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Wesley Willis's Joyrides (2008)
I had little expectation entering this film. I only knew of one or two Wesley Willis songs and little else. I was truly inspired as I watched this story unfold. Though the production quality lacked in many areas, the content could not be denied. It was a film that pulled you so deeply into the story that you stopped noticing the frame resolution and audio hisses.
This is a brilliant story of an inspiring individual. As we walk through his life, we begin to see the obstacles and 'demons' that Wesley faced on a daily basis.
If you don't want to be more than you are after watching this film, I would be very disappointed. This film forces you to realize that you are capable of doing anything and being anything you want to be.
Super High Me (2007)
weakly woven story
I saw this film at SXSW in Austin with a very friendly crowd toward Doug Benson. Though I thought his premise was hilarious -- as is his standup-- this would fair better as a comedy than documentary. There was little that felt like a true case study though it was touted to mimic Spurlock's Super Size Me... what lacked were real medical studies that felt credible.
The film was positioned as a film that compares the effect of smoking marijuana 30 days. The reality seemed to be we heard his routines for 60 days... 30 days sober and 30 days high and were expected to see which days were funnier. It made me laugh, but insulted my documentarian senses.
It seemed like a joke and lacked the reality check documentaries need. In the Q & A, he actually had the audacity to insult Texans and the state... way to win over a crowd...
Battle in Seattle (2007)
Best film I've seen in a long time
I knew very little about this subject before watching the film... I expected to learn a little about it during the film and that was my primary reason for attending the screening at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin. Instead, I was blown away by an incredible story that weaves the events in Seattle with several inspiring and complex characters. In an amazing interaction that muddied the waters between the 'good' and 'bad' guys, this script moves you.
The theater cheered and yelled... an ovation throughout the credits in Austin as well... this movie is powerful and inspiring. I absolutely loved the cast as well as the style of film-making. Great work.
Skills Like This (2007)
A festival winner! (and should be)
I saw this film at the SXSW film festival in a packed house... I didn't have high expectations... honest, I was with a group of people who wanted to go because they liked the afro marketing posters and I wasn't in a mood to go against the grain.
Yippee... I so enjoyed the film. I thought it was unpredictable... raw... funny... engaging... I actually felt connected to the characters and these aren't the kinds of characters that I normally find engaging. It was a surprise at every turn. I found the humor appealing as did the high school kids who were behind me. This film is a rare treat with brilliant performances from the leading man to the waitress with only a few lines.
Great job and good luck with distribution!
The Ten (2007)
This weakly woven array of stories was one of my biggest disappointments of SXSW. Though I saw the film in a packed house... I witnessed acquisition reps, producers, and regular joe after regular joe walk out during the film. Had I not been trapped in the very middle of the row, I too would have left. Paul Rudd is the only thing this film had going for it. I've yet to see him perform poorly... Of the ten stories, only one seemed to be well written... that one had intelligent humor and was unpredictable. Too bad there were 9 more! Maybe I'm being so hard on it because my expectations were too high... regardless, it was a waste of valuable festival time.