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SXSW Review: 'Detention' Is Like A Narrative, Peyote-Fueled Manga Adaptation Of 'I Love The 90s'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 18, 2011 4:49 AM
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  • 2 Comments
What kind of movie is “Detention?”

SXSW: The Importance Of Dogs To The Writing Process & More We Learned About Mike Mills' 'Beginners'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 18, 2011 3:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments
As big fans of music video veteran Mike Mills' debut feature "Thumbsucker," we've been keenly awaiting a sophomore film from the director ever since, and when that film, "Beginners," premiered at Toronto last year, the word was comfortingly strong. But even that didn't quite prepare us for the experience of actually seeing it -- when we caught up with it for ourselves at SXSW, it immediately became one of our favorite films of the year thus far; our review said "it makes you sigh and swoon in equal measure."

SXSW Review: Spike Jonze & Arcade Fire's 'Scenes From The Suburbs' An Intense Look At Fading Youth

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 18, 2011 1:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
While technically not a full-length feature, Spike Jonze's Arcade Fire music video/short film/spin-off/thingee "Scenes from the Suburbs" is one of the most hotly anticipated and frequently discussed entries in this year's SXSW line-up, so much so that they paired it with three other medium-length "shorts" and created a whole new distinction for them. (Since they're longer than shorts but shorter than features.) "What is it?", is the biggest question, but "Will it work?" was just as pressing.

SXSW Exclusive: Zal Batmanglij & Brit Marling Talk The Cult Of 'Sound Of My Voice'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 17, 2011 11:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The story of recent the Sundance and SXSW hit “Sound Of My Voice” is pretty straightforward. Concerning a couple of documentary filmmakers who infiltrate a cult, the film, on paper, seems suspenseful and ripe for a penetrating insight into the nature of perception versus reality and an exploration of the idea of how we form bonds that unite us. But onscreen, “Sound Of My Voice” demands even more attention, as director Zal Batmanglij and co-writer and star Brit Marling have created something altogether haunting and unexpected (as we noted in our review). When plot elements surface suggesting that this may be a sort of “genre” picture, the execution is both immediate and ethereal. It feels only vaguely like a world we know, and as such, the tension only escalates, whether it’s an intense, obvious threat or an otherwise-mundane depiction of shower scrubbing.

SXSW Review: Jodie Foster's 'The Beaver' Starring Mel Gibson Can't Quite Hit Its Tonal Sweet Spot

  • By The Playlist
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  • March 17, 2011 4:39 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Tonight on the stage of the Paramount theater at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, director/actress Jodie Foster admitted that getting the tenor right for her new film "The Beaver" was the hardest endeavor of her career and it shows. Walking a tonal tightrope of voice -- light comedy, saddening depression, and reflective soul searching -- Jodie Foster's film is not quite a black comedy, a dramedy or a straight-up humanist drama. While an interesting (if not totally successful) exploration of mental illness and trying to escape and then face your inner demons, the film is surprisingly tame, lacking the fiercer bite we were hoping for.

SXSW Review: 'Kill List' Is A Shocking, Emotionally Resonant & Horrific Ride

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 16, 2011 10:56 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Few movies have scarred and emotionally terrorized people (including some on the Playlist staff) more than this year's SXSW Film Festival entry "Kill List," the sophomore feature from Ben Wheatley ("Down Terrace"). With its intriguing mixture of kitchen-sink domestic drama, hit man thriller, and creepy mysticism, it's the rare horror film -- which isn't really a "horror film" per se, but includes psychological, emotional and physically horrifying moments -- that doesn't play into any conventions of the genre. Every time you think you've pegged it neatly into one of the aforementioned genres, it'll swing around and surprise you again, and the film concludes with an unexpected wallop that packs a visceral and psychically emotional punch that will leave you gasping for air and reeling on the floor. "Saw 3D" it's not.

SXSW Review: We Aren't Buying Morgan Spurlock's 'Greatest Movie Ever Sold'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • March 16, 2011 8:05 AM
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  • 8 Comments
"POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" (yeah, that's actually the full title), Morgan Spurlock's new takedown of product placement in television shows and movies, starts out cleverly enough, with a sharp analysis of all the ways in which major corporations, in their limitless, greedy quest for the almighty dollar, wedge advertising into other aspects of entertainment. Hilarious clips from major motion pictures and television series are shown, including a snapshot of "90210," in which characters earnestly bicker while discussing (and prominently displaying) a can of Dr. Pepper.

SXSW: Miranda July Says 'The Future' Is Her Version Of A Horror Film

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 16, 2011 7:39 AM
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  • 4 Comments
And More We Learned About Her New FilmFew working filmmakers are as divisive as Miranda July. Her first film, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" was to some, one of the best films of the last decade, but to others was barely watchable insufferable hipster bait. We're firmly in the former camp, and as such have been keenly anticipating her sophomore feature, "The Future," for some years. Our man at Sundance suggested that great things had again emerged from the polymathic helmer, and we were delighted to discover at SXSW that the wait had been worthwhile; "The Future" is less immediate than its predecessor, but just as rewarding.

SXSW Exclusive: Greg Mottola Talks The Influence Of Steven Spielberg On 'Paul'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 16, 2011 4:06 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Yes, the buzz is now near deafening around "Paul," but not without good reason. The film is already playing like gangbusters in the U.K., home to the film's stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and over the weekend, the film unspooled to an enthusiastic reception at SXSW. In our review, we called the film funny, touching and rewarding, noting an inspiration from the works of Steven Spielberg, and that's no mere coincidence.

SXSW Review: 'New Jerusalem' A Hypnotic Film Experience About Friendship And Religion

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • March 16, 2011 2:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Despite a rather large and enthusiastic critical embrace of American neo-neo realism ("Wendy and Lucy," "Goodbye Solo," "Ballast," and a few others), there haven't been many (if any) new players entering the field. By contrast, mumblecore micro-indies are cropping up like corn, with young directors seizing the me-too attitude and grabbing shitty cameras to capture characters in apartments talking about relationships or focusing on their own inadequacies. Some are different, some are great, and like anything, you have to wade through the shit (which still get perplexing amounts of overenthusiastic quotes) in order to find the few artists pushing for something more. The neo-neo's are fewer in numbers but they're generally all worthwhile in some way, using their own brand of minimalism not to film conversations but to start them.

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