Tag Archives: austin film fest

In Review: Austin Film Fest 2017

November 3, 2017


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.


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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In Review: Austin Film Festival 2016

October 27, 2016


Hey there!  Down below you’ll find little descriptions of the five films I saw at this year’s Austin Film Festival.  I was hoping to see 10-ish movies, but a busy schedule and other details kept me from that goal.  Oh well.  At least I enjoyed what I saw, yeah?


Plot:  It’s the 50′s.  Mildre Jeter is a black woman, Richard Loving is a white man.  They’re not supposed to be together, but they are.  This film details what eventually led to the Supreme Court’s decision to hold laws that prohibit interracial marriage as unconstitutional.

Mini-Review:  Loving is the latest gem from writer/director Jeff Nichols.  Because of the tale its telling, I figured it would be full of big, sweeping dramatic moments set in a courtroom (or something equally grand), but it’s actually a very sweet and intimate love story.  See it as soon as you can.


Plot:  An unarmed group of men and women attempt to make their way from Mexico to the US.  It goes as planned until someone starts gunning them down.

Mini-Review:  Jonas Cuaron’s Desierto is essentially an R-rated slice of survival horror that’s coated with a political message.  Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.  Overall, I liked it.


Plot:  This film follows Jackie Kennedy during the days after the assassination of JFK.

Mini-Review:  Oh my.  Jackie blew me away.  Natalie Portman is incredible in it (just give her all the awards now), and the way director Pablo Larrain details the post-assassination days and Jackie’s transition from wide-eyed First Lady to battle-scarred woman is masterful.  I can’t wait to see it again.

The Edge of Seventeen

Plot:  Nadine is having a hard time.  Partly because being a teen isn’t easy, mostly because her best (and really, only) friend just started dating her old brother.

Mini-Review: The Edge of Seventeen is the best R-rated coming of age movie I’ve seen since Superbad.  It’s hilarious, sincere and Hailee Steinfeld is perfect in it.  I fully expect it to be a huge hit.

My Scientology Movie

Plot: Louis Theroux sets out to make a film about the Church of Scientology.  Somewhere along the way, the Chuch starts making a film about him.

Mini-Review:  If you saw Going Clear on HBO, then there’s no real reason to watch My Scientology Movie.  Louis Theroux talks to a lot of the same people and he doesn’t really uncover any new info.  With that being said, his doc is funny, and I had pretty good time watching him befuddle members of the Church of Scientology.

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