Today was quite different from the calm of yesterday. Upon waking and heading over to the Convention Center, I was met with a sea of people, much like the massive crowds at the San Diego Comic-Con. Still, SXSW could never be Comic-Con (no comics or giant movie marketing presentations and junkets masquerading as “panels”)… but it FELT like it. At one point it was pointed out to me that as long as no one was in costume, it couldn’t remotely be like Comic-Con. So, of course, I saw people in costume, including a guy dressed like a ninja turtle.
What is clear is that the event that is SXSW has grown, and continues to grow, into a monstrous beast of Film, Interactive and Music-related fun. Interactive not only has tons of panels at the Convention Center, almost every hotel conference room is also host to Interactive panels or events. Film just got started today, but the crowds were large and lively. Music isn’t here yet, but when it does arrive, it’ll eclipse all.
Now, do I like this new, massive SXSW? I respect it and I don’t begrudge the festival its success at all… but I do miss the days when the crowd was smaller, when I didn’t have to line up for 2+ hours to see a film (yes, I know about SXXpress, but those tags go fast). I enjoy both the Interactive and Film side of things, but I do feel lost in the immensity of it all.
Luckily, when the atmosphere feels daunting, I just narrow the focus back on the films, and today I saw The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye and Insidious. The former was a documentary experience that I can best describe as “artistically relevant and experimentally engaging.” What does that mean? F**k if I know. I liked it though.
Insidious was a good, old-fashioned scarefest from Leigh Whannell and James Wan (you know, the Saw guys). A gear shift from their gorey days, this film is all about the scare of what is and isn’t there (and the fact it was produced by Oren Peli and Jason Blum of Paranormal Activity fame is apropos). It had me jumping more than a few times, and due to its non-gore and focus on the fright over the profanity, it garnered a PG-13 rating, which should help it do gangbusters at the box office while scaring tons of folks. Which, hey, kudos for freaking people out and getting tons of cash doing it, right?
Here’s some pics from the day. It’s after 3am in the morning, and I have a full Saturday planned, but let’s do it. Movies!