SXSW 2014 Review: HONEYMOON Is All Parts Scare

From Honeymoon's opening montage of our newlywed couple reminiscing about falling in love, you might think you are settling in for romantic drama about the challenges of starting a life together. You'd be wrong. While plenty of challenges await... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: GOOD VIBRATIONS Is The Best Punk Film Since 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE

Yeah. I said it: Good Vibrations is the best and truest film about punk music and culture since Michael Winterbottom's critically acclaimed look at early 80s Manchester, 24 Hour Party People. Lisa Barros D'Sa & Glenn Leyburn's new film is an absolute... More »
By J Hurtado   

SXSW 2013 Review: HOLY GHOST PEOPLE Sadly Slips From Scary To Silly

For the first hour or so Mitchell Altieri's Holy Ghost People is a tense backwoods thriller centered around a small charismatic Christian community somewhere in the Appalachian mountains. Once that hour is up, though, things turn a bit wacky and... More »
By J Hurtado   

SXSW Review: DRINKING BUDDIES Brings Joe Swanberg to the Big Time

Joe Swanberg's career as a filmmaker has gone through several phases, all without his name being known to more than a tiny fraction of the movie-going public. The inadvertent and unwilling godfather of the "Mumblecore" sub-genre (in which listless twentysomethings... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: KISS OF THE DAMNED Intricately Apes Classic Eurohorror, Warts And All

There are few subgenres of film quite as specific and instantly recognizable as '70s Eurohorror. Filmmakers like Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, Jose Ramon Larraz and a few others left an indelible mark on the international horror market. Their creations were... More »
By J Hurtado   

SXSW 2013 Review: DOWNLOADED is a Fascinating Look at Our Wired Times

Downloaded is a great documentary for many reasons. The greatest of these might be its effortless and uncanny ability to throw into stark relief just how massively the world of computers and the Internet has radically changed in just... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: MAIDENTRIP is a Beautiful Celebration of Youth

You may have already heard this story: A fifteen-year-old girl wins a legal battle versus the Dutch government to stay in the custody of her parents and is therefore able to set out on her 40-foot sailboat in an... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: HAUNTER Delivers an Enjoyably Tame Ghost Story

Time is a fluid thing in the atmospheric Haunter, but it's set mainly in 1985. It's the day before Lisa's 16th birthday. It has been for a while. Lisa (Abigail Breslin) and her wholesomely plain family -- mother (Michelle Nolden),... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: GROW UP, TONY PHILLIPS is More Wholesome Fun from Hagins

Emily Hagins has already made quite a name for herself in the Austin film scene with three full leangth features including 2011's indie hit My Sucky Teen Romance. In her fourth feature, Grow Up, Tony Phillips, Hagins shows more... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: HOURS Makes the Mistake of Putting All Its Dramatic Weight on Paul Walker's Shoulders

All human beings have a talent for one thing or another, and Paul Walker is a human being, so Paul Walker undoubtedly is good at something. But whatever it is, it's not acting. Acting is not the thing Paul Walker... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: GO FOR SISTERS Is an Easy-Going Character Drama from John Sayles

Few filmmakers are more legitimately "independent" than John Sayles, who has now written and directed 18 features since 1979 (Return of the Secaucus Seven) without studio backing. His latest, the affable character drama Go for Sisters, while not an outstanding... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: COLDWATER Is Lukewarm

Shedding light on important issues through the power of narrative filmmaking can be a tricky proposition. The very nature of fictional storytelling can sometimes make the issues brought to the forefront seem less worthy of inspection (ie: "it's just a... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: AWFUL NICE is Painfully Funny

To call director Todd Sklar's sense of humor peculiar is to understate the weird and wacky no-holds-barred comedy we've come to know in his work. One look at his hit short '92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card and his... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: SWIM LITTLE FISH SWIM Is A Sincere Look At The Stubbornness Of Artists

The opening moment of Ruben Amar & Lola Bessis' Swim Little Fish Swim (his feature directorial debut, her directorial and feature acting debut) finds Bessis in a rather precarious position: hogtied and posing for a grizzly-bearded naked painter. This moment... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: REWIND THIS! Is About More Than Just Tapes, It's About Love

One could be forgiven for imagining director Josh Johnson's documentary debut, Rewind This!, to be a look inside the tiny niche of the current VHS collecting boom. Many of the promotional materials are a bit misleading in that way. However,... More »
By J Hurtado   

SXSW 2013 Review: THE RETRIEVAL Quietly Takes on Life, Loss, and Hope

Chris Eska crafted the finely-honed, modern-day drama August Evening, which featured a resilient, older Mexican immigrant who stoicly dealt with life's challenges as they arose. The Retrieval is Eska's followup, and it's a similar, low-key, high-quality affair that etches portraits... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: SNAP Rattles Nerves as a Mind Unhinges

It's always the quiet ones. Jim (Jake Hoffman) is a quiet, unassuming, hesitant, and incredibly shy young man. He escapes into music, whaling blasts of noise and harsh beats that he shapes into accompaniment for daily news footage, and posts... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE Pits Magic Against Stunts

Jim Carrey easily steals the spotlight in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone away from leading man Steve Carell, but it doesn't take a magician to understand why. As the titular character, Carell is the straight man, a wildly successful Las Vegas... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: BIG ASS SPIDER! Attacks Los Angeles With More Humor Than Horror

Truth in advertising is such a rare commodity that Big Ass Spider! gets one of its eight legs up on the competition because of it. Clearly, director Mike Mendez and his collaborators behind the camera completely buy into the idea... More »

SXSW 2013 Review: WHITE REINDEER Decks the Halls with Boughs of Hilarious

Not every Christmas can be a merry one, but the punishment Zach Clark puts his protagonist Suzanne (Anna Margaret Hollyman) through in his third feature outing White Reindeer gives a whole new meaning to bah humbug. Luckily, Clark infuses... More »
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