The Playlist

SXSW '12 Review: 'God Bless America' A Funny, Insightful & Outrageous Indictment Of Contemporary Culture

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • March 10, 2012 12:01 AM
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  • 5 Comments
At the movies, righteous anger is in painfully short supply these days, but writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait manages to harness all of his (and more than a little bit of ours) in “God Bless America,” a scathingly funny indictment of the vagaries of contemporary U.S. culture. Compiling an encyclopedic list of offenses unleashed upon the world through the entertainment industry, the pretense of political discourse, and the increasing indignities of human interaction, Goldthwait crafts a revenge fantasy that’s smart, specific, and imminently sympathetic, even when its characters retaliate in admittedly extreme or inappropriate ways. Desperate for a time before TMZ without purely succumbing to rose-colored nostalgia, “God Bless America” is a twisted but troublingly accurate chronicle of contemporary inhumanity, viewed through the eyes of a man no longer capable of ironic detachment.

SXSW '12 Review: 'The Cabin In The Woods' Is A Smart, Witty Blast For Genre Fans

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 9, 2012 9:45 PM
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Almost no genre (bar perhaps the romantic-comedy) revolves around formula as heavily as the horror film. Obviously there are sub-categories: the haunted-house film, the zombie flick, the vampire movie. But a disproportionate amount of the involves a group of horny teens going to a remote location, taking off clothes, making stupid decisions, and getting picked off one by one, whether by a man in a mask, or by some kind of supernatural creature or force. So on hearing the title, and indeed basic premise, of "The Cabin In The Woods," it's hard not to be a little downhearted. Is this the same old cheapo horror flick we've seen dozens, if not hundreds of times?

SXSW '12 Review: 'Electrick Children' An Offbeat Indie With A Trio Of Charming Young Leads

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • March 9, 2012 9:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Opening the Generation section of the 2012 Berlinale, which is designed to promote films for, by and/or about young people, we honestly weren't sure what to expect from "Electrick Children," the debut film from writer/director Rebecca Thomas. Colour us pleasantly surprised then to discover that the film is a genuinely enjoyable coming of age tale that compensates, and then some, for its narrative shortcomings with the winningness of the three central performances, from Rory Culkin, Liam Aiken and a luminous Julia Garner. It's really Garner's movie, and young though she is, she imbues a role that could easily have come across as prissy or doltish with a perfect combination of sweetness, naivete and stubbornness that sells even the less convincing nooks and crannies of the story.

Exclusive SXSW Clip: 'Charles Bradley: Soul Of America' Promises An Engrossing Tale Of A Late-Life Music Career

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 9, 2012 5:47 PM
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If you haven't heard the name Charles Bradley, chances are, by the end of SXSW you will. If you're looking for a moving documentary that will also have you tapping your toes, "Charles Bradley: Soul Of America" might just fit the bill.

Exclusive SXSW Clip: Lukas Haas Has A Gift For Madeline Zima In 'Crazy Eyes'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 9, 2012 5:26 PM
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Things are rolling and underway in Austin as the SXSW Film Festival kicks off. Cinephiles, press and everyone else are faced with a plethora of films over the next week, all hoping to snag their attention, and director Adam Sherman will be in town with his sophomore effort "Crazy Eyes."

SXSW '12 Interview: Drew Goddard Talks His Inspiration For 'Cabin In The Woods,' Working With Joss Whedon & J.J. Abrams & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 9, 2012 11:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Tonight "Cabin in the Woods" will open this year's South by Southwest film festival, and those lucky enough to attend will experience something very special. Ostensibly a gleeful send-up and acidic takedown of modern horror films (and their nearly mythical place in our culture), it's as smart as it is scary, and truly unique. It's not hard to imagine a heavily lubricated SXSW losing their collective shit. We got to talk to co-writer/director Drew Goddard, who created the film with is former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"/"Angel" boss Joss Whedon, about the inception of the film, what it was like to have your debut feature indefinitely delayed by original studio MGM's crumbling empire, and how much fun it is to be writing a robot movie for Steven Spielberg. (It should be said, right off the bat, that the less you know about "Cabin in the Woods" so you might want to read this after you see the movie, either at SXSW or when it opens theatrically on April 13th.)

10 SXSW Soundtracks To Look Out For Including Scores By Members Of Pearl Jam, Vampire Weekend, Menomena, Tortoise & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 8, 2012 2:31 PM
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  • 1 Comment
SXSW is barely 24 hours away from starting (catch up with part one and part two of our preview pieces here), and at this point, it's important to be reminded that one of the things that makes it unique is a particular focus on the crossover between music and film, something that's been a particular interest of ours since the very earliest days of The Playlist. It doesn't just have a whole sidebar dedicated to music documentaries (with this year's batch including films around LCD Soundsystem, Paul Simon and Big Star), and a music festival that runs alongside, but it also seems to attract a disproportionate number of scores by indie and rock musicians to its fictional entries.

Patton Oswalt Talks Todd Rohal's SXSW Comedy 'Nature Calls' Plus An Exclusive New Image From The Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 8, 2012 12:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Making his leading indie debut in the dark "Big Fan" and then stepping out to star opposite Charlize Theron in "Young Adult," you might be surprised to learn that seasoned comic Patton Oswalt has yet to topline a comedy. But all that will change at SXSW this weekend when "Nature Calls" premieres. Directed by Todd Rohal ("The Catechism Cataclysm," "The Guatemalan Handshake"), and executive produced by David Gordon Green, the film boats a stellar comic lineup -- Johnny Knoxville, Rob Riggle, Maura Tierney, Patrice O'Neal, Darrell Hammond -- and that combination of leading a comedy and working with a strong ensemble was what attracted Oswalt to the film.

Exclusive: Poster Debut for SXSW Film 'Pavilion' Featuring Songs from The Sea & Cake's Sam Prekop

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • March 8, 2012 12:02 PM
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As the residents of Austin gird their loins for the influx of humanity attending the film/music/interactive festival starting tomorrow, today we have the poster debut from one of the opening night films, "Pavilion," written and directed by Tim Sutton. The score and soundtrack features Sam Prekop from The Sea & Cake, offering up more of his ethereal, sophisticated pop. You can check out one of the songs, "The Eve," below courtesy of Stereogum, and can plug in your email to receive "Arizona," another tune from the film. The songs seem to conjure the atmospheric sense of longing the film seems to be going for, in the story of a teenager's summer with his father in Arizona. The official synopsis reads:

14 SXSW Movies We've Already Seen Including '21 Jump Street,' 'Marley,' 'Killer Joe,' 'Bernie' & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 7, 2012 12:59 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Yesterday, we ran through fifteen movies that we're dying to see at this year's SXSW, but the Austin, Texas festival doesn't just have world premieres: there's also a selection of films that have played film fests elsewhere in the world over the last months, from Venice and Toronto to Sundance and Berlin.

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