ENJOY THE MOVIES
Holy gore hell. It's only March, and we already have at least two incredibly unique, extremely strange mind-fuck animated films that are definitely not for kids. Dash Shaw's Cryptozoo premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in January, and The Spine of Night just premiered at the SXSW Film Festival this month. (And let's not forget about that wacky puppet horror Frank & Zed from the Nightstream Film Festival last year.) These films are yet another reminder that animation is a medium, not just a genre, and can be used to tell any kind of story - including extremely violent, gory, not-for-kids stories that could only be realized with animation. Fresh from SXSW, The Spine of Night is an instant cult classic, find-it-on-VHS-anywhere-you-can-at-whichever-video-store-stocks-it, extra gnarly, mind-melting sensation. Just don't watch this sober.
You know that inner voice that always prevents you from doing the right thing? That always stops you from being your true self? What if you could learn to reject it and listen to yourself instead, staying true to who you really are. That is the concept behind Violet, a seemingly autobiographical film that marks the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Justine Bateman. This indie dramatic feature just premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival and it's one of the most creative films I caught during the virtual festival this year. It's set in Hollywood, following a development executive struggling with her life as this voice, literally voiced by Justin Theroux, keeps telling her how much she sucks and how she should just keep quiet and do her job just like she's told. Eventually, she learns to stop letting that voice control her and starts listening to herself.
"More often than not, a hero’s most epic battle is the one you never see; it’s the battle that goes on within him or herself." Love him or hate him, Kevin Smith is a fascinating guy and iconic filmmaker. Love him or hate him, he has made 13 movies (so far), created a podcast empire, and cemented himself in pop culture history as a famous fanboy. Like many of us, he started as a film lover. He always wanted to be a storyteller, but had no idea if he could ever be successful. After seeing Linklater's Slacker, off he went to the Vancouver Film School in the 1990s, where he met producer / filmmaker Scott Mosier, and the rest is history. Malcolm Ingram's new documentary Clerk, which just premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, take us through Smith's entire life, examining his legacy and many accomplishments – both as a filmmaker and as a person.
I'm just going to say this right up front: Ninjababy is one of the most creative, innovative films I've seen this year. This film rocks! For whatever foolish reasons, I was resistant to watching this one when it first premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival. Then I finally caught up with it at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, after many of my colleagues had been raving about it. I wasn't ready to be this blown away by how brilliant and innovative and progressive and hilarious it is. This is the kind of fresh, insightful filmmaking that the world needs more of. This is the kind of empathetic, thoughtful, and delightfully witty storytelling that will shape the next era of cinema. It's not what you're expecting, and yet it's so much fun, and so smart in every way as it goes on and confronts real issues of what it's like to be a woman. This is modern cinema at its best.
"The way he looks at people. It's like… he understands. He looks into your soul, and understands." Dogs, man, they're the best. I love dogs. I mean – I LOVE dogs. My favorite animal. Always the cuddliest. Always the cutest. Always your best friend. Always. We Don't Deserve Dogs is a new documentary film made by cinematographer / director Matthew Salleh; produced by Rose Tucker. It was set to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival this year, though it deserves to go well beyond just that festival. This film joins the pantheon of all-time great dog documentaries, including the likes of Los Reyes and the Netflix series Dogs. It is a huge breath of doggie heaven fresh air. I loved every last second of it, and can't wait to rewatch it whenever I need a boost. It's an extraordinary feel-good look at how amazing dogs are and how humans connect with them.
On this week's episode of The Golden Briefcase, Tim & Jeremy are joined by guest Josh Brunsting from CriterionCast.com to go through their latest picks of the week, the newest in DVD & Blu-ray releases, new trailers for Terrence Malick's To the Wonder and DreamWorks Animation's Turbo and much more. The main topic of the night was a recap with Josh of this past month's 2013 SXSW Film Festival held down in Austin, Texas, which just wrapped up (award winners here). Josh goes through some of his favorite films of the fest and also some that should be avoided in this full recap. Listen in for another excellent TGB episode!
The 2013 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas has wrapped up this weekend. Winners for the audience awards at the festival were unveiled, along with the jury prizes given out last week. The big winner - a film called Short Term 12, directed by Destin Cretton, whose feature debut was I Am Not a Hipster, one of my favorite films of last year. Short Term 12 took home the Grand Jury prize for Narrative Feature, and went on to win the Audience Award as well, a similar double win just like with Fruitvale at Sundance earlier this year. As for docs, Josh Greenbaum's The Short Game took home the audience award. Full lists below.
"I know what my thing is, and I'm going to enjoy doing it…" If you're lucky enough to be in Texas this week down at SXSW, this should be at the top of your must-see list. A trailer has debuted for the newest film from Austin-based filmmaker Emily Hagins (her last was My Sucky Teen Romance) called Grow Up, Tony Phillips. We highlighted the project before as a Kickstart This and our own Jeremy Kirk worked on the film down in Austin. Now it's ready to premiere at SXSW and here's the first trailer for it. Tony Vespe plays Tony Phillips, a high school senior obsessed with Halloween. This looks fantastic, I wish I was able to see it.
Every going to SXSW in Austin this March should consider themselves lucky, the line-up just keeps getting better. Yes, SXSW suckered me into writing yet another post about the films playing at their festival this year, but it's worth it. They just revealed an additional 15 films for a grand total of 133 features, consisting of 78 World Premieres, 13 North American Premieres, 9 U.S. Premieres, with 76 first-time directors. Among the final additions are James Ponsoldt's beloved Sundance favorite The Spectacular Now (my review), Zal Batmanglij's The East (my review), the Linsanity doc (Ben's review) and more. All 15 listed below.
Nine more exciting films added to the 2013 SXSW Film Festival line-up. Just last week, SXSW revealed their selection of competition, spotlight and premiere features playing this year. Today they've announced another nine additional films playing in the "Midnighter" category. For 20 years, the SXSW Midnighters section has embraced and hyped genre filmmaking from veterans and rookies alike, and this year continues in kind. A few of them are follow-ups from other fests, but they've got big premieres as well, including a film called Big Ass Spider! and Haunted, the latest from Cube/Splice director Vincenzo Natali. List below!
The official line-up for the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, held in Austin as part of the SXSW conference, was revealed today. SXSW announced 109 feature films playing in the festival, with some Sundance hold-overs, premieres, and plenty of surprises. They've got everyone from Richard Linklater to Jeff Nichols to Shane Carruth to Harmony Korine to Destin Daniel Cretton to Fede Alvarez to Emily Hagins to Eric Heisserer to Joss Whedon and just about everyone inbetween. Our own Jeremy Kirk is covering the festival. If you're attending or curious, there is an outstanding line-up of films to be found in the full 2013 selection below.
Did you hear about the "best action in decades"? It's the movie that had our very own Alex saying, "Holy shit I haven't seen an action movie this good in years!" and no one argued. The Raid: Redemption is without question the most talked about action movie in a long time. Deservedly so. Filled with wall-to-wall ass-kicking, it's setting a high water mark for any film of its ilk in the future. Luckily, we were able to sit down with director Gareth Evans along with Mike Shinoda and Joe Trapanese, who did the score for The Raid's US release. We chat about creating perfect "holy shit" moments as well as John Carpenter scores.