There have been several outstanding documentaries about Hurricane Katrina's devastating assault on New Orleans -- most notably, Spike Lee's epic When the Levees Broke -- and quite a few notable feature films and TV dramas about post-Katrina life in the Crescent City. But as far as I can tell, Eric Heisserer's ingeniously suspenseful Hours -- one of the very best films I saw this year at SXSW -- is the first significant dramatic feature set during the storm and its cataclysmic aftermath. You can read my Variety review here.
And speaking of my SXSW faves: The Retrieval, Chris Eska’s filmed-in-Texas Civil War-era drama about black freedmen pressed into service by white bounty hunters, is an outstanding example of regional indie filmmaking accomplished with limited resources and an abundance of skill. My Variety review is here.
Now for something completely different: Cheap Thrills is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, which doubtless will be the strongest selling point for this worst-case scenario about steadily escalating dares and degradations. My Variety review is here.