SXSW isn't SXSW without the occasional (sometimes more than occasional) reminder that celebrities are people too. They like movies, they like music, and even they like all things interactive. Sometimes they appear before, during, or after movie-themes events (i.e., screenings). You can catch up with some of the celebrities at SXSW by checking out this link, this other link over here, and one more link over there.
Peter Hall reviews 'The Innkeepers,' Ti West's ('The House of the Devil') latest film, a comedy-horror mash-up. Hall says, "'The Innkeepers' is radiant with inspiration." He cites the sound design, cinematography, and score as plusses, along with the strong, character-focused writing, performances, and directing.
Hall also reviews 'Caught Inside,' Australian director Adam Blaiklock's feature-length debut. He says, "'Caught Inside' is an increasingly heated pressure cooker of a thriller; one that impresses with restraint and a disarming lack of malice." Hall cites actor (and "muscled menace") Ben Oxenbould, for his performance as the antagonist, saying "Oxenbould's performance is so plausibly unhinged that it calls to mind some of the greater loose cannons of cinema."
Todd Gilchrist reviews 'Paul,' the sci-fi/road comedy co-starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost ('Hot Fuzz,' 'Shaun of the Dead,' 'Spaced'). Calling it an "otherwise imperfect but funny and genuinely sweet story," Gilchrist concludes, "'Paul' is a film that seems to too often pander to genre fandom without finding deeper meaning beneath it, or maybe more accurately, celebrates the people who share our affection for nerdy stuff but neglects to provide a meaningful reason why we should feel it in the first place."
In the first sale of the SXSW Film Festival, distributor Kino Lorber picked up domestic rights for 'El Bulli: Cooking in Progress,' a documentary centered on chef Ferran Adrià as he develops a new yearly menu for the restaurant of the title. Kino Lorber's new Alive Mind Cinema label will release 'El Bulli' theatrically.
Variety reports that director Rodman Flender's Conan O'Brien-centered documentary, 'Conan O'Brien Can't Stop,' "will be sneaked to subscribers of AT&T's Uverse TV service on the eve of the film's theatrical release through Richard Abrams' Abramorama. Uverse..." "Magnolia Home Entertainment will show the film on VOD following the exclusive window on U-verse TV, and will then release the film on DVD and other digital platforms."
The Weinstein Company picked up distribution rights for 'Undefeated,' a football-centric documentary.' Per Deadline, "Undefeated' tells the Cinderella story of an underprivileged football team from the perspective of three student athletes from inner city Memphis and a volunteer coach. The film is a Blind Side-caliber underdog story with heart."
IFC Midnight picked up North American rights to 'Kill List,' a well-received hitman-thriller written and directed by Ben Wheatley ('Down Terrace') that premiered in the SXSW Film Festival's SXFantastic section.
Eric Kohn reviews 'Kill List' and 'The FP,' genre entries in SXSW's SXFantastic section. Of 'Kill List,' Kohn says, "Littered with the grotesque images of a man murdered by a hammer and another holding his own intestines, "Kill List" has plenty to satisfy gorehounds, but there's a much more satisfying dimension of human behavior that allows it to transcend cheap thrills."
Of 'The FP,' Kohn says, "Shamelessly recycling the crass adrenaline rush of 1980s American blockbusters, with references to "The Warriors," "Robocop" and many others, 'The FP' is loud, furious and recklessly funny." Later he says, "Although patently absurd, sometimes to tiring extremes, 'The FP' contains glimmers of creative ingenuity in its fantastical representation of videogame culture."
TWEETS, BUZZ, & OTHER NEWS
Eugene Novikov (@EugeneNovikov): "'Another Earth' (C) Love the notion of ordinary drama set against the barest sci-fi backdrop but this movie is doing it... I dunno... wrong. In a follow-up tweet, Novikov adds, "The sci-fi concept is totally borked, and the human story basically is too."
Erik Davis (@ErikDavis): "The FP: I've never seen anything like it before, and yet I've seen everything like it... "
Erik D. Snider (@EricDSnider): "Liked THE F.P. ok. You know who loooved it? The totally wasted drunk chick who shouted and hooted and wouldn't shut up the whole time."
Ain't it Cool News celebrated its 15th anniversary with a special screening of 'Dragonslayer' (1981), with none other than Guillermo del Toro on hand to give the pre-screening talk. Thanks to Drew McWeeney (@DrewAtHitFix) for bringing us the blow-by-blow.
Writing for Movieline, Jen Yamato weighs in on 'Bridesmaids,' the Judd Apatow-produced, Paul Feig-directed, Kristen Wiig-starring comedy that's already being described as "The Hangover for Women." Yamato boldly claims, "'Bridesmaids' proves that modern comedies about women don't have to be insipid, boring or downright loathsome."
Pete Sciretta, writing for Slashfilm.com, agrees with Yamato's take on 'Bridesmaids.' Sciretta observed, "The packed crowd of over a thousand SXSW film and tech geeks (which I would [estimate] consisted of over 80% males) walked out of the double feature praising a "chick flick" over the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost nerd-serviced sci-fi alien comedy 'Paul' is a major achievement."
Sciretta also posted the trailer for the about-to-debut Spielberg-inspired short from director Spike Jonze ('Where the Wild Things Are,' 'Adaptation,' "Being John Malkovich') and Grammy Award-winning band The Arcade Fire, 'Scenes From the Suburbs.'