SXSW: Laurie Coker’s Quick Recap

Okay, so even after having cervical fusion the Tuesday before SXSW 2012, I hit the streets running and took in the opening night film ‘Cabin in the Woods’ staring Richard Jenkins, Jesse Williams, Bradley Whitford and Chris Hemsworth. It’s a film from the wonderful Joss Whedon and directed by Drew Goddard. Going in, I must report I am NOT a big fan of horror – mainly because they rarely scare or surprise me and I am not a fan of gore. This one is a MUST see for anyone who can stomach a bit of grossness and who enjoys satire and parody! I cannot and will not say anything about the film, except that it is everything you expect from a horror film and really NOTHING you’d expect, making it a must see and one I give a B+ to. Once things wind down I will share details from the round table interviews with the cast, writer and director.

Another must see for me is a quirky little rom-drama called ‘Safety Not Guaranteed.’ It is a wonderful character driven film starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake M. Johnson and Karan Soni. A news reporter and two interns seek out a story based on a personal ad in which the writer asks for a time traveling buddy, saying to “bring your own weapon” and that “safety is not guaranteed.” Writer, Derek Connolly, truly captures the heart of his characters, making them clearly defined, easily relatable and entertaining to watch. There are some delightfully droll moments, a few excellent twists and a mind blowing and wholly satisfying ending. I am giving this one and A and highly recommend it! I look forward to seeing more from Connolly.

As a fan of the television series ‘Grimm,’ it was Sasha Roiz whose name drew me to the drama/sci-fi film ‘Extracted,’ written and directed by Nir Paniry and also starring Dominic Bogart. This film truly surprised and impressed me. In its basic premise, it is a tale of a man, who after creating the means to do it, enters the mind of a criminal to prove his guilt in a crime, but he becomes trapped in the criminals memories (his body remaining in a coma-like state). Playing out like a rat-caught in a maze, Tom circumnavigates Anthony’s memories for four year – his daughter growing up without him, until he manages to find a means for escape (perhaps). I loved this film because of the tightly woven aspects of the script and the fact that Paniry manages to keep his audience guessing and engaged throughout. This is a festival favorite and I will have more on personal interviews with cast, writer/director and the film’s producer. It’s another A for me. It is screening again before the end of the week- See it!

I took in a documentary called Wonder Women and while, comics are not really a part of my thing, the film surprised me by offering a cool look at the history of women in comics and the idea of the female super hero. It traces the history of Wonder Woman, but only as a basis for understanding the roles of women as defined through the comic/super hero genre. I liked it and was thoroughly engaged.

I saw several films that totally disgusted me and as a result, I am only going to give them a brief mention here and will elaborate more soon. ‘Nature Calls’ starring Patton Oswald completely grossed me out and insulted my sensibilities and intelligence. Another stupid trashy film is ‘Babymakers’ and I actually looked forward to it. Poor acting, disgusting humor and absurd situations make it almost as bad at ‘Nature Calls,’ but not quite! Garbage!

Surprisingly, I truly laughed at an enjoyed 21 Jump Street, but dashing to another screening prevents me from writing more until later. I did not expect to appreciate much about this remake and I actually was entertained nearly throughout. I look forward to writing more about the film and about the Q&A that followed.

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