Why Top 45?

These are the things that float to the top of my list of activities that I want to do for the year 2012 when I am 45 years old. The list is comprised of things that I have either never tried or have wanted to try and just didn't have the courage or time to do it. Follow along and watch my progress and feel free to comment or add words of encouragement to help keep me going for the next 365 days!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Girlie Night - Dirty Dancing

     I am on the email list for Alamo Drafthouse, probably like most of Austin.  When I received the email about a showing of Dirty Dancing at the new Slaughter Lane Alamo, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone: see Dirty Dancing on the big screen in order to see my friend, Susan, as one of the dirty dancing extras and visit the all-new Alamo.  I immediately sent an email to my book club to see who was available to go see the movie.  Once I got a some takers, I put a fun plan into action...
     I replied to the Alamo email that led me to the program manager of the Slaughter Lane location who forwarded my info to the Girlie Night host.  We arranged for her to pull Susan in front of the crowd and tell everyone what it was like to be on the set.  Susan did not know about the idea so it was going to be a surprise to her!
     Last night, we convened at my house in northwest Austin and headed to the polar opposite end of southwest Austin.  I knew that it was going to take a while to get there, but I had no idea it would take as long as it did.  I started to get pretty nervous on the drive because I had taken the time to set up the Susan Intro and then wondered if we were going to make it in time.  After a little over an hour, we walked into the new, beautiful theater and I sent the other 4 in to find us some seats while I retrieved our pre-purchased tickets.  When I got into the theater, my usual disappointment of sitting in the front row, was dismissed since I figured it was a perfect vantage point to see Susan interviewed.
     After the lights went down, Sarah, the host, was right in front of us talking about how excited she was to see a shirtless Patrick Swayze on the big screen.  She then talked about how excited she was to have a dirty dancer in the audience and the look on Susan's face was priceless.  I can't tell if it was one of horror or disbelief, but she was a good sport and stood up to chit chat with Sarah.  When Sarah handed the mic to Susan to tell about the experience, she was a little disappointed to hear that Susan described it as hot, sweaty, long, boring and that some people on set were rude!  After Sarah looked a little disappointed in the description, Susan responded that it was a fun experience to be on a set and that it was going to be fun to see it again in a theater since it had been about 25 years since the last time.
     I wish I had brought my good camera, but I was able to get this shot of Susan chatting up front before the movie.

You can see Susan in a green tank top at the 18, 36 and 41 second marks in the 'watermelon' scene below (she is probably in more shots, I can just pick her out quickly at those points).

Watermelon Scene

She is also in the final scene, first at about the 3:44 mark in the back left and up close at mark 5:54 to the right of the Baby's parents dancing.  She is wearing a green outfit and eventually dances with the smarmy grandson of Mr. Kellerman.

Final Dance Scene

(I tried to embed both of the scenes, but it was blocked so you will have to follow the link.)

     One of the funniest parts of the night was when two different audience members came up to Susan after the film and asked to take pictures with her.  On the ride home it was neat to hear Susan talk about the fact that the makers of the movie figured it would go straight to video and that the cast didn't think the movie was going to be big at all.  Susan also mentioned that she didn't tell people she was in the movie and that, while filming the scenes in the Carolinas, they didn't know what the movie was really about and that the rude, waiter dude was one of the nicest actors on set.  When the credits rolled, I realized the main choreographer was Kenny Ortega who is known for the High School Musical trilogy and Michael Jackson's This Is It concert tour.  They seem to underestimate the audience that his dance numbers paired with catchy music will attract.

Fun night!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SXSW Day 8 Recap

     I debated seeing any movies at all on Friday because Susan was leaving to go home mid-day and Nicole was missing me.  Since Nicole got invited to have a sleepover and wanted to go, I decided to catch one last movie, The Do-Deca Pentathlon.  As expected, it was a bit crazy downtown since the music portion of SXSW had started but the movie was early enough that the total craziness had not begun.

Movie Review
The Do-Deca Pentathlon
Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Screenwriter: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
From Jay and Mark Duplass, the writer/directors of the Sundance hits “The Puffy Chair,” “Cyrus” and the upcoming “Jeff Who Lives at Home” comes “The Do-Deca-Pentathalon” - the story of two grown brothers who secretly compete in a homemade Olympics during a family reunion.
When their fierce and disruptive competition is uncovered, the brothers must choose between their passion for beating the hell out of each other and the greater good of the family.
My Review-
Initially I thought this movie would be a little more like Superbad or more like a Judd Apetow movie.  I am not as familiar with the Duplass brothers films and ended up seeing this one and Safety Not Guaranteed during SXSW so now I am more familiar with their style.  The movie was entertaining and fun, just not probably in my top 5 from SXSW.  There was a good bit of conflict in the movie between the characters that seemed to be eventually resolved, I just wish there was more time spent on the activities in the Do-Deca Pentathlon.  I think boys/men are more competitive with siblings as opposed to being cooperative...may be a gross over simplification of genders, but it is true for me anyway, so it was a little more difficult for me to relate to as opposed to Safety Not Guaranteed that was a little more quirky and at the center, about relationships.  Also, the characters remind me of two brothers I know pretty well...I wonder if they are going to set up their own competition now after seeing this film. 

I couldn't find a trailer for the movie so below is an interview with the Duplass brothers describing the inspiration for the film.

So, SXSW ended for me on Friday.  I truly was not very interested in seeing the music, probably because I am spoiled with how much music can be heard in Austin year round and I don't really prefer being around such large crowds (don't feel safe wondering downtown alone going into bars, theaters seem safer.) 

Before going into SXSW this year, I thought that I would only go this year and that would be it.  I had a blast and the reality of SXSW, at least the film portion, far exceeded my expectations.  Susan has already offered to come back next Spring Break to be with Nicole, so who knows, I won't rule it out!

Back to regularly scheduled blogging . . . need to do a First Quarter recap of ongoing items.

Monday, March 26, 2012

SXSW Day 7 Recap

     Before Susan, Nic's grandmother, left Austin, I wanted to be sure to take her out for a couple of activities on her last night in town.  Since I only bought the film badge and didn't buy anything to go and see music during SXSW, I took the advice of my friend, Paige, to meet up with her and some of her friends to see Diego's Umbrella at Waterloo Ice House on 35th Street.  It was early enough in the evening for kids to come along so Susan and I went with Nicole and the Bradfords, Kellyn, Scott, Ian and Grace to eat dinner and enjoy some music.
     Diego's Umbrella did not disappoint!  The group describes themselves as Gypsy Pirate Polka with a mix of rock, punk and ska intertwined.  Kellyn pointed out a Greek feel to the music which was true and made me think of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the music that was often playing in the background.  The music was a lot of fun, at least for the adults, the kids seemed unimpressed.  We would have stayed longer but the kids were ready to go after we ate and Susan and I had a movie to catch.
Pant's by Diego's Umbrella

     After getting Nicole settled in with her friend, Grace, at the Bradford's home, Susan and I headed over to the Alamo Village satellite venue to see Girl Walk//All Day.  We were a bit early and decided to grab a drink because Susan would have to wait for badge holders to go in first before verifying that there would be any seats available for her.  After some nice conversation over a glass of wine at Cover 3, we returned to the theater, got in the non-badge holder line, and within 5 minutes, Susan was handed a free ticket from one of the producers of the film.  Susan's excitement about getting a free ticket and being able to brag about it to Jay and Andy was priceless.  More about Girl Walk//All Day below.

Movie Review
Girl Walk//All Day
Director: Jacob Krupnick
Screenwriter: Jacob Krupnick
Girl Walk // All Day is a feature-length dance music video and tale of urban exploration that follow three dancers across New York City. They turn the city's sidewalks, parks, and stadiums into an evolving stage as a story of rebellion, love, and discovery unfolds. Shot entirely in public spaces, and funded entirely by crowd-sourcing, Girl Walk // All Day is a statement about the power of community and public space. Set to the album All Day by mashup musician Girl Talk, it's also an insanely fun love letter to New York.
My Review-
Jay introduced me to Girl Talk music last summer and I really liked it then.  My biggest concern was that chunks of it has some rap music with a good bit of cussing and I wasn't sure how Susan would like it.  Not to worry, she LOVED the movie.  Even I could have done without some of the lyrics, but the concept of the film was creative and the energy, especially of the female dancer, was contagious.  Girl Talk does not have 'permission' for covering most of the music that he mashes up, so the movie Girl Walk//All Day is not eligible for distribution.  According to the director and his wife, one of the producers, you can see the whole movie online.  They didn't stay after for the Q & A because Girl Talk was playing the same night in downtown Austin for SXSW and they have never met or seen him life.  Ironic part about that situation is that it was Jay and Andy at a previous screening of Girl Walk//All Day mentioned to the producer and director that Girl Talk would be in town playing SXSW...small world.

Below is the opening scene of Girl Walk//All Day.  NOTE: Some lyrics are not appropriate for young ears nor in an office setting.  Enjoy!

One more day of SXSW and then I have to wait until next year....Susan already offered to help watch Nicole in 2013!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SXSW Day 6 Recap

     Once again, I had quite a bit of work to catch up on including a meeting with some clients whose house I am listing soon as well as a bunch of paperwork to finish.  As a result, I only saw one movie on Wednesday.  Additionally, I missed spending time with Nicole and enjoyed visiting more with Susan, one of Nicole's grandmothers, who was staying here helping with Nicole so I could take the time to attend SXSW in the first place.

Movie Review
Director: Richard Linkletter
Screenwriter: Richard Linklater, Skip Hollandsworth
In the small town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the most beloved and appreciated residents, so it came as no surprise when he befriended the town’s richest and meanest widow, Marjorie Nugent. Soon, Marjorie became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity as he struggled to meet her increasing demands. When the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie, the people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that she had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.
My Review-
OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!  This movie gets not one but two OMGs because 1. it is based on a true story and this definitely fits the saying 'the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and 2. the casting for this movie was perfect.  A third OMG for the script because so much of it was so hilarious and had me thinking, 1. did that person actually say that and 2. giggling with anticipation for what might be said next.  My best memory for the latter was when one of the townspeople was describing the state of Texas as 5 separate states all together and I couldn't wait to hear how they described Austin and the surrounding areas (I am not going to give it away, you will have to see the movie for yourself.)   Jack Black was awesome as Bernie.  I thought he played the character extremely well and didn't overplay it to the point of being annoying.  Matthew McConaughy as the DA, Danny Buck was also well cast because he really sounds like he belongs in the town of Carthage (could be that he is from East Texas I am sure.)  Finally, Shirley MacLaine as the mean, rich, small town terror reminded me of a combination of several of her more famous roles such as Tess Carlisle in Guarding Tess, Doris Mann in Postcards from the Edge, Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias and finally Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment. 

Preview Below:

Only two more days worth of recaps from SXSW then on to other items on my list!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

SXSW Day 5 Recap

     I made it past the half-way point in one piece!  I reconnected with Andy on Tuesday for another day-long marathon of movies and was not disappointed.  You could basically call it 'Documentary Day' based on our viewing choices.  I knew I had it in me for one more day of standing in line then sitting in theaters to be entertained by others.

Movie Reviews
Wonder Women!
Director: Kristy Guevara-Flangan
Executive Producer: Erin Prather Stafford
"WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines" traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. "WONDER WOMEN!" goes behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and real life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Shelby Knox and others who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male dominated superhero genre.
My Review-
I really enjoyed this documentary and it definitely got me thinking about how women are portrayed in comics but also on TV, in films and other places.  The lack of women superheroes hadn't really crossed my mind until now.  I really wanted to take Nicole to see it to open up her mind to strong women characters but I couldn't find the time.  I will be watching for it to be on TV, PBS or get someone to tape it if it comes on HBO or premium cable channel.  I did recommend to the director and producer that they should get in touch with GirlStart, a program whose mission is to get young girls interest in science, engineering and math.  I figure showing this video could get a dialogue going for strong women in many areas of life, not just entertainment.  If you get a chance to see the entire documentary, it is interesting to note how Wonder Woman changes over time from war time to peace time and beyond.

Preview below:

Trash Dance
Director: Andrew Garrison
Producer:  Charlotte Herzele
Choreographer: Allison Orr
Sometimes inspiration is found in unexpected places. Choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks -- and in the men and women who pick up our trash. She joins city sanitation workers on their daily routes to listen, learn, and ultimately to try to convince them to collaborate in a unique dance performance. Hard working, often carrying a second job, their lives are already full with work, family and dreams of their own. But some step forward, and after months of rehearsal, two dozen trash collectors and their trucks perform an extraordinary spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, thousands of people show up to see how in the world a garbage truck can "dance."
My Review-
I loved this documentary because it shows such a personal side to the people who work hard everyday picking up our trash.  I think we take it too much for granted like getting water out of a faucet.  One of the coolest parts during the Q & A was seeing two of the workers and hear them speak about their job and the experience of making this documentary.
Preview Below:

Waiting For Lightening
Director: Jacob Rosenberg
Screenwriter: Bret Anthony Johnston
From the producers of "Step Into Liquid", comes "Waiting For Lightning", the story of Danny Way, a young boy from a broken home in Vista, CA, whose passion for skateboarding would one day bring him and his creation, a ramp of prodigious and dangerous proportions, across many cultural and ideological boundaries to attempt the impossible: jump China’s Great Wall on a skateboard. It’s a film about how much abuse the body can sustain, how deep you have to dig to survive the betrayals of family, and how high and far dreams can fly.
My Review-
I really enjoyed seeing what life experiences drove Danny Way's passion.  He didn't have the easiest life as a young boy/young man, yet he 1. survived it all and 2. had such great passion and was able to capitalize on his passion for skateboarding into a way to make a living.  I would say the only part of it that bothers me is that with all the loss in his life, as a father himself, he still puts himself into situations that could be life-threatening that would end up leaving his son without a father.  It is a tough dilemma to reconcile...follow your passion for what you do best even when it is life-threatening.
Preview Below:

Beauty Is Embarrassing
Yes, I saw it again!  Andy had not seen it even though I had previously and I did not mind, not one bit, watching it again and listening to Wayne White and Neil Berkeley talk about how they made the film and how passionate they are about it.  Wayne White is so entertaining to boot!

Just three more days to recap and on to other things...training for the Diva Dash and then the Danskin Triathlon is keeping me busy along with finding time for work!

Friday, March 23, 2012

SXSW Day 4 Recap

     Day 4 was a Monday and since 1. Andy wasn't going downtown early and 2. Nicole's grandfather, Pedro, was leaving, we decided to have lunch at Phil's Burger place and I opted to see movies at the Alamo Village satellite venue.  Boy was I spoiled!  It is was so easy to see three movies all in a row because a. lines were a LOT shorter than downtown and b. you stand in line inside the theater so the badges really do seem to make a difference.

Movie Reviews
Beauty is Embarrassing
Director: Neil Berkeley
Screenwriter: Neil Berkeley, Chris Bradley, Kevin Klauber
Raised in the Tennessee mountains, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in NYC. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the Pee-wee's Playhouse TV show which soon led to more work design some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. Recently his word paintings featuring pithy and and often sarcastic text statements finely crafted onto vintage landscape paintings have made him a darling of the fine art world. The movie chronicles the vaulted highs and crushing lows of an artist struggling to find peace and balance between his professional work and his personal art. This is especially complicated for a man who struggles with the virtues he most often mocks in his art...Vanity, ego and fame. 
My Review-
I truly loved this documentary.  I came away from this film feeling so happy and hopeful and uplifted.  I actually saw it twice and enjoyed the Q & A with Wayne himself.  I think what struck me the most about it is that Wayne just keeps on going as an artist, even when things get him down, he just keeps on trucking along.  It also appears that he has a good life with his family and that they support one another in their endeavors.  Check out the trailer below because it really sum up the documentary, but only gives a preview of the films greatness.  Make note of how Matt Groening and Todd Oldham describe Wayne...really spot on in my opinion.

The Hunter
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Screenwriter(s): Julia Leigh - Novel, Alice Addison- Screenplay, Wain Fimeri - Original adaptation
THE HUNTER is the story of Martin, a skilled and ruthless mercenary sent into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct. Hired by an anonymous company that wants the tiger’s genetic material, Martin arrives in Tasmania posing as a scientist. He proceeds to set up base camp at a broken-down farmhouse, where he stays with a family whose father has gone missing. Usually a loner, Martin becomes increasingly close to the family; however, as his attachment to the family grows, Martin is led down a path of unforeseen dangers, complicating his deadly mission.
My Review-
This movie was a sweet surprise!  I wasn't sure if I was going to like it based on the description but the movie ended up being a good mix of thrill, suspense, personal connections. loss and intrigue.  I have always liked Willem Dafoe, at lease in most movies and I was super excited when I knew Sam Neill would be in it.  The scenery is amazing just to take in too so I would say many senses or tweaked during the 101 minutes of the film.  Trailer from the movie below:

Decoding Deepak
Director: Gotham Chopra
Screenwriter: Gotham Chopra
Film-maker and journalist Gotham Chopra spends a year following his father and spiritual icon Deepak Chopra, separating the man from the myth with a raw honesty only a son can have. What starts as decoding of Deepak becomes an examination of himself, and possibly an allegory of a world trying to make sense of itself.
My Review-
I really enjoyed this documentary because of the intimate portrait of a father and son.  That the father and son are Deepak and Gotham Chopra was sort of secondary to me.  In my opinion, Gotham explored and age old question of and son or daughter trying to come to grips with who their parents are and how they may see themselves in their parents and vice versa.  The trailer below gives a good intro to the documentary and I highly recommend seeing it to anyone even if you are not a Deepak Chopra fan.

SXSW Recap, half down, half to go.  Boy it was a busy week!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Theater Bum

My favorite SXSW bumper is online now! 

I felt like a total theater bum during the SXSW Film week, but this guy is even more of a bum.  Watch how his outfits change over time...hilarious!


More SXSW movie recaps again tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SXSW Recap - Day 3

Kid-Thing and Bumpers
     Day 3 for SXSW was on Sunday.  Many of my friends know that on Sundays, I like to relax in the morning and usually I watch CBS Sunday morning.  Since I didn't get home until 2:30am, which automatically became 3:30am due to the time change, I told Andy when he was dropping me off not to count on seeing me that day and that I was going to catch a couple of movies at the SXSW satellite venue AKA the Alamo Village.  I REALLY wanted to see the documentary, Chasing Ice, about global warming.
Chasing Ice Description below:
     In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth's changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.that started at 5pm, but had to show a couple of houses and wouldn't make the start time. 

Since I had to show a couple of houses, I discovered I wouldn't make the 5pm showing of Chasing Ice and instead, coordinated with my friend, Missy, to meet her and her husband for the show, Kid Thing, just afterwards.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, we both got the start time wrong.  I texted her that I would be late and walked into the theater about 10 minutes after the movie started and couldn't see them in the dark theater.  I quickly found a seat to catch as much as the movie as I could.  After about 5 minutes, I could tell I probably wasn't going to like the movie and 10 minutes in I started to feel really bad that I talked them into coming to the movie and paying for it.  Just as I considered walking out, I received a text from Missy that she had the time wrong too and wasn't even in the theater.  Relieved, I quickly walked out and met them for a drink nearby.

Initially I was going to return to see the last movie, Waiting for Lightening, then realized it was slated for our viewing schedule on Tuesday night.  I decided I didn't want to mess up our elaborate schedule and that I might as well make it an early evening and try to recover from the late night before.

Movie Review
Director: David and Nathan Zellner
Screenwriter: David Zellner
Annie is a rebellious ten-year-old girl. She lives on the outskirts of town with her father Marvin, who, when not herding goats, mostly sleeps the day away. Virtually devoid of parental guidance, Annie is left to fend for herself and do as she pleases. With no moral compass, she roams the neighboring lands, shoplifting and engaging in general destructive behavior. Her routine is broken one day while playing in the woods; she hears an old woman calling from deep within an abandoned well, asking for help. Scared and untrusting of the unseen stranger, Annie deliberates on her course of action.
My Review-
I know I really can't do justice in a review of a movie that I didn't see in its entirety, however, I should have known that the subject matter would not appeal to me because I have a really tough time when kids are neglected or mistreated in fiction or reality.  

   Before the SXSW films, in lieu of previews of others movies, they show short videos called bumpers, to whet our movie appetites.  The SXSW website describes them as "Here at the SXSW Film Conference we love film so much we make films for our films! Every year we invite a group of great filmmakers to make 30-second shorts or "bumpers" to be played before each of our screenings. It's like a tasty appetizer before your film meal. They can build excitement, mood, and become talking points in their own right." 
   I had some favorite "How Not to be Lame at SXSW" bumpers of the festival and as soon as they post them online, I will be sure to link them here.  Below are a few bumpers from last year.

The Line - 

The Chase -

Constellations -

Up Next:  Day 4 Recap

SXSW Day 2 Recap

     First of all, I need to make a correction to my Day 1 recap, I actually saw 16 movies in all.  I forgot to count Iron Sky and I am counting Beauty is Embarrassing twice because I saw it all the way through, once alone and once with Andy.  I am not sure I can count Kid Thing since I was late arriving and ended up leaving after about 15 minutes since I didn't like it.  I will go ahead and count it since I will write a brief synopsis about it for Day 3.

Second, Saturday I saw 4 movies total...unless you don't count the movie, Iron Sky, that I didn't care for and ended up sleeping through most of it (it was a midnight movie, so give me a little slack, I was tired on top of not really liking the movie but more on that later. . . could have also been the warm cookies and milk that I enjoyed as the movie began.)  Andy and I almost went to see Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey, which would have brought the total to 5 on Saturday, but we opted to get a bite to eat before the midnight movie.   Other than the porno showing on the bar TV at Jackalope, I am glad we took a break from the movies to get something decent to eat instead of more popcorn and protein bars.

Movie Reviews

The Imposter
Director: Bart Layton
Screenwriter(s): Documentary
In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappeared from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive thousands of miles away in Spain with a shocking story of kidnap and torture. His family are overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not what it seems. He bears many of the same marks but why does he have a strange accent? Why does he look so different? And why doesn't the family notice these glaring inconsistencies? It's only when an investigator starts asking questions that this astonishing true story takes an even stranger turn...
My Review-
WOW!  This is such an amazing story that I was blown away.  I also really liked the way that the filmmakers shot the movie with voice overs from the real people involved playing over dramatizations of various significant scenes in the story line.  From the Sundance guide: "Like his canny subject, gifted filmmaker Bart Layton (who we interviewed here) pulls off an astonishing coup. Buoyed by eye-catching dramatizations and an enthralling structure that crisscrosses time and place, The Imposter unfolds as a gripping thriller that leaves us dizzy, yet certain that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction." The Imposter is one of my standouts from Sundance this year.
I tried to get a video clip from the film, but couldn't find one.  The website to read about it yourself is at http://protagonistpictures.com/films.php?film=theimposter 

Nature Calls
Director: Todd Rohal
Screenwriter(s): Todd Rohal
Determined to honor his father’s scouting legacy and mount one last comeback for his dwindling troop, Assistant Scoutmaster Randy Stevens (Patton Oswalt) pays a visit to his business-minded brother Kirk (Johnny Knoxville), who is throwing a television-themed slumber party for his newly adopted 10-year-old son at his McMansion. Randy pressures the boys to secretly ditch the party and join him on a weekend scout trip. Pursued by Kirk and his security guard (Rob Riggle), the adventure lands the boys in trouble at every turn, pits them against angry parents and park rangers, yet ultimately turns the group of sheltered kids into a troop to be reckoned with.
My Review-
I think the movie could have been better.  It felt a bit choppy and like the actors were acting in separate movies and there were scenes that felt over-acted to me.  I did laugh pretty well in several parts of the movie especially some scenes with the late Patrice O'Neal.  The Q & A afterwards was really funny especially two of the kid actors from the movie.  When they were asked if they peeked during the filming of a nude scene from the film, one of the kids said his mom made him read the bible when he got home and the other denied looking at first, then admitted to maybe peeking a little.  I would recommend this movie on Netflix, but not really make the effort to see it in the theater. 

Safety Not Guaranteed
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Screenwriter(s): Derek Connolly
“WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. "Safety Not Guaranteed". I have only done this once before.”
When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he’s solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.
My Review-
I LOVED this movie!!! It was probably my favorite of SXSW Film.  If you liked Lars and the Real Girl, Juno, or quirky movies like them, you would probably really enjoy this film.  You can hear the director from the movie discuss the movie in the clip below:

Iron Sky
Director:  Timo Vuorensola
Screenwriter(s): Michael Kalesniko, Timo Vuorensola
World War II did not end with complete defeat for the Nazis – some of them managed to utilize their secret technologies to flee to the dark side of the Moon.
There, deep within their swastika fortress, Schwarze Sonne, they have plotted the reconquest of the Earth for over 70 years. In 2018, the flagship of their space armada, the gigantic Götterdämmerung, is nearing completion, but when the next American crewed moon mission lands too close to the Nazi base for comfort, the plans are rushed forward.
My Review-
Well, since I fell asleep after about 30 minutes into this movie, I am not sure I am completely qualified to review it...What I do remember is that I had the expectation that it would be like Independence Day and it wasn't.  There was some really good special effects and such, but the actors and story line seemed lame in practice.   I am going to have to defer to Andy on this one since he was able to stay awake for the entire film.  You can see the trailer here:

That wraps up Day 2 of SXSW film for me. 

Day 3 and 4 reviews to come tomorrow!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

SXSW Part 2 - Day 1

Recap of the end of the week:

Day 6:

Day 7:
Music - Diego's Umbrella at Waterloo
Movie - Girl Walk//All Day

Day 8:
Do-Deca Pentathlon

15 movies in 8 days...SXSW film is actually going on for a 9th day but I do not think I will be going today for two reasons...I need some sleep and I need some Nicole time.

Movie Reviews:
Day 1

The Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard
Screenwriters: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard

Description -
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods.  Bad things happen.
If you think you know this story, think again.  From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.
My Review -
I am not a big fan of horror/slasher movies, but this one is so different and creative that I was actually laughing so much before any of the scary stuff came on screen that when it did get to some of the unsavory segments, I didn't mind it so much.  There are several unexpected twists in the movie that I won't reveal (although other people already have).  I highly recommend seeing it even if you don't like scary movies because this one is quite different and the dialogue that produces some one-liners is great.

The Babymakers
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Screenwriters: Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow

Description -
After trying everything to get his wife Audrey (Olivia Munn) pregnant, Tommy Macklin (Paul Schneider) realizes to his horror that he may be "shooting blanks."  Terrified that his marriage may fall apart, Tommy recruits his friends (and and Indian ex-mobster) to rob a sperm bank where he made a deposit years ago.  As with any half-baked scheme, everything can and does go wrong, testing the limits of Tommy and Audrey's relationship.  The Babymakers is a hilarious twist on the heist film genre, a laugh-out loud comedy showing how far one couple will go in hopes of creating a new life.
My Review -
I really enjoyed this movie, too.  There was a good bit of creative and funny dialogue between the characters and even some slapstick physical humor.  All is of course resolved in the end, but getting to the ending takes you on a fun ride.

The festival started out with a bang with these first two movies.  More reviews to come...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SXSW Part 1

SXSW has been a blast so far!

I took a break Sunday and I am only seeing one movie tonight due to work, but the breaks have been needed.  Even standing in the rain was fine by me because of all the fun I have been having.  I wanted to give a brief update of the events so far. 

Below is the list of movies I have seen so far and I will give a longer description of each and what I thought about them in the next couple of days when I have more time.

Day 1:
Cabin In The Woods
The Babymakers

Day 2:
The Imposter
Nature Calls
Safety Not Guaranteed
Iron City (not sure if I can count this one since I slept through most of it, but will explain later)

Day 3:
Break for work and rest

Day 4:
Beauty is Embarrassing
The Hunter
Decoding Deepak

Day 5:
Wonder Women!
Trash Dance
Waiting for Lightening
Beauty is Embarrassing (Andy wanted to see it and I did not mind at all seeing it again)

Day 6:
My plan is to see Bernie tonight with Jack Black as one of the stars....

More to come in the next couple of days!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pure Adrenaline

We are going to start this post off with a bang!  Here is a video of me ziplining today at Lake Travis Zipline Adventure :

Hahahahaha!  Okay, not really, but here is a picture of me and my peeps Missy, Alison and Amy just before we started on our adventure.

You will notice that Missy is wearing a pink florescent helmet that has a fake mohawk velcroed to it.  What you can't see is that it says 'Happy Birthday' in glitter paint on the side.  Missy got a special helmet instead of the standard orange like the rest of us because zipline scheduling put our adventure just a couple of days before her birthday.  We started off the morning with a birthday brunch at Manuel's then headed out to the Lake Travis to begin our adventure.  It seems we picked an almost perfect day weather-wise to go because it was warm enough for shorts, but not so hot that we were sweltering in the Texas heat.  You will also see the pinwheels.  Apparently we are the first people to even think to bring along pinwheels for our adventure and we suggested they should sell them in their shop.

As I mentioned, the weather was perfect timing wise for visit to Lake Travis Zipline, however my exercise routine wasn't...I mistakeningly (don't think that is a word) took a 24 Hour bootcamp class on Thursday so I am still sore from all the lunges, squats and scissor hops that our instructor tortured us with in the early morning.  I have been trying to stretch and actually tried swimming on Saturday to loosen up my leg muscles.  I was definitely moving better today than I have in a few days, but word to the wise, don't take a class like that before you have to hike up steep hills around the lake.  I digress.  We did 5 different ziplines zigzagging across Lake Travis.  Even with the lake levels drastically below normal levels, the scenery was beautiful to gaze at as you are rocketing between one platform to the other.  The final zip was the steepest and was about half a mile long. 

I highly recommend this adventure to people who might be interested....as the piggy says, "Pure. Adrenaline."

PS.  Another gentleman on the trip was taking lots of photos, mostly for his family and friends, but also took some of us at the end of each line.  If he remembers to email them to me, I will post some more animated photos.

Next up:
SXSW Film in one week