Festivals: SXSW Reviews

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SXSW 2018 Review: PERFECT Delivers an Overwhelming Sensory Assault

Perfect is a phantasmagoric nightmare built upon psychedelic imagery and wild ideas. Playing out like a mind-fried riff on Altered States, this ambitious film is as impressive as it is confounding. After a teenager (Garrett Wareing) commits a horrible crime,...

SXSW 2018 Dispatch: Surveying the VR Landscape

The 2018 edition of SXSW featured 29 VR experiences in their Virtual Cinema space at the JW Marriott. We already covered a few of those 29 pieces when they premiered at Sundance. That includes Angel Manuel Soto's Dinner Party, Tyler...

SXSW 2018 Review: MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS, Discovering Hidden Worlds of Sight and Sound

Music documentaries usually fall into a few limited categories, including glowing hagiographies, concert films and rise-and-fall tragedies. These categories persist, at least in part, because they provide foolproof audience-friendly templates for filmmakers to follow. Milford Graves Full Mantis goes down...

SXSW 2018 Review: THUNDER ROAD Cares

Those fortunate enough to have seen Jim Cummings' Sundance winning short film, Thunder Road (2016), won't soon forget it. Some found it hilarious, some found it awkward, some found it hilariously awkward, perhaps in the vein of human train-wrecks like...

SXSW 2018 Review: HEAVY TRIP, Let Impaled Rektum Warm Your Heart In This Great Underdog Comedy

In the Q & A following the SXSW premiere of their film, Heavy Trip, the producers of this heartwarming comedy declared that their native Finland has more heavy metal bands per capita than any other nation in the world, so...

SXSW 2018 Review: THE RANGER Is Silly, Sloppy, Slashy Punk Rock Fun In The Woods

There is a deep and undeniable connection between punk music and horror films that goes back decades. From the very beginning of the punk music movement in the '70s, bands and fans used horror imagery to separate themselves from those...

SXSW 2018 Review: RELAXER, Grungy and Disturbing

Opening and closing to the thunderous sounds of Prokofiev,  Relaxer by Joel Potrykus is a grungy meditation on the fine art of relaxation. Relaxer is dark and disturbing. Relaxer is also very funny. The year is 1999. The world is...

SXSW 2018 Dispatch: Sports Documentaries Score Big

A few years back, SXSW made a big push into the sports world with their SXSports "track." That included a series of speakers from the sports world and a whole bunch of sports film programming. SXSports faded away in the...

SXSW 2018 Review: FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL Explores The Universal Language Of Fear

This is a golden age for the horror anthology, and perhaps no single entity has been more responsible for the recent explosion more than the producing team of Ant Timpson and Tim League. Through their high concept omnibus packages, The...

SXSW 2018 Review: PROSPECT Mines Human Territory

Prospect begins with an alien moon rotating through the grungy windshield of a massive orbiting space station. But instead of the sweeping orchestral score you might expect -- one to signify the epicness of the moment -- an equally grungy...

SXSW 2018 Review: OUTSIDE IN, The Struggle to Find One's Self

The work of Seattle writer-director Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister's Sister) is becoming synonymous with a certain corner of Americana: geographically the northwest of the USA, but also with middle-class (admittedly mainly white) people and their daily struggles with love,...

SXSW 2018 Review: In OPERATION ODESSA, Gangsters, Narcos and Spies Spin True-Life Tales of Mayhem

Operation Odessa, the latest title from Showtime Documentary Films, is a jaw-dropping true-crime documentary that really must be seen to be believed. There have been many great docs about the Miami underworld but Operation Odessa is surely one of the very best....

SXSW 2017 Review: TRAGEDY GIRLS, Their Teenage Egos Have A Body Count

The horror genre is one of the most forgiving there is. Fanatics regularly overlook low-budgets, no-name actors, questionable performances, and mediocre writing if a film delivers the kind of thrills that turn them on. The horror-comedy, however, is a far...

SXSW 2017 Review: From SMALL CRIMES Come Big Troubles

Four years ago, Evan Katz made his directorial debut with the pitch-black comedy thriller Cheap Thrills, pitting Pat Healy against Ethan Embry in a diabolical, desperate game of survival. Now Katz has returned to the director's chair with Small Crimes,...

SXSW 2017 Review: In 68 KILL, A Bunch of Assholes Hurtle Toward Oblivion

Matthew Gray Gubler's Chip has a really hard time with women in Trent Haaga's scumbags-on-parade exploitationer, 68 Kill. The story revolves around a white trash heist of $68,000 initiated by Chip's emasculating maniacal girlfriend, Liza (AnnaLynne McCord), who uses her...

SXSW 2017 Review: Three Dystopian Narcissists and an INFINITY BABY

In the not too distant future of Infinity Baby, stem cell research has caused a freak side effect wherein a certain breed of newborns will not age, rather they'll stay babies for their entire lives. Society has deemed them "infinity...

SXSW 2017 Review: DAVID LYNCH - THE ART LIFE Sheds Light on Darkness

David Lynch is one of the great mysteries in the filmmaking world. His films are meticulously constructed enigmas, which require the same type of open minded approach to understanding as it likely takes Lynch himself to paint with images. His...

SXSW 2017 Review: MAYHEM, So Fast on Its Feet That It's Almost Out of Control

With great lead performances by Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving, a great musical score by Steve Moore, and great bloody action masterminded by director Joe Lynch, Mayhem is almost too much fun. It's the perfect example of a movie that...

SXSW 2017 Dispatch: A Solid Year of Docs Continues + More Films and Fun from Austin

It's been an excellent year for documentaries already in 2017 with such incredible films as Icarus, An Inconvenient Sequel, Nobody Speak, and Trophy all premiering at Sundance (those last two playing SXSW as well). There have been several new great...

SXSW 2017 Review: HOUNDS OF LOVE, a Beast with a Ferocious Bite

Serial killer thrillers that deal with the dark subject matter of abuse and sexual victimization are the cinematic equivalent of playing with fire. Especially if your film is based loosely on real life crimes, as is the case with Hounds...