On Monday I caught an early screening of the new Pixar movie Ratatouille at the Alamo Downtown.
First of all, it’s kind of awesome that Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo are starring in a Disney movie. If there was some kind of “who’s going to star in the next Pixar movie?” pool at my work, I’d give them both million-to-one odds. But somehow, two of the most hilarious, abrasive, unapologetically liberal comedians in the business slipped into what could very well be the biggest kids’ movie of the year. AND it doesn’t hurt that Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter O’Toole and Will Arnett (all of whom are awesome) lend their voices as well.
But besides the top-notch voice acting, Ratatouille really is a fantastic movie. It’s fun, it’s sweet, and, of course, it looks absolutely amazing. I might even like it more than The Incredibles, which is saying a lot for me. The whole thing just has a great vibe, and I sort of didn’t want it to end (which, I’ll admit, might have had a lot to do with all the animated food. This movie will make food lovers h-u-n-g-r-y).
Patton and Janeane were at the theatre for a post-screening Q&A, and a good chunk of it is now available on Youtube.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Jack Black, Harold Ramis, Michael Cera and Judd Apatow are teaming up with The Office writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg for a new comedy called Year One.
I could take or leave Apatow, but I don’t think it’s too soon to call this the best comedy ever made. Ever. Made. Harold Ramis is just plain awesome, and Michael Cera is easily the funniest 19 year-old in the world. And though Jack Black has been in more mediocre movies than great ones, I just can’t stop liking the guy–he’s like an adorable puppy that you can’t stay mad at.
No solid word on a plot just yet, but apparently it’s about a “lazy hunter-gatherer who becomes the first modern man”. Let’s hope this dream-team doesn’t pull a Congo on us.
Oh, hey… here’s a great Believer interview with Harold Ramis.
In the week leading up to South by Southwest this spring, I interviewed eight SXSW-related people for Austinist. An interview a day doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it was. Most of the other film writers I talked to during the festival had emailed standardized, “20 questions” style interviews to filmmakers on the press list (which, in retrospect, seems like the smart thing), but for some reason I decided to focus on Texas filmmakers, and to phone each one of them up for a one-on-one chat. So between researching films and watching screeners and transcribing microcassettes, I probably got twelve hours of sleep the entire week. And when I did sleep, I was dreaming of interviewing people.
Anyway–I’ve got a whole bunch of interviews stockpiled (including some non-sxsw stuff), and I thought I’d post a quick rundown of each.
- SXSW Film Festival Producer Matt Dentler
Matt started out in an intern-ish type position at Southby, and now he runs the film festival. Incredibly nice, smart, film-lovin’ guy.
- Grammy’s Director Bryan Poyser
In addition to being a filmmaker, Bryan is also Director of Artist Services at the Austin Film Society. Again – fantastically cool guy. His short Grammy’s has since gone on to screen at the Jacksonville FF and Cinevegas.
- The Unforeseen Director Laura Dunn
The Unforeseen is a Terrence Malick / Robert Redford-produced doc about controversial land development here in Austin. Laura had previously directed a film about environmental issues along the Mississippi River called Green.
- Third Ward TX Director Andrew Garrison
Andrew is a filmmaker and UT Film School professor, as well as a Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEA and AFI Fellowship award recipient. Third Ward TX is a film about the grassroots revitalization of an unusual neighborhood in Houston.
- Hell on Wheels Director Bob Ray
Bob started out making skate videos (something I can relate to), and Hell On Wheels seems a kind of natural extension of that. It’s about the Austin-born resurgence of roller derby, and the people who made it happen.
- Fish Kill Flea Directors Brian Cassidy, Jennifer Loeber and Aaron
Fish Kill Flea chronicles the slow demise of a colorful upstate New York flea market–and it was easily one of my favorite films at SXSW this year. I loves me the sociology stuff.
- Monkey Warfare’s Don McKellar
I know – I posted about this the day it ran. But I’m still excited about it. I should also mention that Monkey Warfare director Reg Harkema and actor/publicist Cindy Wolfe were both very cool people. Cindy literally gave me the Monkey Warfare promo short she was wearing, right off of her back.
- A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar… Director Eric Chaikin
Eric had previously directed Word Wars, a doc about obsessive Scrabble players. I never actually got to see this movie, which makes me sad.
I’m in the process of moving my long-ignored angry robots blog to wordpress. It’s gonna take a few days to get things set up and looking half-decent, so please don’t give me any shit about it.