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In Review: Austin Film Fest 2017

November 3, 2017

Film

At this year’s Austin Film Festival I caught six movies.  Below are my thoughts on those movies.  Read on.

Lady Bird

Plot:  Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is about to go to college.  Like everyone at this age, she has a lot of growing up to do.

Review:  Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is one of my favorite releases of 2017.  The film is smart, funny, charming and real, and I just adored every second of it.  Saorise Ronan (as Lady Bird) and Laurie Metcalf (as Marion) turn in stellar, award-worthy performances as a mother daughter duo who just can’t seem to crawl onto the same page about anything.  I hope to see this one again very soon.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Plot:  Feeling as though the police have forgotten about her daughter’s murder case, a woman erects three billboards that sport a controversial message.  This sends her hometown into a tizzy.

Review:  Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) really goes after you with Three Billboards.  Not only is the film very funny at just about every turn, it’s also a heavy drama that will strike out and sting you when you least expect it.  If you ask me, it’s McDonagh’s best movie.

Wild Honey

Plot:  A phone sex operator named Gabby is having a rough time.  She’s lonely, she’s broke, and she’s lives with her mother.  Things start to turn around though when she gets a regular caller who actually seems interested in her.

Review:  This one has a third act that stumbles a bit and overall the film feels just mostly well made, but I liked it.  Rusty Schwimmer does a nice job as the sort of unlikable, sort of endearing Gabby, and overall there are enough funny bits to keep you interested.

Chasing The Blues

Plot:  Two collectors are on the hunt for a rare piece of vinyl that may actually be cursed.

Review:  If it were possible to toss out the predictable ending and a handful of moments where things are slightly too goofy, you’d have a great movie in Chasing The Blues.  As it stands, I think it’s a generally solid little effort.

The Landing

Plot:  Apollo 18 didn’t go well.  This “documentary” takes a look at what happened.

Review:  At first I was all about this film, but then my brain turned on and I realized there was never actually an Apollo 18 and that the documentary was a work of fiction.  This immediately made me lose all interest in it.  Just not my thing.

Bodies

Plot:  In desperate need of cash, a couple decide to engage in a medical experiment.  Things don’t go as planned.

Review:  Here’s a film that doesn’t quite know how to get out of its own way.  It has ideas flying around all over the place, and while some of them are interesting, a lot of them are total throwaways.  The acting in this one is just so-so as well.

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