<p>After some of the things that happen to them in Joseph Kahn's wacked-out teen comedy 'Detention,' I'm sure these kids would be fine with spending a little time after school.</p>

After some of the things that happen to them in Joseph Kahn's wacked-out teen comedy 'Detention,' I'm sure these kids would be fine with spending a little time after school.

Credit: Detention Films

SXSW Review: Joseph Kahn's 'Detention' is manic throwback horror comedy for Twitter generation

Crazy mash-up mayhem could make some distributor very happy

AUSTIN - I wanted to get the quote exactly right, so I went back tonight to look up my review of the 2004 film "Torque."  I never reviewed the movie when it came out, probably because it stunned me silent.  But at the end of the year, it topped my list of the worst films released that year, and my entire published work regarding the first film by music video wunderkind Joseph Kahn consisted of two sentences:  "Joseph Kahn should be tried for war crimes against my eyes and the laws of physics.  On the positive side, this may well be the highest-budget film ever directed by a retarded person."

I know it bothered him at the time because I heard from him, and he was very clear and very angry.  But after he called me, I never really thought about "Torque" again.  It's not a film I've revisited, or that occupies any real space in pop culture at this point.  At the time, it was supposed to make Joseph Kahn into a major big-budget guy.  There was a fair amount of talk at the time that they were going to hand him "Superman" after he wrapped up on "Torque."  That's how confident Warner Bros. was while they were watching dailies roll in.  Instead, he dropped back off the feature film world map completely until this week, when his new indie film "Detention" made its premiere as part of the SXSW Film Festival.

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<p>Nick Frost and Simon Pegg sat down with HitFix near the Little Ale'inn in Rachel, Nevada, to discuss their new movie 'Paul'</p>

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg sat down with HitFix near the Little Ale'inn in Rachel, Nevada, to discuss their new movie 'Paul'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Nick Frost and Simon Pegg talk about bringing 'Paul' to life

We talk about influences, performance, and little green men

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are one of those film teams who I think will eventually be studied because of the body of work they leave behind.

"Spaced," "Shaun Of The Dead," and "Hot Fuzz" alone would be worth a discussion, but I have a feeling we're going to see them onscreen together over and over as their careers progress.  This coming Christmas, we're going to see them play Thomson and Thompson, the beloved characters from the TinTin series, and they're still planning to make another film with Edgar Wright.  But this weekend, they're both writers and stars of the new science-fiction road comedy "Paul," and to celebrate the film's release, I took a trip last week out to Rachel, Nevada.

Where the hell is Rachel, Nevada?

Well, we actually had to fly in to Vegas.  There were 25 of us total, and they loaded us into various RVs, then drove us about three hours out of the city to where the Little Ale'Inn is located.  It's a setting for a major sequence in "Paul," and it's a major spot for UFO enthusiasts because of how close it is to Area 51, the fabled location of the base where all of the alien bodies and spacecrafts are kept.

It's always a treat to talk to Nick and Simon, and this conversation with them was nearly ten minutes, with a few interruptions.  This sort of longer-form conversation on video works well at feeling like something natural instead of a mad scramble for a sound bite.  And when you factor in the fact that we're sitting in the middle of the desert for real, hundreds of miles from anything, it's a really crazy way to conduct press for something.

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<p>I'm guessing we'll have a whole lot less Jennifer Garner if Fox returns to the 'Daredevil franchise</p>

I'm guessing we'll have a whole lot less Jennifer Garner if Fox returns to the 'Daredevil franchise

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Is David Slade really going to reboot 'Daredevil,' and if so, why?

It's all about the benjamins, folks

If you're asking yourself why 20th Century Fox is moving ahead with a new "Daredevil" movie, it's simple.  If they don't make another movie, the rights will eventually revert to Marvel Studios, and they'll be able to reclaim their character and do whatever they want with it.  They could happily drop Daredevil into an "Avengers" movie, whether it makes sense or not, if they owned the character outright.

Instead, Fox is going to do whatever they can to hold onto the character, and that means they have to make a new movie about Matt Murdock and Daredevil and the Kingpin and whatever other characters they hope to keep control of in the future.  It's the same reason there's a "Spider-Man" reboot being made at Sony, and it's the reason we'll see another "Fantastic Four" film even if no one asks for it.  It's the reason there's a "Ghost Rider 2" coming.  The studios who own the various Marvel characters that were in production before Marvel started doing things for themselves are never ever going to willingly give up their hold on those characters, just in case.

"Daredevil" may not have been a hit, critically or commercially, but the character has existed long enough that Fox recognizes that there's at least a chance.  Maybe they didn't get it right the first time.  Maybe they won't get it right this time.  Does't matter.  As long as they have the rights, they can keep trying to get it right, as many times as they want.

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<p>Pat Healy and Sara Paxton co-star in the creepy, silly 'The Innkeepers,' one of the many genre highlights of this year's SXSW&nbsp;Festival</p>

Pat Healy and Sara Paxton co-star in the creepy, silly 'The Innkeepers,' one of the many genre highlights of this year's SXSW Festival

Credit: Dark Sky Films/Glass Eye Pix

SXSW Review: Ti West follows up acclaimed 'House Of The Devil' with playful ghost story 'Innkeepers'

Slow-burn ghost story delivers big scares, no subtext

AUSTIN - Ti West is starting to build a brand name for himself as a horror filmmaker, and with his last film "The House Of The Devil," he seemed to crystallize his voice and really settle into what is he wants to do as a storyteller.  That film is all about the ultra-slow burn, and by the time it actually pays off, it's obvious that West is more interested in the fuse than the explosion.  Since it seems that it was technically impossible for anyone to write a review of "House" without using the term "slow burn," West seems to have made a conscious decision to play with expectations for his new film, "The Inkeepers," which made its premiere over the weekend at the SXSW Film Festival.

"The Innkeepers" stars Sara Paxton and Pat Healy as Claire and Luke, two young people who are working the front desk at The Yankee Pedlar, an old hotel that is about to close.  For the most part, they're the only ones who are in the building, and they spend much of their time recording various rooms in the hotel on both audio and video, trying to capture some sort of proof of hauntings in the old building.  And for probably 2/3 of the film, it plays as almost a low-key comedy about inertia, and there's a great laid-back Jarmusch vibe to what's going on, punctuated only by the occasional jump scare which plays as an intentional violation of the mood that's being built.  It's like West read the complaints that nothing happened in his last movie, so he's chosen to include a number of blatant, obnoxious, over-the-top jump scares, so in your face about it that you have to laugh.

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Watch: The filmmakers introduce 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'
Credit: Disney

Watch: The filmmakers introduce 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'

Captain Jack Sparrow delivers a brief recruiting message as well

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Director Rob Marshall peek out from behind the cameras in the latest Featurette for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." After a quick recruiting message from Captain Jack Sparrow, the producer and the Director introduce the new characters and re-introduce some of the old ones.

With Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow on a quest for the fountain of youth. The movie will bring back old foes such as Captain Barbosa played by Geoffrey Rush, as well as introduce Blackbeard the Pirate played by Ian McShane, and his daughter Angelica, played by Penelope Cruz. Of course Angelica and Jack have a romantic history which serves to further enhance the tensions between Sparrow and Blackbeard. You can be sure the usual threats of Mermaids, cutthroats and zombies never fade from the background.

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<p>These hoodies are the only hope for humanity during an alien invasion in the amazing new movie 'Attack The Block,' one of the highlights of this year's SXSW&nbsp;festival</p>

These hoodies are the only hope for humanity during an alien invasion in the amazing new movie 'Attack The Block,' one of the highlights of this year's SXSW festival

Credit: Optimum Releasing

Review: Midnight movie 'Attack The Block' is an instant genre classic

Joe Cornish steers a largely unknown cast to complete triumph

AUSTIN - Joe Cornish is a name that may not be familiar to genre audiences around the world, but all of that is set to change with the release of his remarkable new film "Attack The Block," a spirited mix of teen gang drama, SF monster movie, and hero's journey, told in a dense vernacular and shot with the style of early vintage Carpenter.  It is entirely successful, and it announces Cornish as someone worthy of attention and a long filmography.

Cornish, for those unfamiliar with his work, is probably best-known so far for his work on "The Adam and Joe Show" in the UK, but later this year, he'll have a credit as the co-writer (with Edgar Wright) of "The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn," and he and Wright are also still working on their "Ant-Man" script as well.  None of the work he's had produced in the past could have really prepared viewers for "Attack The Block," though.  It's one of those films that feels like the work of a seasoned veteran, someone who had learned how to finesse their vision onto the bigscreen.  It's confident, it manages to blend genre with ease, and it coheres beautifully.

The film features a few familiar faces for fans of UK films.  Jodie Whittaker was Peter O'Toole's focus in "Venus," and she's also been seen in films like "Good" and "St. Trinian's," while co-star Luke Treadaway has shown up in "Heartless" and "Clash Of The Titans."  Probably the best-known cast-member is Nick Frost, but don't go into "Attack The Block" expecting anything like his earlier films or roles.  This movie's far more interested in the largely unknown cast that is front and center, a bunch of inner-city kids growing up in UK public housing blocks.  They are a convenient demon for the press, the English equivalent to the South Central LA kids of the '90s, bad guys by virtue of where they live and how they look. 

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<p>Kristen Wiig is ready for her moment in the spotlight in the very funny, very wry new film 'Bridesmaids</p>

Kristen Wiig is ready for her moment in the spotlight in the very funny, very wry new film 'Bridesmaids

Credit: Universal

Kristen Wiig stars in hilarious, heartbreaking 'Bridesmaids'

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Paul Feig makes a wonderful sophomore picture that is better than it should be

Kristen Wiig is very hard to explain in terms of comedic persona.

With many comics, you can sum them up somehow.  That's one of the basic things that seems to be essential with our great comedy stars.  We need to be able to easily understand them.  You go all the way back to Keaton and Chaplin, they worked in broad iconography.  They communicated with everything, their clothing, their physicality.  They were easily summed up, and then in each new situation, it was just about watching what they would do.  Keaton goes to war.  Chaplin during the Gold Rush.  Keaton gets a train.  Chaplin and a kid.  Easy on the surface to grasp, and then within that, there is room to do so much more.

With Wiig, I don't get any single easy definition or summation, and that's what keeps her interesting.  From the very start of "Bridesmaids," one of the primary things i enjoyed was simply seeing how Wiig handles herself in each new situation, as her life keeps punching her right in the face in the most painful ways.  It is a very funny film, but there's a sincerity to the sadness that elevates the material, and which to me seems like the sort of film Paul Feig should be making in the first place.

Feig, of course, is the guy who created "Freaks and Geeks," and he's a whip-smart comedy writer.  Read his books.  Thank me later.  His first film, "Unaccompanied Minors," seems to make him visibly uncomfortable when mentioned, but he's being too hard on himself.  He made a small-scale studio comedy on a budget, with a script he didn't write, and he got himself in the game.  "Bridesmaids" was written by Kristen Wiig and her Groundlings partner Annie Mumolo, and it was produced by Judd Apatow and Barry Mandel, and I think the entire thing manages to feel very personal while still possessing a big immediate commercial appeal.  This could easily catch fire with audiences both male and female, and it could be a real launching pad for Wiig as the center of her own films.

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<p>Paul (Seth Rogen) and Graeme (Simon Pegg) react to just one of the many, many things that goes wrong on their wild road trip in the new SF&nbsp;comedy 'Paul'</p>

Paul (Seth Rogen) and Graeme (Simon Pegg) react to just one of the many, many things that goes wrong on their wild road trip in the new SF comedy 'Paul'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost comedy 'Paul' offers broad Sci-Fi fan laughs

Kristen Wiig shines in supporting role adding heart and character to comedy

AUSTIN - It's strange to be in Austin and to keep running into Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg, and to realize that they're not all here for the same movie.

"Paul," which Universal will release on March 18, is a SF road comedy starring Frost and Pegg as two friends who travel to America for the San Diego Comic-Con.  Afterwards, they hit the road in a rented RV, and while they're visiting the various UFO-related sites in the west, they find themselves on a desert highway in the middle of the night where they witness a terrible car accident.  The only thing to survive the accident is a small grey alien who introduces himself as Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen.  He needs a ride to a rendezvous point because it's time for him to leave our planet and head home, and the only two people who can help him are Clive (Frost) and Graeme (Pegg).

The film uses the basic language of shared SF fandom as a starting point, and before I get to what I like about "Paul," let me offer up a few things I didn't.  There are "Family Guy"-style on-the-nose reference jokes in several major moments in the film, and for my personal taste, all of them fell flat.  When a character shoots his CB radio to end a conversation and actually says, "Boring conversation anyway," or when a country-western version of the Cantina theme is playing as someone walks into a bar or when a particular line of dialogue is used to punctuate a punch, each and every time I felt embarrassed, not included.  I don't need the specific and pointed direct references to other movies to enjoy what I'm watching.  In Joe Cornish's "Attack The Block," there are certainly many other movies that are mixed up in the formula, but there's no moment in the film where it stops to specifically turn and wink and nudge your ribs and say, "Hey, I saw 'Star Wars'!"  It's too much for me, and I think I've become burned out on direct film references in other movies.  Then again, I didn't mind it in "Rango" because of the way they were repurposed to be jokes on the mere act of recognition, turning meaning inside out in many cases.

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<p>Michelle Monaghan and Jake Gyllenhaal co-star in the slick, satisfying SF&nbsp;ride 'Source Code'</p>

Michelle Monaghan and Jake Gyllenhaal co-star in the slick, satisfying SF ride 'Source Code'

Credit: Summit Entertainment

SXSW review: Jake Gyllenhaal stars in lively, entertaining SF 'Source Code'

The first night of SXSW delivers a major popcorn pleasure from the director of 'Moon'

AUSTIN - When I saw "Moon" at the Sundance Film Festival, at the very first screening of the film, I thought it was okay.  Not great.  Okay.

I've come to like it more upon revisiting it, but I think of it as a very good first film, someone's announcement more than a totally successful film.  I like Rockwell in it, and that's enough to recommend the film.  And it absolutely made me curious to see what Duncan Jones might do next.  Even if I didn't love the film, I really admired the filmmaking and the ambition.

"Source Code," his second film, deserves to launch him into the ranks of filmmakers who are trusted with big idea popcorn material, smarter than average and populist in its appeal.  It is a slick movie, a "Twilight Zone" style high concept with an ethical question built into it.  Several of them, actually.  And the cast absolutely nails the tone of the material, seeming to confirm that Jones has good taste in actors and he knows how to create a space for them to do great work.  It helps, of course, if you've got actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan, both appealing and demonstrating a real, easy chemistry, essential when you're trying to take this kind of material and invest it with big heart.

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<p>The young cast of 'Super 8' is going to face down a threat that is only hinted at in the new trailer for the JJ&nbsp;Abrams film</p>

The young cast of 'Super 8' is going to face down a threat that is only hinted at in the new trailer for the JJ Abrams film

Credit: Paramount

Watch: Astonishing new trailer for JJ Abrams' 'Super 8' teases, sets up the story

Vintage Spielberg attitude makes this feel very special, indeed.

I've been on the road since early on Wednesday, and I apologize for how light the blog's been on content during that time.  I spent most of Wednesday and much of Thursday in a place without any internet or phone, which made it impossible to write anything up or post anything.

And then tonight, as I landed in Austin, a real-life disaster movie began to unfold on the opposite side of the world, and like many of you, I've been watching this horrifying footage from Japan unfold, and I'm once again reminded just how powerful nature really is.  When I hear people talk about how mankind is going to destroy the earth, I just shrug it off because when the earth really does decide to get rid of us, it will be effortless.  Nature is still so incredibly powerful, and we are still able to do so little in the face of a natural disaster, and all we can do right now is hope that the people in the path of these quakes and these waves and all the other things resulting from this are as okay as possible.

It almost feels wrong to have post movie news right now, but then again, movies are often our escape when the real world is too tough for us, and so I'll do this anyway.  Especially since what I'm posting is kind of awesome, and highly anticipated by many of you.

Paramount has just released the full-length trailer for "Super 8," the new film from director JJ Abrams, and it is a stunner.  You get a good sense of general plot from this film, and it looks like there's a little bit of "Close Encounters" in there, some "Jaws," and a whole lot of small-town Spielberg as well.  It's the story of a group of young friends who get together to make monster movies on super-8 film back tine '70s, when a train derails in their town, releasing something dangerous into their community. 

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