SXSW Film Review: Stuber Thrives as an Action Movie, Not So Much as a Comedy

(Editor’s note: The following review concerns a work-in-progress cut of Stuber at SXSW 2019. As such, a final grade will be held until the film’s release this summer.) The Pitch: Hardened Los Angeles detective Vic (Dave Bautista) is supposed to be at home recovering from a recent LASIK procedure. But when Tejo (Iko Uwais), the drug lord who killed his partner six months earlier, is reported to be back in town, he disobeys doctor’s orders in an attempt to seek revenge. Because Vic is barely able to see, he ends up enlisting the help of a pushover Uber driver named Stu (a.k.a. Stuber, played by Kumail Nanjiani), to be his eyes, navigator, and reluctant sidekick. The tension between the unlikely crime-fighting team threatens to explode as the danger increases, and the two men begin offering unwanted advice about each other’s personal lives. Four Stars for Action: Taking a page from so many R-rated buddy-cop films of the ’80s and ’90s, Stuber refuses to pull its punches when it comes to the violence. The knockout opening sequence contains all the bullet dodging, spurting blood, and crushed bones you could ever want from two onscreen powerhouses like Bautista and Uwais. There’s an artistry in the […]

Pet Sematary to close SXSW 2019 Film Festival

Sometimes dead is … best saved for last. South by Southwest has finalized their film programming with the announcement of their Midnighters, Festival Favorites, and other flavorful additions. Among the many highlights is Paramount’s Pet Sematary closing out the festival. “Programming the SXSW Midnighters section is always a favorite part of my job, and this year was no exception,” said Jarod Neece, SXSW Senior Film Programmer, in an official statement. “We get to peek into the collective consciousness of the world of genre filmmakers working today. “This year’s selections are a mix of horror, thriller, sci-fi and fantasy with a good dose of feral children, haunted houses, extraterrestrial creatures and the undead to creep out SXSW audiences late into the night,” he continued. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s reimagining of Stephen King’s 1983 novel will serve as a fitting bookend to the festival, seeing how Jordan Peele’s Us will tip off the festivities a week prior. It’s also something of a sentimental graduation for the two filmmakers as their breakthrough film, Starry Eyes, originally made its world premiere at the festival’s 2014 installment. Other highlights include Lupita Nyong’o’s Little Monsters, Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell, highly anticipated documentary I Am […]