The Daily Texan

All content by Alex Williams

“Goodnight Mommy” defies expectations at Fantastic Fest

October 1, 2014

The Secret Screening at Fantastic Fest is always one of the most hotly anticipated events of the festival. Past years have brought guests such as Sandra Bullock and the Wachowski siblings to the Alamo...

Tusk” starts Fantastic Fest off with a bang

September 21, 2014

The opening night of Fantastic Fest is always a memorable event, and this year proved to be no exception. Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema CEO, kicked off the evening with pyrotechnics and an extended...

“V/H/S Viral” is sickeningly disappointing

September 21, 2014

With its first two entries, “V/H/S” established itself as one of the most promising horror franchises around, featuring a variety of talented directors and an intriguing, carefully revealed...

Lucy

‘Lucy’ is a ridiculous but entertaining summer release

August 4, 2014

To call “Lucy” science fiction is a bit of a stretch, since the film’s basic premise — a woman is given a special drug that allows her to access 100 percent of her brain, rather...

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy

“Guardians of the Galaxy” brings much-needed fun to a weak movie summer

August 4, 2014

It hasn’t been a great summer for big movies, with plenty of mediocre-to-terrible fare clogging the multiplex. Though “Planet of the Apes” and “Edge of Tomorrow” provided...

2014-07-21_Wish_you_were_here_Focus

Zach Braff on Kickstarter, writing what you know, and advice for aspiring filmmakers

July 21, 2014

With his 2004 feature debut, “Garden State,” Zach Braff established himself as an intriguing voice in indie cinema — sensitive, quirky and with a great ear for music. Ten years later,...

apes

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is the summer’s best – and most tragic – blockbuster

July 14, 2014

As with any prequel, audiences head into “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” already knowing how it ends. Obviously, the super-intelligent apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) prevail, so the film...

BeginAgain

Despite its charm, ‘Begin Again’ is ultimately forgettable

July 7, 2014

Writer/director John Carney’s latest film, “Once,” felt like a miracle — an intimate little film thats shaggy story and grainy visuals were held together by the sheer power of its...

The essential Fourth of July movie list

June 30, 2014

As the Fourth of July approaches this weekend, it’s important to remember a few things: We live in Texas, and it is really, really hot outside. It’s also illegal to shoot off fireworks in Austin,...

Snowpiercer-2013-2

More than a survival story, ‘Snowpiercer’ is one of the year’s best movies so far

June 29, 2014

All good science fiction really needs is a great hook, and “Snowpiercer’s” setting is just that: in a post-apocalyptic icescape, a train holding the last scraps of humanity circles the...

hellion

“Hellion” is a well-acted, painful exploration of grief

June 26, 2014

With buzz for the film steadily building out of its Sundance and SXSW screenings, “Hellion” is one of the most heavily hyped indie releases of the summer. Not only is it Aaron Paul’s...

AP_Obit Eli Wallach_admi

Acting legend and UT alum Eli Wallach has passed away

June 26, 2014

Celebrated film actor and Longhorn Eli Wallach died Tuesday night at the age of 98. Wallach graduated from the University of Texas in 1936 with a degree in history, but he was acting even then: He reportedly...

ONLINE_JerseyBoys

Behind the Muzak: “Jersey Boys” is a disappointing, muted musical

June 23, 2014

There’s no question that Clint Eastwood is one of the great American filmmakers, if only for the unsparing self-reflection of “Unforgiven,” which single-handedly psychoanalyzed an entire...

Weekly Austin screenings: June 23-29

June 22, 2014

The summer movie season is fun, but everyone gets tired of explosions and superstars sooner or later. When that happens, there are plenty of great retro screenings in Austin. Many are part of ongoing local...

Alex_Williams_Charlie_Pearce

Film critic remembers four excellent years

May 2, 2014

I remember the exact moment I realized how great it was to work for The Daily Texan. I had been in college for roughly a month and had been assigned to cover Fantastic Fest. For its closing night party,...

SpidermanReview

“Amazing Spider-Man 2” is 142 minutes of painfully cynical franchise-building

May 2, 2014

Two years after “The Avengers” made over $600 million dollars, audiences are starting to feel the repercussions. As every studio in Hollywood scrambles to replicate Marvel’s success,...

Transcendence

“Transcendence” is grounded by lackluster story and wasted cast

April 18, 2014

At first glance, “Transcendence” seems like an obvious choice for Wally Pfister, making his directorial debut after a long stint as Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. Much like Nolan’s...

‘Nymphomaniac: Volume II’ fails to live up to first volume

April 6, 2014

Sequels always have a high bar to clear: living up to the promise of their predecessors as they make the continued story of their characters feel natural. While “Nymphomaniac” was designed...

‘Sabotage’ is a gritty return to form for Schwarzenegger

March 28, 2014

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to acting hasn’t been particularly successful, and last year both of his attempts to recapture his former glory — “The Last Stand” and “Escape...

2014-03-10-The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel_SXSW_Sarah

The best films at this year’s SXSW

March 17, 2014

South By Southwest Film is the connective tissue of SXSW. While the Interactive portion takes up the first half of the nine-day festival, and Music renders Sixth Street a bastion of pot smoke and Doritos...

FilmPreview-TheRaid2

Movie Review: ‘The Raid 2’ is one of the best action movies ever made

March 14, 2014

“The Raid” was both a stone-cold classic and an ode to narrative simplicity, executing its tried-and-true concept with bone-crunching efficiency. The sequel isn’t content to rehash the...

FilmPreview-OnlyLoversLeftAlive

SXSW film preview: off the beaten path

March 9, 2014

While the headliners are the most anticipated films at SXSW, many of the festival's best surprises are under the radar. Some have already played the Sundance Film Festival, and others are having their...

2014-03-04_SXSW_Kat_Candler_Jarrid

UT professor’s film, ‘Hellion,’ will play at SXSW

March 7, 2014

The raging guitar of a heavy metal song blasts as fire crackles in a burning pickup truck. A gaggle of teens smash the windows, gleefully basking in the warming glow of their destruction. As the truck’s...

AP_MonumentsMen

Clooney’s newest directorial attempt falls short, continues mediocre streak

February 7, 2014

There’s a long list of actors who have tried their hands at directing, but only a few truly achieve success. For every Ron Howard or Ben Affleck, there are 10 Danny DeVitos — the actor-turned-director...

AP_Devil'sDue

Movie Review: Subtle scares don’t entirely redeem familiar “Devil’s Due”

January 23, 2014

In any film genre, familiarity is something of a given. In action flicks, the bad guy dies in explosive fashion. Romantic comedies always end with a passionate confession, usually in public and always...

Film Review Jack Ryan_admi

‘Jack Ryan’ sets a low bar for 2014 action films

January 17, 2014

Action films are a lot like pizza: cheesy, nutrition-free, covered in red sauce and delicious nonetheless. The greats, such as “Die Hard” and “Terminator 2,” are gourmet pies, made...

Her

The Daily Texan’s top 15 movie picks of 2013

January 14, 2014

2013 was a year brimming with fantastic films that both entertained and resonated with audiences — so much so that the films of this year couldn’t be limited to a traditional top 10 list; a...

The best moments in culture from 2013

December 5, 2013

From Beyonce’s Super Bowl extravaganza in January to last week’s debut of the “Bound 2” video, The Daily Texan Life & Arts staff fondly recounts some of the best pop culture...

Film Review The Hunge_admi (1)

“Catching Fire” is a faithful adaptation, but incomplete film

November 22, 2013

As soon as “The Hunger Games” books attained massive popularity, it was inevitable that they would be adapted into an equally popular film series, and the first film certainly made a big impression...

1120_Illofinal_ConnorMurphy

“Eastbound & Down” was more than Danny McBride’s best role yet

November 20, 2013

When “Eastbound & Down” aired its first episode in 2009, it seemed to be nothing more than a welcome vehicle for Danny McBride’s corrosive brand of humor. “Eastbound & Down”...

Chuck

Recent additions to Netflix offer procrastination options

November 15, 2013

There’s no better procrastination tool than Netflix. But with only 24 hours in a day, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the multitude of titles available to stream on the service. There are plenty...

AP_Thor

“Thor: The Dark World” has weak story between effective moments

November 8, 2013

Marvel films are driven by big moments. They are the scenes that sell in the trailers, like every Avenger preparing to save New York from an alien invasion, or a thousand Iron Man suits showing up to defend...

12YearsaSlave

“12 Years A Slave” devastates with unflinching portrayal of American history

November 1, 2013

“12 Years a Slave” is not the sweeping historical epic the trailers are selling, and it certainly isn’t the world-changing, Oscar-destined cinematic revolution the early reviewers declared...

“Slither”: A gleefully gross horror comedy

October 31, 2013

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether...

the-counselor-poster

Cormac McCarthy’s script bogs down “The Counselor”

October 25, 2013

Two of the most faithful book-to-film adaptations in recent memory are “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men,” both based on works by Cormac McCarthy, whose writing style is so...

Cormac McCarthy’s script bogs down “The Counselor”

October 25, 2013

Two of the most faithful book-to-film adaptations in recent memory are “The Road” and “No Country for Old Men,” both based on works by Cormac McCarthy, whose writing style is so...

“The Conjuring” effortlessly summons scares with great characters

October 22, 2013

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether...

FifthEstate

“The Fifth Estate” isn’t terrible, but it is misguided

October 18, 2013

In fall 2010, as many of the events that comprise “The Fifth Estate” were occurring, Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher were receiving high praise for “The Social Network,” their adaptation...

“Paranormal Activity” makes you imagine what’s lurking in the shadows

October 15, 2013

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to provide a daily horror recommendation. Whether you...

WeAreWhatWeAre__JP_HiRes_MG_0599

Interview with “We Are What We Are” director Jim Mickle

October 14, 2013

Few remakes can actually boast that they improve on their predecessors, especially remakes that come out just a few years after the film they’re based on. “We Are What We Are,” inspired...

MacheteKills

“Machete Kills” is an inconsistent but entertaining member of Rodriguez’s “Machete” franchise

October 11, 2013

“Machete Kills” may be the only film in history to open with a trailer for its sequel, the potentially upcoming “Machete Kills Again … In Space.” What seems like a one-off...

UT alumnus Robert Rodriguez produces sequel to ‘Machete’

October 10, 2013

From his very first film, UT alumnus Robert Rodriguez has had an eye for franchises. “El Mariachi,” his 1992 debut, spawned two sequels, and 2001’s “Spy Kids” allowed the...

Gravity

Stunning visuals and advanced technology make “Gravity” a must-see

October 4, 2013

Seven years after Alfonso Cuaron released “Children of Men” — arguably the best film of the last decade — comes his long-awaited follow-up, “Gravity.” The film doesn’t...

Kicking off The Daily Texan’s month of horror films with “Poltergeist”

October 2, 2013

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether...

Film Joseph Gordon-Le_admi (1)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks about his directorial debut “Don Jon”

September 29, 2013

“Don Jon” is a surprisingly frank directorial debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who wrote, directed, and stars in the sex comedy, released this weekend. Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a “Jersey...

FFRecap

Fantastic Fest brings strange films and Keanu Reeves to Austin

September 23, 2013

A normal weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse might include a movie quote-along, but Fantastic Fest brought horror, sci-fi and fantasy films from all over the world to North Austin. The Daily Texan saw 17 films...

0919_HannahHadidi_FantasticFest

Fantastic Fest promises violent films and celebrity sightings

September 19, 2013

Every September, Fantastic Fest brings some of the most offbeat, violent and generally oddball films of the year to the screens of the Alamo Drafthouse. The genre-centric film festival is displaced this...

BrieLarsonInterview

Brie Larson talks about filming “Short Term 12”

September 16, 2013

At this year’s South By Southwest film festival, “Short Term 12” premiered to massive acclaim, going on to win the festival’s Audience and Grand Jury awards. The film is a quietly...