MOVIE: DON'T THINK TWICE
STARRING: MIKE BIRBIGLIA; GILLIAN JACOBS; KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY;
DIRECTED BY: MIKE BIRBIGLIA
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Don't Think Twice struck a nerve with me specifically. I am the son of a father who worked at Chicago's world-famous improv company Second City, but also because director Mike Birbiglia's film about a New York City improv group is spot on at portraying this social circle. Following a group of six performers with hopes of hitting it big on the SNL-similar “Weekend Live”, Birbiglia manages to create backstories for each character, allowing us to care for their careers, while never overcrowding the story. Performances from Gillian Jacobs, Birbiglia, and Keegan-Michael Key rise to the top, while the laughs are constant. Don't Think Twice portrays care for these characters, as this is the most honest telling of improv comedy turned into a movie. It was the happiest surprise of SXSW.
MOVIE: HARDCORE HENRY
STARRING: SHARLTO COPLEY; HALEY BENNETT; DARYA CHARUSHA
DIRECTED BY: ILYA NAISHULLER
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
If you have heard about Hardcore Henry, it is most likely because it is an action movie shot entirely in POV with GoPro cameras. That may sound like a gimmick, but director Ilya Naisuller turns this first person, video game style movie, into an action packed ride. We see through the eyes of Henry, a super soldier created by the evil Akan. What makes Henry different, is his awareness of his existence which this sets him off to survive his attackers and to defeat Akin. It may not be for audiences who easily become bored by the concept or motion sickness from watching a movie like this, but the action has a perfect mixture of choreography, sci-fi, and shoot-em-up action. I thought it was cool.
MOVIE: SAUSAGE PARTY
STARRING: SETH ROGAN; KRISTEN WIIG; EDWARD NORTON; SALMA HAYEK
DIRECTED BY: CONRAD VERON; GREG TIERNAN
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
If you thought South Park was the standard for raunchy animated comedies, wait till you see Sausage Party. From the minds of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan, this is a movie that will have you seeing food a bit differently. With a cast of voices from Rogan, Kristen Wiig, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, and Michael Cera, no stereotypes are safe from mention, as a rogue sausage (Rogan) sets out on an adventure through the supermarket, seeking out his meaning of existence. Although the premiere still had a few animation kinks to fix, I can honestly say Sausage Party is one of the funniest movies of 2016. If you are offended easily, it is best you stay away, but if you like to laugh, get to the theater.
MOVIE: SING STREET
STARRING: FERDIA WALSH-PEELO; JACK REYNOR; LUCY BOYNTON
DIRECTED BY: JOHN CARNEY
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 4 STARS (Out of 4)
From the director that brought us Once and Begin Again, comes quite possibly his best yet- Sing Street. Conor is changing to a new high-school. His parents are on the path to divorce and can't afford to send him to the other one. Conor also loves 80's pop-rock music with his brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). He decides to start a band, and boy are they good. Filled with charm, humor, love, and great music, Sing Street is the darling movie of the year. I laughed, I cried, and I found Conor's relationship with Raphina (Lucy Boynton) to be a beautifully complex portrayal of teenage confusion. You will want to buy the soundtrack after you leave the theater, but you may have also witnessed one of the best movies of 2016.
MOVIE: THE ARBALEST
STARRING: MIKE BRUNE; TALLIE MEDEL
DIRECTED BY: ADAM PINNEY
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
The Arbalest has a Wes Anderson esthetic to the way it looks, but what it lacks is a story that barley moves past interesting. We follow Foster Kalt, a man who took credit for someone else's toy invention at a toy convention (think the rubic's cube). Although it propels him to success, he still can't forget Sylvia, the woman who helped him take credit for the toy, but never returning the love he has for her. It makes for a boring film of Foster watching Sylvia from afar and I was quite surprised to hear The Arbalest had won SXSW's Award for best narrative feature.
Austin, Texas- The South by Southwest film festival is a place where artists gather to enjoy different types of sights and sounds for a week. It is a festival where somebody can, watch a movie in the morning, hear a brass band on the corner, eat some delicious tacos, and watch a zombie attack movie before going to bed. This was AMovieGuy.com's first time covering the festival, but it was a great success, filled with interviews with celebrities such as, Seth Rogan, Elijah Wood, and Paul Reubens. What we went there to do was see movies, so here are some of the best (and worst) of what AMovieGuy.com saw at SXSW: