SXSW 2010 - Day 7

Thursday is all about the Paramount Theater. Four movies - one venue. Watch one, go stand in line for the next. Fortunately, the lines are not as crazy for everything before the screening of The Runaways.

Ride, Rise, Roar was directed by David Hillman Curtis and follows the creative process of the concert tour of David Bryne. With no new album to promote, Byrne decides to interpret his music in concert with dance. Not the Bob Fosse, You Think You Can Dance sort of showbiz dance. The movement is more free form and organic, using 2 women and 1 man. Utilizing several choreographers and having everyone dressed in white, Byrne’s unique style of music works well in beats that make it hard to sit still in your seats. And not in a bad way. But then again, I am a Byrne fan.

Richard Garriott - Man on a Mission was directed by Mike Woolf and tells the story of Garriott, the son of an astronaut, who uses his wealth from being a game developer to buy a seat on a Russian international flight to a space station. It would seem a conceit to think one would pay 30 million dollars just to fly in space, but this movie explores the practicality of developing commercial resources to help continue the space program. Garriott started Space Adventures to offer space flights to those rich enough to pursue this dream, which requires a year of training before going up. They also offer a G3 plane that will take a person up to experience a no-gravity situation. They were giving away a flight at the screening as a prize. Plus, they handed out cool patches for the International Space Program.

Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm was directod by Jacob Hatley. He was working on a music video for Helm’s first solo album in 25 years when he came up a week before the shoot and just filmed everything. Helm is a great storyteller and at 70 years old can still play drums and sing. Anyone who is familiar with his work with The Band will appreciate this film about an Americana legend of a musician. He had suffered throat cancer and didn’t think he could sing anymore. His solo project Dirt Famer won a Grammy. This is an intimate portrait of an artist that doesn’t utilize the typical documentary process of interviewing people to complete an image. You see Helm for all his quirks and foibles and appreciate a great treasure.

The Runaways is the music-filled coming of age story of Joan Jett and Cheri Currie of the break through all girl rock band of the 70’s. Directed and written by Floria Sigismondi, it centers on the “salt and pepper” pair in their short-lived adventure. Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart nail their spot-on performances, which they culled from the real life pair that helped consult on the film. The director, Cheri Currie (who is now a chainsaw artist in California), Fanning, and Stewart were in attendance and did a Q&A after the movie. Fanning is all grown up, and her protrayal of Currie will help people stop thinking of her as a child actress. Stewart looks just as awkard and uncomfortable in person as she does in most of her movie characters.

Monsters was presented by SX Fantastic of the Fantastic Fest. (It’s curious to note that the man who runs Fantastic Fest also owns the Alamo theaters where the SXSW runs the screenings). Monsters was directed and written by Gareth Edwards and the film was just finished the Wednesday before SXSW started. The Earth has been “infected” with large destructive parasites that developed when a US space ship returns to earth carrying lifeform samples from another planet crashlands in Mexico. A photographer from a big newspaper is charged with getting the publisher’s daughter out of Mexico through the infected zone to the US. Despite their adventures traveling and escaping these squid-like creatures with multiple appendages that can put an oceanliner on a mountain top, this is basically a love story. The movie just picked up a distribution deal with Magnolia Pictures. (Article by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)