Don’t Worry: It’s Only 1995 – Let’s Go to the Movies!

Nostalgia is always a safe way out in times of turmoil – or if you’re trying to come up with a subject to write a blog post about. To that end, we were poking around some of the archived issues of the Austin Chronicle and looking around to see what movies were playing around Austin in June 1995, and, in fact, it looks pretty good from here, especially since we’ve been starved for the theatrical experience during the quarantine.

So, let’s step into the Time Machine for a few moments, back before anyone heard of the Corona Virus, before the Y2K crisis devastated the World Economy. Let’s go to the movies. Here’s what’s playing on Austin screens this month – June 1995.

 

Wong Kar-Wai’s epic ASHES OF TIME, reviewed here by Joey O’Bryan (who would go on to become a Hong Kong screenwriter – he wrote FULLTIME KILLER!). As O’Bryan says, it “is so structurally complex in its unfolding of plot and characters, not to mention so ruthlessly revolutionary in its destruction of typical narrative techniques, that films like Pulp Fiction look like simple A-Z storytelling by comparison.”

 

The still not properly appreciated Joel Schumacher has a new one has a new one, BATMAN FOREVER, reviewed here by Marc Savlov. Warning: Schumacher seems to be laboring under the deeply misguided idea that a superhero movie should be colorful and fun and not a Wagnerian exercise in pain and self-abasement.

 

CONGO, reviewed here by Steve Davis, gets the “BOMB” rating, and that doesn’t mean “the Bomb” like, say, today’s top hitmaker Montell Jordan, it means bad. Reportedly the Taco Bell CONGO cups are excellent however.

 

A GREAT DAY IN HARLEM, reviewed here by Marjorie Baumgarten, is the documentary story of a single photograph – a stoop-side portrait of a veritable galaxy of jazz stars, as they gathered together in 1958 – 37 years ago – for an Esquire photo shoot. It’s an excellent documentary, and highly recommended.

 

JLG BY JLG, reviewed here by Baumgarten, is the latest from Jean-Luc Godard. He’s getting into his tender late years now, so this may be one of his last naval-gazers. Let’s appreciate his philosophizing and dense word-play while we still can. He is forever a treasure.

 

There’s a new Hal Hartley, AMATEUR, reviewed here by Alison Macor. This is one of Hartley’s best yet, and a signal American indie of the year, as Macor writes: “A Hal Hartley film is an acquired taste. A viewer can slip in and out of appreciation for Hartley’s work, but it takes a true Hartley-ite to champion all of his films without pause. With Amateur, Hartley has once again proven that he’s cornered the market on independent film etiquette: making the film’s narrative just left of center, casting actors with whom you’ve worked previously, having them deliver dialogue with deadpan slyness.” There you go. See it.

 

A new Charles Burnett film is always cause for celebration, and a Burnett film with marquee stars aimed at a mainstream audience is truly unique. THE GLASS SHIELD, reviewed here by Baumgarten, is, as she notes, “rich and rewarding,” The subject matter, racism and sexism within a disturbingly insular police department, is deeply resonant.

And here are some of the trailers you’ll be seeing in theaters this month – remember that Austin is a small city, and we don’t get the major art film releases until many weeks after the big cities, if even then.

Terry Zwigoff’s CRUMB

(UT Alumnus) Tsui Hark’s THE LOVERS

Wayne Wang & Paul Auster’s SMOKE

Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s PARTY GIRL

Todd Haynes’ SAFE

As you can see, it’s a great time for filmgoing, so gas up the Ford Escort and let’s go see some movies.

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