Saturday, March 14, 2009

SXSW Overview: Day 2

The South by Southwest Film Festival is now in full swing down in Austin, with films screening all day today and well into the night. The fest officially began yesterday, but today marks its first full day in operation. The Reel Shorts 1 program has a few goodies, and there are a few feature premieres worth noting as well. Here's a brief look at whats showing at SXSW today:


45365 (Dir. Bill and Turner Ross):
Buzz may be light on this one now, but trust me 45365 is not only one of the finest docs of SXSW 2009, it ranks right up there with the very best of the year. I've already posted a full review, but I want to get the word out. This mosaic of small town life in Sidney, Ohio is a gem worth discovering. Don't miss this one. GRADE: A
Showtimes:
12:30 PM, Saturday March 14th - Austin Convention Ctr (World Premiere), 2:30 PM, Sunday March 15th - Alamo Lamar 3, 2:00 PM, Wednesday March 18th - Alamo Lamar 3 .


A'MARE (Dir. Martina Amati):
There's something delicately beautiful about this short about two kids whose fishing trip yields an unexpected discovery. Amati provides a fresh perspective and pulls off a nice last minute switch that that is both surprising and profound. Not many films can pack such a last second emotional gut punch in 15 minutes, but A'Mare leaves a deep impression. GRADE: A-
Showtimes: 1:30 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 1, 11:00 AM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Lamar 12:30 PM, Thursday March 19th - Alamo Lamar 1.


BEST WORST MOVIE (Dir. Michael Paul Stephenson):
I've already given this one a pretty enthusiastic review, but it bears repeating. Michael Paul Stephenson's tongue in cheek doc about "worst movie ever made" Troll 2, and the cult phenomenon behind it, is one of the highlights of the festival. GRADE: A-
Showtimes: 9:30 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 1 (World Premiere), 4:00 PM, Monday March 16th - Paramount , 9:30 PM, Friday March 20th - Austin Convention Ctr .


COUNTERTRANSFERENCE (Dir. Madeleine Olnek):
This award winning short (whose director is also the author of one of my acting text books) is a mostly improvised comedy about a woman whose deep seeded aggression issues are compounded by her unorthodox and supremely unhelpful psychiatrist. Rambles a bit at times (but that tends to happen when dialogue is completely improvised), but overall it's quite funny. GRADE: B+
Showtimes
: 11:00 AM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 1, 1:30 PM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Lamar 1, 11:00 AM, Wednesday March 18th - Alamo Lamar 1.


FISH OUT OF WATER: THE NIGHTMARE (Dir. Ben Barnes):
This comedic short about a fish puppet who enlists the help of his human buddies to stop a recurring nightmare, is entertaining enough, but there's really not a lot going on here. Take it for what it is. GRADE: B-
Showtimes:
11:00 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Ritz 2 , 11:00 PM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Ritz 2, 11:00 PM, Friday March 20th - Alamo Ritz 2.


IDA Y VUELTA (ROUND TRIP) (Dir. David Martin-Porras):
This one is my favorite short of the festival so far. It's a brief but searing look at a mother and son who are forced to face deeply buried issues when they are detained at an airport. Martin-Porras handles the difficult subject matter mostly through subt
ext and inference, packs a powerful emotional punch. GRADE: A
Showtimes:
1:30 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 1, 11:00 AM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Lamar 1, 2:30 PM, Thursday March 19th - Alamo Lamar 1.


I LIVE IN THE WOODS (Dir. Max Winston):
For sheer audacious originality, look no further than this wonderfully bizarre animated short about a gleeful redneck and his bloody romp through the forest, culminating in a violent confrontation with America's God. It may seem unspeakably weird at first, but there's a lot going on beneath the surface here, as the film examine's mankind's attempt to kill God and replace him with himself. GRADE: B
Showtimes: 11:00 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Ritz 2 , 11:00 PM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Ritz 2 , 11:00 PM, Friday March 20th - Alamo Ritz 2.


JOHN WAYNE HATED HORSES (Dir. Andrew T. Betzer):
Here's a curious little oddity that I'm not quite sure what to make of. It centers around a father and son whose ideas of masculinity are vastly different. The father is a hard nosed military type, while the boy shows homosexual tendencies. It's a scant 10 minutes, which really doesn't seem like enough time to really explore the issues it raises. Just when it feels like it's getting started, it ends. I would like to have seen more, it seems like a good idea that just didn't really get fleshed out. GRADE: C+
Showtimes:
1:30 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 1 , 11:00 AM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Lamar 1, 2:30 PM, Thursday March 19th - Alamo Lamar 1.


MAKE-OUT WITH VIOLENCE (Dir. The Deagol Brothers):
Here's another one of my SXSW favorites, about three brothers who discover the body of a missing friend that has been turned into a blood sucking zombie. Sounds bizarre, and it is, but it's actually quite beautiful and charming. I'll be hammering out a full review later today. Until then, here's the GRADE: A-
Showtimes: 8:00 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Ritz 2 , 9:00 PM, Tuesday March 17th - Alamo Lamar 1, 9:30 PM, Saturday March 21st - Alamo Lamar 3.


SCATTERBRAINED! (Dir. Joe Avella, Ed Boe):
This amateurish short film may be intentionally goofy, but that doesn't make it very funny. Made like an educational video warning against the affliction of scatterbrained-ness, this comes off more like a homemade Youtube video than anything else. Which, in all actuality, it is. You may enjoy it if you're into that kind of thing, but it doesn't do much for me. GRADE: D+
Showtimes: 11:00 PM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Ritz 2 , 11:00 PM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Ritz 2, 11:00 PM, Friday March 20th - Alamo Ritz 2.


THAT'S MY MAJESTY (Dir. Emily Carmichael):
Playful 3 minute short film about about a princess from another world who arrives on Earth to crown the queen of her planet - an executive who is quite late for a meeting. Not much going on here, but it's cute. Call it Enchanted-lite. GRADE: B+
Showtimes: 11:00 AM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 1, 1:30 PM, Monday March 16th - Alamo Lamar 1, 11:00 AM, Wednesday March 18th - Alamo Lamar 1.


THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (Dir. Jocelyn Cammack):
This full length British doc about a trio of active elderly women, 101 year old former sex therapist, Rose, 102 year old peace activist Hetty (pictured above), and 87 year old former Communist party member Alison, mostly seems like the kind of thing you can catch on PBS any given day of the week, but the subjects really speak for themselves. They're an inspiring bunch, even if the film occasionally lacks focus and energy. GRADE: B
Showtimes:
11:30 AM, Saturday March 14th - Alamo Lamar 2 (North American Premiere), 11:15 AM, Tuesday March 17th - Alamo Lamar 2, 4:30 PM, Wednesday March 18th - Alamo Ritz 2.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I'm enjoying your coverage! Lots of interesting things to watch. Except Trolls 2. hehe.