Film intelligence: Go South by Southwest, young man

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: SXSW kicks off, a BULLY finds love in Canada, and the Olsens find a new calling.

1. Heading South by Southwest

The 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival kicks off this Friday and, as usual, the lineup boasts an impressive and eclectic mix of films. Highlights include the long-delayed Duplass Brothers joint THE DO-DECA PENTATHLON, Jonas Akerlund’s SMALL APARTMENTS, and Todd Rohal’s NATURE CALLS featuring Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt. Opening night belongs to Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s also long-delayed (one more and we’ve got a trend piece!) THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, which has been mired in MGM bankruptcy nonsense for years. Reviews are embargoed until the festival, but most of the critics I saw it with were talking it up on Twitter, so I’ll just say this for now: it’s awesome. []

2. Canada Embraces its BULLY

The ongoing saga of the battle between the MPAA Ratings Board and the Weinstein Company over the studio’s new documentary BULLY remained stalemated this week. The MPAA refused to budge, despite the fact that the online petition urging them to drop the film’s rating from R to PG-13 has reached over 200,000 signatures. Meanwhile, our far more reasonable neighbors to the north face no such controversy. The ratings board of British Columbia (each Canadian province decides on its own film ratings) gave BULLY a PG, warning audiences that it contains “course language; theme of bullying.” I guess that means the MPAA rating of R warns that it contains “course language; theme of bullying; but, no, really course friggin’ language here people. Like, totally vulgar and stuff!” This is why we can’t have nice things, America. [CBC News]

3. Like Peas in a Pad

Apple announced a new iPad this week, the device’s third generation, and it looks like… an iPad! For the same $499 price as before, you’ll get the same basic device with an improved screen, a faster wi-fi connection, and presumably, the toy and tablet that will fill the aching void in your hollow, meaningless existence. I joke, but Apple sold $9.16 billion worth of iPads last holiday season, “more than the number of personal computers sold by any individual manufacture,” and the company is now the most valuable in the entire world. Obviously the joke’s on schlubs like me who can’t even buy an iPad because iPoor. The new iPad goes on sale March 16. [New York Times]

4. Redford Will Be of Good Cheer

It’s been awhile since we saw Robert Redford onscreen. His last starring role was 2007′s “Lions For Lambs” — five long, Sundance Kid-less years ago. But he’s getting back into the acting game this year in a big way; he’ll appear in his next directorial effort, a thriller with Shia LaBeouf called THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, and this week he was announced as one of the stars of THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME, a Christmas-themed ensemble project directed by I AM SAM’s Jessie Nelson. Also set to star: Diane Keaton, who, The Playlist points out, has, somewhat remarkably, never appeared in a film with Redford before. Plot details are sketchy at this point, but expect a crazy kids jingle belling suspense sequence. Suggested tagline: This holiday season, keep your meetings gay happy. [The Playlist]

5. Mary-Kate and Ashley Over

Finally, some sad news for Full House fans still clamoring for that reunion special: the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, have officially renounced their acting careers. “It was time to step behind the process. I wanted to work on other things,” Ashley told Vanity Fair. Asked if they would spend their time focusing on their billion-dollar fashion empire, Mary-Kate replied “You got it dude,” (NOTE: she did not actually say that). I respect the Olsens’ decision, though as anyone who’s ever seen NEW YORK MINUTE will tell you, acting unofficially renounced the Olsens a long time ago anyway. As long as Elizabeth Olsen (star of last year’s MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE this week’s SILENT HOUSE) doesn’t retire, I’m cool. [Vanity Fair]