Paddington

One of the most sought after items Mondo creates are limited edition screen printed movie posters. If you’ve ever tried to purchase one on their website only to miss the opportunity seconds after they drop, you know what I mean. Mondo hires an array of extremely talented artists across the globe to illustrate alternate movie posters that lead fans to camp out for, fly cross country for, and save up paychecks months in advance hoping to secure a print they’ve had their eye on.

One of the greatest aspects of the annual MondoCon (and there are many) is the live draw panel which allows fans to witness three artists collaborate on a poster in real time right before your eyes.

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Everyone has a favorite Val Kilmer movie. Since the early ‘80s, Kilmer has been a beloved actor in Hollywood with films like Real Genius, Willow, Batman Forever and Heat. Starring in several films that are staples in many people’s childhood and young adult life, Kilmer was the perfect choice to spotlight for a Rolling Roadshow weekend – especially with the recent announcement of Top Gun 2: Maverick, the sequel to his 1986 action film where he portrayed his infamous (yet lovable) role as IceMan alongside Tom Cruise. This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing not one, but two outdoor screenings courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse – Tombstone and Top Gun, with the wingman himself in attendance. 

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“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” –Cheryl Strayed

“That it will never come again makes life so sweet.” Emily Dickinson

There are a lot of uncertainties in life, but the only constant and known fact is that we all die. Despite this collective, inevitable experience that will eventually happen to everyone on the  planet, we tend to avoid this fact altogether. Its a painful topic, death. A fickle, unfair shadow that situates itself deep in the recesses of our minds; and when brought to the forefront, it usually initiates debilitating emotions and forces actions that the majority of us are not prepared to deal with. Our affairs are not in order; our options for burials are limited and at the mercy of a funeral director; and we are forced to make finite decisions while experiencing agonizing grief. Despite our cultures adoration for Halloween and horror films, death is still a subject that many prefer to view as an abstract concept. Its cathartic and safe to embrace the grim reaper within a holiday or cinematic context, but when it comes to our own mortality we recoil at the thought.

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flowers in midsommar

“Poppies bleed petals of sheer excess. You and I, this sweet battle ground.” – Janet Fitch, White Oleander 

Whether they’re in full bloom or slowly wilting, petals delicately falling to the floor like abandoned dreams, flowers can represent an array of emotions. It is customary to give flowers to loved ones during times of celebration and remorse. Their striking beauty and distinctive aromas provide a quick comfort, while some possess noxious traits that can elicit hallucinogenic, painful, or even fatal outcomes.

Ari Aster’s sophomore feature, Midsommar, utilizes flora to enhance the film’s visual and thematic use of juxtaposition. Light and dark. Foreign and familiar. Freedom and codependency. Safe and dangerous. The presence and use of flowers are reflective of both life and death while a young woman navigates through her grief in the sun-kissed fields of Sweden. Spoilers for Midsommar ahead. Read More »

Rolling Roadshow Top Gun

A couple of weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of attending a Rolling Roadshow screening of Red Headed Stranger at Willie Nelsons ranch in Luck, Texas. If youve never experienced a Rolling Roadshow event, youre missing out. Its a one-of-a-kind outdoor cinematic experience thats a hell of a lot of fun.

This time, Alamo Drafthouses Rolling Roadshow is teaming up with Austin Food and Wine Alliance for two outdoor events featuring screenings of Tombstone and Top Gun, and star Val Kilmer himself will also be in attendance each night. Read More »

Brooke Hamilton

Driving up a winding dirt road, horses grazing as the summer sun sets, an abundance of friendly smiles are there to greet you upon entering Luck, Texas. Nestled in the hill country just outside of Austin, Texas on Willie Nelsons property, Luck is home to seventy-five rescue horses and the set from Red Headed Stranger, a film near and dear to all who worked on it. However, Willie is no stranger to Texans. His friendly demeanor, long braided pigtails, classic country music, and advocacy for marijuana are all staples that make Willie a beloved figure in the Lone Star State.

True to his southern hospitality, he invited a large group individuals to his property for a Luck Cinema and Rolling Roadshow event complete with a delicious dinner courtesy of Austin-based restaurant Dai Due and a screening of Red Headed Stranger, followed up by a Q&A with the man, the myth, and the legend himself.

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midsommar trailer new

Ari Aster’s directorial film debut, Hereditary, invited audiences into the home of the Graham family as its members spiraled deep into the dark corners of grief, loss, and depravity. His sophomore film, Midsommar, lures similar themes out of the shadows into the bright, sunny landscape of Sweden where a lovelorn couple attend a symbolically sinister festival. In order to capture the proper tone of juxtaposition and deeper themes within the film, folklore, and cultural traditions, Aster paired up with Swedish production designer Henrik Svensson.

A prolific musician and artist, Svensson’s extensive research and meticulous design methods enhance the characters’ pain, beliefs, and motives. An impressive first feature film as production designer, I spoke with Svensson to unveil his inspirations and design choices that made the village of Hårga a place you should think twice before visiting.

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Theres a reason why the term movie magicexists. Movies depict worlds outside out of our mundane reality by stretching deep into the far corners of our minds and extracting experiences we would otherwise never know. Monsters are brought to life in order to haunt our dreams and, if effective, linger decades later with spin-off films evolving into a beloved franchise. A large part of movie magic is conducted by those behind the camera: production designers, composers, costume designers, and of course, special effects artists.

This certainly applies to the new Child’s Play, which offers a modern take on the iconic horror series while also being decidedly old school with its practical killer doll.

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Child's Play remake

Bear McCreary has grown to be one of the most prolific composers in the business. His work on The Walking Dead, Playstation 4’s God of War, and Outlander all cemented his talents for the silver screen, television, and vast world of gaming. This year alone, he scored Happy Death Day 2U, The Professor and the Madman, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, most recently, the remake of Child’s Play. McCreary possesses the innate ability to fluctuate between genres and create potent melodies that allow audiences to fully immerse themselves into worlds of intergalactic warfare, monsters, and period dramas.

I spoke with him this week about Child’s Play and his tactile, whimsical approach to scoring one of the most uniquely creative horror scores ever composed.

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Red Headed Stranger Screening

The Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Roadshow and Luck Productions are teaming up for a screening of Willie Nelson’s 1986 western drama Red Headed Stranger. The screening will take place on Saturday, July 6 on the original film set in Luck, Texas aka “Willieville”. The Austin Genre Film Archive remastered the movie digitally for the first time after the original print was lost two decades ago. Following the starlit screening will be an in-person Q&A with the movie’s stars, Willie Nelson himself, and special guests from the film.

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