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by Ben Travers

13 Mar 2012

Killer Joe

If Day 1 was dominated by rain (damn weather) and hilarious horror (thank you Cabin in the Woods), then Day 2 of SXSW Film 2012 was the day of Killer Joe. Directed by fear master William Friedkin, Killer Joe actually shares a few things in common with Joss Whedon’s SXSW premiere from the night prior. They both play with elements of terror. They both infuse their thrillers with a twisted number of laughs. And they are both freaking great.

That being said, they’re also both made for very specific audiences. Mom, I know you’re reading this and I know you enjoy all kinds of films, but please, PLEASE don’t see either of these. You and your distaste for brutal, realistic violence depicted in perverse ways will not have fun. What a weirdo, am I right?

Luckily for Whedon, Friedkin & co., my mother wasn’t at SXSW. I doubt anyone like my mother is at SXSW, and if they are, these two films would not make their schedule.

by Faith Korpi

13 Mar 2012

SXSW curates 14 titles from Sundance to show at the festival each year, and as Safety Not Guaranteed was one of the most talked about films from that fest it was pretty inevitable it would be shown here. Hype however, breeds skepticism and I was side eyeing the heck out of the buzz surrounding this movie.

From a more-or-less rookie writer/director team, Safety Not Guaranteed is based on a Wanted Ad that became an internet meme. You really can’t fault me for being leery, can you?

by Faith Korpi

12 Mar 2012

Two things come to mind when I think of South by Southwest: “Everything is bigger in Texas” and “With great power comes great responsibility.” The former is the state motto and the latter… well, that’s Spiderman’s late Uncle Ben. In a city known for its love of movies there is arguably no greater city to host a film festival than Austin. But Film is merely one portion of SXSW, with its other two parts, Music and Interactive having grown exponentially over the last few years—the festival has now reached a “seemingly” unmanageable size. I say “seemingly” to be kind, when “obviously” would be more apt. Festival-goers who arrived on Friday waited an average of two hours in line for badge pickup. As you can still walk up to registration and purchase a badge, one can only assume there is no cap on attendance (how does that make sense?!). Hence Uncle Ben’s wisdom comes to mind—in spite of being one of the most exhilarating and enjoyable fests to attend, SXSW is hardly the best managed… to the point of being comical.

by Sachyn Mital

3 Nov 2011

Luke Wilson was in town for an MTV related New York Comic Con panel a day or two afterwards. Ben Stiller had just completed hosting Saturday Night Live the prior weekend. And Owen Wilson may have possibly been still lounging about following a New Yorker Festival appearance a few weeks back. So I presumed offhand that they would be amongst the “other members of the cast” reuniting with director Wes Anderson following the 10th anniversary screening of his most successful film The Royal Tenenbaums held at Lincoln Center as part of the NY Film Festival. As it turns out none of them were present. The actors participating in a Q&A alongside director Wes Anderson and his brother, Eric Chase Anderson, were Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston and the show-stealer, Bill Murray. The moderators were Noah Baumbach and Antonia Monda, both collaborators with Anderson at one point or another.

by Sachyn Mital

12 Oct 2011

In his introduction, the director, Asghar Farhadi (About Elly) asked the audience to forget everything they had read or may previously know about his new film. Though I had read a previous review on PopMatters of the film at the Sydney Film Fest, I abided by dissolving any expectations since I came to the New York Film Festival to watch films I would not ordinarily find. This film, A Separation, is more than a simple family drama piece as it totally captures the viewer just as the entire cast is caught up. Husband Nader (Peyman Moadi) and wife Simin (Leila Hatami), at the center of the separation, stumble into a situation that challenges their Islamic beliefs and morals and those of another family, their friends and their young daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi).

Farhadi (the director) does not ever preach about or challenge Islam. He carefully shows how difficult believing and interpreting the faith can be in Iran. When Nader’s father needs to be cared for, the hired help Razieh (Sareh Bayat) has to phone her mosque to get guidance before helping the elderly man with Alzheimer’s. Later the shariah legal procedure throws each character’s actions into stark contrast as the judge is unwilling to change the charges to reflect people’s motivations. At the center of it all is Termeh who wishes to get her two parents back together.

//Mixed media

Violin Virtuoso L. Subramaniam Mesmerizes in Rare New York Performance (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Co-presented by the World Music Institute, the 92Y hosted a rare and mesmerizing performance from India's violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam.

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