14 items from 2017
Excusive: Ira prison break drama to get private screening on Croisette.
The thriller chronicles the mass break-out in 1983 of 38 prisoners from the Maze high security prison.
The film focuses on Larry Marley, the chief architect of the escape, who strikes up a complex friendship with Gordon, a prison warden.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
During the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, I had the opportunity to check out several movies on the fringe of the horror genre, including M.F.A., Assholes, and Two Pigeons, and you can read my thoughts on all three films right here:
M.F.A.: An uncomfortable and devastating exploration of the trauma that comes from rape and sexual violence, Natalie Leite’s M.F.A. punched a hole right through my soul. While rape is certainly an upsetting topic for most, writer Leah McKendrick’s approach to how the film’s protagonist, Noelle (the amazing Francesca Eastwood), handles her ordeal becomes something of a cinematic anthem of empowerment once the young woman takes matters into her own hands.
In M.F.A., we meet Noelle, who is completing the grad student program in Fine Arts, but she can’t seem to break past her own sense of mediocrity when it comes to creating her art. »
- Heather Wixson
Whatever its flaws, Natalia Leite’s “M.F.A.” certainly doesn’t suffer from timidity. Offering an unapologetically feminist, female-centric take on the oft-problematic (and oft-male-gaze-dominated) rape-revenge thriller genre, as well as addressing recent controversies over college campus assault in bold strokes, the film never shies away from righteous provocation.
As admirable as its aims may be, however, “M.F.A.’s” themes call for a careful, consistent tone that it is rarely able to maintain, and an increasingly ridiculous third act squanders much of the empathy and engagement that Leite works so hard to build in the early going. As a survivor-turned-avenger whose bloody campaigns against her own rapist and others’ become fuel for her art, Francesca Eastwood delivers a tough, eye-opening performance in the lead role, and her character’s vengeance packs a cathartic punch. But too much of the film fails to rise to her level.
Noelle (Eastwood) is a shy, »
- Andrew Barker
Francesca Eastwood On ‘M.F.A.,’ SXSW, Sexual… by Uinterview Actress Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint Eastwood, found a script that deeply resonated with her in the rape revenge film M.F.A. Directed by Natalia Leite, the movie stars Eastwood as Noelle in a visual arts student in an M.F.A. program. Noelle gets entangled with classmate Luke (Peter Vack). After Noelle […]
- Kate Chia
‘M.F.A.’ Butchers Opportunity To Confront the Realities of Sexual AssaultThe problematic SXSW title combines a severe mishandling of campus rape with a mediocre psychological thriller.
What could be worse than a fundamental misunderstanding of an issue as important and sensitive as campus rape? The answer, as provided by controversial SXSW title M.F.A., is to write a limp, cliched psychological thriller around it. It is difficult to report negatively about a film that focuses on sexual assault when so few films are brave enough to, but when it is handled as poorly and dangerously as it is here, it is important to address its problems head-on.
From its first moments, M.F.A. wastes no time in establishing its protagonist and the world in which she lives in. This is the story of Noelle (Francesca Eastwood), an art student working on her titular master’s degree at a fictional California university. Immediately, we are introduced to the ins and outs »
- Fernando Andrés
At a packed Paramount Theater this evening, the SXSW Film Festival, now at the halfway mark, handed out their big film awards. The fest’s two big competition jury prizes went to director Ana Asensio’s “Most Beautiful Island” (Best Narrative Feature) and directors Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’s “The Work” (Best Narrative Feature).
Read More: Terrence Malick Makes a Rare Appearance at SXSW 2017 and Digs Deep On His Process
Asensio, a Spanish actress and filmmaker living in New York, shot her film in super 16mm. It tells the story of undocumented female immigrants struggling to start a life in New York. It is a feature film debut for Asensio, who also stars and wrote the screenplay. “Island” is being billed as a dramatic thriller and was produced by the New York horror master Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix.
The Doc Prize winner, “The Work,” is an intense »
- Chris O'Falt
The South by Southwest Film Festival has awarded its top prizes to “Most Beautiful Island,” directed by Ana Asensio for narrative feature and to “The Work,” directed by Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous, for documentary feature.
SXSW founder Louis Black, who came out despite being very sick, kicked off the show with a political statement: “You may like Trump, and that’s fine. … But most of you are engaged in a humanist battle for the soul of our country, and what you are doing is subversive, it is important, it is about bringing us together and not tearing us apart, it is about inclusion and not exclusion. It’s not about making films that sell popcorn, it’s about making films that save souls. »
- Pat Saperstein and Peter Debruge
Festival brass on Tuesday evening announced jury and special award winners out of Austin, Texas.
Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island prevailed in the SXSW narrative feature competition, while special jury recognition for breakthrough performance wet to James Freedson-Jackson from The Strange Ones.
The cast of A Bad Idea Gone Wrong earned best ensemble honours.
In the shorts categories Forever Now won narrative shorts, while the documentary prize went to Little Potato, the Midnight Shorts prize to The Suplex Duplex Complex, and the animated shorts prize to Wednesday With Goddard.
Click here for the full list of winners. Audience award winners will be unveiled on March 18. »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
A wise and wistful love letter from one remarkable character actor to another, John Carroll Lynch’s “Lucky” returns 90-year-old Harry Dean Stanton to the dusty desert environs he shuffled through in 1984’s “Paris, Texas,” and offers the rawboned legend one of the best roles he’s had since. Beginning as a broad comedy before blossoming into a wry meditation on death and all the things we leave behind (a transition that kicks into gear when one of Stanton’s old friends shows up and steals the show), Lynch’s directorial debut is a wisp of a movie, blowing across the screen like a tumbleweed, but it’s also the rare portrait of mortality that’s both fun and full of life.
- David Ehrlich
With every post taking the form of a six-second loop, the now-defunct online platform Vine can only tell so much story. That made it an ideal venue for “Simply Sylvio,” Albert Birney’s chronicle of a working class ape struggling to find his place in human civilization. That would be Birney, in a furry gorilla suit, enacting a series of strange and melancholic moments that pushed just beyond the boundaries of a simple gag: Whether contemplating the changing of the seasons, wandering the beach, or partying alone at sundown, Sylvio existed for the sole purpose of small moments — and users responded, as attested by the half million followers that Birney developed over the course of 814 posts.
Needless to say, it would be hard to imagine these tidbits amounting to much beyond limitations of the format, which is why it’s particularly fascinating to see Birney try. Unlike the teen stars »
- Eric Kohn
This year’s SXSW Film Festival is currently raging in Austin, Texas, complete with a packed slate that should keep festival attendees pretty happy in between bouts of chowing down breakfast tacos and basking in the good ol’ Texas sunshine. As ever, the festival features a strong lineup of both fresh premieres and festival favorites, new and returning stars, and plenty of opportunities for talent to break out on the festival stage.
From filmmakers to actors (and, sometimes, both at the same time), familiar faces looking to try a new craft to total newbies, this year’s festival has plenty of stars on the rise to look out for (ouch, so bright).
Read More: SXSW 2017: 13 Must-See Films At This Year’s Festival
Who’s going to break out in a big way at this year’s festival? We’ve got some ideas.
If you »
- Chris O'Falt, David Ehrlich, Eric Kohn, Jude Dry, Kate Erbland and Steve Greene
The humorously named “Assholes” will have its world premiere this Saturday at SXSW. The explicit dark comedy marks the feature directorial debut for Amazon Video’s “Mozart in the Jungle” actor Peter Vack, who previously directed the 2014 short film “Send.”
Set in New York City, “Assholes” follows the story of Adam and Adah, two young recovering drug addicts who meet at their psychoanalyst’s office. The two fall in love and suffer a relapse…becoming complete assholes in the process.
Vack, who also stars in the film, cast his real-life family to star in the comedy. Younger sister Betsey Brown plays the lead role of Adah, while his parents, Jane and Ron Brown, play Adah’s folks. The cast also includes Jack Dunphy in the role of Adam, Eileen Dietz (“General Hospital, »
- Yoselin Acevedo
After drawing attention to the festival’s annual Gaming Awards, organizers behind the South by Southwest Film Festival have posted the full, comprehensive lineup, revealing that the likes of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver and Free Fire, the riotous ensemble thriller from Ben Wheatley, are among those films that will screen for critics and attendees.
Per SXSW 2017‘s website, this year’s showcase will host “84 World Premieres, 11 North American Premieres, and 6 Us Premieres. First-time filmmakers account for 51 films, continuing our tradition of unearthing the emergent talent of tomorrow.” British auteur Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England) is a regular of the Texas festival, and will be rubbing shoulders with other favorites including Michael Winterbottom, Nacho Vigalondo, Michael Showalter.
SXSW 2017 begins on March 10th in Austin, Texas and you can get up to speed on everything the festival has to offer down below.
Narrative Feature Competition
- Michael Briers
A quintet comprised of Lena Dunham, Hailey Benton Gates, Durga Chew-Bose, Siobhan Burke, and myself moderated the post-screening discussions for Celia Rowlson-Hall's American fairy tale Ma on its opening weekend in New York.
Ma stars Rowlson-Hall with a terrific speechless supporting cast including Andrew Pastides, Amy Seimetz, Jason Kittelberger, Neal Bledsoe, Matt Lauria, Kentucker Audley, Peter Vack, William Connell, George McArthur, and Bobbi Jene Smith. In the tradition of Claudette Colbert in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night or Uma Thurman thumbing a ride in Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, a modern-day Virgin Mary hitchhikes across the Southwest, ultimately arriving in Las Vegas where she meets Nevada showgirls and a tiny singing Queen Victoria lookalike.
Celia Rowlson-Hall: "I really wanted to tell an American story. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
14 items from 2017
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