Austin, Texas – November 17, 2015 – The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Film Conference and Festival announced the world premiere of Everybody Wants Some as its Opening Night film for the 23rd edition of SXSW Film on March 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Set in the world of 1980s college life, Everybody Wants Some is …
SXSW 2015: ‘The Overnight’ is an insightful, cringeworthy, and wholly fantastic examination of marital relationships
With his debut feature Creep, director Patrick Brice brought audiences an exercise in discomfort. A mockumentary about a man who answers a mysterious ad on Craigslist, the film deftly blended cringe comedy and horror. Brice’s second feature, The Overnight, finds the director working in a similar vein, though it forgoes the horror. In its first half, the film successfully mines humor from its supremely awkward narrative. But it is far more than just a cringe comedy. With the help of a stellar ensemble cast and an intelligent script, Brice demonstrates that he can make audiences think just as well as he can make them squirm.
SXSW 2015: ‘Room 237’ director Rodney Ascher explores the horrors of sleep paralysis in ‘The Nightmare’
It starts with a tingling sensation, almost like an electric jolt to the body. A heavy weight presses down upon the chest, rendering you immobile. You sense a presence in the corner of the bedroom. It moves closer and closer to your bed. You try to move or scream, but nothing happens. The shadow man just keeps lurching forward. Soon he’ll be upon you, and there is no telling what damage he’ll inflict.
Benjamin Dickinson’s Creative Control is right at home premiering at SXSW, a festival that touts the convergence of technology and film. Playing with perception and exploring the place of relationships and the ego within tomorrow’s technological landscape, the film will seem familiar to fans of UK television show Black Mirror. With the ever-pressing concerns of self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, the film may explore very familiar ideas philosophizing technology, but thanks to dark, bleak humor and sleek visuals, Creative Control is far from rote.
As Honeytrap opens, 15-year-old Layla (Jessica Sula) arrives in London, having traveled from her native Trinidad to live with her mother. With her doe eyes and cherubic face, she looks displaced on the gritty streets of South London. Over the course of Honeytrap, Layla’s innocence is slowly dismantled by this harsh environment, and director Rebecca Johnson depicts this process with broad strokes and heavy-handed characterization.
As the creators behind Disaster Playground prefer to put it, the heroes of armageddon aren’t found in Bruce Willis or Jeff Goldblum but rather Dr. David Morrison and other scientists of his ilk.
The bonds of family hold strong in the face of extraordinary hardship. When the world around them sinks into darkness and the future appears foreboding, people cling to those they are closest to in their lives. God Bless the Child paints a dark portrait of reality for the five young siblings at its center, but with exceptional observation, the film depicts how familial bonds remain intact, even as circumstances grow dire.
The story at the center of Welcome to Leith is so surreal that it’s hard to believe you’re watching a documentary. When Craig Cobb first moved to the minuscule town of Leith, North Dakota – population 24 – residents thought he was just an unassuming old man who enjoyed his privacy. In reality, he was a neo-Nazi planning to buy up parcels of land and turn the town into a refuge for white supremacists. Welcome to Leith packages this strange tale in the form of a riveting war film, with the Leith residents battling against Cobb in an attempt to retake their formerly serene hamlet.
Everyone has those moments. That itch and urge to pack up and start anew somewhere else. Most never make it past the front door. For others, that incessant feeling bores deep and hollows one out until they’re certain this is not who they’re meant to be.
Life in Color is in the running for having the most contrived meet-cute at this year’s SXSW festival. Mary (Katherine Emmer), a dour live-in nanny and all-around sad sack, is chaperoning her ten-year-old charge’s birthday party when she comes across the party clown smoking pot by the garbage cans. After her employer catches her taking a toke, Mary loses her job as well as her home. The party clown, named Homer (Josh McDermitt), proposes that she come stay with him while he house-sits for a friend. She reluctantly agrees. Over the next month, they overcome personal adversities together, develop a strong romantic connection, and learn to rise above past hardships through honesty and laughter. Unfortunately, they’ll be the only ones laughing, as Life in Color is completely devoid of humor and wit.
It takes only a few moments for The Nymphets to establish its chaotic atmosphere. Opening with a percussive, kinetic score and whipping through its credits, Gary Gardner’s film is rarely at a standstill. Character dynamics are always changing, and the narrative has a way of shifting course, preventing viewers from discerning where exactly its going. The Nymphets is always in a state of flux, which makes for an exhilarating – if at times frustrating – cinematic experience.
SXSW 2015: ‘Petting Zoo’ documents the transition from adolescence to adulthood with intimate detail
“I’m everywhere now, the way is a vow to the wind of each breath by and by.” Johnny Flynn’s “The Water” is prominently featured twice in Micah Magee’s Petting Zoo, serving to remind the audience of life’s unpredictable nature. People may make plans for the future, but in reality there is no telling how the road before them will unfold. Protagonist Layla (Devon Keller) experiences a number of difficult transitions throughout Petting Zoo. Over the course of several months, she progresses from adolescence to maturity, and Magee’s camera is there to document her growth in poignant, intimate detail.
Angelo Manglehorn (Al Pacino) is a man adrift. He has no connections to tie him to the world, no close relationships with family or friends. As a locksmith, he spends his days crafting spare keys or helping people who have locked themselves out of their cars. When the day is done, he returns home to spend the evening with his sole companion: his cat, Fanny. Much like its eponymous character, David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn drifts aimlessly, never bothering to make meaningful connections between characters or story elements.
When Wim Wenders first saw Sebastiõ Salgado’s photographs, he knew he was looking at the work of an artistic genius. Salgado used his camera to document various indigenous peoples throughout the world, exploring the depths of little-known cultures and lifestyles. Much of his early work celebrated the heterogeneous nature of humanity, but as Salgado became more interested in the plights of war-ravaged nations, his photographs became darker and more provocative. The Salt of the Earth, co-directed by Wenders and Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro, delineates one man’s tumultuous relationship with humanity. As evidenced by Salgado’s extraordinary photographs, human beings are at once the most beautiful and the most appalling creatures to have ever walked the Earth.
SXSW 2015: ‘The Look of Silence’ proves Joshua Oppenheimer is one of the best documentarians working today
In The Act of Killing, his previous documentary, director Joshua Oppenheimer employed an innovative technique to explore the atrocities committed under Indonesia’s military dictatorship. The film followed several death squad leaders who were responsible for exterminating thousands of accused communists. Oppenheimer provided these men with financing and production crews, allowing them to recreate their appalling actions on film. It was his hope that by confronting their past in this manner, the men would experience some level of remorse or moral responsibility for their actions. The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer’s companion piece to The Act of Killing, is not nearly as experimental or original as its predecessor. This is not to say that the film is without power. On the contrary, in some ways Silence cuts even deeper than its companion.
Frank Directed by Lenny Abrahamson Written by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan Late in the movie, Frank (Michael Fassbender), the eponymous musician, exclaims in an attempt to be accepted that he’s made his “most likeable song” yet. Frank explores with eccentric, odd ball delight the personal sources of creativity, authenticity, art, music, happiness, and mental …
Spawning from the popular podcast and controversial behavior of Community showrunner Dan Harmon, Harmontown is an intimate look into his inner workings through his relationship with the people around him. As with him, his relationships are complex. The film explores his simultaneous narcissism and self loathing as well as his core motivations for writing. It’s an honest film about a man who reaches out to the people on the fringes of society much like himself.
Zeitgeist may be a bit ambitious for Fort Tilden which is more content with bludgeoning viewers with an onslaught of oversimplification and contrived contemptibility . Whether one agrees or not with the popular views of Millennials, SXSW’s Grand Jury Award Winner for Narrative Feature picks a side and then proceeds to overgeneralize and simplify.
Relationships and time travel are often tied together and with good reason. Relationships are a natural source of conflict, and time travel lends itself well metaphorically to the lengths people will go for one another. The Infinite Man irreverently dissects relationships and genuinely explores how they can disintegrate via insecurities, jealousy, and a continual focus on the past.
Stories mean everything to people. It’s a means of connecting to each other as well as ourselves. From social dications to fantastical narratives, stories permeate society and can be crushing, liberating, or isolating. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is an odd, folksy fable about the chimerical Kumiko and the ontology of stories.
The Guest Written by Simon Barrett Directed by Adam Wingard USA, 2014 From the writer and director of sleeper hit, You’re Next, Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard bring another energetic crowd pleaser. The Guest makes for a great midnight movie, playing like an old-fashioned action/slasher thriller that features a twisted, creepy, but incredibly likable killer. …
Predestination Directed By Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig Written by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig US, 2014 Effective time travel films must be able to set clear, established rules and be a means of achieving greater, emotional weight . Without the two, a film can be eviscerated by plot holes or become an unruly, empty …
Joe Directed by David Gordon Green Written by Gary Hawkins US, 2013 A popular view is that humanity is unfit for this world. It has been examined many times throughout art. In the Larry Brown novel, Joe (1991), David Gordon Green adeptly utilizes rural syntax and naturalistic setting to express heady themes about man’s capacity …