SXSW 2013

Episode 190 – Frances Ha / Before Midnight

In Episode 190 of Moviewallas we discuss the delightful Frances Ha and the sublimely brilliant Before Midnight.

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– Frances Ha

– Before Midnight

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Visit www.moviewallas.com for reviews, articles, film festival coverage and more!

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Episode 185 – Trance / Evil Dead / The Company You Keep

In this Episode of the Moviewallas Podcast, we talk about:

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– Trance

– Evil Dead

– The Company You Keep

Play

Visit www.moviewallas.com for reviews, articles, film festival coverage and more!

– Email us: mail@moviewallas.com
– Join the Facebook community: facebook.com/moviewallas
– Follow us on Twitter: @moviewallas
– Subscribe to the Podcast: iTunes Store / Other Podcast Clients 
– iPhone App: iTunes
– Android App: Android Market
– Get free email updates Sign-up form

 

Episode 183 – Olympus Has Fallen / Spring Breakers / Admission

This episode of the Moviewallas podcast includes reviews of:

olympus_has_fallen Admission-Poster Spring breakers

– Olympus Has Fallen

– Spring Breakers

– Admission

Play

Visit www.moviewallas.com for reviews, articles, film festival coverage and more!

– Email us: mail@moviewallas.com
– Join the Facebook community: facebook.com/moviewallas
– Follow us on Twitter: @moviewallas
– Subscribe to the Podcast: iTunes Store / Other Podcast Clients 
– iPhone App: iTunes
– Android App: Android Market
– Get free email updates Sign-up form

Downloaded | SXSW 2013

Back in the year 2000, when the rest of the world for worrying about the Y2K bug, we were making the decision to get a broadband connection to enable us faster access to the worldwide web.  A big driver of this decision was a new service we had discovered called Napster which enabled us to share music that we had purchased with our friends.  More importantly it gave us access to a world of music we had never been exposed to.  Imagine my delight then when at this year’s SXSW, the movie Downloaded was playing.   Welcome to one of my favorite films of the SXSW 2013 Film festival.

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Downloaded written and directed by Alex Winter (yes, that Alex Winter of Bill S Preston fame – Bill and Ted) focuses on the advent of digital media sharing, including the rise of game-changing company Napster and controversial pioneers Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The digital revolution ultimately created a technology paradigm shift and upended the music industry.   This great documentary has insights from well known music artists and figures within the music industry including: The Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Noel Gallagher, Henry Rollins, former Sony Music Chairman, Don Ienner, former record producer and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and Hilary Rosen, former CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.

Alex Winter masterfully documents an account of a time and events that in my mind changed history.  More importantly he has shared the profile of a young Sean Fanning who has previously been portrayed as an anarchist as a thoughtful and rather lonely young boy who just wanted to push and understand the boundaries of the technology of the time.  In addition, we see a very different Sean Parker to the one portrayed in last years hit The Social Network.  What particularly resonated with me through the entire movie was the story of the genius young minds behind Napster and what motivated them and it’s not always what you may think it was.

Watching a group of brilliant young minds come together and create something that not only changed the public perception of what they were willing to pay for and which ultimately brought the music industry as it had been for years to it’s knees but also how these young men defend themselves against corporations is fascinating.  This is a David vs. Goliath story that is definitely worth a watch.

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The biggest treat for me came during the Q and A after the movie when we got to meet Alex, Winter and both the Seans in person.  The interaction between the three and especially the Seans just solidified how brilliantly Winter had captured the essence of these incredibly talented young men.  If you have any interest in music, entrepreneurialism, dot com or milestones in history, this is a must see documentary

 

 

Improvement Club | SXSW 2013

Choreographer/Dancer/Writer/Director Dayna Hanson brings us Improvement Club – a hybrid feature film that uses dance and music to tell a story of the exhilaration and humiliation of making art in America today. When their New York gig falls through, a ragtag, avant-garde performance group with a political message struggles to find their audience– and the motivating force behind their work.   This mockumentary includes Hanson’s live, dance-driven rock musical inspired by the American Revolution, GLORIA’S CAUSE and traces the fictional creation of the actual musical and choreographed dances. Their desperate desire to express themselves takes the Seattle-based ensemble into the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest on a surreal pursuit of trust, togetherness, and the true meaning of creativity.

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This is a great example of life imitating art as we get a sense of what seems like an autobiographical account of Hanson’s personal struggles as an actor.  The film follows the performance group as they present their art for critics and audiences who just don’t seem to understand how Avant-garde they really are and don’t really appreciate what they are doing.

I must say as I was watching the movie I did find myself questioning what exactly I was supposed to be getting out of the movie as the narrative cleverly dissolves into some experimental dance numbers which are quite entertaining at times. Incredible direction and clever camera angles kept me engaged enough to follow the film to completion when I realized that the joke is really on us as the audience, surely the question this movie is asking us “Are we ready for this?”  I especially appreciated the fact that the score for the movie is integrated and comes from the real band playing in the movie.

Ultimately I came away with a sense of the trials and tribulations that many such performers must face on a daily basis, the constant battle between the desire to follow you H-art or get a real job that pays a decent wage.  If you are a fan of dance or alternative performance or just an alternative movie, make sure you view this one.

This is a great example of life imitating art as we get a sense of what seems like an autobiographical account of Hanson’s personal struggles as an actor.  The film follows the performance group as they present their art for critics and audiences who just don’t seem to understand how Avant-garde they really are and don’t really appreciate what they are doing.

I must say as I was watching the movie I did find myself questioning what exactly I was supposed to be getting out of the movie as the narrative cleverly dissolves into some experimental dance numbers which are quite entertaining at times. Incredible direction and clever camera angles kept me engaged enough to follow the film to completion when I realized that the joke is really on us as the audience, surely the question this movie is asking us “Are we ready for this?”  I especially appreciated the fact that the score for the movie is integrated and comes from the real band playing in the movie.

Ultimately I came away with a sense of the trials and tribulations that many such performers must face on a daily basis, the constant battle between the desire to follow you H-art or get a real job that pays a decent wage.  If you are a fan of dance or alternative performance or just an alternative movie, make sure you view this one.

The SXSW Show

SXSW logo

 

In this special Episode of Moviewallas we talk about the 2013 SXSW Film Festival.

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Including discussion of the following movies:

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Spring breakersMuchAdo

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– Trance

Evil Dead

– We Cause Scenes

– Before Midnight

– Spring Breakers

– Much Ado About Nothing

– Don Jon

Tiny

– Drinking Buddies

– Downloaded

– A Teacher

For more SXSW 2013 coverage visit:  http://blog.moviewallas.com/category/film-festivals/sxsw-2013/ and www.facebook.com/moviewallas

Fede Alvarez and the cast of Evil Dead

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Director Danny Boyle discusses the movie Trance

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Director Joss Whedon and the cast of Much Ado About Nothing

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The cast and crew of Drinking Buddies

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Harmony Korine and the cast of Spring Breakers

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Director Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tony Danza talking about Don Jon

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Much Ado About Nothing | SXSW 2013

Is it already time for yet another rendition of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing I hear you ask?  Well, when that version is a slick and stylish black and white contemporary one directed by Joss Whedon (yes, the same JW who just directed last year’s blockbuster The Avengers), one should take note and take note we did on day 2 of SXSW 2013. The lines were long for this one and despite the fact that there was a torrential downpour in Austin; we waited patiently in a line that wrapped multiple times outside the building and around a long corner.

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I wasn’t disappointed by this exquisitely directed light and frothy, bubbly and joyful movie, which at its core remains a romantic comedy that explores barriers that stand in the way of love.  Shot in 12 days at Whedon’s own house that was designed by his architect wife and co producer Kai Cole, (whilst he should have been on vacation with his family following the wrap of Avengers), I was drawn into the modern day world where Beatrice and Benedick hate, question and then fall in love with each other.

William Shakespeare’s words from yonder year come alive quickly and although I think one could be easily distracted by Ye Olde English and some may even find the juxtaposition between non-relevant language (anachronisms to the hilt) a little jarring and non believable, once you allow yourself to be immersed into the story and the great acting by a terrific cast, you will quickly see that this latest edition of Much Ado is a testament to the fact that the human condition stays the same even though time and technology move on.

My only criticism of the movie (and I had to dig deep for this mind you) is that at times, some scenes (especially those at the “Police station”) came across a little too much like an SNL skit and at times the movie felt a little precious and over stylized.

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Much ado About Nothing Panel at SXSW2013

Following the movie, we were treated to a Q and A with a panel of 13 of the cast members and Mr. Whedon himself.  As you can imagine, most of the audience were die hard Whedonites who asked questions about how the movie was cast and shot and how much they love his work and so on, but it was most touching when a young lady stood up and nervously stated that she had promised herself that if she ever got to talk to the man himself, she would tell him how thankful she was for all his work through the years and how much watching his movies through some hard times had helped and inspired her personally.  She really tried to hold it together but was extremely emotional and remarkably, even though I rolled my eyes to start with, I along with most of the room felt a little lump in my throat as she sat down having shared a very heartfelt and very personal outpouring; aahh, the power of film.  Yes, Joss Whedon, I too am thankful that a new generation of moviegoers will get to experience Shakespeare albeit in a non-conventional way and even if one of them is inspired to pick up an original version of this wonderful play, that would be an achievement.  PS I loved the women’s wardrobe so if you are reading this Joss, please let me know where it came from.

Much Ado About Nothing stars the talented Amy Acker and the very charming Alex Denisof in the lead roles with a superb supporting cast.  Release is planned for June 2013

Visit the official movie site  to watch the trailer

 

Tiny | SXSW 2013

I’ve often been inspired to declutter my life and get rid of things I don’t use, but like most others, I always find a good excuse to hang on to something a little longer.   I’ve often read articles on Yahoo about people who go one step further and actually decide not only to declutter their lives, but also to give up their square footage for a “tiny house”, and although I think this would be a wonderful idea, I do like going into my walk in closet which is often bigger than some of these tiny houses.  Oh and if you weren’t aware a “Tiny” house is defined as a home less than approximately 200 feet and usually built on wheels to avoid some regulations

I was inspired then to watch the movie Tiny which is a documentary about home, and how we find it.  The film follows one couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” from scratch, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than the average parking space.

Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream.

After a decade of travel, Christopher Smith approaches his 30th birthday and decides it’s time to plant some roots. He impulsively buys a 5-acre plot of land in hopes of fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a home in the mountains of Colorado. With the support of his girlfriend, Merete, he sets out to build a Tiny House from scratch despite having no construction experience.

From 1970 to 2010, the average size of a new house in America has almost doubled. Yet in recent years, many are redefining their American Dream to focus on flexibility, financial freedom, and quality of life over quantity of space. These self-proclaimed “Tiny Housers” live in homes smaller than the average parking space, often built on wheels to bypass building codes and zoning laws. TINY takes us inside six of these homes stripped to their essentials, exploring the owners’ stories and the design innovations that make them work.

When Christopher decides to build his own Tiny House, he dives into the tension between settling down and staying adrift, between preserving a parcel of land that he loves and developing it. Merete begins to ask her own questions about settling down, and both walk away with unexpected lessons about the meaning of home, the importance of place, and the personal impact of sticking with a project that became bigger than they’d ever imagined.

I really enjoyed the movie not just for the fact that it takes us through the process of how to build a tiny house but why people decide to go this route and also what home represents to different people.   The film also raised a lot of questions in my own mind about living off the grid (as these people often do, since the insurance and laws governing tiny houses are different to those which traditional homeowners abide by).  Despite the fact that I found Tiny to be a little preachy at times, I found this to be an entertaining and educational documentary that certainly made me question the way I choose to live.

TINY is a coming-of-age story for a generation that is more connected, yet less tied-down than ever, and for a society redefining its priorities in the face of a changing financial and environmental climate. More than anything, TINY invites its viewers to dream big and imagine living small.

Tiny is written, directed, produced and stars Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller.

We Cause Scenes | SXSW 2013

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I don’t think that we have discussed it on the show, but all three Moviewallas have been doing a bit of Improv lately. So it was rather serendipitous that upon arriving at SXSW 2013 today, a young man walked up to me and stuffed a flyer into my hand for the world premiere of We Cause Scenes on opening night of the film festival.

Needless to say, Rashmi and I are very excited and will be sure to post back with thoughts after the movie.

Downloaded – An exclusive clip | SXSW 2013

One of the highlights of this year’s SXSW festival in Austin is going to be the movie Downloaded.

DOWNLOADED is directed and produced by Alex Winter and co-produced by Maggie Malina.

Several years in the making, DOWNLOADED focuses on the advent of digital file sharing, including the rise of game-changing company Napster and its controversial pioneers Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The digital revolution ultimately created a technology paradigm shift, upended the music business and musical artists and changed the world.

Winter filmed many participants in this saga besides Fanning and Parker, including artists such as Noel Gallagher, DJ Spooky (who also did the music for the film), Mike D from the Beastie Boys and Henry Rollins to name a few; label heads including Don Ienner, Chris Blackwell, Seymour Stein and other industry executives, government officials and leaders in the world of civil and digital rights, such as Grateful Dead lyricist, poet and essayist and “cyberlibertarian” activist JP Barlow and Harvard law professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig.