Friday, March 18, 2011

Paul exposes all its laughs in the commercials: SXSW Review

I had heard almost nothing about the movie Paul when I headed out to South by Southwest. A friend of mine wanted to see it and so I hooked up my computer and watched the trailer. Yeah..."it's hilarious" I thought and so decided to go to one of the late night screenings. Imagine my surprise when they brought out Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Kristen Wiig, the stars of the film to introduce it and to answer questions afterwards. These guys truly seemed to be having a good time at the screening and an even better time making the movie.

The film itself is about two Fanboys (Pegg and Frost) from England who decide to go on a road trip to Roswell New Mexico after soaking up ComicCon. On the way they meet Paul, an alien who has escaped Area 51 and is trying to get back home with the feds hot on their trail. Along their way they meet up with Wiigs character who happens to be a christian fundamentalist until they 'educate her' and she suddenly becomes cool.

So, theres not much as plot is concerned, it seems to borrow a familiar ET premise but with an updated stoner attitude. In fact, a lot of the movie is homages to Speilberg, geek culture and alien movies from yesteryear. These homages are probably the best part of the movie. The writing was solid but I must admit that the Pegg/Frost pairing is not as good as previos endeavors like Hott Fuzz and Shawn of the Dead. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that this film was not directed by Edgar Wright (who sat across the isle from me at the premiere...hi Edgar). Whatever the reason, the films funniest parts are summed up in the trailer that I saw before the film.

I want to like this movie more, but it wasn't the best I saw at the festival, not even of the wide releases. But there was no denying the energy of the leads who led the audience in raucous cheers and answered all the questions we threw at them with hilarity and abandon I wish I would have seen more of in the film. (left: my blurry picture of the director, Pegg, Frost and Wigg talking with the audience) After the film as I was going to the restroom, Simon Pegg was just exiting with a security guard in tow. "They have a security guard follow you into the bathroom?" I asked. His reply "I need all the help I can get". Lets hope that isn't true for his future movies.

Final Consensus:
See it now!!!!
See it in theaters!!!
Rent it on DVD/BluRay!!
Wait for it on TV!
Don’t Bother

SXSW: South by Southwest and the ballad of no sleep

So last week I had the opportunity to attend South by Southwest. Now, this festival began as a Music festival in Austin Texas and has since swelled to include an Interactive conference and a Film festival. I was there at the Interactive conference for work wich took up most of my day from about 9:30am through 6pm. Since there was nothing to do at my hotel afterwards, and since I do not enjoy the drunken party scene sprayed all over 6th street, I spent my nights watching movies....and lots of them.

The cool thing about South by Southwest which differed from Sundance is their old theaters and even the Alamo Drafthose that serves dinner while you watch the movie. There is a lot of press hype and every screening features Q&A's afterwards. It was really cool to have the actors and directors answer questions about their films (thanks Brit Marling, Guillermo del Toro, Catherine Hardwicke, Rainn Wilson). It was also really cool to see the stars, however briefly and even get to speak to a few of them (gracias Simon Pegg and Jake Gyllenhaal). In all it was a great experience and I saw a lot of movies. I will be sure to update my reviews as I get around to them, but they will be mixed in with my Sundance reviews I never got around too.

I hope you will get a chance to check some of these movies out as many may never see a large distribution or release. At least you know that somewhere, somehow....good, interesting movies are still being made, wether thats reflected in your local movie theater is another matter. Too bad you won't be able to enjoy all the Texas Barbecue that I had to compliment my experience. Thank you Rudy's and the Ironworks Grille!!