<p>Director Matt Reeves, seen here on the set of 'Cloverfield' with Lizzy Kaplan, has just finished his new film 'Let Me In'.</p>

Director Matt Reeves, seen here on the set of 'Cloverfield' with Lizzy Kaplan, has just finished his new film 'Let Me In'.

Credit: Paramount

SXSW: Matt Reeves discusses his 'Let The Right One In' remake

Director discusses working with Hit Girl on 'Let Me In' and more

Matt Reeves has an unenviable task ahead of him with the release of "Let Me In," his adaptation of John Lindqvist's novel Let The Right One In.  Obviously that was filmed (well) just two years ago, and the original was embraced by critics around the world.  I don't think it's fair to call what Reeves is doing a "remake," though.  He appears to be treating the novel like new source material and building his own take on the story.

He was here in Austin to participate on Scott Weinberg's big giant blow-out horror panel, and as a result, a group of reporters got a little face time with him on the morning of that panel.  Early.  And this is the conversation Reeves and I had as a result:

Matt Reeves:  How are you?

Drew McWeeny:  I am good.  I’m on festival time, which means three hours of sleep here, two hours of sleep there.

Matt:  Are you seeing a lot of interesting things, or..?
 
Drew:  Well, "Kick-Ass" last night.
 
Matt:  How was that?  I haven’t seen it.
 
Drew:  We saw the rough cut in December when it was all temp-tracked and when Matthew still had the Superman theme on it and some stuff he was desperate to get.  I think he lost the fight with Warner Brothers, though.
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<p>Jude Law (L)&nbsp;and Forest Whitaker (R)&nbsp;share a laugh with director Miguel Sapochnik on the set of 'Repo Men,&quot; due in theaters on Friday.</p>

Jude Law (L) and Forest Whitaker (R) share a laugh with director Miguel Sapochnik on the set of 'Repo Men," due in theaters on Friday.

Credit: Universal Pictures

The M/C Interview: 'Repo Men' director Miguel Sapochnik talks Verhoeven, music and more

A few days ago, as I was walking from the convention center here in Austin back to my car, I ran into a friend on the street who was here with Miguel Sapochnik, director of "Repo Men."  Because I had just interviewed Sapochnik, I felt comfortable insisting that he check out that night's screening of "A Serbian Film," still by far the most interesting thing I've seen at SXSW this year.

Sapochnik impresses me as a hearty movie fan, a guy with a keen taste for the outrageous, and I think his movie reflects those sensibilities quite strongly.  I enjoyed our brief chat on the phone, which you can read in full below:

Drew McWeeny:  I wanted to talk about where this film began for you, because I know what the novel is, but your film feels like it’s got its own voice, and I can’t help but feel that there is a touch of a Verhoven to it.

Miguel Sapochnik:  That's a fair statement.
 
Drew:  And I mean that in the best possible way.  I think Verhoven is one of the few guys who really knows how to make extreme graphic material both funny and shocking at the same time.  And it’s not a trick many people can pull off, and I think your film walks that line very well.
 
Miguel:  Well, thank you.  I was… listen, "Robocop" was a huge influence in my life when I was growing up watching movies, and it was a guilty pleasure in some respects.  Interestingly, my upbringing was kind of Schwarzenegger and Tarkovsky.  And my dad was the one who used to push Tarkovsky on me, so secretly I would watch Schwarzenegger.  "Robocop" was a rare movie that he loved because it walked that line.  And Monty Python was like that as well.  You know... there was also Terry Gilliam and "Brazil" and "Clockwork Orange" and obviously "Blade Runner".  All those are the kind of movies that influenced this film.  But definitely the intent was to kind of entertain and at the same time have an underlying social comment that didn’t really hit people over the head with giving its point but was there if you choose to take a closer look.
 
Drew:  Well, it’s an ambitious film and looking at your background, it seems like you must have had quite a pitch to get Universal to commit to you on a picture of this size.  Can you talk about the process of how you chased the material and ended up in the director’s chair?
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<p>Judy Greer and Patrick Wilson co-star in the charming romantic comedy 'Barry Munday,' which just had its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in&nbsp;Austin.</p>

Judy Greer and Patrick Wilson co-star in the charming romantic comedy 'Barry Munday,' which just had its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin.

Credit: Stick 'N' Stone Productions

SXSW: 'Barry Munday' could easily be the festival's breakout hit

A comedy about life's left turns features Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer in fantastic lead roles

Here's a film that has no distribution, and so far, that seems to have generated very little press buzz at the festival, but if the right company steps in, "Barry Munday" feels like a "Juno"-sized hit just waiting to happen, a crowd-pleaser with a big heart, sincere and silly and featuring a career-changing performance from Patrick Wilson.  I have a feeling I have not heard the last of "Barry Munday."

There are few experiences that compare to walking into a festival film with no knowledge of what you're about to see, then reeling out the other end feeling like you've got a secret you want to share with everyone.  "Barry Munday" is based on a novel called Life Is A Strange Place by Frank Turner Hollon, and it's got a denseness of character that makes it feel like a book.  That's one of the things that helps when adapting from a novel... you get so much to draw from, and adaptation is a reductive process, gradually carving away all the things you don't want to get to the particular thing you do.  The shift in title, from a general description of theme to a specific character's name, signals the intent of writer/director Chris D'Arienzo quite clearly.  This is a man on a journey towards some sort of place in the world, and in playing the role, Patrick Wilson does more onscreen in this one film to convince me of his genuine gift as a performer than he's been allowed to do in his last five movies combined.  Which is not to say I've thought he was a bad actor before this... it's just that you don't often find a role like Barry Munday.

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<p>&nbsp;Edward Norton in 'The Incredible Hulk'</p>

 Edward Norton in 'The Incredible Hulk'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Edward Norton puts Hulk's fate in the hands of the fans at SXSW

The actor speaks frankly about what it will take to make Bruce Banner live again

Louis Leterrier and Edward Norton's take on "The Incredible Hulk" came after Ang Lee's mega-budget daddy-issue take on the character flamed out both critically and commercially, and there was a chance for Leterrier and Norton to completely redeem one of Marvel's most iconic properties with their film.  Internal editorial struggles hobbled the release version of the film, though, and whatever you think of the final movie, it's not what the star thought he was making as he worked on it.

As a result, his continued involvement in the Marvel Universe has been a question mark that has plagued fandom now for a few years, especially as Marvel has started taking more and more concrete steps towards the endgame of "The Avengers."  Even when the question came up about whether or not Edward Norton would represent the Hulk part of the "Avenger" equation during a recent Marvel set visit, it was neatly sidestepped by Kevin Feige.

When I sat down with Tim Blake Nelson and Edward Norton to discuss their new collaboration "Leaves Of Grass," we had a free-ranging conversation that was terribly enjoyable, and it was only when we stood up to leave that I finally broached the "Hulk" subject with Norton.  Part of me suspected that he would dodge the query or defer it, which is why I left it to the end.  Surprisingly, Norton seemed more than willing to discuss it, and his answers were to-the-point and more optimistic than I would have imagined.

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<p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; color: rgb(62, 62, 62); ">Will Forte rocks that look in the SNL adaptation 'MacGruber,' which had its world premiere at SXSW last night.</span></p>

 Will Forte rocks that look in the SNL adaptation 'MacGruber,' which had its world premiere at SXSW last night.

Credit: Universal Pictures

SXSW: 'MacGruber' turns up the silly on a day of SXSW escapism

Ryan Phillipe emerges as the film's unlikely MVP

There is a long tradition of characters that have sprung to life as characters on "Saturday Night Live" making the jump from sketch form to feature film, and it's yielded all sorts of results over the years.  "The Blues Brothers" and "Wayne's World" could be said to represent one end of the scale, with "It's Pat" and "The Ladies Man" at the other end.  The demands of narrative long-form storytelling are totally different, in terms of how you build a character, than the expectations in a six-minute sketch with a recurring punchline.  Some characters just can't make that jump.

"MacGruber" seems at first glance to be nearly impossible to adapt.  After all, this is a character known for blowing himself up at the end of each sketch he appears in.  There's no larger, richer world suggested during a "MacGruber" sketch.  It's fairly one note.  Then again, you know what else was fairly one note?  '80s macho action films.  And the great conceit of Jorma Taccone's film version of "MacGruber" is that it plays like a crappy Rambo sequel.  It's uncanny timing, since this year's biggest trend seems to be the fetishistic resurrection of '80s action, with "The Losers" and "The A-Team" and "The Expendables" all coming soon.  And here, before any of them, Taccone pretty much nails what they're all chasing, sending it up even as he embraces it fully.  The result is a film that's easy to watch and consistently funny, even if it is as substantial as a merengue.

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<p>The Kashmere High School Show Band, shown here in their prime, is the subject of the amazing new documentary 'Thunder Soul'</p>

The Kashmere High School Show Band, shown here in their prime, is the subject of the amazing new documentary 'Thunder Soul'

Credit: Snoot Entertainment

SXSW: Documentary 'Thunder Soul' funks up the Paramount

A true-life story that inspires equal parts tears and smiles

One of the reasons I go to documentaries in the first place is to meet characters I would otherwise never meet, and to travel to places I would otherwise never go, and to learn stories that might otherwise be marginalized by history.  More than with narrative films, I like walking into documentaries knowing nothing, because that journey of discovery can be part of the experience.

I'm casually friendly with Keith Calder, one of the producers of this film, but for the last two years, any time he mentioned the film, I tuned it out.  It's hard when you're friendly with people, because if you don't like something of theirs, some of them take it very personally.  In Keith's case, I have yet to really respond to something he's been attached to.  "All The Boys Love Mandy Lane" is okay, but not overwhelmingly successful, and "The Wackness" left me fairly cold.  I like the attempt of "Battle For Terra" more than the execution.  And so walking into "Thunder Soul," I was prepared to have to have that conversation again.

Instead, I owe Keith Calder a hug for bringing the story of the Kashmere Stage Band to the screen, because this is one of the most joyous experiences I've had in the theater so far this year.  I have never heard of the Kashmere Stage Band before.  I love funk music, though, so the soundtrack to this film is half the reason I am head over heels.  Who is the Kashmere Stage Band?  In the '70s, they were the school band for Kashmere High School, and they were award-winners, world-travelers, and one of the single best funk units working in the world.  They accomplished this under the supervisory eye of Conrad "Prof" Johnson, and the film deals with two eras in Johnson's life.

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<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

SXSW: Saturday the 13th - 'Cyrus,' George Lucas, 'Dirty Pictures,' and 'Thunder Soul'

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

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.

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<p>Chloe Moretz and Mark Strong both make strong impressions as Hit Girl and Frank&nbsp;D'Amico in Matthew Vaughn's explosive film version of the Mark Millar/John Romita Jr. comic 'Kick-Ass&quot; on the opening night of SXSW 2010.</p>

Chloe Moretz and Mark Strong both make strong impressions as Hit Girl and Frank D'Amico in Matthew Vaughn's explosive film version of the Mark Millar/John Romita Jr. comic 'Kick-Ass" on the opening night of SXSW 2010.

Credit: Lionsgate/MARV

'Kick-Ass' Kicks Ass At SXSW Opening Night Premiere

Superhero action-comedy explodes in front of the first night audience

If you read my recap of the tumultuous opening day of SXSW, or if you've read my BNAT review of the rough cut of this film with the temp score still in place, then you might guess that I'm probably going to give the finished film a good review.

The thing is, I wasn't really expecting the reaction I had to it tonight.  I was on set for some of this one.  A good chunk of it actually.  And I've known Matthew Vaughn for a while now.  This was pretty open book filmmaking as far as process was concerned, and they were kind enough to let me publish those pieces a while ago.  I thought I knew the film after seeing it in December, but I really didn't.  I had a surface read on the movie.  I liked certain things about it, but I didn't really look at those things closely.

This time around, I'm more certain that the film is a sort of a genre classic, a movie that both is the thing it's riffing on, and that still manages to make cogent conversation of the conventions of the genre so far on film.  "Kick-Ass" benefits enormously from the casting, and not in one role or two roles, but across the board.  Matthew Vaughn put together a lovely ensemble from top to bottom, and what they each contribute to the film is one of the specific pleasures of it... each one a different flavor.

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<p>A sneak peek at the Robert Rodriguez/Nimrod Antal revitalization of a favorite monster movie series, &quot;Predators,&quot; was a cornerstone the opening night line-up at this year's SXSW&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival.</p>

A sneak peek at the Robert Rodriguez/Nimrod Antal revitalization of a favorite monster movie series, "Predators," was a cornerstone the opening night line-up at this year's SXSW Film Festival.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

SXSW: Friday the 12th - 'Kick-Ass,' Twin Ed Nortons, hillbilly slashers, and Predators

The opening night of SXSW makes a splash with sneak previews and world premieres

Welcome to Austin, TX.  Or welcome back, rather.  It's my home away from home at this point, the place where I've spent so much of the last 15 years.  And it's familiar by now, so when I arrive, I know where I'm going.  Thursday was picking up the rental car, getting a first dinner with people, and writing up my reviews for "Green Zone" and "Remember Me" as well as that Greengrass interview.  Friday was a morning of faxing papers and trying to meet deadlines for insurance stuff, things that don't care if you're at a festival, like a busted brake light on my rental car that makes me nervous I'm going to get hassled by over-zealous SXSW-crazed law enforcement.  I'd hate to miss a screening because of some ridiculous technical glitch with the rental car.

That's almost what happened anyway.  I got a later start than I wanted dealing with all of this, then went to the South Lamar Alamo, so I could leave my car there, catch the shuttle to the Paramount, then shuttle back over for a double-feature to close the night.

Might even have been a plan.  Except the shuttle never came.  So eventually, I had to hop in the rental and drive over to the Paramount anyway.  By the time I found parking and walked over, it was 6:30, and the film was set to start at 7:00.  At that point, there was a line around the back end of the theater.  I walked around to the front of the lines to see which of them I was supposed to be in at that point with my gold film badge.  As I did, cars began to pull up to the front of the theater, filled with the cast and the crew of the film, and the back doors of the first car opened.  Producer Tarquin Pack and producer/writer/director Matthew Vaughn got out.  And as they did, they looked over, saw me, and walked over to say hello.  We'd talked after the screening of the film in December at Butt-Numb-A-Thon, and I've been eagerly waiting to see the finished film since.

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<p>Emilie de Ravin and Robert Pattinson co-star in Allen Coulter's romantic drama 'Remember Me,' opening today in theaters</p>

Emilie de Ravin and Robert Pattinson co-star in Allen Coulter's romantic drama 'Remember Me,' opening today in theaters

Credit: Summit Entertainment

The M/C Review: 'Remember Me' surprises in ways both good and bad

A weak script betrays solid work from alumni of 'Lost,' 'The Sopranos' and, of course, 'Twilight'

I've been rough on the "Twilight" films in print so far, and that new trailer for "Eclipse" looks like a whole lot of the same, but just because someone's in one of those films, or involved in one of those films, I'm not the sort of person who would dismiss them entirely.  Kristen Stewart has absolutely had other worthwhile moments on film in movies like "Into The Wild," "Adventureland,' and the upcoming "The Runaways."  It would be silly to judge her entirely on the work she does as Bella Swan.

The same is true of her co-star Robert Pattinson, who has a rabid fanbase, but who so far has yet to prove he can draw an audience outside of "Twilight," and who I've never seen in a big enough role to judge one way or another.

The good news for his fans is that Pattinson is a real actor, an interesting guy capable of making some really intriguing choices on film, and if he can survive the "Twilight" series without developing a hatred of stardom, then he may well evolve into someone of real merit and weight.  He is charismatic and charming in much of "Remember Me," and he works overtime to bring an emotional honesty to the role he plays.  He creates a solid onscreen rapport with his co-star Emilie de Ravin, and he really throws himself into his big scenes.

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