In Case You Missed it at SXSW: "Black Sheep" and "The King of Kong"
Film festivals are at once immensely gratifying and endlessly irritating. They provide the means to see new and obscure films months before they hit mainstream theaters or home video, but they do so at the cost of one's sanity, personal life, and financial resources. This past March during South by SouthWest I forced myself to maintain a somewhat normal schedule at the cost of movies I really would have liked to see. (Damn those midnight showings!)
Black Sheep was one of the films I most regret not seeing, so it's nice to see the film coming back to Austin during its theatrical run. The Alamo Drafthouse web site says it will begin running on August 31st, and it may hit some other local theaters. If you need a plot synopsis, Bloody Disgusting describes it this way: "An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a rural town in New Zealand." It sounds a lot like the animal version of Undead, which had a great sense of humor but ultimately got bogged down in homage to other zombie flicks and its own plot intricacies.
One picture I did see but will definitely pay to see again is The King of Kong, the documentary that shocked a lot of people by simultaneously existing in the two states of "entertaining" and "about video games." By finding the surprisingly human drama involved in the world championship bragging rights to the video game Donkey Kong, director Seth Gordon has made the most entertaining documentary I've seen in 2007. If you remember the '80s with any fondness whatsoever this is an absolute do-not-miss, especially with the upcoming "Austin's King of Kong Donkey Kong Competition" at the Alamo South Lamar. At the end of the weekend the ultimate winner of various heats will not only have some amazing bragging rights but also an actual Donkey Kong arcade console to take home. Talk about a seriously cool prize. The rest of us will just have to play it emulated on MAME or on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console -- you know, assuming you can actually lay hands on a Wii.