Festival Coverage

SXSW Day 2 : Reviews of Source Code, Being Elmo, Turkey Bowl, Attack the Block

Festival Coverage

Source Codin’

I started off my second day of SxSW with a cup of El Salvadorian coffee (more like a gallon) and a series of round-table interviews with the cast of ”Source Code”, including writer Ben Ripley and director Duncan Jones. We talked for over an hour about the influence of Hitchcock and how important the ability to explore new areas and try different things on set is.

Gyllenhaal’s character, Colter Stevens, is certainly an action hero – a helicopter pilot stationed in Afghanistan – but the complexities of his character required more than the standard square-jawed, chiseled physique. “There’s a lot of brainwork in the movie,” said Gyllenhaal. “But once we got to the set, I had to be able to let go of the cerebral part so we could tell the story of a guy lost in time.”

Duncan Jones elaborated on the film’s shooting schedule, and how events were shot in chronological order. “The first days of shooting was crucial for everyone in the cast,” said Gyllenhaal, “because the things they did that day would be repeated, with variations, in scenes that followed.”

Director Duncan Jones concentrated on unraveling the story’s narrative as it evolved over the course of each source code. “The puzzle solving aspect of it was quite intriguing,” said Jones. The number of locations is very limited in ”Source Code”, as the film takes place almost exclusively on a train.

The challenge became how to take the surroundings and locations and make them characters so, the audience can actually sense the changes through every source code, even though they may be quite subtle. “The beauty of the script,” says Jones, is that there’s constantly new exploration. Colter enters each repetition, or source code, with more knowledge. Each time he brings something new to the situation.”

I’ll have more from my talk with Duncan Jones and the cast of ”Source Code” as part of my SxSW wrap-up!

Turkey Bowl.

Next we checked out Kyle P. Smith directorial debut, ”Turkey Bowl”, at the Alamo Ritz. Kyle’s film takes only an hour to watch and its action unfolds in real time. ”Turkey Bowl” is about 10 post-grad friends who reenact a touch football game every year. Based on a true story about the director and his close-knit group of friends, ”Turkey Bowl” examines the relationships of friends as the grow older and drift apart.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

Over at the Vimeo Theater, we caught a screening of ”Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”. Directed by Constance Marks, ”Being Elmo” traces Kevin Clash’s rise from his modest beginnings in Baltimore to his current success as the man behind Elmo, one of the world’s most recognizable and adored characters. Millions of children tune in daily to watch Elmo, yet when Kevin walks down the street he is not recognized. Pivotal to the film is the exploration of Jim Henson’s meteoric rise, and Kevin’s ultimate achievement of his goal to become part of the Henson family of puppeteers.

Doug Loves Movies with: Simon Pegg, Rainn Wilson and James Gunn

As part of the SxSW Comedy Showcase, we caught a live taping of comedian Doug Benson’s podcast, Doug Loves Movies, where he discusses new releases with stars of film and TV. Tonight’s guests were Simon Pegg (star of the SxSW headliner, ”Paul”), Rainn Wilson and James Gunn – who were their promoting their film, ”Super”.

If you’re not familiar with the show, you should definitely check it out. The gang played the Leonard Maltin game – a sort of “Name that Tune” for movies. Pegg and Wilson struggled to correctly choose the correct answer during a rousing round of “Pullman/Paxton,” where contests have to decide if a film starred Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman.

Immediately following ”Doug Loves Movies”, we saw Comedy Death Ray’s comedy showcase with: Dave Foley, Kevin Pollak, Howard Kremer, Brett Gelman and Michael Ian Black. Kevin Pollak can be seen in Kevin Smith’s latest cinematic effort, ”Red State”, and Brett Gelman is the star of Eat”, a narrative short getting its world premiere at SxSW.

Directed by Janicza Bravo, “Eat” is about August (Gelman), who has never been with a woman. Claire is his neighbor. One day she is locked out of her apartment and August lets her in to his. He does what he can to keep her there.

Attack the Block

The midnight screening at Alamo Ritz was Joe Cornish’s first feature film, ”Attack the Block”. The film is about a young woman walks home through dark, dangerous streets in south London. She ambushed by five ghoulish, hooded youths who relieve her of her mobile, purse, and even her engagement ring. Before the hoodlums can further victimize the young woman, a fireball explodes out of the sky and destroys a nearby parked car.

From the wreckage emerges a vicious little alien that the youth hunt through south London. The gang kill and triumphantly parade back to their block, but their adventure is not over. The night is still young and the attack on the block has only just begun…

You may know Joe Cornish as a screenwriter of the upcoming films, ”Ant-Man” and ”The Adventures of Tin-Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn”. Or, you may know Cornish from his acting work in ”Hot Fuzz” and ”Shaun of the Dead”. His directorial debut is an exhilarating, kick-ass flick that is perfectly paced and exceedingly entertaining.

You can check out the trailer for ”Attack the Block” here.


Simon Pegg, Rainn Wilson & James Gunn, special guests on Doug Benson’s ”Doug Loves Movies show”


Simon Pegg


Kevin Clash and Elmo during the Q&A for ”Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”


“Attack the Block” official still photo

Pictures and additional content courtesy of Mike D’Avria and Tim Grant

< SXSW : DAY ONE

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