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A Geek’s Guide to SXSW FILM 2014

This year’s SXSW Film is once more jam-packed with a mix of anticipated premieres from major studios like Veronica Mars and Bad Words, but it’s also full of Indie hopefuls looking for distribution.

There’s no way to see everything, so you must chose wisely, a lesson I learned from last year’s fest.

Ok, I also learned it from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but it stuck with me ever since.

Follow me on Twitter at @TSokolove for live updates from this Friday to next Thursday, but keep checking in to ForcesOfGeek.com for my reviews on select movies.

In the meantime, here’s a shortlist of what I plan on catching, in between hipster dodging and food-coma inducing BBQ…

THAT GUY DICK MILLER

He’s worked with countless major directors (Scorsese, Corman, Fuller, Dante, Cameron, Demme…) and countless major actors (Nicholson, DeNiro, Schwarzenegger…), but you know him as “that guy.”

For the first time, a comprehensive documentary turns the cameras on the incomparable Dick Miller first, and the people in his life secondarily (as opposed to the various Roger Corman documentaries he’s made appearances in).  His background story is unveiled through intimate access to his personal photos and home movies.

This crowd-funded documentary also has the best tagline at SXSW – “AFTER THIS MOVIE, YOU’LL KNOW DICK.”

SPACE STATION 76

A Sci-fi fan’s dream come true – a satirical space station set drama, with a 1970’s take on “the future” that stars Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, Marisa Coughlan, Kylie Rogers, Kali Rocha, Jerry O’Connell and 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s very own Keir Dullea!

It’s directed by Jack Plotnick, who has a current off-broadway satire of 70s disaster films running called Disaster!  

I expect nothing less than tons of turtlenecks, pant-suits, and physics-defying laser guns in this one.

Hot Horror Producer Jason Blum and actor Mark Duplass team up for this feature directorial debut from Patrick Brice.  It is described as an intense and chilling interplay between the poster of a cryptic online ad, and the unlucky responder. Not to be confused with the recently completed comedy Creep! which chronicles the making of the obscure monster flick The Creeping Terror.

Either way, they honestly had me at “creep,” and Mark Duplass.

Twin Brother directors Michael and Peter Spierig ( because that’s not creepy or anything) reunite with their Daybreakers star Ethan Hawke for this Robert A Heinlein time-travel story. Hawke plays a temporal time-travel agent on his final assignment to catch the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.

This is the film’s world premiere, and is one of the headlining events.


Making his directorial debut Mike Myers has created this tribute to music manager Shep Gordon.

Apparently, they first met during the production of the Wayne’s World movie and have been close friends ever since.   Not a bad friend to have, especially if you want front row seats to Alice Cooper (I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!).  Hopefully there’s a little back story on how Gordon served as Executive Producer on both Prince of Darkness and Cool as Ice.  There’s gotta be a story there.   

Supermensch is a co-production of A&E IndieFilms, and will be released early Summer this year by Dogwoof.

A series of deadly animal attacks in the retirement community of Crescent Bay has the Seniors a bit concerned.  When a war veteran who has seen it all is forced to move there by his son, he determines that the attacks are not being caused by any normal animal, nor man.

Director Adrián García Bogliano made a splash with his film Here Comes the Devil (Ahí va el diablo), so naturally all eyes are on this.

It stars Ethan Embry, Nick Damici, Tom Noonan, Larry Fessenden and Tina Louise!

Though not premiering at midnight, it should.

This is the much anticipated autobiographical film written, produced and directed by Alejandro Jodorowosky (El Topo) and based on his book.  LSD will be handed out before all screenings, so attendees of the festival are advised to drink plenty of water and please refrain from chewing on the arm of the person next to you.

STAGE FRIGHT

Meat Loaf headlines this horror movie with a wink that takes place at a performing arts camp.

Emphasis on the camp.

The blood starts to spill right after rehearsals begin for the scream queen with fabulous jazz hands.  Director Jerome Sable comes fresh off of the buzz off his short horror-musical called The Legend of Beaver Dam.

Best of all, the film’s second screening is at the Alamo Ritz, where you can probably order meatloaf to eat while watching Meat Loaf.  That’s so meta, of course I’m gonna do it.

BEYOND CLUELESS

Fairuza Balk narrates this documentary about one of my favorite subjects of all time – hidden messages in teenager/coming of age movies.  Over 200 modern classics are reviewed in this film and attempts to reveal Hollywood’s true take on teen years.

Here’s hoping it’s to Sixteen Candles what The Shining is to Room 237.

The film is directed by blogger Charlie Lyne (Ultra Culture).

SOUL BOYS OF THE WESTERN WORLD

Set the wayback machine for the early 80s, particularly during the second British Invasion on the pop music scene.  You’ll know this much is true – Spandau Ballet set a standard with their (sort-of) one-hit wonder.  
Of course, even bigger across the pond, the band was iconic, and their working-class London background admired.  In this documentary, the band’s backstory is explored with home movies and newly discovered material.  
As a bonus, the band will be at SXSW to perform for the first time in the US in more than 25 years. 
Now that’s gold! 
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