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Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013
The Lords of Salem made its debut at SXSW but might not have been what Rob Zombie fans have been waiting for.

“Half of you will love this movie and half of you will hate it.” That was pretty much the extent of Rob Zombie’s introduction to the US premiere of The Lords of Salem and, honestly, he was right. Not being a big horror fan, I had serious trepidation about walking into the Topfer Theatre on Monday at midnight to see Zombie’s long-awaited fifth feature film. Waiting in line to enter the show, I found myself surrounded by serious horror aficionados and diehard Rob Zombie fans. They told me that I was likely to both scream and laugh during the show and that, yes, I might just have nightmares.


Unfortunately, it seems Rob Zombie was right. I didn’t hate the movie, but it seemed that many in the Topfer were less-than-enthused about The Lords of Salem. It took a long time for the story to take off and even after it did, it didn’t seem to go as far as it could to meet its potential. Still, the film had a more arthouse air about it than fan favorite House of 1000 Corpses and offered some pretty stunning visuals. Instead of relying on the constant gore that many fans seemed to be expecting, Zombie used subtle effects that made the film play more like the am I going crazy? narrative it’s supposed to be than a hardcore gore film.


Tagged as: sxsw, sxsw 2013
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Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013
The animated short is the perfect vehicle for filmmakers who want to reach audiences in a fascinating, often whimsical way while making substantial technical and artistic advancements. This year's SXSW animated shorts selections don't disappoint on either counts.

Animated Shorts, Often Underrated, Are a Highlight of This Year’s SXSW Film


The animated short provides rich opportunities for filmmakers who want to tell short-form stories that can be just as philosophical as they are whimsical. This year’s SXSW animated shorts selection is proof of just how diverse this form of storytelling can be. The animated shorts program premiered on 3/9 and will run again on Tues. 3/12 at 4:15 PM at the Stateside Theatre and Weds. 3/13 at 9:30 PM at the Vimeo Theater.


Tagged as: sxsw, sxsw 2013
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Monday, Mar 11, 2013
A solid vehicle for the talents of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Steve Buscemi, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will open in theaters across the US, UK, and Canada on March 15.

As a child in the ‘80s, I loved watching David Copperfield on TV because his high-tech tricks were a truly magical experience. Even today I can remember some of his more amazing feats. It’s precisely this sense of wonder and joy that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone plays on in order to draw its audience. The film premiered to an enthusiastic audience on the first night of SXSW Film 2013 at the Paramount Theatre. Those who showed up for the sold-out premier were treated to an introduction by John Francis Daley, complete with the on-stage antics of Jim Carrey.


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Friday, Oct 12, 2012
The Iranian director sets his latest film in Japan (in Japanese) with newcomers. The pervasive discomfort throughout manages to linger after the film ends, but the viewer is left to determine the conclusion.

With Close-Up (1990) Criterion blu-ray edition sitting on my shelf, unopened, and Certified Copy (2010) in my Netflix queue, unwatched, I decided I should still go see Abbas Kiarostami’s newest movie, Like Someone in Love at the press screening at the 50th New York Film Festival. What I decided is that the film will play well with an audience whose taste is for independent or art films and it’s rather quick ending may leave people guessing. On the flip side, this abrupt ending may leave a more casual movie-goer wondering why so much tension is left unresolved.


Though Kiarostami selected relatively novice actors for the roles of Akiko (Rin Takanashi) and Takashi (Tadashi Okuno), and the Iranian director made the film in Japanese (set in Japan), he still ensured his film works on a universal level. The actors don’t necessarily need to speak, they wear their hearts are on their sleeves so to speak. Early on, we see Akiko in a taxi listen to voice mail messages from her grandmother and, already knowing the sad decision she has made, we sympathize with the guilt weighing down her heart.


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Friday, Sep 14, 2012
Day five of our TIFF coverage features the latest Terrence Malick film To the Wonder and David Ayer's End of Watch.

To the Wonder
USA—Dir. Terrence Malick


Terrence Malick’s latest opus is a gorgeous, elliptical, dreamy collection of images, sounds and stray thoughts, murmurs of poetry and anguish, scenes of unrecoverable silence, all fitted into a loose-fitting narrative about a man (Ben Affleck), the two women he fails to love enough to make commitment work (Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko), and a Priest who has lost his faith (Javier Bardem). A darkly thoughtful meditation on trust, loneliness, freedom, individuality, and the calamitous anxiety of doubt, all interwoven with suggestions of man’s inability to live in harmony with his environment, To The Wonder is brimming with an existentialist, Kierkegaardian spirit. “How should we live?”, indeed.


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