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Joe Swanberg doesn’t stop. (photo)

Joe Swanberg doesn’t stop.

I had a good half-hour talk with Joe Swanberg at SXSW, two days after the world premiere of his latest film “Alexander the Last” and a few days before my laptop hard drive failed, taking with it my audio files and transcripts. I’m slowly getting everything back, and while this interview isn’t so timely anymore, […]

“I think my heart’s big enough…”

Funny or Die gets all inside mumblecore baseball with this trailer for the nonexistent SXSW 2009 selection “The Dirty Garage,” about, apparently, how a pair of childhood friends/brothers clean a garage and have lots of incoherent conversation, accompanied by one of their former flames. Swanberg co-conspirators Kent Osborne and Tipper Newton appear, as do fake […]

SXSW 2009: “Sorry, Thanks.” (photo)

SXSW 2009: “Sorry, Thanks.”

Apologies for whipping out the m-word, but mumblecore always seemed to me to be defined by its choreography of conflict avoidance. Its characters are so vague about they want and what they think because what they definitely don’t want is to lay those things out and risk disagreement, rejection or open hostility. They lack any […]

SXSW 2009: Andrew Bujalski Minds His “Beeswax” (photo)

SXSW 2009: Andrew Bujalski Minds His “Beeswax”

You’d think that a film shot and set in Austin would see its world premiere at SXSW. “Beeswax” even features the festival’s new producer Janet Pierson in a supporting role, as well as a slew of faces from the local filmmaking scene (the Zellner brothers, Kyle Henry and Bryan Poyser). And of course, “Beeswax” is […]

Graphic: The 2009 SXSW Film Family Tree

From its accidental 2005 birth to its 2007 peak and beyond, “mumblecore” (that DIY pigeonholing non-movement we hate to call by name, yet keep doing so anyway) always had two defining characteristics: a social-cum-artistic relationship between its filmmakers, and a direct link to the SXSW Film Festival. Two years ago this month, I half-jokingly decided […]

Sundance 2009: “You Wont Miss Me.” (photo)

Sundance 2009: “You Wont Miss Me.”

“You Wont Miss Me” is all about Shelly Brown, a girl with the kind of problems plenty of 20-somethings dream of moving to New York for the express purpose of having: substance abuse, reckless hookups in her bedraggled Williamsburg apartment with shaggy boys who mistreat her, sudden fights with friends and strangers, an unseen actress […]

“The Forsaken Land,” “Team Picture” (photo)

“The Forsaken Land,” “Team Picture”

Ah, minimalism, the miserable hairshirt pajamas so many critics still love to put on in the semi-privacy of their vocations, ostensibly separating them from the herd of passive filmgoers like enlightened monks separated from the peasantry — or, at least, so it may seem to the mainstream, who have been trained from the cradle to […]

Jay and Mark Duplass on “Baghead” (photo)

Jay and Mark Duplass on “Baghead”

A quick refresher for the six of you who need it: “Mumblecore” (c. 2005 – 2007?) is the hastily designated catch-all for a loosely allied circle of young American filmmakers utilizing a low-budget, documentary-esque shooting style for their talky DIY indies. Regardless of whether you like any of the individual films, odds are you’re either […]