Last day of my adventures at SXSW. It’s been a great week so far and looking forward to the schedule today.
All My Friends are Funeral Singers with a live soundtrack by Califone is the first film on the agenda. I love this concept of putting a live performance to accompany a movie. It takes what could have been a so - so film to another level. This story is about a psychic reader who uses the ghosts who live in her house to channel the energy. It’s a house full of people dressed in white of various ages, gender and time periods. They talk, bicker, make love, but they are like family to the woman. Every night at 3 AM, a white light appears and the ghosts want to travel to it, but they are trapped. They start acting up and are making the woman a bit edgy until she can figure out how to let them pass. The film was written and directed by Tim Rutili.
Thunder Soul is the documentary of the legendary high school band director Conrad O. Jackson, who in the 1970’s guided the Kashmere Stage Band in Houston into an international funk sensation. The original band members decide to reunite after 30 years to do a concert in honor of Jackson, which was performed a couple days before his death.
When You Are Strange – A Film About The Doors by Tom Di Cillo utilized video of the early days of the band. The story of Jim Morrison and the craziness and reputation of the group is well-known to anyone familiar with the late 60’s and early 70’s. Included is a film made by Morrison starring himself called The Hitchhiker. There is lots of footage of Morrison’s documented drug use and how it affected their shows and work. Well done, but I wished they closed the movie with one of the Doors performances.
Some Days Are Better Than Others was as small film by Matt McCormick about 3 people who in the course of the lives feel the ups and downs of daily life. One aimless young man works temp jobs and knows how to get through the day eating free and cheap. A young woman applies to be on a reality TV show and finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. A woman working at a Goodwill-type store finds an urn of child ashes and obsesses over the fact that it was left. It’s one of those movies that nothing really happens even at the end.
Saturday Night started as the graduation project for actor James Franco’s film school. It looks at the backstage process of creating a show for Saturday Night Live. John Malkovich is the guest star of the episode of the week and the writers must develop pitches to present and then develop into skits. About 50 will be submitted and only 8-9 will be chosen. It’s a long process, requiring little to no sleep as the writers keep themselves laughing. The fact they do this week in and week out is fascinating.
The best film of the entire week-long movie fest was Tucker and Dale vs. Evil by Eli Craig and written by Craig and Morgan Jurgenson. It stars Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk as a couple of hillbillies who are going to their “vacation” home in the woods. It’s really a rundown shack but to them it has potential. On the way they encounter some college kids who apparently see too many scary movies because they are paranoid and think the hillbillies are murderous nut jobs. A series of misunderstood events cause people to start having these gruesome demises. It’s incredibly funny and one you should not miss when it comes to the Dallas International Film Festival if you live in the area.
I can’t believe it’s all over. Glad my last movie was Tucker and Dale. I will be glad to get back to my usual movie screening group, but will miss Austin. (Article by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)