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Monki @ SXSW - Day 02 & 03!!

Greetings humans, Monki here with another update from the great (and super-crowded) land of SXSW 2009.

Seriously, where did all these people come from? I thought it was going to be a lot more laid back this year with fewer people. Aren't we in a damned recession? Can't these folks stay home? I've been turned away from films TWICE because they were sold out even though I showed up an hour early to the theater. Nuts. Due to that, I haven't seen nearly as many films as I would have liked. Ugg. Here's hoping that the second and third screenings of some of these are a bit more tame.

I started off Saturday with a couple of Interactive panels. The first was "Soapbox Spielbergs" and was about creating special effects for cheap. The panelists showed off a few techniques for creating some green screen effects as well as a whip-pan knife throw effect by pulling some volunteers out of the audience and filming/cutting the footage during the panel.

Overall it was a pretty cool panel and it showed that the spirit of super-cheap filmmaking is alive and thriving even in this digital age. You have to appreciate a good knife gag every now and then.

From there I went to what I thought was going to be a panel on "Sex, Violence and Videogames," three things that I enjoy. It turned out to be a "Core" conversation. Basically the room was set up in a circle with a moderator in the middle leading the conversation, but there was no plan of action, no Power Point presentation.

John Davison from What They Like lead the conversation about youth and video games and the perception of what a videogame is. His site created a poll for parents and found that parents were more concerned with perceived sex in games as opposed to horrific violence. Parents would rather their children see a severed head than two men kissing in a game.

Or they could just go to Harry's house on any given Saturday. Ba-dum-pshhh. Thanks, I'll be here all night.

I really dug this panel as I was able to contribute some of my thoughts and hear some of the concerns of others in situations I never would have before. For the most part, I'm sure most of you have had the "violence in videogames doesn't correlate to real-world violence" conversation with your friends, right? But have you ever had the chance to discuss those issues with a middle-school English teacher? Or a parent of two tween boys?

Even though there were no real solutions presented to this issue, it was really cool just to share my thoughts and hear others' on the topic. Very cool.

From there I tried catching a screening of Winnebago Man, but the Alamo Lamar was completely full, so I took an out-of-town friend to Threadgill's and rocked his world with the chicken fried steak.

Sunday was another frustrating day. I began by checking out a panel on EA's Dead Space and how their use of deep media helped propel a story that was a completely original property. From their use of a comic created by Antony Johnston and Ben Templesmith to an animated prequel to an interactive website to the game itself, it seems no stone was left unturned.

It seems as though the team from EA Redwood Shores was on virgin territory with their project as EA was looking to have them be the prototype for future original titles. It was an interesting look into the process that goes behind such a massive project.

After that I took a few out-of-towners out for some barbeque at Green Mesquite. Gotta love the Frito Pie. I feel sort of like an ambassador to Austin, bringing these folks to places that I guess I take for granted. Anyone got another few food recommendations? I'm taking some folk's to Hutt's today.

From there I stalled for time and eventually headed to the South Lamar to check out Adventureland...but ran in to the same problem. Another line that stretched on forever. Another missed film that I showed up an hour early to. Weakest of sauces.

More stalling until I jumped in line an hour and a half early to see Drag Me To Hell at the Paramount.


Let me stress to you one point: I am an enormous pussy. I really don't like scary movies at all. It's a long story, just know that a random waitress at the Alamo Downtown (the original) and the movie Ju-On broke me forever of scary movies. If you find me at SXSW, buy me a beer and I'll elaborate.

That being said, I'm not about to pass up an opportunity to see a Sam Raimi horror film before the rest of the planet. I grew up with Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. Hell, just the opportunity to see Raimi live on stage was enough to make me want to get there. He did not disappoint with a series of Stooge-esque gags. Bruce, you would have loved Sam's face plant to kick off his intro.

I won't get in to specifics on the plot, I'm sure AICN will be deluged with reviews of this one, so you can pick it up from one of those. I will say that I enjoyed every bit of this film though.

Alison Lohman is cute as a button but god damn does she look good covered in mud with her shirt sticking to her. I can only imagine the amount of torment that this poor girl went through with Raimi on the set. She's beaten, thrown, spat on, sprays blood, gummed...oh god, I never thought a toothless mouth could be so horrifying.

Justin Long did a quality job as the boyfriend Clay in the film. His character comes across as genuine, sweet and obviously very loving to Lohman's Christine.

There are some fantastic in-jokes scattered through-out the movie as well for you die-hard Raimi fans. Obviously the Classic is featured heavily as well as an allusion to a secluded cabin in the woods, a toolshed, a talking animal and a scene in a graveyard that could have been an alternate poster for Evil Dead 2.

What I love about Raimi's horror is the fact that he'll scare the piss out of you, but then make you laugh about what just made you jump. (A handkerchief is the culprit of this a number of times in this one.) But while you are laughing, THAT is when he goes for the throat. I coiled in horror a good number of times during this one.

I hope this does gangbusters in theaters. It's a PG-13 horror movie but it doesn't hold back at all. The best thing ever would be for a whole new crop of youngsters finding this movie, loving every second of it and then getting turned on to Sam's earlier stuff...and then Evil Dead 4 will come out and blow us all away. (Drag Me To) Hells yeah.

Go see this movie when it comes out, it will leave you with that same feeling you got the first time you saw Evil Dead 2 with your pals. Excellent.

Alright, I have another long slate of stuff to check out today, I'll be back...hopefully not too hungover from the Observe and Report party.

Until then, back up the tree I go!


Readers Talkback
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  • March 16, 2009, 8:08 p.m. CST

    not first

    by supercowbell4therequestformorecowbell

  • March 16, 2009, 8:28 p.m. CST

    "Or a parent of two tween boys?"

    by The Amazing G

    you mean more than likely an idiot?

  • March 16, 2009, 8:29 p.m. CST

    and yeah, that's what you gotta love about Americans

    by The Amazing G

    violence is ok, but sex is BAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!!

  • March 16, 2009, 10 p.m. CST

    if i want to see sex

    by frank cotton

    there's always porn; i want my video games VIOLENT! of course, a little T&A is always welcome

  • March 17, 2009, 1:40 a.m. CST

    Amazing G

    by Toonol

    I'm surprised you didn't snidely call them "breeders".<p> (You know, the people that keep the human race alive...)

  • March 17, 2009, 9:21 a.m. CST

    ok perhaps I was a bit mean

    by The Amazing G

    but it seems like so many parents these days are too lazy to take responsibility of what video games their children play and instead just want the government to ban them

  • March 17, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST

    I have noticed that it's being called "south by" this year.

    by Cotton McKnight

    I really hate that. Is there too much alliteration to say "south by southwest?". That just drives me nuts.