Jan. 24, 2013 | 4:19 p.m.

Odd couple? Neil Gaiman and Chuck Lorre to chat onstage at SXSW

Neil Gaiman, left, and Chuck Lorre will discuss their creative processes. (Kimberly Butler / David Livingston / Getty Images)
Fans attending the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive Festival will get a chance to see titans of the geek realm discuss their creative process on stage, but it’s not a pairing anyone could have guessed in advance: Neil Gaiman and Chuck Lorre. Gaiman and Lorre may seem like the oddest of odd couples at first. Gaiman writes novels and comic books and is known for his fantastic worlds; Lorre writes TV sitcoms and is known for battling his former star Charlie Sheen in the press. But remember that Lorre is also the co-creator and executive producer of “The Big Bang Theory,” the top-rated comedy on TV, which fosters geek love across the universe. He also recently published the book “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Bitter.” Gaiman, meanwhile, has dabbled in film and TV writing, with a pair of “Doctor […]
March 18, 2011 | 1:23 p.m.

SXSW 2011: Jodie Foster to direct a sci-fi thriller

Jodie Foster
On screen, Jodie Foster is confident in genre films, and with good reason. She picked up an Academy Award for “The Silence of the Lambs,” which stands as the only horror film to win a best picture Oscar, and her sci-fi resume includes the cosmic  Robert Zemeckis film “Contact” and Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming  “Elysium,” the director’s sociopolitical follow-up effort to “District 9.” But as a filmmaker, Foster has stuck to family dramas, such as the Mel Gibson movie that premiered this week at South By Southwest, “The Beaver.” For her next directing gig, however, Foster says she is making a sci-fi thriller. “There’s a family element to it, but it’s much more a genre movie,” Foster said in an interview after “The Beaver” premiere in Austin, Texas.  “I’d like to do that ’cause that’s a world I live in as an actor but I’ve never really gone […]
March 15, 2011 | 1:12 p.m.

SXSW: ‘Attack the Block’ is thug-life tale with alien twist

"Attack the Block" (SXSW)
Catching up with SXSW coverage, here’s Mark Olsen’s report on “Attack the Block“… Fan favorites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost release their new film “Paul” this week, but in Austin on Saturday night it was another project related to the “Shaun of the Dead” duo and their director pal Edgar Wright that had audiences lined up around the block outside the Alamo Ritz theater: Joe Cornish’s “Attack the Block,” about what happens when a gang of English thugs encounter some otherworldly creatures. Though the film is the feature directing debut for Cornish, the British writer-director-performer is no novice. He is well-known in England for the television comedy program “The Adam and Joe Show” and has more recently worked as a writing partner to Wright on “The Adventures of Tin-Tin: Secret of the Unicorn” and “Ant-Man.” Wright, an executive producer on “Attack the Block,” was […]
March 14, 2011 | 10:07 a.m.

‘Tintin': Simon Pegg and Nick Frost tells tales from Steven Spielberg’s new-tech set

Nick Jones and Simon Pegg (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)
Rebecca Keegan catches up with “Paul” stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to talk “Tintin.“ Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are experiencing a Spielbergian moment in their careers. Their new movie, “Paul,” an alien road comedy, is a love letter to Steven Spielberg films like “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” But the two British comedians also got a chance to watch Spielberg work up close as actors in the director’s upcoming film “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” On Sunday morning, hours before the  premiere of “Paul” at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, Pegg and Frost talked about the unusual work environment  on the “Tintin” set, which relied on much of the same performance-capture technology that James Cameron used on “Avatar.” “Steven, he did a lot of his own camera […]
March 13, 2011 | 2:59 p.m.

SXSW: ‘Super’ director James Gunn on God, drugs, Batman and Ellen Page

Rainn Wilson in "Super" (Steve Dietl/IFC Films)
In “Super,” a dark comedy premiering at the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, Rainn Wilson is a diner cook who reinvents himself as a masked hero called the Crimson Bolt to rescue his drug-addicted wife (Liv Tyler) from her new dealer (Kevin Bacon). Along the way he speaks to God, cracks some craniums and picks up a very enthusiastic sidekick, Boltie (Ellen Page). Director James Gunn, best known for his 2006 horror comedy “Slither,” talked with Hero Complex writer Rebecca Keegan in Austin about the lack of God in mainstream American cinema, Page’s motivation for taking her top off in a superhero movie and whether we might reach a point of too many superhero films. RK: Why put God in a superhero movie? JG: The topic of God or faith is something that isn’t in movies. It’s more […]
March 12, 2011 | 1:53 p.m.

SXSW: ‘The Innkeepers’ haunted by real Connecticut hotel

Marc Olsen checks in with “The Innkeepers” at 24 Frames, our must-read sister blog. Here’s an excerpt… Sara Paxton in “The Innkeppers” (Dark Sky Films) Ti West does not believe in ghosts. The 30-year-old writer/director/editor of “The Innkeepers,” which will have its world premiere Saturday as part of the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, considers himself a skeptic when it comes to matters of the supernatural. But while shooting his previous film, the slow-burn satanic horror flick “The House of the Devil,” strange things happened at the hotel where the cast and crew were staying. So strange that West ended up writing a script about a haunted hotel. The Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Conn., not only provided the inspiration for “The Innkeepers,” but West was able to shoot there as well. In spring of last year, the production […]
Feb. 10, 2011 | 11:59 a.m.

SXSW: ‘Insidious’ leads sci-fi and horror horde in Texas [updated]

“Insidious,” a haunted-house story from “Saw’” creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell;  “The Divide,” a sci-fi thriller starring Michael Biehn and Milo Ventimiglia; and  “Attack the Block,” an action-adventure story by “Adventures of Tintin” writer Joe Cornish are some of the movies premiering in the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival’s midnight program next month, festival organizers announced Thursday. [FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post misstated Cornish’s writing credits.] In prior years, the Austin, Texas, festival’s two bloody, boisterous midnight-screening series — Midnighters and SXFantastic — have helped foster directors such as Eli Roth and Gareth Edwards. Among the familiar faces from the genre world in this year’s lineup are Wan and Whannell, whose film stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey in a ghost story about a family beset by spirits after a son falls […]
March 14, 2010 | 4:55 p.m.

Matthew Vaughn film plays to cheers in Austin, but one critic wonders why

  Over at our sister blog 24 Frames, reporter Mark Olsen sends in a dispatch from South by Southwest where he sat down in the dark with director Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass,” which has been hailed by some as the best opening-night film in the history of the Texas festival and conference. Olsen heard the cheers but did not feel the love. Here’s an excerpt… The independently produced “Kick-Ass,” which Lionsgate will release in five weeks, feels somehow at once lean and bloated. Some of the effects underwhelm, and the whole thing has a light, cardboard-y feel. While set in New York City, much of the film was clearly shot in Toronto. And Aaron Johnson doesn’t quite have the charisma to pull off the lead part of the teenager who adopts the role of a superhero, leaving something of an empty hole at the […]
March 14, 2010 | 12:48 a.m.

‘Predators’ on the loose in Texas — the hunt is back on

It’s a big weekend for “Predators,” the promising Fox film that began the ramp-up to its July 7 release with a sneak peek at South by Southwest in Austin. I just got off the phone with the film’s director, Nimród Antal, and he seemed to be pulsing with enthusiasm. “This is gasoline,” the filmmaker said using an appropriately petroleum-based description for the film’s building buzz at the Lone Star State gathering.”We’re very excited.” Antal is coming off the 2009 film “Armored” which did not go over well with critics although more than a few pointed out the filmmaker’s flair in the ultimately disappointing heist movie. If the L.A. native needed a mentor, he’s certainly got one with this revival of the well-known sci-fi franchise; “Predators” is a product of Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios in Texas and Rodriguez came up with the story. Antal said the property and the producer […]
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