Predestination

Ethan Hawke in PREDESTINATION

The concept of time travel is one thing. Entrusting time travel, and the fate of the world, to Ethan Hawke, really seems like quite another. But here we are, with Ethan Hawke: Time Cop keeping us safe from the world’s ills while we sit pretty in whatever linear concept of time and space we think actually exists. How foolish we’ve been this whole time. Fresh off his oft praised turn as the dadliest of dads in Boyhood, Hawke is trying his hand at sci-fi with Predestination, a film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (his second collaboration with the Spierig Brothers after 2009’s Daybreakers) that answers the questions: is Ethan Hawke the hero we need right now, and is he the one we deserve? The premise for the film, laid out in the first trailer, is simple, but it doesn’t make any of the details any less dazzling. Hawke is a temporal agent, a time traveling arm of the law who leaps back and forth between decades stopping crimes before they are even committed. His main mission is to stop the terroristic reign of the so-called Fizzle Bomber, which if we’re being honest, sounds like a spectacular new rocket-shaped popsicle that you can get from your local ice cream truck.

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SXSW 2014

When it came to driving the discussion about SXSW 2014, if you weren’t Lady Gaga, Edward Snowden or Grumpy Cat, you probably didn’t hit the trending list on Twitter. But let’s be honest with ourselves: we weren’t there to drive discussions online by taking selfies with a sad cat. We were there to watch movies and share them with all of you, our beloved readers who may not have been able to meet us in downtown Austin. Don’t worry though, you saved what amounts to hundreds of dollars in parking fees and we did all the work for you. In total, the programming team at South by Southwest selected over 130 films from over 2,000 submissions this year. It was a lot to take in, but we feel confident that we’ve narrowed our own list down to the 8 best films that played this year. To do so, each of the FSR writers who attended the festival each picked two films to highlight. That list, the definitive guide to SXSW films you should keep up with as they move on to potential releases, can be found herein. While you read it, we’ll still be trying to sleep off the late nights. Yes, we realize SXSW ended a week ago. Stop judging us.

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Sarah Snook and others in PREDESTINATION

Movies featuring time travel as a central plot device immediately and unavoidably put a target on their back for the numerous plot holes and inconsistencies sure to arise from such a twisty narrative structure. Even the best will sometimes have moments or scenes that just don’t work given too much thought, but if audiences are willing to go along for the ride those inevitable bumps in the road can be smoothed over through execution and other strengths. Predestination is one such film, and a few caveats aside, it’s one of the most dramatically thrilling and emotionally satisfying time-travel movies of the past several years. Two figures fight in the basement of a busy travel hub. One is trying to blow up hundreds of people, and the other is trying to stop it. Injuries from the ensuing blast leave a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) burned and near death, but he pulls through and is soon assigned a new mission from the past. The confusingly-named “Fizzle” bomber will be destroying a few blocks of NYC in 1975, and the time traveling government agency has been unable to stop him in time again and again. The agent is sent back to recruit fresh blood, a man named John (Sarah Snook), and together they set out to stop the bomber before he kills again. Again.

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Meat Loaf and a member of the KISS Army in STAGE FRIGHT

Seems like just two months ago we were knee deep in Sundance coverage, but already we’ve moved on to the next big thing in film festival coverage. SXSW is the annual film/music/interactive extravaganza that draws film, music, and interactive(?) fans from all around the country to descend into Austin, TX for one hell of a good time. We here at FSR come for the movies (and the food and the friends), and this year our team is four strong and ready to rock. And by rock we mean sit in theater seats of varying levels of comfort, enjoy the culinary wonderland that is Austin’s food scene, and hang out with other like-minded characters. This year’s fest features a lot of titles we’re excited to devour with our eyes, but of the dozens of films we’ll be seeing this coming week we’ve narrowed down our top fourteen below. Neil Miller had to be talked out of putting The Raid 2 on here multiple times, Christopher Campbell moved outside his comfort zone to show interest in some narrative films, and Jack Giroux failed to realize that “anticipated” should really refer to movies he hasn’t seen yet. Keep reading to see which fourteen films we’re anticipating most at SXSW 2014.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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