SXSW 2011

As the first question points out from the Jodie Foster roundtable at SXSW, the trailer for The Beaver is truly a disservice to the film. While a decent piece of marketing material, it really does showcase the film as a fluffy drama, and The Beaver isn’t that. Foster’s film is a dark, sad, witty, and poignant — factors that Neil’s review perfectly captured — story about depression and isolation, and how there’s no such thing as quick fix for that. Summit can’t be having an easy time selling trying to sell this film. Not only for the obvious reason that I’ll refrain from mentioning, but for the simply reason that it’s difficult to accurately pitch a film like this in a two-minute time frame. Tonally, Foster goes for odd and not-so-commercial plays. Here’s what Director and star Jodie Foster had to say about marketing, commercialism, symbolism, and more:

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The Beaver is just as much Anton Yelchin‘s film as it is Mel Gibson‘s. Jodie Foster‘s film is an ensemble piece, and all the leads – not just Walter Black (Mel Gibson) – are suffering from some form of depression. The greatest fear of Yelchin’s character, Porter, is becoming just like his father. He doesn’t understand Walter, and Porter doesn’t understand himself as well. The character is so uncomfortable in his own voice that he makes a living off other people’s voices; Porter writes school papers for others. Small character devices similar to that truly add a lot to the film. Being so afraid of becoming his father, Porter even has 5o-something post-its planted on his wall filled with their similarities, so he can avoid doing them. Here’s what Anton Yelchin had to say about the SXSW reaction to the film, the notecards, and his character’s relationship with Norah (Jennifer Lawrence):

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Colleen Goodwin is a risky character in Source Code. Goodwin is the most exposition-reliant character, and if she was handled wrongly, this GPS machine could have been the most ham-fisted character of the year. Nearly every line Goodwin has is exposition. As an actor, as Vera Farmiga discusses, walking a fine line of being a character instead of a device is no easy task. For exposition to generally work, it requires a sense of urgency. Considering most of Farmiga’s screen time involves her talking on a computer screen, that must have made matters even more difficult. This type of exposition either flies or falls completely flat, so it was a smart move on Jones’s part to hire a pro like Farmiga. Although Goodwin is the main key to explaining things for Jake Gyllenhaal’s Colter (and for the audience), she’s also important for raising the main ethical questions of the film. By the end, Goodwin makes for a bit more than a lifeless and pandering talking head. Here’s what the well-spoken Vera Farmiga had to say about the art of bullshit, the difficulty of discussing Source Code, bringing realism to exposition, and more:

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When a young man is dumped by his long-time girlfriend, he suspects the source of their collapse lives in his very own city. He knows she was communicating in a chat room with a blond Lothario so he has a female acquaintance get in touch with the same blond man to find out where he lives. The acquaintance, having been invited to the blond man’s house for some romantic entanglements, is greeted by a rather nasty surprise.

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The idea of Hugo Weaving and Brian Cox sharing the screen together is basically a total nerd’s wet dream. In one corner you got Agent Smith, V, Megatron, Elron the elf, and Red Skull. In the other corner you got William Stryker, Ward Abbot, Robert McKee, and the original Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Could two leads get any cooler than this? Most likely not. The Key Man is making its premiere here at SXSW this week, so lets hope the film delivers as well as it should. In anticipation of its debut, we’ve got an exclusive first look at the film’s poster.

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This year, Film School Rejects is teaming up with the best movie sites on the planet (and one from Jupiter) to give you the best possible guide of complete knowledge regarding the maelstrom of media known as South By Southwest. There are a ton of movies, events, and parties to go to. There’s also down time to spend, great food to eat, and the city of Austin to explore. Get ready to cram all the useful knowledge you’ll need right into brain:

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So you’ve eaten at Pita Pit and Best Wurst (because there’s nothing wrong with two lunches) and you’re scoping out theaters ready to get more movies on, but you have no idea what you’re going to see. That teary indie drama or that ridiculous sci-fi comedy? You don’t know do you? And you can’t figure it out on your own for some reason. Fortunately, we’ve created this handy guide to help you in your time of duress. Use it wisely. There’s no chance it’ll send you to the porno theater across the highway, so if you end up there, it’s on you.

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Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block is one of the more anticipated films at this year’s SXSW, and that was even before today’s trailer premiere. The story follows a bunch of British hoodie thugs whose evening of robbery and rabble-rousing is interrupted by an alien invasion. Knowing the police won’t set foot in the area the teens step up to defend their neighborhood the only way they know how. And yes, it does involve Nick Frost. Cornish has some writing/directing experience for TV in the UK, but this year sees him branching out into theatrical releases as well. In addition to his feature debut here he also co-wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of the Unicorn and may be working with Edgar Wright on the long gestating Ant-Man. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think in the comments.

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There is a lot going on in the trailer for Joseph Kahn’s Detention. It’s got hipsters. It’s, apparently, got aliens. A high school killing spree. And, most importantly, Dane Cook as a school principle. Obviously, it’s a fairly overstuffed and messy trailer, but everything this trailer hints at could make for pure cinematic gold. The director of Torque bringing aliens and hipsters together in one movie could be magical. Who doesn’t like seeing hipsters suffer bloody and brutal deaths? In the movies, of course. It’s the joyful type of bloodshed we rarely get to see on the big screen. The last half of the trailer really picks up and finds a smooth groove. Hopefully the film is as balls to the wall as the trailer is selling it as. In almost 2 weeks time, we’ll get confirmation at its SXSW premiere. There’s promise in this trailer, and I cant wait to see whether or not Kahn managed to deliver a worthy followup to his hilarious motorcycle epic.

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This year’s SXSW film festival is already guaranteed to be a can’t-miss event thanks to the like of Duncan Jones’ Source Code, Denis Villenueve’s Incendies, Jodie Foster’s The Beaver, Ti West’s The Innkeepers, and many, many more. But genre fans know that sometimes the most anticipated screenings are the ones the fall under the Midnighters and SXFantastic banners. The announcement has arrived with this year’s titles, and as expected… it’s chock full of some wonderful surprises. The joy of film fests is found just as much in the movies you’ve never heard of before as it is in the ones you’re anticipating. We expect plenty of brilliantly entertaining films to surprise us, but some of the movies we’re already excited for include… Ben Wheatley follows up his blackly comic film Down Terrace with Kill List, which per Twitch features a story that “starts as a two man buddy-action comedy before twisting itself into a riff on Race With the Devil.” Joe Cornish’s British teens versus alien invaders flick Attack the Block promises some fun action. James Wan returns to the world of horror with his latest film Insidious. There are also two intriguing looking Argentinian thrillers, Phase 7 and Cold Sweat, that both show promise as well. This is going to another full and extremely satisfying year… check out the list of new additions below and head over to sxsw.com for the latest news and complete list of every feature and short playing this year.

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There are 130 films this year at Austin’s SXSW, and 60 of them being world premieres. When you scroll down the list of the films showing there, 99% of them you’ve never heard of before. Only a handful stick out that you actually know about or have eagerly (or mildly…) been anticipating. The films at the fest that currently are the most exciting for us are also the most high profile. That’s not to say there won’t be far superior little known flicks playing there – there most definitely will be – but the big ones showing are always the early attention grabbers. We’ll be running a bigger and more comprehensive list of SXSW must-sees closers to the fest, which is basically when we’ll have more info on the films there that aren’t being released by Universal or Summit. But as of right now, here are a few features that already got our excitement on high. As for those of you interested right now in knowing more about those 130 films, check out the full list here.

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