If you live in Austin, you should come by the Cap City Comedy Club tomorrow night (Monday, August 27th) for the Austin Film Festival’s Funniest Filmmaker in Austin finals. I’ll be judging the competition along with Shawn Badgley (of the Austin Chronicle) and Mike Akel (director of the very funny classroom comedy Chalk). Admission is free, and it’s sure to be a heck of a lot of fun.
You know that song from 28 Days Later? The catchy, Mogwai-esque instrumental that gets stuck in your head for hours after you hear it? Well, the song is called “In The House, In a Heartbeat”, and it was written by a British composer named John Murphy.
Now, I assume this song was written specifically for the 28 Days soundtrack, because it also figured prominently in the sequel 28 Weeks Later (and in a lot of ways was the latter film’s theme song). And I know it was also used in some promotional spots for the TV show Prison Break. But lately it’s also popped up in trailers for three different movies being released by three different studios: Death Sentence (trailer), I Know Who Killed Me (trailer) and Beowulf (trailer). And who knows how many other trailers it’s in that I just haven’t seen.
So here’s my question: are the song’s publishers such greedy bastards that they don’t inform their clients about who else is buying the rights, or are the studios just so lazy that they don’t care about their film’s identity?
I mean, I kind of expect ordinary radio-pop songs to be recycled ad nauseam like this (that’s what they’re for–keep chewing on ‘em until they lose their taste), but it seems supremely bizarre that a soundtrack piece would lifted out and reused so often in such a short span of time for competing films.
I mean… what absolute sloppiness. It’s like an outright admission that the studios don’t give a shit about the quality or originality of their material. And besides degrading the credibility of these films, it has instantly turned the song into a trailer cliche on par with the “In a World…” opening.
And if the trailers are this lazy and predictable, how good can the actual films be?
It’s more than six months away, but SXSW ’08 is already gearing up. Badges are on sale, and the new website is live, with a completely revamped identity.
I’m not usually one to complain about prices (I’ve paid big bucks for a badge the past two years), but I’ve gotta say I was a bit surprised at the numbers this year. The cheapest early-bird price for a music badge (the most popular option, I’m guessing) is now $500. Yikes!
This is the second big price jump in as many years, and a $155 increase since ’05 (a friend supplied me with the following numbers based on his receipts: $345 in ’05, $370 in ’06, and $425 in ’07). The Platinum badge (which I bought this past year) also jumped a stunning $125 since last year, which actually made me say “holy shit” out loud. Film badges also went up $50, but in the mid $200 range, that’s not quite as shocking, I suppose.
Obviously, big festivals like this need to raise prices as their costs grow. You can’t blame ‘em for that. And I really do think that SXSW is a brilliant festival that’s been worth every penny I’ve spent on it sofar. But for my personal situation, the cost has now crossed a thin threshold where I just can’t justify buying a fancy music or platinum badge any more. So in ’08, I’ll probably go with a (much cheaper) film badge, and try to catch as much free music as I can during the day.
But you’ll still have to read my daily recaps–so don’t think you’re getting out of that.
I find the Segway simultaneously hilarious and amazing.
On the one hand, the Segway hints at a complete overhaul of the way we think about transportation; maybe in the future, we’ll use goal-specific vehicles rather than catch-all gas guzzlers (in other words, why use the same vehicle for a ten block drive as you’d use for a cross-country trip?). In certain industries–like policing, manufacturing, warehousing–the Segway could make a lot of sense.
On the other hand, they’re completely fucking ridiculous. What on earth made anyone think that these goofy, bulky, space-aged scooters would be popular with the general public? They may be neat in theory, but in reality they’re totally impractical for city use; too big to bring indoors, but too expensive to leave locked up outside (not to mention the fact that something like 30 states have now banned them on sidewalks and roadways). What’s more, though, there’s just something about them that makes you laugh out loud.
So I’ve been interested to see 10MPH, a documentary following two guys who quit their jobs and rode a Segway from Seattle to Boston. I can’t quite explain why I like the idea, but I do. Having done a few long-distance trips through the States, I can’t imagine how different they’d have been if I was moving slowly enough to see and experience the places I traveled through. It would be a sobering lesson in scale.
Anyway, you can rent 10MPH on DVD, or if you live in Austin you can catch it on August 26th at the Alamo South Lamar.
It looks like La Terza Madre (the third film in Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” Trilogy) will have its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. Starring Dario’s darkly sexy daughter Asia Argento, the film “will depict the confrontation with the final ‘Mother’, the witch known as Mater Lachrymarum.” Wicked.
It took me a long time to like Argento. See, when you’re a kid, you want, well, horror in your horror films. You know–vicious, terrible, unrelenting violence. But Argento’s films are more about tension and mood and visual style, and while he doesn’t skimp on the blood (when the time is right), his films aren’t traditional American slash-fests, and that can be off-putting for a bloodthirsty teenager.
When you get a bit older, however, and you start to look at Argento’s movies as serious pieces of filmmaking rather than bits of bloody candy, all kinds of fascinating patterns and details begin to emerge. You begin to judge things in terms of their relative “Argento-ness”. For example, that gorgeous first shot in Dawn of the Dead with Gaylen Ross huddled against the blood-red shag of the TV studio wall–that’s 100% Argtento (he produced the film, and no doubt had a major influence on its production).
Anyway, if you’d like to meet the man, he’ll be appearing at the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear this year (which it looks like I’ll be missing for the second year in a row–but I’ll hopefully catch him at TIFF a couple weeks later). Oh, and in September Yo La Tengo will host a screening of Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet here in Austin as part of the Alamo’s “Cinema Under the Influence” series.