>> Some Thoughts on SXSW 2010 – Part One

This was my first year at SXSW, not to mention my first year to cover the fest for a couple of major outlets (Cinematical and Sci-Fi Squad aka SFS).  This list is partly for my own posterity’s sake so I can have an account of all the stuff I saw there, as well as my thoughts.

In order…

Earthling — Watched this alien invasion flick for SFS on a screener.  Has a decent idea at its core, but I found it overly confusing and amateurish.  I decided not to review it, because I didn’t want to slam a film during its debut, but Murphy’s Law dictated that this would be the ONE film where the filmmakers pursued me for feedback/promotion even days after its final screening.  I ended up having to write a letter to the producer basically saying “sorry, didn’t like it” which was a first for me.  I did pass the screener off to Jacob Hall, with the hope that he would like it and write it up.  Is it telling that he hasn’t done it either?

Wake — I went to a press screening for this one, where I was graciously served the worst free piece of pie ever given to a human for consumption.  It didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the movie.  I heard some grumblings about this one during the fest, but I thought it was okay.  It’s very Twilight Zone (and very, VERY Carnival of Souls), and it’s well-shot, well-acted.  Maybe I gave it a pass because it was better than the insufferable Ben Stiller “comedy” Greenberg — the last press screening that I attended.  I liked it just fine.

Dogtooth — People liked this one a lot more than I did, which is not to say that I hated it or anything, but it’s so strange that it didn’t really click with me on any kind of personal level.  I wasn’t prepared for how sexual the movie is, that’s for sure.  Out of all the films at SXSW, I feel like I need to see this one again before I can really wrap my brain around it.

World’s Largest — This was the cutest doc I saw at SXSW.  Lots of interviews with people living in towns trying to claim the World’s Largest something-or-other.  There’s a real layer of the bittersweet in it, as it warmly examines the slow extinction of the American small town.  Very enjoyable.

Tucker & Dale Versus Evil — This is the film most likely to become a break-out cult hit someday.  I have a lot of friends that would love this send-up of the hillbilly horror subgenre, and for good reason — it’s very funny.

Cannibal Girls — Stood in line for an eternity with Brian Salisbury for this one.  I don’t know what I was expecting from it, but it’s basically a cult classic that has no cult and isn’t a classic.  It’s getting a blu-ray so maybe that will change things.  The bad guy looks like Jim Henson dressed as a magician and anytime he was on-screen I loved it.

Myth of the American Sleepover — My full review is on Cinematical.  I was glad to hear that this was a fave of the fest for many besides myself.  I really did fall in love with this movie.

Saturday Night — Going into SXSW, this was the movie I wanted to see the most.  SNL runs like a well-oiled machine, basically.  The work seems fun but also totally 100% exhausting.  Also, Bill Hader does a great Willem Dafoe.

Part Two coming tomorrow…