So, since Wednesday was the first day of the music part of the festival, I should have anticipated a flux of traffic on Thursday, but I did not. I was running a wee bit late, but that wasn't considering the difficulty of finding some parking. All garages were full, and lots were like $20. It was just insane. So, since it was already after 2pm, and the likelihood of finding any parking was slim, and would take time, I decided to skip out on 638 Ways to Kill Castro.
So, my next stop was Alamo South Lamar. I first stopped over by Whole Earth Provisions to get a t-shirt and some flips. I dressed entirely too much for cooler weather and the heat was rough. So, over at the Alamo, I watched James Blunt: Return to Kosovo. Before James Blunt was a sweet singing superstar, he was a soldier in the British Army. In 1999, he was staioned in Kosovo with the NATO forces. He was the first military officer to set foot in Kosovo. While he was there he filmed some of the things he saw. First, I will say James Blunt looks great in military fatigues. He goes back to Kosovo for what appears to be only a day, maybe two. While there, he performs for the British troops there and tours around areas he was at in 1999. He meets up with three interpreters he used when he was previously there, and they try to find a couple families he knew from then also. Unfortunately, they do not find them. It's very short, at around an hour. While I don't doubt James Blunt's sincerity, it kind of came off as a vanity project. That or a PR type move by the record company. It just never seemed to get its feet.
Over to the Austin Convention Center (ACC)... I kid you not, a documentary the most used font in the world -- Helvetica. Many old and new graphic designers were interviewed during the film. There seems to be a very mixed opinion among the designers about whether Helvetica is a killer font or an overused corporate display of neutrality. I was amazed at how much the font is used in our lives. It's just nuts. Overall it was OK. Entertaining enough, but there wasn't enough there for me to recommend it for you to see. Unless, of course, you have a crazy hard-on for fonts. In that case, go for it. 6.5 out of 10
Still at ACC, on to an even zanier subject. Yanno those street performer/characters/superhero types in front of Hollywood's Mann's Chinese Theatre? Yah, Confessions of a Superhero is about those people. It's basically panhandling with costumes. They have some basic rules/laws they have to abide by. They cannot solicit business, they can only work for tips, and they have to stay on the public sidewalk area. Our main characters for this documentary are Superman, Batman, The Hulk, and Wonder Woman. It seems like their stories start out about the same. They've come to Hollywood to becomes stars, but, that's not so easy. So, they do need to find funds somehow. They are all hoping that someone notices them somehow. Much like life, the story is both funny and tragic. Some small nitpicky criticism here -- the video seemed super low-grade, pixelly at times. The music was great -- understated, but very quirky and appropriate. Some of the shots seemed slightly contrived, but there weren't too many of those. The film was also interspersed with some gorgeous still photographs. I like the way they were used. A big thing was this film made me really care about these people. And I feel that if a film can make that happen, then it is a successful one. 7 out of 10
Now, I hoofed it over to Alamo Downtown for the midnight horror flick Borderland. I believe all the midnight movies at SXSW are horror-ish. While waiting in line outside the theater, the director came out and asked if anyone was even slightly disturbed by gore, cuz this movie was gonna be full-on gross and there should be no weak stomachs in the house. Now I'm intrigued, and I don't necessarily like tons of gore. One chica in line said "Well, I'm gonna hold you to that then." Apparently, this was based on true events, and if that's the case, then that's seriously fuqd up. It's the story of three friends that go down to Mexico for some good suckysucky time. Instead they seem to get involved with some folks that are into a Santeria type religion, but this one requires human sacrifices. Really gory mutilating human sacrifice. Like - let's chop both your achilles tendons so you can't run sort of human sacrifice. I've been to BodyWorlds, so I know exactly how nasty that is to the calf muscles. EWWwwwuuuurrrrrrgh. Nasty. I will say upfront, the director was in the row in front of me during the film, and he and his crew were obnoxious shits. So that very well could have tainted my opinion. It was alright. The gore was good and very well done, but eh, I felt like I could have been better served spending those two hours in bed. Like I said though, his ass annoyed me. 4 out of 10.