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HART D. FISHER TAKES SXSW!

By Hart D. Fisher

“My first day of the SXSW show was filled with badge pickups, hotel check-in and the interview over at 101.5XFM’s No Control. Amanda and I did a two-hour drive down from Waco and through the festival traffic. It was brutal. Many of the Austin natives leave town that week to avoid the traffic and hassle. After sweatin’ through it myself, I don’t blame them.

The home of 101.5 was in a non-descript little beige building right off the highway. Even with the really, really, really vague directions from Corey, we made it there with no problems and plenty early to get to know the host of No Control, Chuck, a bearded tatt’d out modern primitive metal freak with the same taste for body modification as I had.

The interview was in a modern radio bay hand crafted by Chuck himself. This was truly one of the nicest modern radio studios I’d been in, including the springy comfy chairs. Corey is a metal nut, he already knew Chuck, so we had a lot of fun talking about all of our various projects and the upcoming Reel Murder panel. In fact, we talked right past our allotment of time and they had to podcast the rest (and even that’s not the full conversation). This was a great way to start off the fest and get my pep back after the grueling traffic.

The big deal of my first day at SXSW was the world premier screening of Duncan (Moon) Jones’ new film, Source Code. Frankly, the television ads for this film had left me flat and I had zero expectations for this film. I mean, none, nada, zilch. I liked Moon though, so I figured I’d give it a shot. We headed over to the theater early to make sure we’d get a place in the line. Source Code was my first real experience with the dreaded UNENDING LINES OF SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST…

Every piece of literature you get about the festival prepping you for it has lots of jokes about the lines… yes… the line to get your badges was nothing for me, whizzed right through, but the line to get into Source Code… HUGE… Around the block and we were there PLENTY early. The only reason we got in was because Corey Mitchell: The Human Swiss Army Knife was prepared with an express pass. We would soon come to find that the line you got up early to wait in so that you could get a badge that allowed you to skip ahead of the lines, the Xpress Pass, was a handy item.

Instead of waiting in line for this movie in front of one of the scenic theaters, like Corey does at The Paramount, enjoying the view, Amanda and I waiting in line around the back, in the alley lookin’ like we were waiting for our “connection” to get there, dodgin’ garbage guys comin’ out the back of the theater. It was cool though, I ran into one of Phil Nutman’s shooting team, Ian Fischer, waiting in line. A big part of the fun of SXSW, was meeting cool people in line, even in the alley.

Eventually, the line begins to sputter forward and we make it into the theater and this place is gorgeous. Everything is vintage, the beers on tap, full bar, great popcorn… only problem is the seats are for vintage sized people. Corey’s an ex-football player for Christ’s Sake and I’m not called Big Hairy for nothing, so squeezing us into seats together, yeah, let’s just say I made a trip to my chiropractor when I got back home.

The place is sold out. There’s a real buzz in the room and that’s when I find out that Duncan Jones’ first movie, Moon, had premiered there too. So they were happy as hell to have him back, one of the festival heads, Janet Pierson, did the introductions and she was clearly happy about this film and having the whole creative team there. She’s BEAMING.

Me? I’ve got myself a cold one, I’m jammed into place about 5 rows up from front, dead center. The place is howling. The movie hits. I’m not kidding. The sound system is cranked and when it punches, I’m gettin’ kicked in the teeth. Every noise amplified “BOO!” moment, I’m jumping like I’m gonna tackle the bad guy in the next row. They got me again and again with that shit, because I was on the edge of my seat the whole friggin’ movie.

Okay. By now you know the plot: Soldier Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he’s ever known, he learns he’s part of a government experiment called the “Source Code,” a computer program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life… and something about saving a girl… Right?

What you don’t know is that Source Code is a crafty edge of your seat thriller that keeps you guessing right up until the last reel movie. Moon this is NOT. I love a whodunit, I love great sci-fi and I like action. Source Code gave me it all. Great stunts, nail biting suspense, great fake outs, clever plot twists, hefty moral dilemmas, the works. You get the works with Source Code. Jake Gyllenhaal, not the first guy I think of for action Princess of Persia or not, pulls the whole thing off handily. Gyllenhaal’s performance alternates from funny quirks of a serious man in a serious situation to jaw busting action to great one liners to romantic leading man. My girl Amanda, she was cooing over JG the minute he walked onscreen. He’s got that part down. Me? I was impressed with how well he handled the action sequences. I’m a big Donnie Darko fan, I knew he could pull off some cool drama stuff, he could do the intense stare, but you can’t fake the action. That’s the stuff I do want to see more out of him from now on.

Bottom line, I say go out and see Source Code. See it on the big screen because it’s a big screen movie. Take your girl. Get some popcorn. Have some fun. Me and my crew did. We hadn’t even planned on sticking around to see the Q&A but we all loved the movie so much we ditched out on our other movie just to get the Q&A with Duncan Jones, the writer Ben Ripley, and cast members Vera Farmiga, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and several of the producers.

Check out our exclusive Q&A footage right here:”

Hart D. Fisher is a legendary 1st amendment champion who has authored Poems for the Dead, Still Dead, is the writer/director of the feature film The Garbage Man. Mr. Fisher’s opinions about serial killers and serial killer culture have been featured on Entertainment Tonight, Larry King Live, American Justice, CNN Headline News, within the pages of Time Magazine, Tattoo Savage, The Comics Journal and more.