Austin’s regional narcissism: trying to identify local haunts in every movie filmed here.

Whether it’s Bass Concert Hall in “Miss Congeniality,” the Georgetown High School stadium in “Varsity Blues” or a liquor store on Brodie Lane in “Boyhood,” we love to see our geography looming large on the big screen. That’s one reason we were so stoked for the “Song To Song” trailer, released last week.

From left, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling star in Terrence Malick's "Song to Song." Contributed by Van Redin / Broad Green Pictures
From left, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling star in Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song.” Contributed by Van Redin / Broad Green Pictures

The first substantial peek at Terrence Malick’s new movie — starring Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman and set to debut at South by Southwest this year — is chock full of familiar sights. Luckily, Statesman multimedia producer Alyssa Vidales is the human equivalent of the “COMPUTER, ENHANCE” scene from every episode of “CSI,” and she’s identified lots of Austin landmarks in the clip. Now, we’re not 100 percent on some of these, and there are few we still need help identifying. See if you can help.

First, we’ve got what is obviously Sixth Street heading west toward Congress Avenue, a drive we’ve all made many times but never with Gosling at the wheel.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

There’s plenty of Austin City Limits Music Festival to be seen, including a shot of Mara outside some fences near what appears to be Lou Neff Road (though we had guessed Barton Springs Road earlier) …

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

… and a lingering scene of the actress and Fassbender canoodling in the middle of Zilker Park. Scope that pop-up festival bar.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

Speaking of canoodling, if Fassbender is not your choice of fantasy ATX makeout partner, we peeped a Gosling smooch at now-shuttered ElevenEleven on South Congress Avenue.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

We’re thinking this is somewhere on U.S. 290. Can you identify the exact location from the sign that says “____ Star”? (UPDATE: A commenter suggested that this is The Rustic Star furniture store in Fredericksburg, and the Google Maps investigation checks out.)

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

There’s only one place that this string of pride flags could be: West Fourth Street. Looks like just outside Hangar Lounge and just east down the block from Oilcan Harry’s.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

For comparison:

(Alyssa Vidales/American-Statesman)
(Alyssa Vidales/American-Statesman)

Now this one is a big ol’ stab in the artfully illuminated dark, but could this glowing spot be the Architects of Air exhibit that was in Austin in 2015? Or maybe it’s the James Turrell installation at the University of Texas. The artist and Malick are known associates, even if the colors and lines are wrong. But the filming time frame wouldn’t necessarily match up. We know Malick shot some of “Song To Song” in Austin between 2011-12.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

Oh, and that time frame is when we know the cast was filming at Fun Fun Fun Fest, clearly seen here in the trailer.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

Back to the subject of lights, could this festive scene perhaps take place at the Trail of Lights?  UPDATE: Austin360 producer Katey Psencik points out that this holiday tableau is most likely Mozart’s Coffee Roasters famous light display!

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

No confusion about this tasteful architectural shape. It’s the Long Center, baby.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

This is almost certainly not in Austin, unless there’s a hidden European micro-village hidden somewhere. (UPDATE: A commenter points out that this is Izamal, Yucatán, in Mexico, which is pretty dang far from Europe.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

On a more certain note, Austin360 restaurant critic Matthew Odam is pretty sure this dining scene takes place at Asti Trattoria:

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

Compare the wall decoration and the seating with this photo:

Asti, a restaurant in Hyde Park. (American-Statesman file)
Asti, a restaurant in Hyde Park. (American-Statesman file)

However, being the non-millionaires we are, the identity of this high-rise window still eludes us, but it sure looks Austin-y. (UPDATE: One commenter suggests this might be a view from the Four Seasons Residences, which a little sleuthing of condo listings reveals as a distinct possibility. Check the view.)

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

So, Austin cinephiles and archaeologists alike: Can you help us confirm the identities of any of these local sights or any others in the trailer? Watch the full trailer, leave a comment on this post and we’ll update our findings.

Rick Blaine, Clyde Barrow, a serial killer and “the king of the world” to open Paramount Summer Classic film series

This dude is coming to the Paramount. (The film, not Leo himself.)

The Paramount and Stateside Theatres announced the opening weekend (May 25–28) lineup for the 2017 Summer Classic Film Series.

The traditional opener is always “Casablanca.” This year it is joined by “Titanic” (directed by James Cameron), which turns 20 this year, and a double feature of “Bonnie and Clyde” (directed by Arthur Penn), which turns 50 this year, and Terrence Malick’s still-stellar directorial debut “Badlands.”

 To wit:

“Casablanca”/  7 p.m. May 25

“Titanic” / 7:30 p.m. May 26

“Bonnie & Clyde” / 2 p.m. May 28

“Badlands” / 4:10 p.m. May 28

To purchase a movie ticket or view the full lineup (which is not out yet), go here.

Austin’s own David Gordon Green joins Danny McBride to reboot ‘Halloween’


Austin indie icon David Gordon Green (“Joe,” “Manglehorn,” many more) and his frequent collaborator Danny McBride (“Eastbound and Down”) will be making the next “Halloween” movie for Miramax. Yes, that “Halloween.”

Yes, this guy.
Yes, this guy.

Let’s quote from O.G. “Halloween” director John Carpenter’s own Facebook page, where announced the following:

“So you say you want a Revolution?

You want to shake things up and bring back Halloween and make it rock again?”

Well so do I.

So here’s the announcement you’ve all been waiting for:

David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are joining the project to complete the creative team. David and Danny will write the script together and David will direct. I will continue in my executive producer role to consult and offer my advice and feedback as needed.

David and Danny both came to my office recently with Jason Blum and shared their vision for the new movie and…WOW. They get it. I think you’re gonna dig it. They blew me away.

I might even do the music. Maybe. It could be kind of cool.

And you’ll get to see it in theaters on October 19th, 2018.”

Jaws are slated to meet back up with upper palettes sometimes next week.

Now, if you had told me those two were going to take a swing at John Carpenter’s “Dark Star,” I would have said, “Man, that could be amazing.”

David Gordon Green, left, and Danny McBride pose for photos on the red carpet at the 2014 Texas Film Awards JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
David Gordon Green, left, and Danny McBride pose for photos on the red carpet at the 2014 Texas Film Awards JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

This, on the other hand…this is fascinating. Frankly, I think Green is perfectly capable of directing (and Green and McBride writing) an intense, emotionally exhausting horror film in the spirit of the original. No word yet on cast.

Carpenter’s original “Halloween” arrived in 1978 and, for many, embodies the “slasher” genre. It remains one of the most influential motion pictures ever made.

What do you think?


Mueller’s new Alamo Drafthouse location will have family focus

They’re not quite ready to announce an opening date – soon, though! – but the Alamo Drafthouse location planned for the Mueller development does have some news to pass along to anxious moviegovers.

The Austin-based chain says it aims to make the Mueller cineplex its most family friendly location to date. Helping lead the charge will be newly hired programming and promotions manager Katy Daiger Dial.

Dial comes from the Austin Film Society, where she was director of operations and, before that, community education manager. A University of Texas graduate, she’s also worked for the Texas Film Commission.

“Katy is the perfect addition to the Mueller team and this role specifically,” Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League said. “Her family and youth program experience and passion for film are exactly what we were looking for. I couldn’t be more pleased to have Katy join the Alamo Drafthouse team and help launch our new family and community flagship location in Austin.”

Katy Daiger Dial (Annie Ray photo)
Katy Daiger Dial (Annie Ray photo)

With numerous families living nearby, not to mention the Thinkery, Alamo Drafthouse has set out to make the Mueller theater “a hub for family, kids and youth programming” – and Dial says she’s up to the challenge.

“I have the most wonderful memories from Alamo Drafthouse events, and I’m excited that I’ll now be able to create those memories for the audience at the Mueller location,” she said. “Knowing that Alamo Drafthouse wants to have a focus on youth and families at the new Mueller location particularly drew me to the job. I love the idea of building programming that will create the next generation of film lovers and bring the tried and true Alamo Drafthouse spirit to Mueller and Austin’s east side.”

Look for more details soon on the sixth Alamo location in the Austin area – including that opening date.