I was running just a smidge late, but I made it to The Lost Coast at the Alamo Ritz. It was my first movie at the Ritz for SXSW. I ended up with a rather bad seat. But oh well. That'll teach me for being late. The movie is about three high school friends that sort of reunite for Halloween. The night sees them dealing with their past as they try to make it to a party and then trekking to the beach. I really liked this film. It was simple, quiet, and gorgeously shot.. but not in that, "I'm a great cinematographer" way. Just simple, but beautiful. 8.5 out of 10
I got right back in line at the Ritz to try to get into A Necessary Death. Ok, I will be honest here. I thought this was an actual documentary. The film is a movie about a movie. The documentary being filmed can be best described by it's classified ad... "Documentary Filmmaker looking for suicidal individual to follow from first preparation to final act." I just couldn't believe that there would be anyone that would do this sort of thing, so of course I had to see it. What I liked most about the film was how it stands alone regardless of it being real or not. I didn't even realize it wasn't real until the credits started rolling and I saw "Script by". Maybe that makes me really twisted, but whatever. Very well done, and I'm betting it didn't even cost that much. I need to come up with cheap, controversial, awesome, film idea stuff too. The Q&A had almost everyone involved it would seem -- the producer, director, and all stars (except one). It better get released. It would seriously be an injustice in the film world if this never saw the light of day. 9 out of 10
I got back in line for The Black List -- a documentary where Elvis Mitchell interviews various African-American celebrities of various sorts. It's a way to reclaim the term blacklist from its negative connotations. This one is hard to describe, but I really enjoyed this film. The interview subjects were really well known people, and it seemed that during the interview they were more themselves and less of their public personas. It was really well filmed, and I was uber impressed at how relaxed all the subjects appeared. And, you will have the opportunity to see this on HBO later this year. Keep your eye out. 8.5 out of 10
I attempted to hoof it fast over to the Paramount to get into Judd Apatow's latest -- Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I was late, and it was apparently full. So I got in line for the next film, Stuart Townsend's directorial debut, Battle in Seattle. I knew I wanted to see this film, cuz Stuart Townsend is a hottie (yes, I knew he wasn't in the movie), and his woman Charlize Theron was in it. However, that was the extent of my knowledge of this movie. I had no clue what it was even about. Turns out, it is based around the true events of World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999. Wow, super impressed by this movie. I love these little types of surprises. Random movie turns out to be awesome. Sweet. I highly recommend this movie, from both the film standpoint and the historical standpoint. I felt a bit like a lump, cuz I had no idea about these events at all. But I'm guessing that might be common. And, I think that might be a point of making a film like this -- to keep the information in front of people so they don't forget or they get informed for the first time. Lovedlovedloved it. 9 out of 10
Edited to add: I had a request for more info on the actor's performances in Battle in Seattle. First, let me say THANKS! for reading. I love to know that there are people besides my family that read this. Back to the actors... Martin Henderson was awesome. I think the only other thing I've seen him in is Bride & Prejudice (which I adored), so I had no real preconceived ideas about him. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. My only criticism about it was I never really truly felt his motivation for being where he was. I know in the story it's because his brother died during some protest in some way. But, in the performance, I just wasn't feeling that. I definitely felt his passion for the work he was doing, but the brother thing just felt like info. Charlize Theron was just OK. Woody Harrelson was pretty good. He seems to be getting better as of late, or I just dislike him less. Anyhoo, I think their relationship just felt odd to me. Hmmm, I don't think I ever truly believed them as a couple. But whatever, still overall good. Michelle Rodriguez... I usually just can't even stand to watch her on screen. I loved her in Girlfight, but since then, she's given me the willies. But I really liked her in this movie. Her performance was strong, but subtle as it needed to be. And a surprise in the film was one Mister Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000 from Outkast). He's getting quite good with his acting skills. I won't say he's in Mos Def's arena yet, but he's definitely working at it. He plays the upbeat, slightly comedic portion of our protesting team in the film. I would say Andre Benjamin, Martin Henderson, and Woody Harrelson's performances were the best of the bunch, and what really made the film for me.
Edited again: I forgot to talk about Channing Tatum's performance. I wonder if that means something. Actually, I quite liked him. He plays a SWAT type police dude working with Woody Harrelson's character. He starts out as a hardass against all the pansy protestors, but due to some experiences, starts to feel/understand them. I've not seen anything else he's done yet. I was almost going to see Stop-Loss which he is also in, but the laziness had set in. However, having seen him in Battle in Seattle, I did almost get off my butt to go. Looking at his current filmography might scare you, with all the teen pop movies he seems to enjoy doing, but do not let this fool you. He's actually quite talented. I'll have to keep a look out.