The 2016 SXSW Film Festival is over, so you know what that means: it’s time to sift through the wreckage and hand out imaginary awards created by a jury composed entirely of a single writer. Welcome /Film’s SXSW Awards, where the categories only exist as an excuse to talk about the best movies that I saw at this year’s fest.
This was a strong year for a typically strong festival – as usual, everyone involved outdid themselves. For a complete look at everything I saw, you can head over here. But now it’s time to take the stage and start handing out fake trophies to a bunch of movies that deserve actual accolades.
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Few film festivals offer the breadth and variety of SXSW and this year was no exception. During my eight days there, I saw gentle comedies, brutal horror movies, fascinating dramas produced on shoestring budgets, inventive documentaries and even an R-rated animated film about talking food. It was one helluva week.
Here is everything that I watched, including the (often very good!) movies that didn’t get full reviews.
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Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The first thing you notice about In a Valley of Violence is that it doesn’t feel like a typical Ti West film. His trademark slow-burn menace is nowhere to be found and his low-key comedy, which he used to punctuate tension in films like The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, has undergone a transformation. This is the first West film that isn’t the cinematic equivalent of being placed in a pot of water and not realizing that the water is boiling until it’s too late – it’s broader, more straightforward, and, on paper, a fairly typical revenge western.
Until’s it’s not. In a Valley of Violence is one weird movie, an experience that grabs your attention with its eccentricities before losing you with its lack of focus. It’s not a deadeye pistol shot from a gunslinger, but a wild shot from a scattergun. Yeah, it still hits its target, but you wish the aim was a little more true.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Year after year, SXSW proves itself to be one of the best film festivals in the world, offering an astonishing variety of programming that appeals to every taste. Emotional arthouse dramas? Yep. An always stellar documentary line-up? You betcha. An insane midnight program that offers a look at bonkers movies from all over the world? Of course. Gigantic premieres and previews for upcoming studio releases and high anticipated TV shows? Take a guess.
So when we decided to limit our 2016 SXSW preview to only ten titles, we knew we were leaving dozens of fascinating movies on the cutting room floor. But that’s the joy of any film festival – you go in with certain expectations, only to stumble over a whole slate of great films you never saw coming. /Film will be in attendance at SXSW, bringing you news and reviews straight from the fest, but here are the screenings we’re looking forward to seeing the most.
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Ti West (The Innkeepers, House of the Devil) is moving into new territory with his excellently-titled new western, In a Valley of Violence. The writer/director has been known for horror in the past, but he’s following his cult movie The Sacrament with this project, which exists thanks to backing from producer Jason Blum and his company Blumhouse. Read More »