IMG_2578Day 3 has been more promising than our previous effort, which was crippled by soul crushing letdowns. It seems to be that everybody has settled into the pace of SXSW– and that requires stamina, focus and getting rid of that FOMO.

Lots of promise was surrounding Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of heroine ridden trumpet player Chet Baker in BORN TO BE BLUE, and some more eccentric titles such as THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK and COLLECTIVE SUBCONSCIOUS were available to all those operating on the fringe.

With no “secret screening” on the docket this year at the Paramount, things opened up for Mike Birgilia’s astounding DON’T THINK TWICE, a film about an improv comedy troupe (Birgilia, Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci and Tami Sagher) dealing with the sudden success of one of their members.

Pulling triple duty as writer, director and actor of DON'T THINK TWICE is Mike Birbiglia.

Pulling triple duty as writer, director and actor of DON’T THINK TWICE is Mike Birbiglia.

Birbiglia’s film, which has yet to receive distribution, is reportedly going to be in a bidding war between Sony Pictures Classics and A24. This is a quirky character piece that’s sharp in its execution and direct with its intentions. Whoever picks it up will find it to be a great film to add to their repertoire.

Other headlining titles included the Toronto International Film Festival favorite HARDCORE HENRY produced by Timur Bekmambetov (WANTED) and starring Sharlto Copley (DISTRICT 9). It’s an experience  of a film, presented entirely in a POV perspective.

The screening was filled to the brim with people whose excitement quickly waned due to the lack of narrative, obnoxious gimmick and a hook that, while effective at times, ultimately becomes its demise.

You can read Courtney Howard’s opposing thoughts here.

More to come tomorrow, including SAUSAGE PARTY, MORRIS FROM AMERICA and PREACHER.

This was collectively written by James Cole Clay, Preston Barta and Chance Maggard.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.