After a fleeting spin through the fest circuit, and maybe a few midnight-movie bookings, “Southlander” should make a smooth segue into small-screen venues. Musicvid helmer Steven Hanft’s digital-video feature is a slackly paced but modestly diverting trifle, with cameos by recording artists Beck, Beth Orton and Hank Williams III to elevate the hipper-than-thou quotient.
Rory Cochrane is sufficiently personable as Chance, an ambitious but marginally talented L.A. keyboardist. His spirits soar when he spots a for-sale listing in a newspaper’s classified ads for a ’69 Mullowtron, a much-sought-after synthesizer. But the Mullowtron is stolen shortly after he buys it. During the course of his citywide search for the missing keyboard, Chance encounters such eccentrics as a faded funk superstar (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs of TV’s “Welcome Back, Kotter”) with a nasty temper, and a multimillionaire New Age musical genius who mistrusts modern technology (a nice turn by Gregg Henry). “Southlander” is most amusing when it’s frankly retro. A few musical interludes have the cheesy-flashy look of early ’80s musicvideos, while a climactic chase deliberately recalls ’70s copshows.