2017 sxsw film festival in review

The 2017 SXSW Film Festival is over, and it was an exceptional year for an always exceptional film festival. It’s rare to attend a movie fest and leave every single screening with something to talk about, but even the movies that I didn’t love have stuck with me in some way or another. This year’s line-up was a lot of things, but boring was certainly not one of them.

So let’s recap everything we saw. Let’s run down the best films and the best performances, the movies that almost worked and the movies that barely missed the mark, the bad movies you should see for yourself and the bad movies you really have to see.

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Free Fire Trailer

This year has already brought us the brutal gunplay of John Wick: Chapter 2, but there’s another shootout on the way this spring.

Free Fire is the latest film from director Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Sightseers, Kill List), and it looks like his most accessible, too. Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Noah Taylor, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley and Jack Reynor all find themselves in a grimy warehouse with a weapons deal gone wrong, resulting in a feature-length shootout that is just as hilarious as it is energetic and wild.

Watch the new Free Fire trailer below to see what we’re talking about, but beware that there’s some NSFW language in this one. Read More »

Jacob Hall’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

Free Fire

Ah, January. A time for reflecting on the year that passed and the year that lies ahead. And more specifically, a time for finishing up those top 10 lists and writing most anticipated movie lists covering the next 12 months. Here are my top 10 most anticipated movies of 2017.

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Free Fire review

The third-act shootout is a staple of a certain kind of film, but in Ben Wheatley‘s Free Fire it’s essentially the entire movie. Against all odds, it works. Wheatley stages a never-ending knock-down-drag-out fight, trapping one woman and about a dozen men in an abandoned warehouse and then inviting us to sit back and watch as the bullets and the jokes ricochet off one another. The result is a furiously entertaining exercise that left me buzzing with energy long after I’d left the theater.  Read More »

free fire trailer

The impending arrival of new Ben Wheatley movie is always a cause for celebration. The genius (yes, I’ll break out the “G” word) behind films like Kill List, Sightseers, and High-Rise has been a favorite of mine for years, leaping between genres while maintaining his signature dark comedy and unflinching ability to sell genuine pain and terror. His new film, Free Fire, is built around a premise that is simultaneously old school and high concept: two groups of criminals in 1970s Boston arrange an arms deal in an old warehouse, things go south, guns are drawn…and they proceed to engage in a gun battle that plays out over the course of the entire movie, mostly in real time.

The first Free Fire trailer has arrived (in bloody, NSFW red band form!) and you can check it out below.

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free fire image

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ben Wheatley is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and I look forward to each of his movies like a kid looks forward to Christmas. I named Kill List one of my fifteen favorite movies of all time. I think High-Rise, which is currently available on VOD and hits theaters this week, is an astonishing (if divisive) achievement. I have a Sightseers poster on my office wall. I’m in the tank for the man.

So yes, I’m very much looking forward to his next film, Free Fire, which is finished and awaiting a release date as we speak. In the meantime, we can enjoy the first image from the movie, which shows off the awesome ensemble in some colorful duds.

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TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

Ben Wheatley continues to pile on the bodies for Free Fire. Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Sam Riley (Maleficent), and Noah Taylor (Submarine) are the latest to board the cast, joining Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, and more. Get details on the latest Free Fire cast additions after the jump.  Read More »

Free Fire cast
The original cast announcement for Ben Wheatley‘s next film Free Fire included Olivia Wilde, but with the announcement that she’s doing Tron 3 things have changed for Wheatley’s movie. Wilde is now out, but someone just as talented, and slightly more surprising for a film like this is stepping in to the role. Brie Larson has taken Wilde’s role in the Free Fire cast. Read More »

Ben Wheatley's Free Fire

We’ve just seen the first image from High-Rise, the upcoming film from Kill List, Doctor Who and Sightseers director Ben Wheatley. But his follow-up, Free Fire, already has a great cast. And now Martin Scorsese has lent his name to Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, as executive producer. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Luke Evans Free Fire

Ben Wheatley (along with writer/editor Amy Jump) has developed a career as one of the UK’s best up and coming directors. But he’s about to make the transition to shooting a film in the US. His next film Free Fire will be an “action shootout movie” with Luke Evans in the lead role and a healthy influence from Sam Peckinpah and hard-boiled crime movies. Read More »