The Austin Latino Theater Alliance presents La PastoreNovela Play Starting Tonight

The Austin Latino Theater Alliance ( ALTA) presents its production of the traditional pastorela, a holiday comedy for the whole family, starting Friday, November 30th at 8pm. It will be held at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St in Austin.

Under the direction of Alejandro Pedemonte, eleven actors collaborate in this annual holiday tradition.  The cast is composed of actors including Mario Zamora, Karla Longnion, Diego Villarreal, Anjanette Gautier and Trini Martinez, among others.

This year, Miguel Angel Santana returns with an original, humorous script in the form of a Latin soap opera satire.  Santana’s pen modernizes classic characters from the Yuletide play from shepherds, demons and angels to Pilgrims, brining them to life as the Shepherd family (familia Pastor). Santana provided a script last year that was creative and different from prior scripts, yet stayed true to the over decade long theater tradition for Austin and surrounding areas.

La Patorela is a “uniquely Austin” holiday tradition for over a decade.  Originally a Yuletide play performed in Native American/Latino Communities since the late 16th century when Spanish missionary priests first introduced the act to Native Aztec Indians, the performance recounts the shepherd’s journey to Bethlehem as they encounter manifestations of evil. Each year’s production retains elements of the original tradition, but adds a lively bilingual contemporary theatrical twist to the overall performance of the dialogue, music and dance.

Catch the performances that continue until Saturday, December 15th. Tickets are available at the door and for more information, call 512-974-3772.






Brad Pitt stars in Killing Them Softly that Opens in Theaters Today


By Liz López

Rating B-

When hearing about a film relating to the Mob, one conjures up visions of an overdose of action and violence as in films seen before.  In the feature film Killing them Softly, adapted from George V. Higgins’s book, Cogan’s Trade by screenwriter/director, Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), the viewer can expect those familiar scenes, but not as typical or frequent as in other mob films. Depending on the viewer’s taste, that can be good or bad, but in Domink’s script, he has created a mob world with frequent scenes from prior to the 2008 U. S. presidential elections. There are references to our government being a business and also that the Mob runs their “business” like a corporation, including various levels of authority with a wide range of how to handle things.

This is unexpected at first, until the viewer makes the connection in the government/criminal business world, so the repeated scenes can be a point of confusion or frustration for viewers who are instead expecting something else on the screen.  I went into the theater anticipating a known issue/theme and had another outcome; not that it was a disappointment, but I am surprised to see how Domink adapted the book for contemporary times. There are many dramatic points, but the screenwriter includes a good dose of humor with his characters and that somewhat alleviates the full force of the violence for me.

All the cast in the film are very good and bring life to the characters as if they are real people in the tough streets of the city. As producer, Brad Pitt also takes the lead as Jackie, the enforcer who is to establish order after the second time the protected card games administered by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta) are robbed. Jackie is conducting his deal through a suited driver (Richard Jenkins), who represents the anonymous higher ups over the card games. Since the robbery caused the local criminal economy to crash, the corporate heads want somebody to pay and Jackie is now in charge, taking care of business in his own manner.

James Gandolfini and Vincent Curatola (both from The Sopranos) do a great job interpreting their characters, especially Gandolfini who appears to be a washed up contract killer after living a hard party life. Scoot McNairy (Monsters) and Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) are excellent as the good for nothings who take on the robbery to make fast money and change their life. I like the casting choices, in particular, Mendelsohn who I was very impressed with after viewing his performance in Animal Kingdom. Max Casella, Trevor Long, Slaine and Sam Shepard also have brief turns in the film.

See the film not for what you expect to see, but for the unexpected, including some great slow motion scenes that are best viewed on the big screen. Killing them Softly opens November 30th.


The Comedy Opens in Austin Theaters with Cast and Director in Attendance Today


By Liz Lopez

Rating C-

Tim Heidecker, one half of Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, stars in The Comedy, a feature narrative that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and also screened as a Festival Favorite during the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Viewers beware; this is not a comedy that is open for viewing to all ages. There is nudity, drugs, alcohol and tobacco consumed for starters. Although I did not view it during SXSW last March, I would have likely wanted to walk out of the festival screening. I say this now after recently viewing it for the theatrical release in town and judging the opening scenes and listening to the Swanson character spew such ugly, inappropriate comments to other people. I value my time at this festival and this would have not been worthy of the 94 minutes, when there are so many others with content that appeals to me. The screenwriters, Robert Donne and Colm O’Leary, do a fine job of creating a wealthy 30 something man-child character I disliked completely. Unfortunately, I do believe there is someone here in town that has some of the similar characteristics and this is scary.

Swanson also has friends in Brooklyn who are like minded, so to have them sit in a public place, including churches, doing absolutely ridiculous, senseless things with their time is enraging and sickening, to say the least. The friends (“Tim & Eric” co-star Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and comedian Gregg Turkington a.k.a.“Neil Hamburger”) create games of comic irreverence and mock sincerity.

Director Rick Alverson’s character study is a dark humor that not everyone will connect with, but for those viewers who stay through the whole film will think about the story and this character for a while. It is not easy to dismiss some of the scenes and although we are not part of their world, they do exist in our society and with their money make some choices that do impact our world, if we allow them. Unfortunately, with all of their addictions, someone is still going to have to look after the adults that do not grow up responsibly.

Kate Lyn Sheil and Alexia Rasmussen also form part of the cast. Heidecker and director Alverson are scheduled to be in attendance for an evening Q&A on Friday, November 30 at the Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar.


ARTS IN CONTEXT TONIGHT! 7:30pm on KLRU-TV, Channel 9 on Time Warner Cable

ARTS IN CONTEXT is a show on our local PBS affiliate that explores “the process of creation through collaboration and the condition of living and working as an artist. By spotlighting visual arts, dance, music and culture, [they] hope to pique curiosity and inspire people to learn more about a subject, visit an exhibition, attend a performance or create and share something beautiful of their own and facilitate the dialogue between artists and audiences.”
And guess what film festival they’re featuring in Thursday’s episode, titled “All My Friends Are Vampires”?
That’s right! Fantastic Fest will be in the spotlight Thursday night at 7:30pm CT, as Fantastic Fest co-founder and creative director Tim League stops by to discuss the ins and outs of that cherished FF chaos.


Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and AMC Theaters have partnered to bring the upcoming holiday comedy THE GUILT TRIP to audiences in 20 cities across the country in advance of its theatrical release on December 19th.

These exclusive screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s stars Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, to be streamed live via satellite from Los Angeles.

The screenings and subsequent live Q&A will take place December 2nd at participating AMC Theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, Boston, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

For more information and to reserve your seat, visit

THE GUILT TRIP stars Rogen as Andy Brewster, an inventor about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, and who better to accompany him than his overbearing mother Joyce, played by Barbra Streisand.  After deciding to start his adventure with a quick visit at mom’s, Andy is guilted into bringing her along for the ride.  Across 3,000 miles of ever-changing landscape, he is constantly aggravated by her antics, but over time he comes to realize that their lives have more in common than he originally thought.  His mother’s advice might end up being exactly what he needs.  The Guilt Trip is directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Dan Fogelman and produced by Lorne Michaels, John Goldwyn and Evan Goldberg.

THE GUILT TRIP opens everywhere December 19th, 2012.

To learn more about the movie, visit

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Comedia romantica Playing for Keeps en cines el 7 de diciembre

Playing For Keeps es una comedia romántica sobre un encantador jugador de futbol que supo ser una estrella y ha caído en desgracia (Butler), el que regresa a casa para tratar de poner en orden su vida. Buscando una forma de reconstruir la relación con su hijo, se deja convencer para que sea el entrenador del equipo de futbol del niño. Pero sus intentos por convertirse finalmente en un “adulto” deben superar los divertidos desafíos generados por las atractivas mamás que llevan a sus hijos a los partidos y lo persiguen por todas partes.

Llega a cines el 7  de diciembre.


Playing for Keeps Arrives in Theaters December 7th

On Friday, December 7th, Film District presents PLAYING FOR KEEPS, a romantic comedy that tells the story of a former sports star who’s fallen on hard times and starts coaching his son’s soccer team in an attempt to get his life together. The film stars Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and Dennis Quaid.