Welcome to CHUD.com’s SXSW film festival coverage!
Yep, I’m in Austin, TX again this year, ready to consume as many films as possible while I struggle against going absolutely batshit insane from schedule strategics and sleep deprivation. In any event, along with the festival reviews you would expect, I thought it would be nice to do some quick and dirty updates about my overall experience. You’re probably not going to hear about whatever fucking BBQ I ate last (there’s my twitter for that kind of nonsense- but even then I’m not usually obsessed about food updates), but I’ll do my best to relate a few interesting things and give some quick capsule reviews of films that I see that don’t necessarily merit an immediate full review.
Since this is only my second year attending, I’ll still be running around like a John Sizemore with his head cut off. This is a tough festival to conquer, even for pros, so I’m just going to dive in, stay flexible, and go where the cinematic wind takes me. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some kind of plan though, and I’ll share with the you the film’s I’m excited about below.
These should be a short, sweet, and interesting way of keeping up with some general goings on in Austin this week, so make sure to take a few peeks over the weekend and then stick with us all through next week as I sift through the festival’s offerings to let you know which new, great films will be setting the tone this year.
THE ALAMO MARCHES ON
This year’s festival marks the debut of some new venues in town, including a brand new Alamo Drafthouse on Slaughter Lane in Texas. I went for a pre-festival visit to see Foreign-Language Academy Award Nominee (and Drafthouse Pictures acquisition) Bullhead.
I’m happy to report that both the theater venue and film turned out to be absolutely fucking fantastic! Visiting the Slaughter Lane Drafthouse is like visiting any large chain cineplex, except completely filtered through the film geek-catering vision of the Drafthouse. From the exquisite decoration (I love the massive cabinets of film cans), to the spacious auditoriums with giant screens and perfect projection, to the very sharp, modern implementation of the food/drink servicing, it was a really spectacular time at the movie. These kinds of theaters can’t come to the rest of the country fast enough.
As for Bullhead? Wow, I’m still at a loss for words. Beautiful filmmaking, great acting, and a fascinatingly dark story of latent trauma resurfacing right as things all go to shit for a small segment of the Flemish beef hormone mob. A dash of Haneke here, a splash of Refn there, this film is really a one-of-a-kind vision from new filmmaker Michael R. Roskam, who we’ll all have to watch very closely.
As I tweeted right after seeing it, I’m almost worried I tainted my SXSW experience by leading it off with such a powerful film. May have been like eating a block of fudge before downing a six-pack of YooHoo. Don’t get me wrong- I love YooHoo, but it’s only going to taste like water after overloading your tastebuds, no?
WHAT I’LL BE SEEING
Here’s a quick overview of just some of the things I’ll be cramming into my peepers…
The “DUH” Category…
The Raid: Redemption – Action Duh
Casa De Mi Padre – El Duh
Cabin In The Woods – Meta Duh
Iron Sky – Nazi Duh
God Bless America – Bobcat Duh
And a few less obvious choices…
Killer Joe – Sheeit negro, “new William Friedkin” is all you had to say…
Extracted – This is trying awfully hard to be the crime-thriller indie take on Inception or Eternal Sunshine, but I’m not sure it’s got the budget to hit that kind of scale. The trailer borders on cheesy, so this is a maybe. I’m interested though.
Wolf – Reads as an awfully dark premise, and I’m curious to see if the film can manage such depressing waters with weight and meaning.
The Comedy – Supposedly a pretty nasty look at a psychopath spiraling out of control, starring Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric in a non-comedic turn. Divided reaction at Sundance means I’m all over this.
Re:Generation Music Project – I’m very selectively enthusiastic about modern electronica music (indeed, including dubstep) and this looks like an interesting attempt to put the form and the artists to the test.
Girls Against Boys – It’s a movie about hot chicks wrecking ass out of revenge, and it promises some interesting subtext as well. I’m in.
Brooklyn Castle – A little doc about a poverty-line school that boasts the best chess team in the country. Sounds like an inspiring flick with a very serious, contemporary backdrop.
Nature Calls – Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville as two brothers tasked with continuing their father’s Scoutmastering legacy. Sounds a bit silly, but I love Oswalt so I’ll give it a shot.
Other’s I’m interested in: V/H/S/, Jeff, frankie go boom, WE ARE LEGION, Citadel, The Do-Deca Pentathalon, Nature Calls, and much more…
A LITTLE SUCKLE FROM MY TWEET
SOME NON-EXPERTISE FROM YOUR HUMBLE REPORTER
Jacob Hall wrote a piece about surviving SXSW, and in doing so quoted a lot of really sharp, savvy people and then one asshole. Guess which one I am!
GHOSTS OF SXSW PAST
Lest we forget what SXSW has brought us in the past, you ought to peruse some of my reviews from last year…
• SXSW 2011 marked the launching pad of the great Attack The Block Hype of 2011, which could well be sourced as the origin point of many a geek’s disappointment with the film’s wider success (still a great fucking movie though).
• Note that there are a few SXSW 2011 hits that were bought and still haven’t made it to theaters, but some of them you’ll be seeing soon. The FP, an Alamo Drafthouse acquisition, beings its run on March 16th. You can see what I thought about the decidedly one-note DDR extravaganza at the link.
• Naturally I couldn’t go without mentioning Detention, one of my absolute favorites from last year. The film is of course directed by CHUD friend Joseph Kahn, and will hit select theaters on April 13th. Nick and I have gone on to work with Joe, but coming from long before that all started and I even knew a thing about him, you can read exactly how Kahn’s Detention blew me away in my review.
Some other reviews to check out:
Keep and eye out for more updates, and feel free to let me know anything you think I should see or that you’d like to me to talk about while I’m down here…
-or- hit the Message Boards…