SXSW 2018 Review/Interview: PET NAMES

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Leigh (Meredith Johnston) flippantly states that she is searching for her soul, but the reality is that she is lost and confused and doesn’t know quite how to face her future.  Written by Meredith Johnston and directed by Carol Brandt, this true indie film follows Leigh during her day-to-day life, as she cares for her ailing mother (Stacy Parish), but is otherwise aimless, confused with no definite plans for her future.  Her loving mother gets Leigh to agree to take some time off for a mini vacation to rest, relax and gather herself away from her daily responsibilities.  When none of her friends are available to join her, Leigh very reluctantly invites her ex-boyfriend Cam (Rene Cruz).  The two go with Cam’s adorable pug dog, reconnect, but eventually re-visit some old wounds that haven’t quite healed. Read more »

SXSW 2018 Review/Interview: FROM ALL CORNERS

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

One of the first SXSW films I watched this year was this incredible and beautiful documentary.  Director Ryusuke Okajima tells the amazing story of Japanese artist and craftsman Fuyuki Shimazu whose singular passion involves the upcycling of used cardboard.  Fuyuki has spent years traveling all over the world searching for remarkable cartons and boxes.  He then takes these findings and transforms them into adorable and practical items–particularly wallets and business card holders.  Okajima and his crew follow Fuyuki’s journey as he ponders the origins of a unique potato carton and proceeds to discover its various sources.  It truly is a fascinating and beautiful journey with an important and practical message about the wastefulness of humanity. Read more »

Review: GRINGO

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

British actor David Oyelowo is probably best known for his stellar dramatic work.  With Gringo, the classically trained actor shows movie audiences what he can do with comedic material.  Written by Anthony Tambakis, Matthew Stone and directed by Nash Edgerton, this wild dark comedy does offer lots of laughs, but features plenty of tropes common to other superior films. Nevertheless, Oyelowo proves to be no slouch when it comes to comedic antics and Edgerton manages to deliver an entertaining film, despite the familiarity of its scenarios. Read more »


The Dark “Thoroughbreds” features Two Cute Wealthy Teens and Murder

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B+

Childhood friendships either last a lifetime, or terminate at someplace along the way in life. At times, those friends may have a “reunion” of sorts and it is not always a sought out meeting by one or the other of two friends. Writer/director Cory Finley’s drama, “Thoroughbreds,” has written a much darker film than I had initially expected and with the two lead actresses, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Witch,” “Split”) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke, “Bates Motel”), their performances take this excellent script and elevate it to a level of unexpected horror. These Connecticut prep school teens hatch a plan that they could probably patent and sell to other people who would never be expected to do a thing like that. Read more »

Review: GRINGO

By Renee’ C.

Rating: 4 (Out of 5 Reels)

Gringo, a dark comedy mixed with white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, explores the battle of survival for businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) when he finds himself crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal (IMDB).

Oyelowo is the perfect choice for the role of Soyinka because he brilliantly walks the line between innocent victim and a person who tries to take charge of his life and situation. Although it must be mentioned that Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton are fantastic as absolutely vile human beings, the type that are only interested in having power and money regardless of the costs.  Read more »