More films to talk about at SXSW this year! As I've said before, I'm trying to do a formative preview of the films playing at South By Southwest, with dates and times so those attending the festival can be aware and possibly catch these movies with the best audience in the world - the filmgoers of Austin. Every day (or thereabouts, depending on whether I become a slacker or not) I'll talk about three films playing the festival, both small and large, and to bring awareness about the many wonderful titles we've got this year. Let's get started:
BLUE LIKE JAZZ
Director: Steve Taylor
Roadside Attractions just picked this up today, pre-SXSW, so someone's seen it and thought it was worth the money to buy it. BLUE LIKE JAZZ is based on the novel by Donald Miller, about a young man who decides to run away from his upbringing and attend college away from all the faith and religion, but he finds that his belief system may be more ingrained than he thought. It's directed by Steve Taylor, a Christian singer and songwriter, and together with Donald Miller and Ben Pearson, wrote the script. Interesting story behind this one - when the producers ran out of funds a group of fans of the book opened up a Kickstarter fun page, where they ended up making more than the budget back, allowing the film to be completed. I'm not a faith based guy in any way, shape, or form, but I like the trailer, and this doesn't seem overly preachy to me.
PLAY TIMES: Tuesday, March 13th, 6:45 PM, Paramount Theater; Wednesday, March 14th, 2:00 PM, Canon Screening Room; Thursday, March 15th, 7:00 PM, Alamo Village
Director: William Friedkin
One of America's greatest directors, William Friedkin, is back, and this sounds like a terrific thriller. Chris (Emile Hirsch) owes money to a drug lord, so to get money fast, he enlists the help of Killer Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to murder his mother for the insurance money. But once Joe meets Chris's younger sister, Dottie (Juino Temple), Joe has other ideas for payment. The above teaser seems to have a noir vibe about it, and I like McConaughey in badass mode. Texas noir is always awesome - just ask the Coens. Glad to see William Friedkin back, and really looking forward to this one.
PLAY TIMES: Saturday, March 10th, 9:30 PM, Paramount Theater
Director: Nelson George
ESPN Films brings us the story about Earvin "Magic" Johnson's announcement that changed everything in professional sports at the time: that he was HIV positive. I remember vividly the impact it had on America at the time; if Magic Johnson could get it, then this truly was a disease that didn't care what your color was, what your background was, or who you loved. AIDS was everyone's problem, now, and I don't think America truly understood that until Johnson's brave announcement. This film will be playing at SXSW, but audiences at home will be able to see the film on ESPN on March 11th.
PLAY TIMES: Saturday, March 10th, 2:00 PM, Vimeo Theater
And that's it for today! Tomorrow I'm going to look at a couple of the Midnighters, including one that was the breakaway hit at Sundance. Hope to see you at SXSW this year!