SXSW 2023: Ghosts, Gritty Beatdowns, Gorey Talk Shows, And More

I really don’t get the point of throwing a film festival with an “online” component if the online component is basically nil; this is a little inside baseball here, but there were, by my count, three movies in the SXSW online film library for the whole run. I saw everything via screeners. This makes no sense to me. If the opportunity wasn’t a guarantee (regarding work), I wouldn’t bother applying for credentials. So it goes.

But I did see some good movies, and I reviewed some of them, even:

For Inverse:

Furies – the prequel to Veronica Ngo’s excellent Furie, which I didn’t know was a prequel but apparently this isn’t meant to be a secret or a spoiler.

Late Night with the Devil – faux-found footage horror where the host learns a valuable lesson about messing around with dark powers in front of a live studio audience on Halloween.

Brooklyn 45 – I’m not sure how Ted Geoghegan keeps outdoing himself, but he does. His best movie to date.

Only the Good Survive – a mini-crime-cult-carnival ride where the less you know going in, the better.

For The Playlist:

Mustache – for clarity, this is a solid little movie, but it’s held back by the misuse of its very good supporting cast.

PS: I saw, but did not manage to score a review assignment for, Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s outstanding Chronicles of a Wandering Saint, the story of a pious woman living in a rural Argentinian hamlet who decides to fake a miracle; she’s a good person, but she’s a tad too competitive for her own good. The credit scrawl begins around 30 minutes into the film. What happens over the next 45 is a mystery to discover yourself. A wonderful gem.


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