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Rolling on the River
Kaleo Quenzer discusses the fear and fun of making his independent feature film, The Big Muddy. [2]
Susan Ellis

Fade In
The Austin Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference & Festival broadens its scope. [3]
Russell Smith

The Documentary Craft
Visiting with documentary film's not-quite-elder statesman, Hector Galán. [4]
Marc Savlov

The Art of Film Producing
A conversation with producer Lynda Obst, author of Hello, He Lied: And Other Truths From the Hollywood Trenches. [5]
Marjorie Baumgarten

Blood, Guts and Celluloid
Playwright David Mamet turns up the testosterone! [6]
Devin D. O'Leary

A Kodiak Moment
Here's a male-bonding story with a big scary bear and lots of thrills and chills. [7]
Stacey Richter

Natural Selection
The Edge could use sharpening; Soul Food nourishes. [8]
Noel Murray and Ron Wynn

From Noir to Neo-Puritanism
L.A. Confidential's use of appearance vs. reality catches the American conscience at a very specific moment. [9]
Hadley Hury

Cinematic Shorthand
Cinema review of A Thousand Acres. [10]
Mary Dickson

Movie Guru
Zak Weisfeld declares war on The Peacemaker. [11]
Zak Weisfeld

The French Attitude
Jean-Pierre Melville's 1967 noir classic is back! [12]
Devin D. O'Leary

Film Reviews
Reviews of films currently showing in Austin. [13]

Film Clips
Check out Tucson Weekly's capsule reviews packed with links to the hottest movie home pages on the Web. [14]

Wheeling and Dealing
What to rent? [15]
Rob Nelson, Noel Murray, and Jim Ridley

The Video Phile
Reviews of movies now on video. [16]

Videos a Go-Go
Every week, we peel open a movie genre for your enhanced rent 'n' view pleasure. [17]
Coury Turczyn

TV Eye
ER's big live gamble. [18]
Margaret Moser

Reel World
Albuquerque film news. [19]
Devin D. O'Leary

Now What?
What's the matter, couldn't find a review of that blockbuster film you're excited about? We certaintly don't want to leave you disappointed -- why not try some of these larger-than-life movie links? [20]

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Talk Back
If you're one of the few who didn't think Volcano blew, The Lost World bit, or The Fifth Element was one element too many, here's the forum to defend your opinion--crazy though it may be.

Volume I, Issue 18
October 6 - October 13, 1997

A re you an aspiring filmmaker, or do you just like watching 'em? Because if you're a film bum, like me, with little interest in the behinds-the-scenes struggles of real-life filmmakers, you'll want to skip down a bit. Our first few articles are about movies from the other side of the process.

Seriously, if you want to make films, you won't want to miss these articles. We've got interviews with a director, a screenwriter, a documentary maker, and a producer. First up: the director. Actually, Kaleo Quenzer is the writer, director, and lead actor in his film, a first-time independent feature he's shooting for not much over $15,000. The 25-year-old was inspired by Clerks and is shooting on location in his home-town of Memphis, which as anyone who's seen Mystery Train knows, has a distinct flavor. Here's wishing him luck, in spite of the fact that I envy his take-charge gumption, since I'm a film bum and all.

Over in Austin, the independent film capital of America as far as medium-size cities are concerned, there's plenty more striving, struggling filmmakers from which to learn. First there's the Austin Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference. If you can't attend it, then at least read about it, and its visiting screenwriters, in this article. Or read about 44-year-old documentary filmmaker Hector Galan, interviewed here. Galan may not be a household name, but his experiences (which include working on PBS's excellent Frontline series) are not to be taken lightly.

Finally, would-be auteurs will definitely want to delve into this dialogue with Lynda Obst. Obst is a Hollywood producer whose credits include, among other films, Risky Business, After Hours, and Contact. It's a wonderful interview, complete with discussions of women's changing place in the Hollywood hierarchy, and Obst's philosophy about which projects she chooses. These people are all sensible, yet regular, folks who made it (and are making it) through focus and hard work. If they can do it, why can't you?

Alright, enough pep talk. Time to recline into the comfy folds of the couch and chat about watching movies. Which is what I prefer. Ahhhh.

The biggest movie to come out last week, and the biggest surprise, was The Edge. I caught a late-night weekday showing of The Edge, in a near-empty theater, and was thoroughly entertained. The story, which strands fashion photographer Alec Baldwin and billionaire Anthony Hopkins together in the wilderness, ought to come across as clichéd, but it doesn't because screenwriter David Mamet laces hints of philosophical portent throughout the script, always giving you a sense that the movie is heading somewhere profound. Though Mamet can't quite deliver on that promise, the reliably well-placed action moments almost made up for it. At least, I sure didn't feel gypped. And Hopkins' performance (not to mention the performance of a huge Kodiak bear, and the beauty of the snowy, mountainous Canadian setting) gives the picture tons of clout.

Did I mention I liked it? I guess you got the point. This review and this review explain the movie much better than I can; this one, however, finds The Edge altogether lacking, and prefers the much warmer-hearted Soul Food.

In other reviews, check out these opinions of:

I know what you're thinking: Yeah, yeah, yeah, Film Bum, but what if we want to stay in? What about videos? Take it from me, I understand. I've got a bigger butt than anybody. That's why I've included the following video columns which include:

And heading to the lowest (and least expensive) levels of the food chain, here's a review of the season-opener of E.R., which earned record ratings because it was shot live. I managed to catch a brief portion of the episode. Though the live aspect was intriging, I must say that the purposely cheapie video footage looked like hell.

Oh, I've got one last tidbit for film bums and aspiring filmmakers alike. This brief "Reel World" column discusses the upcoming works of Rupert Everett, the protagonist of Cemetery Man and Julia Roberts' gay pal in My Best Friend's Wedding. Did you know he writes books? And screenplays?And probably directs? Read all about his multi-talents here, but try not to be too discouraged by his success. You'll just end up another Film Bum like me.

From The Vaults

The Film Vault Curious about a particular director's work? Not sure what to rent at the video store? Enjoy reading several contrasting opinions of the same film? This is the place for you. Hundreds of reviews lie at your fingertips, sortable by genre, date or director.

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