Okay, I’m taking some time to blog from Butt-Numb-A-Thon. It’s nearing the half-way mark (midnight), and so far so good. Things started off with a special video greeting from Mel Gibson, offering his best wishes from the Mexico set of his upcoming feature, Apocalypto. Gibson was in town two years ago for BNAT with Passion of the Christ and this year, he offered a special sneak peek at the teaser trailer for his Summer 2006 release. Looks epic, and also incredibly hard to market… but, still epic and pretty, nevertheless.
We have assigned seats for BNAT. This year, I find myself sandwiched between two directors. I have Jake Vaughan (The Cassidy Kids) on my left, and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) on my right. Eli, who comes in from L.A. for BNAT every year, actually brought his girlfriend Barbara to town. She’s also one of the stars of his January release, Hostel. She’s from Prague, never been to Texas before, but is a real trooper with the film-geek madness surrounding her. Also in our row is Lucky McKee, director of the cult hit May and the upcoming The Woods.
Anyhow… on to what we’ve seen so far: Yes, King Kong. It was the second feature of the marathon (following the classic The Most Dangerous Game), and no, Peter Jackson was not in attendance. He did send along a video introduction that was very funny. Some Kiwi production guy opened the video clip offering his best wishes and hoping people would enjoy his new documentary about birdflu… only to have Jackson walk into the frame and quip, “I actually think they would rather see my movie.” Jackson, while not able to make it to Austin, did insist that he kept the promise he made two years ago at BNAT that King Kong would make its way to town in 2005. And he delivered. And the movie delivers. It’s brilliant, wonderful, and long. But it certainly feels warranted. And, I just have two words for you: “brontosaurus stampede.” That’s perhaps the most exciting sequence I’ve seen in a theater all year.
In addition to Kong, we’ve seen the aforementioned Dangerous Game, which was a brilliant programming move… as the 1933 classic was made at the same time as the original Kong, featuring much of the same cast/crew. On top of that, we’ve seen the James Cagney classic Footlight Parade, which has some incredible musical numbers despite being really offensive. Meanwhile, Lucky McKee presented his episode of the series Masters of Horror, a short entitled “Sick Girl.” And then, it was on to Chan-wook Park’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, which Tartan Films will release in March. With this film, the Oldboy director further cements his status as one of the most exciting directors to emerge from anywhere around the globe in the last few years. The film is a complex, but thrilling, revenge tale.
Okay, back to more BNAT… and updates, when I can…