SXSW 2020 Short Film REVIEWS: Vert, Still Wylde, Lions In The Corner, Figurant

SXSW 2020 Day 6 of 10 day limited available event. Don’t hesitate, watch the films you’re interested in while you still can: https://www.amazon.com/adlp/sxsw

Vert ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
Run time: 13 minutes
Director: Kate Cox
SXSW film #15 watched

A couple celebrates their anniversary by going into virtual world known as “Vert” together.

With the first season of Upload this weekend, this is a timely short film to view. I’ve been a fan of virtual worlds for quite some time, although it’s one of those things I get into and can’t stay very connected. As far as movies go, watching Ernest Cline’s story, Ready Player One is a real treat (see: 3 Movies Reviews For My Birthday: Ready Player One, JFK, Westworld)

This context is important. So, I’m sort of already on board with the technology. Movies exploring these worlds tend to be not as fun as joining the experience yourself. Guess that’s been my hangup with most virtual world movies.

In short form, this film explores the hesitation of going inside the virtual world. Put on the goggles and travel inside and be what you want to be. I like that this took me a different direction than expected. Good twist at the end, too.

Still Wylde ⭐️⭐️½
Run time: 13 minutes
Director: Ingrid Haas
SXSW film #16 watched

Gertie stops by the convenience store and picks up a variety of pregnancy tests.

“I drive a Civic by choice. I bought the most expensive Civic!” — why does this dialogue annoy me right now? Guess it’s bad for the times we’re currently in. Who gives a crap what kind of car you drive, anyway (as long as it’s functional, of course) — especially when many people can’t drive anywhere right now except for “essential” reasons?

Not holding this against the film, but am holding it against the character that forced the other character — her boyfriend — to bring this up. Dialogue like this turns me off toward characters, not make me laugh. Later in the film when a medical bill arrives, this dialogue reminded me that there was more emphasis placed on something that didn’t matter versus something else that did. Yes, the little things in films that add up.

I liked the convenience store owner. More of him and Gertie interacting, please.

Good ending, so-so acting and writing. Camerawork was good. Overall, this was … OK. Seemed a little forced and incomplete, a few staccato scenes, short of a full-fledged story. Well, I guess the tattoos, yeah, that sort of wrapped things up.

Lions In The Corner ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Run time: 10 minutes
Director: Paul Hairston
SXSW film #17 watched

A man who goes by Scarface uses MMA-style fights called Street Beefs with a referee to settle disputes and prevent opposing combatants from one, the other or both from dying on the street.

“If I do this for 30 years and save two lives, man, that’s two lives!” – Scarface.

The director Paul Hairston says in the opening intro that this took two years to put together. After watching it, I believe it. You can feel the blood, sweat and tears are on the screen. Scarface is doing good in his community, finding a sports outlet for potentially deadly gang-related activity. It doesn’t get that deep, but you get the sense this is a legal way that people problems are being solved. Scarface also makes a heck of a narrator with his gravelly voice and somber delivery.

One of my most favorites of all short films seen so far. Recommended.

Figurant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Run time: 14 minutes
Director: Jan Vejnar
SXSW film #18 watched

Subtitled for English. An elderly man, perhaps homeless or down on his luck, enters a facility, signs up, is dressed in military gear and sent, bewildered, outside. And then the nightmare really begins.

This has almost a 1917 meets Marked for Death vibe running through it. Great sound. Good story. Very well done.

What films are sticking out for you from SXSW 2020?

Am a little more than halfway through all the films presented in the virtual film festival online at Amazon Prime Video. I didn’t think I’d care much for the short films format before watching, but have been, at times, pleasantly surprised. You can tell many of these filmmakers, their cast and crew worked hard.

I have by far the easiest part: sitting here, enjoying — or not — the creative work.

What have you enjoyed so far from the festival? If you’re reading this and it’s not past May 7, 2020, get over to Amazon video and watch some of these films before the opportunity passes. I don’t know what happens to these short films, in particular, once they’ve screened at the festival? If you know, go ahead and use the comments below to tell me about it.

Happy to hear your recommendations as well.

2 thoughts on “SXSW 2020 Short Film REVIEWS: Vert, Still Wylde, Lions In The Corner, Figurant

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