SXSW Film Festival: 'Kick-Ass' premiere, 'Predators' first look

Kick-Ass-movieThe line of movie geeks eager to celebrate Friday’s opening night of Austin’s SXSW film festival coiled around the grand Paramount theater. The draw was the world premiere of Kick-Ass (in theaters April 16), Matthew Vaughn’s cheeky take on the superhero movie genre. Based on Mark Millar’s popular comic book series, the film follows a forgettable high school student (played by the endearing relative newcomer Aaron Johnson) who, with the help of a mail-order costume, attempts to transform himself into a real-life superhero. The very sight of Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s name in the opening credits was enough to elicit calls of “McLovin’!” from the audience. But he in fact sheds some of that exaggerated doofus-cool here, playing an interesting, isolated son of a villainous mobster.

Without knowledge of the comic book, you might think going in that you’re sitting down to a genial movie about high school boys. But the very best of the film belongs to Nicolas Cage, a heroic vigilante out to bring down a mobster, and his highly trained, knife-wielding, wig-wearing 11-year-old daughter. The audience hooted and hollered during all of the kinetic fight scenes with Hit-Girl (played by the thoroughly convincing Chloe Moretz), but the biggest laughs were earned by Cage. His performance is so fun, ridiculous without being hammy, wistful without a touch of melodrama, that it manages to wipe clean the past few years of goofball work. The Austin audience loved Kick-Ass. I was reminded that I f***ing love Nicolas Cage.

Afterward, a few, short blocks away, hometown hero Robert Rodriguez presented a couple of choice scenes from Fox’s highly-anticipated Predators (July 9). In a loose talk geared joyfully toward Predator fanatics, Rodriguez revealed that he wrote an early version of the script 15 years ago. Originally he had Arnold Schwarzenegger returning as Dutch, with a juicy villain’s role for Jean Claude Van Damme. The years passed, and subpar Predator sequels disappointed. When Fox brushed the dust off Rodriguez’s script in its vault, the studio asked him once again to revive the franchise. Rodriguez stepped in as a hands-on producer, brought Predators home to his Austin-based Troublemaker studios, and tapped Nimrod Antal (Vacancy) to direct.

The two men reiterated over and over again that their film sought to recapture some of the horror and neck-prickling tension that was sorely missing from the sequels. They acknowledged some rustling in the blogosphere at the announcement that Adrien Brody would star in the film, but they promised that his acting chops elevate the movie at every turn. If Predators is a hit, future sequels are a possibility. For a sneak peek at the trailer, which looks genuinely scary and entertaining, head to the official Predators website.

What say you, PopWatchers? Does the Kick-Ass trailer please? Do you have a Predator action figure on your office shelf? Is this a franchise you’re glad to see live on?

Comments (23 total) Add your comment
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  • therealeverton

    Predators looks interesting, comics aside that hasn’t been the case for 20 years

    • Student Bodies

      As long as they include a reference to the BEST HANDSHAKE OF ALL TIME the movie will be okay :

      • paige

        hooray for steroids!

    • Alan of Montreal

      though they got the director from Vacancy to direct it–I’m not sure that’s a plus.

  • J.

    Can’t wait for Kick-Ass, not so sure about Predators. Can R.R. really bring something new to this franchise? I certainly hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Jah Guide

      For Kick-Ass, I am wondering if the ultra-fake and completely UNREAL violent action will turn people off.

      Predators just needs to stop trying to be clever or BIG (the last three tried to match the excellence of part two this way and failed) and just be quiet and small, like the first one.

  • Jay

    Kick-Ass is a truly awful movie.

    • Mozenator

      Jay..you saw it? Elaborate.

      • Siskel

        I saw the movie and read the comic. Both are mindless entertainment for teens and the easily amused. Popcorn movie without any meaningful ideas behind it.

      • NC

        I’ve seen it… I liked it

        The pacing is perfect and Nic Cage and the Hit Girl character are great. I see this movie pissing off a lot of parents groups and a lot of Hit-Girl costumes at ComicCon

  • Jason

    How did you know about my Predator action figure in my office? That’s creepy.

  • Celia

    I want to see this movie. It seems cool, but I will probably wait for the dvd.

    • NC

      Watch it in a theater with a group of people… I don’t think it will be as great on DVD/BD

  • K

    I’ve been stoked for Kick-Ass since I saw it at Comic Con last year. CAN NOT WAIT!

  • Lia

    I can’t wait to see Kick Ass!

  • Leanne

    I was at the Austin premiere and loved the movie. And the response from the audience told me that I wasn’t the only one who thought it was fantastic. It is funny, dark, exciting and even sweet at the right moments. I will definitely see this again.

  • Vic Nardozza

    Adrien Brody sucks. How do you replace Arnold with freaking big nose Adrien Brody?

  • Vic Nardozza

    Oh, and I saw from the Predators’ sneak peak that it has Laurence FATburne too. Way to blow the reboot Rodriguez.

  • jon

    This has to be the worst casting ever for a remake. Predator is an Arnold’s movie and this looks awful……look at Adrien trying to grow some pcs LOL….I will skip this crappy remake and cop that original Predator on Blu Ray.

  • hans

    okay, so chose to go a different way other than arnold buy still had an ace ventura machine gun wielding guy?come on

  • Snarf

    The name says it all

  • mtraptor

    Do you have any idea how much I want to kill you?

  • Alex

    Awful advertising

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