Festivals: SXSW Reviews

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SXSW 2016 Review: PET Stirs Up Emotions That Are Not Easily Caged

A woman is locked in a cage by a man who wants to change her. That's both a metaphor for too many modern relationships and the premise of a new film by director Carles Torrens (Apartment 143). Seth (Dominic Monaghan),...

SXSW 2016 Review: I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, He Doth Protest Too Much

"There is a savage beast in every man," wrote George R.R. Martin in A Storm of Swords, and American teenager John Wayne Cleaver has taken those words to heart. John (Max Records) lives in a small, cold town in the...

SXSW 2016 Review: WAR ON EVERYONE, Glorious, Riotous Fun

Within its first 10 minutes, War on Everyone smashes at least two dozen stereotypes familiar to anyone who has ever watched a cop movie made by a Hollywood studio, doing so in a rollicking and hilarious fashion. It's a barrage...

SXSW 2016 Review: GOODNIGHT BROOKLYN - THE STORY OF DEATH BY AUDIO, Bittersweet And Rightfully Angry

A bittersweet memoir of a independent music venue that proved to be much more than a place for bands to play their music as loudly as possible, Goodnight Brookyn - The Story of Death By Audio is also a screed...

SXSW 2016 Review: AMERICAN FABLE Teems With Brilliance

In 1982, Reagan's America looked pretty darn convincing ... on television ... if you were 11 years old. But for hundreds of farmers across the heartland of the U.S.A., times were desperate. They were losing their farms, their homes, their...

SXSW 2016 Review: JOHNNY FRANK GARRETT'S LAST WORD, When Capital Punishment Is Not Enough

In October 1981, Sister Tadea Benz, a 76-year-old nun, was raped, strangled, beaten and stabbed to death. Johnny Frank Garrett, age 17 at the time the crimes were committed, was later convicted. He was executed in February 1992, one of...

SXSW 2016 Review: In A STRAY, Refugees Are Not Left Behind

"You don't have to live like a refugee," Tom Petty sang in 1979. The musician was reacting to the pressures of the music business when he wrote the lyrics, he said later, but the song has resonated for years because...

SXSW 2016 Review: TEENAGE COCKTAIL, A Potent Mix Of Love, Lust, And Something More

Ah, young love! Unexplored emotions come tumbling together, and every thought feels awkward. The gestures are fumbling, tentative, and clumsy: Where do I put my hand? Is it OK if I do ... that? Far more than a straightforward teen...

SXSW 2016 Review: DON'T BREATHE, A Home Invasion With Wild Abandon

A muscular thriller, Don't Breathe manhandles a vaguely familiar premise into a fresh, frenzied experience. Directed by Fede Alvarez (2013's Evil Dead, pictured above), the setup is brisk. Three Detroit teenagers (Jane Levy, Dylan Minette, Daniel Zovatto) have made an...

SXSW 2016 Review: KARAOKE CRAZIES Kills It

In Korea, few things are more important than karaoke. With thousands of karaoke bars, open all hours, littering every corner of the country, it's an activity that reaches every part of society, servicing hoards of stressed salary workers, bored teenagers...

SXSW 2016 Review: BANG! THE BERT BERNS STORY Remembers A Forgotten Legend

In recent years, several documentaries have explored the mythical world of popular music in the 1960s, including Morgan Neville's Twenty Feet From Stardom (about backup singers) and Denny Tedesco's The Wrecking Crew (about session musicians). Now comes Bang: The Bert...

SXSW 2016 Review: THE SLIPPERS Reveals Unexpected Hollywood Treasures

The shoes in questions were made for Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, but the true, fascinating, ever more complex world of The Slippers begins in earnest after she took them off. Granted, the new documentary by Morgan White...

Review: SPY, McCarthy Shines In Uproarious Espionage Send Up

Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig team up once again for a wickedly funny send-up of the James Bond series with charm and wit in ample supply. Jude Law and Jason Statham add to the fun as, respectively, a suave, painfully...

SXSW 2015 Review: DEATHGASM Rocks!

Not since the days of video store browsing has there been a horror movie quite as demonically satisfying as Deathgasm. This is simply because they just don't make 'em like they used to. But even when they used to, more...

SXSW 2015 Review: T-REX, Portrait Of A Boxer As A Young Woman

"It was just something I liked to do," explains Claressa Shields, aka T-Rex. What she likes to do is box, which sets her apart from her high school classmates in Flint, Michigan (better known to documentary film devotees as the...

SXSW 2015 Review: All In For The MANSON FAMILY VACATION

When the Manson story broke, the hardest question on the minds of parents everywhere was 'how is it possible that seemingly good kids could be taken under such a nefarious wing and convinced to commit two of the century's most...

SXSW 2015 Review: UNCLE JOHN Spins Mystery, Murder, And Romance Into A Tantalizing Web

Beginning in medias res, Uncle John spins a delicate web of intrigue and mystery. The titular character (John Ashton) is introduced as he's (probably) up to no good, a suspicion that is quickly confirmed for the audience but not for...

SXSW 2015 Review: ONE AND TWO Adds Up To Something Almost Magical

Isolation can be a killer. For the children who are the heart and soul of One and Two, that's especially so, given that they have been raised in isolation, surrounded by a giant wall. Eva (Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men) and...

SXSW 2015 Review: UNCLE KENT 2 Doesn't Care About This Review

...If it did, this write up would be for a very different film. One, perhaps, closer in resemblance to Uncle Kent 1 - a Joe Swanberg Sundance selection from 2011 that, by no means, begs for a sequel.So what is...

SXSW 2015 Review: 6 YEARS And The Undeniable Intimacy

Young love can be so damn difficult. This is the fertile soil tilled in Hannah Fidell's 6 Years, the follow up to her critically acclaimed debut feature A Teacher. Like in that film, Fidell employs a distinctly naturalistic filmmaking style...