Wow. Okay, I’m awake, which isn’t news since I’ve spent like 40 of the last 48 hours awake. Butt Numb-A-Thon was a lot of fun, but now it’s back to reality. Part of the fun was seeing some folks I hadn’t seen in a while. For example, Cabin Fever director Eli Roth came in from L.A. and I haven’t had a chance to hang with him in almost two years. My great seat assignment had me next to Austin film critic John DeFore, and it was nice to catch up with him and even bond. When you have 24 hours sitting next to someone, you really have no other choice…
All in all, I think the audience member who ventured the furthest distance was a woman from the Phillippines. But there were folks from around Europe and the States, too. Here’s a breakdown of what happened through the 24 hours of BNAT 6, starting the morning of 12/11:
I arrive at the Alamo Drafthouse and people are slowly getting their chance to enter from the street. The very first security check of the event keeps it slow going, but we all make it in without incident.
Harry Knowles welcomes everyone, and introduces the event’s first film, Willie McBean & His Magic Machine (1965), the first theatrical film from stop-motion animators Rankin-Bass.
Harry’s L.A. partner-in-crime Moriarty takes the mic to introduce the first special guests of the day. It’s Emily Browning and Liam Aiken, otherwise known as the Baudelaire orhpans of the new film Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. After a few questions and some discussion, we watch the film. Jim Carrey is great in this, as is Meryl Streep. It begins to make sense why they welcomed our guests before the film: we would have expected Carrey or Streep if we knew we had guests afterwards.
Harry introduces some special scenes from Dreamworks Animation’s upcoming feature, Madagascar, opening in May. The animation is still rough, but the scenes are pretty amusing. Much better than Shark Tale, for sure. Immediately afterward, we watch the Tyrone Power pirate film Black Swan (1942) thanks to a 16mm print that is absolutely gorgeous.
Something a little unusual. Robbie Stamp flies in from the U.K. to present a slide show to all of us. The reason? Robbie is one of the producers of the upcoming feature adaptation of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, due next year from Disney. We see concept art and some creature costumes courtesy of Henson’s workshop. Cool.
We segue into Blonde Venus (1932), starring Marlene Dietrich. I had never seen the classic film, but I enjoyed it very much.
We next watch a 3-D print of Miss Sadie Thompson (1953), starring Rita Hayworth. Hayworth beauty in gorgeous three dimensions… very nice indeed.
The audience is asked to exit the theater and re-enter for an additional security check. Bags are checked, bodies frisked… we wonder what the next title will be for such an event. What we see first is a special, personalized greeting from Steven Spielberg (“Hey Harry, and everyone in Austin…”) and Tom Cruise (who appears less aware of who he’s sending this greeting to) from the set of War of the Worlds, which is then followed by a teaser trailer of the film.
The security check and commotion is for our next feature, The Phantom of the Opera from Joel Schumacher. This new big-screen version of the Webber musical is fine and all, but at midnight on a Saturday night, I’m more in the mood for DePalma’s The Phantom of the Paradise.
I get a few minutes (35 or so) sleep during our next film, a Freaks homage/rip-off called The Mutations (1973). The film’s producer, Robert Weinbach, is in attendance to share anecdotes from the set. It was easy to fall asleep, primarily due to the droning, experimental original score (part of it, we learn, is actually the sound of autisitic kids played backwards… no joke).
Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League presents his pick of the night, a horribly entertaining exploitation pic called Toys Are Not For Children, from 1972. It was really painfully fascinating.
Moriarty presents the next film, Matthew Vaughn’s Layer Cake, which will screen at Sundance and be released by Sony Pictures Classics in late Spring. The audience loved this crime caper from Guy Ritchie’s producer.
It’s time for a breakfast buffet. Not a moment too soon, either.
We get a sneak peek from two new films: Eli Roth’s project 2001 Maniacs and Dreamworks’ upcoming sci-fi epic Casshern.
The audience is fully awoken and roused to their feet for the next film, Ong Bak. This martial arts film, already a sensation on the festival circuit, completely killed the crowd. Magnolia releases it in February.
After some exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage from the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, we settle in for the final feature: Kung-Fu Hustle. This new film from Stephen Chow was a great capper, full of huge laughs, big stunts, and wonderful special effects. It was definitely hard to fall asleep and easy to be entertained. The film will also be at Sundance, and will also be released by Sony Pictures Classics in the Spring.
Staggering to my car, driving home, falling asleep…