SXSW Film Preview: This Time It’s Personal
I was first introduced to SXSW film festival in boarding school when an aspiring filmmaker, classmate of mine taunted me by sending me a package full of promotional lobby cards, adverts carefully torn from magazines and other festival related swag. However, the jeering prize of the package was a photo he’d taken with fresh-faced local, Robert Rodriguez. When he arrived back at school, he bragged of his new found friendship pubescent icons like Kevin Smith and the aforementioned Rodriguez. For few weeks my, up-till-then, unchallenged film supremacy was questioned, and if it wasn’t for a favor that I called in from the Traffaut estate, I still may be considered the second most fanatical film student from Myrmidon Prep Academy. Now nearly 15 years later, I have a chance to join the prestigious club of SXSW attendees and exact my proper revenge on my former school chum.
Here is a rundown of a few of the films I’ll be attending this upcoming week:
Movies Coming to a Theater Near You:
Kick-Ass, Mathew Vaughn
Vaughn’s story of making Kick-Ass is a triumph for artistic vision and a damnation of middle of the road studio vision. The film looks to be the perfect prescription for teenage boys; violence and delusions of grandeur. Plus, Nic Cage shoots a little girl at point blank range, and instead of giving us another reason to hate him, it actually endears him a little bit.
Predators, Nimrod Antal
With Robert Rodriguez producing, Armored director takes a stab at a franchise reboot/sequel of the Schwarzenegger/Weathers vehicle. I just hope someone had time to bleed this time around.
Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields, Kerthy Fix & Gail O’Hara
Finally, the painfully neglected song writing genius Stephin Merritt is getting a spotlight. The Magnetic Fields are the comic heartbreaking center of my collection, and 69 Loves Songs is a staple for my Valentines celebration. The film takes a dishy look behind the magnetic curtain and reveals all the bickering and audience bashing which is necessary for pop music magic.
The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights, Emmett Malloy
A feature length concert film about The White Stripes and their tour to the Great White North is sure to be a festival must see. I can’t see how a better film could have been programmed to fit this festival, well, I guess if the festival was NXNW and it took place in Detroit. That would’ve made slightly more sense.
The Weird World of Blowfly, Jonathan Furmanski
Singer/songwriter Clarence Reid’s alter ego Blowfly loves raunchy lyrics and large breasted ladies, but who doesn’t? And with lyrics like, “I believe my dick can fly, I believe my balls can testify” Blowfly isn’t your average 69 year old. And with a special midnight performance by the original “dirty rapper” it will, to paraphrase Blowfly be a “Spermy night in Austin.”
The Kind of Films You’d Expect to Play at SXSW:
Barry Munday, Chris D’Arienzo
Patrick Wilson seems to only pick projects that have the potential to put him in the EGOT Brotherhood, but Barry Munday looks to be the comic counterbalance to all of his previous rolls. When Barry Munday wakes up two stones lighter and a whole lot less of a chance to tell his grandchildren what a ladies man he was he begins the long, hopefully comic, journey to self realization.
Mars, Geoff Marslett
Animated Mumblecore in Space. Robots and 30 somethings look for love as they race to the red planet.
Cherry, Jeffrey Fine
There aren’t a lot of films about engineers because engineers are usually content to be engineers. And being content doesn’t really add to the kind of drama necessary to drive a feature narrative. However, it looks like Jeffrey Fine has found the loop hole in the content molasses of engineers. Throw an engineer-in-training in a rom-com with female lead who has no desire to date an engineer. Cherry looks like a coming of age story that doesn’t need to go back to the drawing board. Eat your heart out Peter Travers.
Erasing David, David Bond
In a world where every key stroke on your computer is basically public domain, it’s a fascinating, and tempting, idea to try to disappear without a trace. David Bond does just that, and then hires and films the world’s top private investigators to track him down. Are we in an Orwellian police state, or can one man disappear like Keyser Soze?
Life 2.0, Jason Spingarn-Koff
And as a counter-point to David Bond’s doc, we have Life 2.0 and in-depth look at a group of people’s life changing obsession with Second Life. If you’ve ever been in the sticky situation of having to explain to a girlfriend that your Second Life character is an eleven year old girl, well this is the movie for you.
American: The Bill Hicks Story, Matt Harlock
Coming soon, American Too: The Dennis Leary Story.