Think about Facebook, iPods, iTunes — all things you might use every single day. They all have seeds in the “little program that could,” called Napster. Co-created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker in the late 1990s, the file-sharing service/social network was not only ahead of its time technologically and socially, it completely changed how the public consumes media. If it wasn’t for Fanning and Parker, who knows how long it would have taken for corporations to allow you to download music on your computer or rent one of their movies without leaving your house.

All this is at the center of Downloaded, a brand-new documentary by Alex Winter. Winter (seen above with Fanning and Parker) is best known as an actor (Lost Boys, Bill and Ted) but has been directing for some time. With Downloaded, he tackles a massive topic with authority and energy, telling the story of Napster from its earliest moments through its culture peak and long term fallout. It world premieres this week at South by Southwest in Austin and will be released by VH1 Rock Docs. After that, you’ll be able to see it on demand and online.

We spoke to Winter about Downloaded and found out it was a project he’d been developing for long time before it evolved into its current state. He talked about trying to focus such a huge topic, culling together a huge wealth of media and, of course, The Lost Boys and Bill and Ted 3. Read the interview below. Read More »

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Many of us have enjoyed following fake Joss Whedon accounts on Twitter but, the man himself is now on there. At least for a little bit.

Yes, Whedon seems to be in charge of the Twitter account for his upcoming film, Much Ado About Nothing, which just revealed its first trailer. Whether or not he’ll continue tweeting there once the film is released in June is still questionable but maybe we fans can convince him to pull a Marc Webb or Bryan Singer as he moves forward on his next film, The Avengers 2, and use the service to post images of the production.

UPDATE: Whedon commented about the news on one of his fan sites. Read it below. Read More »

We’re still at the point where there’s reason to talk about director Emily Hagins‘ own narrative as we talk about her movies. Hagins started her first feature, Pathogen, when she was not even a teen, and her 2011 film, My Sucky Teen Romance, played SXSW when she was just eighteen. Usually when young people are involved in filmmaking, we see them mature though their work in front of the camera. In this case, we have the unique opportunity to watch a filmmaker’s transition into adulthood through the films she makes.

Her latest film is Grow Up, Tony Phillips, which casts Tony Vespe as a high school kid whose love for Halloween represents the fact that he’s just a bit out of step with everyone else around him. AJ Bowen, Devin Bonee, Katie Folger and Caleb Barwick are also featured in the film.

The film’s trailer has shown up online in advance of a premiere next week at SXSW, and you can have a look below.  Read More »

It had never occurred to me that someone might make a film that effectively served as the midpoint between Twilight and the art-house “vampire” weirdness of Trouble Every Day. But here we have a bloody, vaguely sexual red-band trailer for Kiss of the Damned, and the film from Xan Cassavetes plays almost exactly like that.

Check out the trailer for the SXSW midnight entry below. Read More »

After being fairly quiet for the past few years, Paul Walker is enjoying a nice little career spike. There’s the intense anticipation for Fast & Furious 6, and he also locked up the lead role in a potential new Hitman franchise.

Before his new car-racing thriller hits, however, Walker will be seen at SXSW in the lead role of Hours, a disaster thriller set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Walker plays a new father whose child is stranded in a New Orleans hospital after Katrina hits, leaving him desperate to preserve the child’s life. Writer/director Eric Heisserer is best-known for horror scripts such as the recent A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing entries, but here he looks to have come up with something with a broader appeal.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

If you read through yesterday’s announcement of the Midnight features lined up for March’s SXSW Film Festival, one film title may have caught your eye. Nestled in among the serious entries is the film called Big Ass Spider!, from director Mike Mendez… and yeah, it’s about a giant spider.

I really don’t know what to say about the film beyond that. Well, perhaps this: the trailer for the movie demonstrates that Mendez made this movie with a free-for-all spirit that leaves room for gags based on memes, video games, monster movies, and just about anything else you can think of. I don’t know if I needed the stale bed intruder joke, but there’s plenty of other material here that looks like a good time.

Afraid of spiders? Might want to avoid the video below. Read More »

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Austin’s biggest media festival, SXSW, is coming up in about five weeks, and the film portion of the fest has unveiled a list of films that will play in the midnight and shorts categories. Running March 8-16, the film portion of SXSW has been growing into one of the country’s premiere film festivals.

The biggest inclusions on the midnight side are Rob Zombie‘s The Lords of Salem (new trailer), Adam Wingard‘s You’re Next (interview), and the very entertaining S-VHS (Sundance review). That horror sequel, incidentally, has evidently been renamed V/H/S/2, just to make the connection to last year’s horror anthology V/H/S much more clear.

There’s also the premiere of Xan CassavetesKiss of the Damned, and Haunter, the new film from Vincenzo Natali (Splice). The image above is from Cheap Thrills, and shows how “Craig (Pat Healy) and Vince (Ethan Embry) begin their descent into hell with Colin (David Koechner).”

Info on the full midnight lineup is after the break. Hit the SXSW website for the complete shorts list. Read More »

All you may need to hear about Zero Charisma is that it follows a tabletop RPG dungeon master who isn’t well-adjusted enough to deal with real life in any fashion. But the film has a great pedigree: Best Worst Movie and The American Scream director and Troll 2 actor Michael Paul Stephenson is the exec producer, and this one was co-directed by Best Worst Movie and The American Scream cinematographer Katie Graham and editor Andrew Matthews.

And then there’s the general approach of the film, which was just programmed as part of SXSW.

Fittingly for the team that brought us the two aforementioned docs, this looks like a film that in many ways provides an insider’s take on games such as Dungeons & Dragons, even as it accepts that the stereotypical vision of adult players is rooted in some sort of reality. From there, it gets a little bit crazy, and the trailer outlines a movie that starts off as a big nerd love letter before turning into something that be more suited to play alongside Big Fan. Read More »

The 2013 South by Southwest film schedule was already pretty good, with films like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Evil Dead, Downloaded and Spring Breakers in the first wave revealed to screen at the annual fest. Now the full film list has been announced, and it ups the bar.

Several of the biggest hits of Sundance will be on hand, including Before Midnight, Upstream Color, Don Jon’s Addiction and Prince Avalanche. They’ll also host the U.S. premieres of Joss Whedon‘s Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About NothingNick Cassavetes’ Yellow, the North American premiere of John Sayles‘ latest, Go For Sisters, the world premiere of rising talent Emily Hagins‘ film Grow Up, Tony Phillips and much much more.

There are music films, foreign films, you name it and SXSW 2013 probably has it. It takes place March 8-16 in Austin Texas. Read the full line up below. Read More »

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