Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

SXSW Preview: Comedy, DIY, VOD, Critics

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 13, 2009 at 5:07AM

True confession: I am a SXSW newbie. While I've visited Austin, I have never attended this fest, which opens Friday with the Apatowish bromance I Love You, Man, which seems to be a perfect fit for the hip younger groove of SXSW.
0

Alexanderposter-(2)

True confession: I am a SXSW newbie. While I've visited Austin, I have never attended this fest, which opens Friday with the Apatowish bromance I Love You, Man, which seems to be a perfect fit for the hip younger groove of SXSW.

2009 is the first year for new fest director Janet Pierson, who said she would build on what former director Matt Dentler did before, and hasn't missed a beat. Here's a run-down of panels and a link to YouTube's SXSW trailers. I'm not only looking forward to Universal's Bruno footage and Sam Raimi's horror flick Drag Me to Hell, but the Seth Rogen comedy Observe and Report: even if the trailer looks kinda lame, Rogen is the real deal. GreenCine posts a SXSW preview and podcast with South By vets Aaron Hollis and Alison Wilmore.

Ilove45523731

Finally, SXSW is best-known for debuting such DIY/mumblecore filmmakers as Lynn Shelton (My Effortless Brilliance), the Duplass brothers (The Puffy Chair) and Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy). As these filmmakers continue to support each other creatively, and appear in each other's films, my question is: when do they break out and reach their next phase of wider acceptance? Shelton's Sundance hit Humpday would seem to be the best candidate for that (starring Mark Duplass), along with the Duplass brothers' currently filming untitled Marisa Tomei comedy, which Fox Searchlight would not have backed without some sense of its commerciality.

Unlikely to break out in a significant way--as IFC plans to launch the film direct-to-VOD as it debuts at the fest--is Alexander the Last, SXSW auteur Joe Swanberg's latest hand-held up-close-and-personal look at the lives of several characters. Interesting that IFC is not opting to release Alexander the Last in theaters.


Alexander the Last starts out strong, and Swanberg gets great performances from his actors, who all collaborated improvisationally to build characters and scenes. But Swanberg is no Mike Leigh (or even Lynn Shelton). Things get interesting when stage actress Jess Weixler (Teeth) becomes too intimately engaged with costar Barlow Jacobs while her husband is on tour; Jane Adams is terrific as her director, presumably modeled a bit on Swanberg himself. But when the actress's husband (musician Justin Rice) turns up, the whole souffle falls flat. The intimacy of this movie demands that we know exactly what everyone is thinking. If we don't, we're lost.

Here's Variety's review.

Alexander the Last is one of three mumblecore films screening at SXSW; they will also be available in 30 million homes via IFC Films' Festival Direct on-demand. The virtual fest launches in conjunction with the start of SXSW: along with Alexander the Last are Medicine for Melancholy, Paper Covers Rock plus the Australian comedy Three Blind Mice and the Bulgarian neo-noir Zift.

Neil Young Trunk Show

I look forward to seeing films in theaters with fans at South By. On top of covering the doc competition films as a jury member, I'd like to catch up with Sundance pics When You’re Strange, Sin Nombre, Moon, Adventureland, Passing Strange and Anvil! The Story of Anvil. On the premiere side, I will try to see Jonathan Demme's latest Neil Young performance doc, Neil Young Trunk Show; Daryl Wein's New York relationship movie Breaking Upwards; The Overbrook Brothers, another intimate flick, about a guy who brings his girlfriend home for the holidays; True Adolescents, starring Mark Duplass as a guy who at the behest of his aunt (Melissa Leo) takes her kid and a pal on a hiking trip; Goodbye Solo, from prolific and brainy New York director Ramin Bahrani; and St. Nick, David Lowery's adventure of runaway siblings.

Of the ones I've seen, I highly recommend Humpday; Toronto hit Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which is the best Iraq War movie made so far, and breaks out star Jeremy Renner; Anders Ostergaard’s Sundance doc Burma VJ, which just got picked up; Fox Searchlight's romantic dramedy 500 Days of Summer, starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Ondi Timor's profile of dot.com millionaire Josh Harris, We Live in Public; and Boston film critic Gerald Peary's For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, an all-too timely documentary about the birth, rise and seeming demise of film critics, from Andy Sarris and Molly Haskell and the rise of the auteur theory to Pauline "Raising Kane" Kael and her Paulettes. Peary will also moderate a panel on the health of film critics Saturday.

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Festivals, SXSW


E-Mail Updates