Friday, March 30, 2007

Need to get up to speed on The Sopranos before the final nine episodes? This is genius:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ugh, I'm way behind on everything. Here's a couple recent reviews I haven't gotten around to linking...



Monday, March 12, 2007

SXSW 2007

It’s been all documentaries for me so far. I guess I’ve grown increasingly risk-averse at film festivals, and it seems my odds are always much better with nonfiction. Maybe this is not the right attitude, but I figure somewhere in town right this minute there’s someone who feels exactly the opposite. So we cancel each other out. Go read his blog if you disagree with me. It’s probably called Mochacchino Molehill.


I kicked things off with Running with Arnold, a muckraking doc on Schwarzenegger’s run for California governor, the whole recall deal, the various scandals, and the notion of passing a constitutional amendment that would allow Arnold to become president. This was all very self-congratulatory fish-in-a-barrel stuff, complete with smug, sarcastic narration from Alec Baldwin, and really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Pumping Iron is a much more insightful look at the man, if the world needs such a thing.


It was all downhill after the day’s first selection and highlight of the fest so far, King of Kong. A simple tale of two men vying for the world’s record high score in Donkey Kong, but it contains multitudes. And millipedes. And Joust. But I don’t want to say too much about it; it’s getting a legit release from Picturehouse, so just go see it.

A somewhat less successful offering was Confessions of a Superhero, which is one of those rather queasy portraits of quirky folks that walks the line between poignant and exploitive and occasionally takes a drunken stumble over it. The focus is on four wannabe actors who make a (bad) living as characters on Hollywood Boulevard, posing for photos with tourists in exchange for tips. My favorite was Joe McQueen, once homeless, now the Hulk – a sweet-natured guy who feels the job is simply a gimmicky form of panhandling. Unfortunately, he has the least screen time, much of which is devoted to Christopher ‘Superman’ Dennis, a starstruck fellow whose apartment is a shrine to the Man of Steel; he’s an all-too-familiar type. Somewhat more interesting is Maxwell Allen, whose dark Batman persona appears to have taken a toll; he makes many cryptic (and some not-so-cryptic) references to a violent past, and it’s a little uneasy to watch.

The evening’s big event was the premiere of Manufacturing Dissent, which was something of a takedown of Michael Moore, although it was made by polite Canadians so it was nowhere near as obnoxious as the Arnold thing. Again, not much in the way of earth-shattering revelations unless you’re a blind worshipper of the big guy, but there is some satisfaction in seeing his own techniques turned against him.


This day brought Uncle Biz Osbloon from the Boston branch, arriving just barely in time for Hell on Wheels, the years-in-the-making chronicle of the fractious Austin roller derby scene. Biz said it best: it was like two years of a favorite reality series compressed into two hours (and, in fact, there was a reality series based on one of the leagues). The screening was a rather tense one, in that representatives of the warring factions were all present in the theater, so cheers would come from one side or the other, depending on what was happening onscreen. I kept my eye on the exits. I guess it’s mostly water under the bridge now, as many of the participants were on hand at the after party at Emo’s.

Tonight, we plan to break the docu-trend with the premiere of Judd Apatow’s new comedy Knocked Up at the Paramount.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

This is sort of brilliant and quite possibly insane:

Dylan Hears a Who

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wild Hogs

The Dead Girl

Days of Glory