10 best movies we’ve seen, ranked (including ‘the Fallout’)

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Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler play teenage girls who navigate the emotional aftermath of a school shoot in the new drama “The Fallout.”

USA TODAY

Moviegoers will have to wait another year to pair a Texas barbecue and big movies with the South by Southwest Film Festival, though the 2021 edition has brought virtually a bunch of cool viewings in people’s homes.

The 2020 edition of Austin’s remarkable event was canceled last March shortly before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, but this year’s festival (which is ended Saturday) came back in force, albeit online. On the cinema side, there were central documentaries focused on Demi Lovato and the late Tom Petty which, along with other aspects of SXSW, focused more on music and technology, including virtual reality events and movies. charity video games.

SXSW has hosted many popular premieres in recent years, including “Us” by Jordan Peele, “Booksmart”, “Atomic Blonde”, “Ready Player One” and “A Quiet Place”. This year’s roster also provided a diverse selection of upcoming films for moviegoers, and some reflecting our current era affected by COVID-19 and filled with Zoom.

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Here are the 10 best new movies (many of which are still looking for distribution) that we saw at Virtual SXSW, ranked:

10. “Gaia”

In the South African eco-horror fantasy, a ranger (Monique Rockman) trying to find her surveillance drone in a vast primordial forest meets a survivalist father (Carel Nel) and son (Alex van Dyk) who join apparently to a strange religion. all their own. That’s not the biggest problem, however, as the trio are plagued by terrifying creatures transformed by nature.

9. “Broadcast signal intrusion”

Set in 1999, The Dark Mystery stars Harry Shum Jr. (who also produces the direction) as a Chicago video archivist working on the storage of old DVD TV shows going through a strange signal hack featuring a figure strange mask that has happened several times over the years. . He’s not the only one obsessively interested in incidents, and things get dangerous for him and his partner (Kelley Mack) as they get closer to the truth.

8. “Violet”

Justine Bateman (“Family Ties,” anyone?) Makes her directorial debut with this drama about a talented emerging film executive (Olivia Munn) struggling in her personal and professional life. Problem is, she’s listened to the demeaning, domineering voice (Justin Theroux) in her head and turns things around when she starts ignoring him.

7. “Off season”

A woman (Jocelin Donahue) receives a mysterious letter to return to the remote island where her mother was buried. Once there, she discovers that the tomb is desecrated, the very strange inhabitants of the island shut down the whole place for the season, and the family mystery and a monstrous little horror brews as she begins to uncover the truth in Mickey Keating’s bizarre thriller.

6. “Best summer ever”

Absolutely cheerful, a bit subversive, and utterly inclusive, the musical (premieres on demand April 27) features a huge cast of both disabled and non-disabled people and focuses on falling young people (Shannon DeVido and Rickey Wilson Jr.) who are falling. lovers at summer dance camp and somehow end up in the same high school. The plot happily borrows from “High School Musical” and “Grease”, but always creates something heartwarming and original.

5. “Noise of violence”

The sadistic torture horror of “Saw” receives a clever remix in this wiggle-inducing thriller starring Jasmin Savoy Brown (“The Leftovers”). She plays a music teacher who, as a deaf child, regained his hearing after seeing his parents murdered. The sounds of the traumatic event created a euphoric sensory experience for her, which she attempts to recreate as an adult through various bloody and murderous experiences.

4. “Them”

Not a feature per se, but the first two combined episodes of Amazon Prime’s new terrorist anthology “Them” (which releases April 9) are a social horror for anyone who enjoys “Lovecraft Country” and “Get Out”. As part of the Great Migration, a black family moved to Compton, California in 1953 to escape the Jim Crow South. While they face a whole bunch of nasty racism in their white lily suburban neighborhood, what’s inside their house is much scarier.

3. “Recovery”

Writers / stars Whitney Call and Mallory Everton (who also directs) are hilarious in a comedy that captures pandemic life like no other. And there’s a “Booksmart” vibe set in the story of two locked-in sisters (Call and Everton) who get a call about a COVID-19 outbreak at their grandmother’s nursing home, and then go. mask, grab some hand sanitizer and jump in the car to get it out in a big mishap on the road.

2. “Language courses”

Natalie Morales’ directorial debut feature is a beautiful comedy / drama – told via video chat – about the power of human connection, even from afar. Adam (Mark Duplass) is surprised to learn that his husband gave him 100 immersive online Spanish lessons per week with new teacher Cariño (Morales). When tragedy strikes after their awkward first encounter, Adam and Cariño form a loving bond that each sorely needs.

1. “The fallout”

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize, writer / director Megan Park’s film follows the aftermath of a school shoot in a touching, thought-provoking and surprisingly fun way. Feeling numb after the traumatic event, Vada (a fantastic Jenna Ortega) tries to move forward in her own way, which includes befriending a popular and well-off classmate (Maddie Ziegler) with whom she’s dating. is hidden in the bathroom while the killer stalked. their peers.

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