I finally got into Austin last night just in time to retrieve my badge before the registration desk closed. Funny how a seven-hour drive seems a lot shorter looking at the Mapquest directions than it does when you're actually driving it. I made it to my first film of the fest last night, 21, starring Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey and Lawrence Fishbourne. We'll have a review up of that one soonish, for now I'll just say that it was a largely uneven and not terribly original film, but I enjoyed the performances by Sturgess and Spacey.
The film is based on a true story of six MIT students who are trained by a professor to count cards, and who take Las Vegas casinos for millions before things go badly. Sturgess manages to hold onto an American accent for most of the film, and he's very cute and charming. Spacey turns in his usual reliable performance as the cynical hardass; it's the kind of role he could play in his sleep, but he does a decent job with it.
After the screening we stopped by the SXSW Opening Night Party at Buffalo Billiards. Yummy snacks, an open bar and dance music were keeping things hopping, but after the drive, I was in need of more sustenance, so Eric Snider and I headed with Oxford Film Fest's Melanie Addington over to Taco Cabana, a great little 24/7 taco spot. Whoever thought up the idea of a 24-hour taco place should get some kind of medal. It was surprisingly hopping for 2AM, so apparently lots of other folks dig the idea too.