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 »
By Eric D. Snider   
  

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 »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

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 »
By Eric D. Snider   
  

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 »
By Eric D. Snider   
  

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 »
By John Jarzemsky   
  

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 »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

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 »
By Ben Umstead   
  

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 »
By Peter Martin   
  

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 »
By Peter Martin   
  

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 »
By Peter Martin   
  

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 »
By Peter Martin   
  

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 »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

SXSW 2013 First Impression: REWIND THIS! Spreads the Cinematic Love Past the Living Room

Director Josh Johnson and producer Carolee Mitchell's VHS docu Rewind This! is every bit the love letter to the mostly forgotten format that we've been promised, but there is plenty more than just nostalgia here as well. This is just... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

SXSW 2013 Review: PLUS ONE Invites Sci-Fi to a College Party

A high-level sci-fi concept, a raucous college party, and a desperate attempt at romantic reconciliation mix uneasily in Dennis Iliadis' Plus One, a movie whose worthy ambitions largely outstrip its execution. Disguising the first act of the movie as a... More »
By Peter Martin   
  

SXSW 2013 Review: THE SHORT GAME Will Double-Eagle Your Heart

Documentaries live and die on the strength of their characters. Think about some of the most memorable docs in recent years; Billy Mitchell in King of Kong, Steve "Lips" Kudlow in Anvil: The Story of Anvil, or the soldiers of... More »
By Ryland Aldrich   
  

SXSW 2013 Review: MILIUS Sparks New Interest in a Brilliant Filmmaker

They say that in Hollywood, you're only as good as your last picture. It's a good thing nobody told the wunderkinds of yesteryear, otherwise documentarians Joey Figueroa and Zak Knuston might never have given us Milius, an exhaustingly comprehensive chronicle... More »
By John Jarzemsky   
  

SXSW 2013 Review: I AM DIVINE Lays Bare A Legend

Like many sleaze fans in their mid-30s, I discovered the magic of John Waters at a relatively tender age. I have vivid memories of seeing commercials for his second crossover film, Cry Baby starring a young Johnny Depp, on television... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

SXSW 2013 Review: EVIL DEAD Commits Firmly to Disturbing Brutality

This is not a review of an old movie. Yes, Fede Alvarez clearly owes a great deal to horror maestro Sam Raimi, who penned and directed the original The Evil Dead back in 1981, and yes, Alvarez's film is a... More »
By John Jarzemsky   
  

SXSW 2013 Review: CHEAP THRILLS Fiendishly Recalculates the Value of Money

Class warfare comes perversely home in Cheap Thrills, a fiendish, fierce, and funny morality tale about the true value of money. It's absolutely convincing, even though it shouldn't be. The film explores the tangled relationship between the idle rich and... More »
By Peter Martin   
  
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