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  • SXSW Film 2010 Preview | Part 1

    The Loved Ones, NY Export: Opus Jazz, A Different Path, For Once in My Life, Erasing David, Crying with Laughter, The Phantom of Liberty II, Beijing Taxi

    By | March 10, 2010

    As I mentioned yesterday, we are kicking off our SXSW coverage with previews to the films that were selected into the 2010 Film Festival. Today we have eight reviews from the fingers of our Senior Contributing Writer, Don Simpson. Check out the excerps below and click the links to see the full reviews. Stay tuned for more previews as we inch closer to March 12th opening day to SXSW Film 2010.

    Loved Ones, The | Review

    “The Loved Ones, a brilliantly creepy feature-length debut from writer-director Sean Byrne, is sure to please some of the more discerning horror fans out there with its brains, creativity and visual panache. From my estimation The Loved Ones is prone to become a “midnight movies” cult favorite ala Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, and Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive and Bad Taste.”

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    NY Export: Opus Jazz | Review

    “At 43-minutes long, NY Export: Opus Jazz ends before it ever has the chance to become tedious or boring. For that I am thankful! With no dialogue, the narrative – as abstract as it might be – is communicated via the combination of dance, Robert Prince’s score, colors, locations and camerawork. Admittedly, I am not really a fan of ballet or Robert Prince’s brand of jazz, but NY Export: Opus Jazz held me under a hypnotic spell for its entire duration.”

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    A Different Path | Review

    “Director Monteith McCollum utilizes abstract animated images that are cleverly intertwined with the stories of Richard Dyksterhuis, Michael Johnson, Dan Hughes and Miguel Cameos. Even the interviews themselves attempt to stay clear of the conventional talking head format as much as possible, preferring to use carefully crafted yet somewhat random images whose intent is to captivate and amaze rather than bore (which talking heads are prone to do) the viewer.”

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    For Once in My Life | Review

    “For Once in My Life features both heartaches and triumphs; it will cause just as many smiles and laughs as it does tears. When you think of the way disabled people are treated in our society as a whole and how they are often segregated, if not totally forgotten, it is amazing to see these 29 people performing music at as high a caliber as professional musicians with absolutely no disabilities. If anything, it is because of the challenges that they face every day that they are able to get even closer to musical perfection. For Once in My Life is proof that people with disabilities should be given the same opportunities as everyone else. If you close your eyes while listening to The Spirit of Goodwill Band, I guarantee that you would never know that any of the members were disabled.”

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    Erasing David | Review

    “For better or worse, Erasing David also exemplifies just how paranoid and delusional even the most innocent of people can become by having their privacy invaded. (Bond visits with a therapist on multiple occasions during Erasing David in an attempt to deal with his paranoia and delusions.) There are several occasions that Bond offers up a mental breakdown for the camera, but unfortunately these scenes feel as contrived (read: acted) as footage from The Blair Witch Project (in fact, the nighttime mud hut footage plays like an outtake from The Blair Witch Project).”

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    Crying with Laughter | Review

    “Written and directed by Justin Molotnikov, Crying with Laughter is as brutally violent and emotionally raw as Joey’s stand-up. To paraphrase Joey, Crying with Laughter is about “abuse, kidnap, torture; just the average Saturday night in Scotland.” But, in all actuality, Crying with Laughter is about revenge; whether one is willing to resort to violence (even murder) in order to punish someone for past deeds or if the past can truly be forgiven, maybe even forgotten. Crying with Laughter is by no means an easy film to watch, but several of the plot’s twists and turns are executed quite masterfully and McCole’s lead performance is chillingly sincere.”

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    Phantom of Liberty II, The | Review

    “Phantom of Liberty II reveals to us how various people perceive time as well as history. We have the opportunity to spend a slice of time with different types of people – and thanks to indiscriminate time loops we sometimes get to spend the same exact slice of time with multiple people in different places.”

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    Beijing Taxi | Review

    “This is not just a documentary about taxi drivers; Beijing Taxi functions on a much higher level as well. Wang rarely settles down for talking head interviews; instead she takes to the streets – by foot and by car – to reveal the real Beijing. We witness firsthand what modernity and Capitalism are doing to China’s capital city. Bai goes to a “low cost hospital for ordinary citizens.” It seems like everyone in Beijing smokes cigarettes. Billboards for foreign products are everywhere.”

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