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SXSW 2011: Day 1 Wrap Up

March 13, 2011

Well, we hit ground running here in Austin with the best start imaginable. Our numero uno Girl Crush, Hilah Johnson, was kind enough to pick us up and make a delicious lunch for us before dropping us off at the film festival.  It is worth mentioning that she did all of this before appearing on television (in a badass bacon dress – that she made – because she is awesome – lookie here! ) to talk about the 2nd Annual Bacon Takedown. It was fun, tasty times. With my belly full of bacon-wrapped hot dogs, I staggered off to my first screening.

Insidious – (Directed by James Wan, staring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson)  A young family move into their new home and almost immediately things seem off. Items go missing, books fall off of shelves, strange noises are heard and their son falls into a coma-like state after a minor accident. When the household disturbances become more frequent and aggressive, the family – suspecting that their home is haunted by malevolent spirits – pack up and move again, only to learn that the problem isn’t with the house. There are jump-inducing moments in the film that left me genuinely scared, but I felt that it suffered from revealing a bit too much visually. The experience of watching it was not unlike walking through a haunted house around Halloween.

A Girl Walks Into A Bar (written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez) In the spirit of ‘One Crazy Night’ movies, A Girl Walks Into A Bar features an ensemble cast and weaves several vignettes together which take place over the course of a single evening. The cast is ridiculously attractive (Carla Gugino, Rosario Dawson, Emmanuelle Chriqui are among the many) but the dialogue happens to be of the snappy, ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ variety that can play well when one character is speaking it, but rings untrue (and quirky to a fault) when it is a trait shared by all of the characters. For me, it was distracting enough to take away from the story.

Sound of My Voice (Directed by Zal Batmanglii) One of my favorite films of the festival so far, Sound of My Voice is about a couple who infiltrate a cult with the intention to expose it’s leader – a captivating woman named Maggie (Brit Marling, who also co-wrote the screenplay)  - as a fraud. I felt like this was such an interesting premise, a really unique story coupled with innovative film-making – this film accomplished a lot (with very little). Definitely one to watch. (Full review to follow). 


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