I am really impressed with everything I’ve seen so far, I haven’t yet seen a single movie that I would call “bad” (I’m going to see Pauly Shore’s new movie tonight so that will be a definite possibility).
Here’s what I’ve seen since Friday night:
WOW, see this movie right now! Or at least at 2pm on Saturday (3/15/03), which is the last showing as Slot Gampang Menang. I actually mainly went to see this because last week I happened to be at a karaoke joint with some of the cast members and they were pitching the movie in between songs. (BTW, Camille Chen has an awesome voice…) I was really, really surprised at how good it is. Definitely best film I’ve seen so far at SXSW. It was shot in 24p high-def video, and it looks great compared to some of the other low-budget 24p stuff I’ve seen. There are also a ton of recognizable Austin locations in the film so it has a lot of local appeal. But it mainly just works as a great 20-somethings comedy about lust and relationships. It is hilarious, engaging, slightly depressing, with great performances. A great movie. I guarantee this one will get picked up. A MUST SEE, especially if you’re a 20-something.
Another WOW. This was a great couple days at SXSW for me! Speedo is probably the best documentary I’ve seen at SXSW outside of Journeys with George. As far as character documentaries go, Speedo has it all. How they found Ed “Speedo” Jager I have no idea, but he was the perfect subject for this kind of documentary. He loves what he does, he’s pretty good at it, he is a total character, and he also goes through – and resolves – some major life crises during filming in addition to winning demolition derbies. The documentary is funny, interesting, and oddly moving. If you like documentaries about people and their various odd pursuits, Speedo is a must see.
Terrific spooky thriller. Kind of a cross between The 6th Sense and The Ring, although not quite as gripping as either of those. The ending was a little anticlimactic, and don’t expect nudity or gore. Lots of exciting and scary moments though, as well as a couple terrific scenes that hooked me. Strongly recommended.
This film (filmed in HK but written by a local Austinite) was excellent, up until about 1 hour into the film where one of the reels had been spliced in upside down! It took them over an hour to fix it, and I left, planning to catch the film again if I can. If you like HK action movies, you’ll almost definitely like this one. The two main characters were a little deeper than your average HK killer. The movie is laden with indy movie references, which can be cheesy at times, and verging on movie insider humor at others, but generally work. Strongly recommended if you like HK action.
Melvin Goes to Dinner
If Sexless was a great 20-somethings comedy, this is a very good 30-somethings comedy. It follows Melvin, a disenchanted 30-something as he spends an evening out to dinner with some pseudo-friends. Most of the movie takes place at a dinner table in a restaurant, so most of the comedy comes from the dialog, which at times is really hilarious. I probably laughed harder during some scenes than I did during Sexless, but overall the characters were less engaging, and some of the scenes were a bit awkward. The ending was a little odd. Still, this was very funny and I really enjoyed it. If you like funny dialog about sex and infidelity, situational jokes, and especially if you are a 30-something, there’s a lot to like here. Also recommended.
I like drug movies so I was pretty excited about this movie about speed freaks. It is a pretty wild ride, although a little hardcore for my taste. Not quite up to the level of Requiem for a Dream or Trainspotting in its hardcoreness, although it follows what seems to be the standard template for hardcore drug-addict movies. A lot of scenes, especially in the middle of the film, were clearly beyond the comfort level of most of the audience. It was shot on super-16 in a cool-looking washed-out style, not as yellowed as the Mexican scenes in Traffic but similar. The performances were terrific – especially from Jason Schwartzman, Brittany Murphy and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Mickey Rourke and John Leguizamo, neither of whom are high on my list of favorite actors but did a pretty good job animating their low-lifer roles. If you liked Requiem and Trainspotting you should certainly watch this. I actually didn’t like either of those as much as I like Spun. I think mainly I found Jason Schwartzman’s character just a little more endearing than the main characters of those other movies, and also the deprivation in the film builds up for the first half, but actually mellows out a lot by the end of the film. So especially unlike Requiem, the oppression of the drug eases off the gas pedal by the end, which left me feeling relieved rather than totally devastated. Recommended if you like drug movies, and/or the cast.