On SXSW's first Saturday, two Sundance faves and a trio of documentaries make a splash

Plus 'The Freebie' and 'Mars' for a Duplass hat trick and a tricky 'Monsters' arrives at midnight

<p>John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill clash over their love for Marisa Tomei in 'Cyrus,' which played SXSW&nbsp;on Saturday night.</p>

John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill clash over their love for Marisa Tomei in 'Cyrus,' which played SXSW on Saturday night.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Saturday started three hours after Friday ended for me.  I filed my last story at 5:30, went upstairs, crashed out, then got up at 8:30, got ready, and drove downtown so I could talk to Matt Reeves about his upcoming adaptation of Let The Right One In.  Then I had to hoof it to the Paramount around the corner from the site of the interview so I could see "Thunder Soul," a documentary that absolutely cleaned my clock.  Leveled me.  It's a very, very special film I'll review separately.  Suffice it to say, starting a day like that is unfair to anything else you'll see that day, because it's just that kind of good.

I was thinking of staying for "Barry MUNDAY" at the same venue, but I needed to go get something to eat and try to write a bit before the next interview at 3:45.  Instead, I'll see the film on Tuesday now.  I'm not staying downtown, so it's a good half-hour in the car to get back to where I'm staying.  That's an hour in the car at least.  I got a few ideas down on paper, but nothing ready to publish at all.  And then I went to talk to Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson about their film, "Leaves Of Grass."  And after that, I went to the Alamo South Lamar for "The People Vs. George Lucas," which had a line up and running almost two hours beforehand.  By the time I got there, it was eighty-five minutes till the start of the film, and a line was already fairly serious.  By showtime, the line was much too long for everyone to get in, so the Alamo announced that the TBA "secret" film for later that night would be, instead, a second showing of "The People Vs. George Lucas" for everyone who didn't get in to the first show..  Finally, I went to a midnight screening of "Monsters," another film programmed by Tim League and the rest of the team behind Fantastic Fest.  I love that they've got their own little sidebar now during SXSW, and I hope it leads to even more people returning in the fall for what I consider one of the greatest events of the year.

There were many different versions of SXSW that other people experienced today.  You could have started off the day with a narrative shorts program, "Thunder Soul," "Passenger Pigeons," an Appalachian drama of some sort, "The Freebie," which I saw and liked at Sundance, or "Phillip The Fossil," a hard-edged youth drama.  All before noon.  There was a big horror panel today hosted by Scott Weinberg of Cinematical, featuring Matt Reeves, Ti West, Ruben Fleischer, Neil Marshall and Robert Rodriguez.  In the afternoon, there was another narrative shorts program, "Last Train Home," a documentary about the clash between traditional and modern Chinese norms, a film about coming of age in suburbia with the lovely title "The Myth Of The American Sleepover," a documentary I don't think I'm going to get a chance to see called "Marwencol" that sound sort of "Fisher King" amazing, and "Hood To Coast," a documentary that I think is already on my schedule later in the week about an amazing relay race.

Later, there was the surreal English comedy "Skeletons" or the dreamy SF animated film "Mars," as well as a documentary shorts program, this year's "documentary every wannabe filmmaker needs to see" called "Greenlit," a film about people recalling where they were when Obama was elected.  Seems like a lot of people caught up with Jean-Pierre Jenuet's new film "MicMacs," which I saw in Toronto and at BNAT, and that most of them liked it.  A trio of documentaries I'm interested in also screened in the early evening, "His & Hers," "American Grindhouse," and "How To Fold A Flag," and I'm trying to figure out when I might see those.  For many people, "Cyrus" was the big title last night, and I'm glad to hear it went well.  I loved the film at Sundance, and I'm glad to see Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly and the Duplass Brothers are on the festival circuit with the film, supporting it, building buzz for the theatrical release later this year. 

I'm definitely going to catch up with "The Weird World Of Blowfly," "Dirty Pictures," and "Amer" while I'm here.  "Amer" looks like giallo-freak heaven, and the other two are documentaries about subjects I find potentially fascinating.

Overall, another dense line-up for the fest, and a strong anchor for the weekend.  I've got reviews of several of the films coming shortly, and I'm taking off some Sunday viewing so I can catch up a little.

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