Ep. 120 – Captain Marvel, Leaving Neverland

March 9, 2019 by  
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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review the 21st Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and first with a female lead, “Captain Marvel.” They also take a deep dive into the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” and what it means for the legacy of a dead entertainer now considered monstrous by part of the populace.

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Bonus Episode 13: The Disaster Artist with Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

December 5, 2017 by  
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It’s a very special “The Disaster Artist” themed bonus episode of The CineSnob Podcast. First up, Cody and Jerrod talk to friend of the show Greg Sestero as he returns to catch us up on the past 2 years of seeing his memoir about the making of “The Room” turned into a major motion picture.

Next, the boys talk with co-author of the book Tom Bissell about how he stumbled upon “The Room,” exploring Tommy Wiseau’s past, and how he helped Greg tell the story of his friendship with Tommy.

Click here to download the episode!

Ep. 103 – Top 5 movies of the year so far, home video reviews of The Circle, Unforgettable, and Kong: Skull Island, and a preview of Fathom Events this week

August 14, 2017 by  
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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod run down their top 5 movies of 2017 so far. They also preview a pair of Fathom Events, “Batman and Harley Quinn” and “Rifftrax Live – Doctor Who: The Five Doctors,” and Cody reviews home video releases for “The Circle,” “Unforgettable,” and “Kong: Skull Island.”

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Ep. 101 – Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Big Sick, Baby Driver, Blu-ray released for 3 Generations and The LEGO Batman Movie, and a recap of Jaws on the Water

July 10, 2017 by  
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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Big Sick, Baby Driver, new home video releases for 3 Generations and The LEGO Batman Movie, and talk about the experience that is Jaws on the Water.

[00:00-17:51] Intro/birthday meals/Jaws on the Water

[17:51-31:40] Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming

[31:40-44:44] Review –  The Big Sick

[44:44-56:34] Review – Baby Driver

[56:34-1:12:43] No Ticket Required: 3 Generations and The LEGO Batman Movie

[1:12:43-1:18:10] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Ep. 97 – Beauty and the Beast, Kong: Skull Island, and our full SXSW recap

March 20, 2017 by  
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This week on The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review “Beauty and the Beast,” circle back to pick up “Kong: Skull Island” from last week, and give their full SXSW recap, including quick reviews of “The Disaster Artist,” “Baby Driver,” and “Mr. Roosevelt.”

[00:00-42:53] Intro/SXSW recap

[42:53-56:37] Review: “Beauty and the Beast”

[56:37-1:06:30] Review: “Kong: Skull Island”

[1:06:30-1:10:20] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

Ep. 78 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, SXSW recap, and how free McDonald’s turned into a frustrating ordeal

March 27, 2016 by  
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In this latest episode of the too-infrequent CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod discuss the unavoidable “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” They also recap their time at SXSW 2016 and talk about the most frustrating free McDonald’s food they didn’t even get to eat.

[00:00 – 32:51] Intro/SXSW recap

[32:51 – 1:07:22] “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” review

[1:07:22 – 1:12:50] Wrap up/tease

Click here to download the episode!

SXSW 2016 Review – Gleason

March 20, 2016 by  
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Directed by: Clay Tweel

There is something about documentaries that chronicle, and in many cases, challenge the human spirit and push it to its brink that lead them to be the most affecting movie experiences possible. It’s visceral, emotional, and in the best cases, put you through the ringer leaving you a better person for having experienced and sat with it. This may sound hyperbolic, but one viewing of Clay Tweel’s documentary “Gleason” and you’ll understand that these descriptors and an understatement.

Shortly after retiring from the NFL, New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason is diagnosed with ALS. Even more impactful is Steve’s wife has just found out that she is pregnant with their first Child. Unsure of when he will lose the ability to communicate (and trying to treat the disease itself), Gleason sets out to make videos for his son to teach him everything he can before he loses the ability to speak.

Make no mistake: “Gleason” is a tough watch. Him and his family go through a lot of intense emotions and grieve the life and person he experienced as used to be. It isn’t an easy road for Gleason either as he struggles to adjust to his faculties which he loses bits of daily. But beyond all of this, Steve’s purpose becomes renewed. His focus shifts to helping others in his situation and he becomes influential in ways he may not have imagined.

There’s an immense amount of footage here that is artfully and carefully strung together for a cohesive narrative. There are some awful things that maintain levity by the Gleason’s who are a funny bunch and will go for a laugh even in a dark, difficult moment. (Steve’s line when he is having a bathroom issue is laugh out loud hilarious). It’s a brave thing to let a camera crew into your life. It’s even braver when it is during the most trying time this family has likely ever had.

Tears are almost certain to be shed, and while It may not always be the easiest thing to watch, “Gleason” is one of the most profoundly moving film experiences of the year thus far. It shows a man faced with unbelievable tragedy, moving forward for the sake of his wife, his children, his family, and a population of people who see him as a role model. It’s one of the years first must watch films and one to look out for come award season.

Ep. 41 – Get Hard, Home, It Follows, Spring, Kumiko The Treasure Hunter, and a brief SXSW recap

March 29, 2015 by  
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Click here to download the episode!

In this week’s episode of The CineSnob Podcast, the guys from CineSnob.net review “Get Hard,” “Home,” “It Follows,” “Spring,” and “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter.” They also give a quick recap of their experiences at this years SXSW film festival.

[0:00-17:21] Intro and SXSW recap
[17:21-30:55] Get Hard
[30:55-39:22] Home
[39:22-47:38] It Follows
[47:38-54:46] Spring
[54:46-1:04:58] Spring spoiler talk
[1:04:58-1:09:00] Spring wrap-up
[1:09:00-1:22:01] Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
[1:22:01-1:27:59] Teases for next week and close

Subscribe to The CineSnob Podcast via RSSiTunes or Stitcher.

To give your feedback, e-mail us at podcast [at] cinesnob [dot] net, or leave a voicemail at 920-FILM-210.

SXSW 2015 Review – Night Owls

March 19, 2015 by  
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Starring: Adam Pally, Rosa Salazar, Rob Huebel
Directed by: Charles Hood (“Freezer Burn”)
Written by: Charles Hood (“Freezer Burn”) and Seth Goldsmith (debut)

After being taken home for a drunken one-night-stand, college football video coordinator Kevin (Adam Pally) realizes that he isn’t in the home of a new stranger, but rather that of his boss and mentor, Coach Will Campbell. To make matters worse, the girl he has slept with, Madeline (Rosa Salazar), has taken an entire bottle of Xanax in a suicide attempt. After discovering that Madeline has been having an affair with Coach Campbell, Kevin must fight to keep Madeline from falling asleep in order to keep her alive until more help can arrive.

Taking place almost exclusively on a single set, “Night Owls” is minimalistic and dialogue heavy. The script from Seth Goldsmith and Charles Hood is free flowing and the banter between Pally and Salazar is the best feature of the film, building chemistry while increasing the complexity of their relationship with every scene that takes place. It is extremely naturalistic in its portrayal of two strangers getting to know each other, and often times delightful to see them test each others conversational limits.

If there’s a reason above all else to see “Night Owls,” it is for the performance of Salazar. As someone who is under the influence nearly the entire film, Salazar takes this acting challenge head on and delivers a fantastic performance filled with humor, vulnerability and nuance that is certain to turn heads. The way in which she is able to balance the abrasiveness of the character with her intense likeability is brilliant, with her character building eventually taking precedence over her intoxication. If there is any justice in the cinematic world, Salazar’s phone should be ringing off the hook for future roles. That isn’t to say that Pally isn’t impressive in his own right. He’s able to step aside and play the straight-man to Salazar’s frequently off-the-wall character while at the same time, balancing dramatic chops, physical comedy and one-liner flare when needed.

There are a lot of thematic elements at play here including hero-worshipping, and the need to protect those we admire through any circumstances. Above all else, however, “Night Owls” is about two people coming together and going through years worth of drama in a single night. It’s a symbiotic relationship that thrives as Kevin is fighting to keep Madeline awake, and Madeline trying to awaken something in him. The script tends to shrink a bit in the bigger moments, including an ending that isn’t 100% satisfying, but “Night Owls” is a small scale dramatic comedy that works on the sheer talent of its two leads and is boosted even further by an admirable performance from Salazar.

For more coverage of SXSW 2015, click here.

Colin Hanks and Sean Stuart – All Things Must Pass – SXSW 2015

March 18, 2015 by  
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As the age of digital media continues to reign supreme, music and film stores and physical media production begin to shrink in size. Along with that, many institutions have found themselves disappearing. In the world of music, nothing was bigger than Tower Records. With “All Things Must Pass,” actor Colin Hanks makes his directorial debut telling the story of founder Russ Solomon and the rise and fall of Tower Records. Along with producing partner Sean Stuart, Hanks sat down with CineSnob.net at the SXSW Film Festival following their world premiere where they discussed their Kickstarter campaign, the personal connection people have to Tower Records, the future of physical media and much more.

You guys just came from your premiere and this is kind of the perfect place to show this particular film. How did everything go?

Colin Hanks: Great!

Sean Stuart: We were delightfully surprised at the reaction in some of the places in the movie where we weren’t expecting large laughs and audience excitement. It seemed to go really well.

CH: I think in one regard, I’m really surprised by just how much the audience enjoyed it, and that’s coming from the perspective of…we’ve been working on this movie so long and it’s so nice to hear that. Yet at the same time, the audiences here, they are film fanatics. They are into it. They really love films, love documentaries and they are vocal. It’s always a rowdy crowd. When you combine the music elements of our film it made for a very special moment for us.

I am always interested to hear people’s Kickstarter stories, especially because the Internet being what it is, there can be a lot of negativity surrounding it. People don’t always embrace it, especially when it’s coming from someone who is established in some way. Did you encounter any of that and why was Kickstarter the way to go for you on this project?

CH: Kickstarter was sort of our last option. We had filmed a small portion of the film, put together a sizzle reel, and went around in 2008 trying to get financiers through the normal route and every politely said “No, there are much more important companies that are going bankrupt right now.” Keep in mind, this is when the economy went down. Everyone sort of said, “I don’t think anyone is really going to care about a company that went bankrupt 2 years ago.” That was a hard thing to hear and the film was on the shelf for a while. Like a lot of things, when you make a film over the course of 7 years, landscapes change, technology changes and this thing called Kickstarter came around. I was doing the Nerdist podcast with Chris Hardwick and he said “What about Kickstarter?” and I said, “I’m thinking about it.” It ended up really saving our film. People have a lot of misconceptions as to what my reality is like and that’s fine to a degree. But really what I focused on was that Kickstarter proved our theory that there were a great many people that cared about Tower Records and would put money towards seeing a film. Initially I always thought they’d just pay for a ticket but now they helped make it. It saved our film. It is not the only source of financing we had. We secured initial funds afterwards, but it is definitely a huge component of our film. Without that experience, this probably would have been a different journey for us.

SS: I think we quickly realized after we got that money from Kickstarter and started to use it and started to dig further into the story, we immediately knew that what we had in hand wasn’t going to service such an important story that needed more resources put towards it. That was when we stopped after the first Kickstarter campaign and decided that we really needed to focus in on getting enough money to bring this story to life the way it needed to be told.

I grew up in San Antonio, where we didn’t have Tower Records. I’m curious to know what your personal experiences were with Tower Records before heading into the film and if you have that connection that so many people seem to. 

CH: I wouldn’t have made a documentary about it if I didn’t. I have very vivid memories of buying cassettes and CD’s at Tower and spending time in the store. I bought concert tickets at Tower Records, I hung out in the parking lot of Tower Records. It was very much part of growing up as a music fanatic but also as a kid in Sacramento. For me, it is personal insomuch as music is an incredibly personal thing to people and going into Tower Records and buying a record and meeting people there and connecting with people there, the residue of that is you then have a personal connection to the store. “I remember there I bought this record” or “I remember where I bought that one.”

SS: One of the really unifying things we grew to find out about this company was once we were in the public eye of making this movie, the majority of the people we bumped into would turn to us and go “Oh my god, my Tower Records story is this. My hometown store is this.” It became this unifying theme of most people have some connectivity to this store and it affected their lives in a positive way. It became pretty clear to us that there’s an audience out there and there’s an awareness and interest in this company and what it did and how it achieved it.

There was also connectivity within the people who worked there. Everyone started off as a clerk and moved up the ranks to being executives. Was that something you uncovered as you started filming or how much did you know about that kind of thing going in.

CH: I didn’t know that much about that going in. The initial seed was really just the journey. Once I found out about the drug store, I went “That’s a pretty incredibly journey from there until the end.” That got us to look into Russ (Solomon, founder of Tower Records) and to reach out to him, but as soon as we sat down with him, he said, “You guys gotta talk with this other people. These are the kids that came up and really helped make tower special.” At that point, as documentaries have the tendency to do, they morph. They change. They evolve. It wasn’t even at a film at that point, but the themes then ended up becoming family, coming together, doing something special, doing something unique, creating those bonds and then it having to end. All good times have to end. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” That kind of thing.

SS: It was funny too, there’s a moment in the movie where Russ talks about everyone thinking he is crazy for opening this store in San Francisco that’s going to be just records in this huge space. And the number of times that Russ turned to Colin and I in this process and said “You guys are crazy. What you’re trying to do is crazy.” There’s this funny parallel of him and his beginning and our beginning of this documentary. He was such a great, willing participant and gave us everyone we needed to talk to and told us who the people were who were most important.

One of the things I found so interesting was that there’s a lot of great stuff that is said about Russ, but also you’re showing some things that backfired or didn’t work so well. Was it important to you to be able to show two sides of that? To show that he was an amazing forward thinking guy, but occasionally that forward thinking could get him into trouble.

CH: Yeah, obviously there’s certain things he says in the film that you could take what he says and turn it around at him in the late 90’s and say, “You didn’t change. You didn’t come up with ideas. You didn’t grow. You didn’t do the very thing you had done prior.” I hope that audiences are able to make that connection. But really the main thing for us was we were wanted to be able to pop the public misconception that the Internet was killed Tower, because that really is not accurate. It was a part of it, for sure, but it wasn’t the factor. There were a lot of other factors involved. I think that combined with the family aspects and the rise of the store, we really wanted to tell the story that not many people know and that’s not just the history but also really why it ended.

SS: Robert Rodriguez, who spoke at the filmmakers opening day lunch of this festival talked a lot about not being afraid to fail and getting out there and trying things and learning from those mistakes. You often learn more from the mistakes than you learn from the victories. I think Russ is a great example of that as it relates to that conversation we all listened to on Friday afternoon. He really was a guy that was not afraid to put himself out there and just go for it. I think that’s part of what’s in the DNA of this company. I think the way that the end of the film unravels, for viewers will be very interesting to watch. Because there’s so much happening and there’s so many factors at play. I think it’s a pretty delightful thing to witness and informative as well.

You were talking about the many things that culminated in Tower Records ultimately going out of business. You’re seeing music stores altogether slowly disappear and even stores who got involved in price wars like the film mentions, like Best Buy is down to one rack of CD’s. Do you feel like there’s any hope left for physical media or is everyone going to fall into this thing that Tower went through?

CH: No, because Tower was simply too big. I think that’s the big thing. I think there will be room for physical media. There are a lot of really great, big record stores. There’s Waterloo here in Austin, there’s Amoeba in Los Angeles, Rough Trade in Brooklyn. Those big stores offer a similar that Tower did. But it can’t exist on that huge scale anymore. Everything’s gonna be niche cultures now. I think one big store, that’s a lot easier to run than 192. I think its just downsizing. Those interactions still happen it’s just not as prevalent as it once was because now there’s too many other things, too many other distractions.

Do you feel like everything that happened was a perfect storm for Tower after you conducted these interviews?

CH: Oh yeah.

Had things gone differently, could they have survived the advent of mp3’s or these stores who were engaging in price wars; all of the factors that led into them shutting down?

SS: We talk quiet often about how if Tower had somehow found a way to scale themselves back down to the Broadway store in New York, the Sunset store in Los Angeles, and the Columbus and Bay in San Francisco, and kept a smaller footprint of physical stores, that they could totally exist today. It’s just hard to go backwards like that now with what’s happened. One of the things that’s not lost on me is when they first started, they sold used records. That was the first thing that they did and at the end, they didn’t do that. That’s a tough place to be in. Places like Amoeba really do exist pretty heavily on the trading and selling and buying of used merchandise. That’s a little bit of what the music industry looks like that for the physical collector or the physical music lover.

CH: I met a guy who’s in the music industry now, in distribution. He came up to me because he used to work at the Watt Avenue store in Sacramento and he knew I was making the documentary. I was talking with him a few weeks ago and he says “Man, if Tower just hung around for 2 more years and just scaled back, they would still be here.” I think that’s the thing that sticks in my craw is that if they had obviously adapted a little bit, started selling used records, closed some stores but kept some big mainstays open, they could have maybe rode it out. But they refused to change and they tried to keep all the stores open and that’s what ended up doing it. Obviously, other people came in but it is most definitely a perfect storm.

SS: Yes. Absolutely. That’s a good way to put it.

The most powerful section of the film is towards the end when you see people starting to be laid off, often times fired by their close friends. Can you talk about the importance of those scenes and whether there was any difficulty in getting the subjects to open up about this really difficult thing?

CH: It’s never easy to talk about parts of your life that you don’t want to talk about. Everyone was very open to speaking with us in honor of Russ. Russ told them straight up “Tell them the truth. Tell them what you want. Don’t pull any punches.” Once we tapped in and once they realized that we understood what is was that they went through and how hard it was for them, I think they became a little bit more at ease with the idea of talking about it. There were reactions that I was not expecting, but that’s that heart of the film. If we can get people into their shoes of, you work with your friends for 30 years and then you all have to fire each other, that’s a big thing. Also, Jim Urie’s story sort of foreshadows what happens to everyone else. All those things are done with reason. Our editor Dan Roberts is fantastic. That was the real heart, for me, because that’s what the store closing meant to the people at Tower. That’s what they went through. That’s a huge chapter in their lives that came to an end.

SS: It’s very identifiable. I think when you look at the themes we explore in this film, you can strip the music away from what they were going through and there’s a real identifiable thing that I think every audience can watch this movie and take something away from it. Whether they are a music a fan or if they don’t know anything about music whatsoever. There’s a human element in what those people went through and what corporate America and the average person working in the world looks like.

There’s a really great and powerful final scene in the film and you have a lot of great interview subjects who speak to what Tower Records meant to them and speak of it very fondly. How do you think the music industry would be different had it not been for Tower Records?  

CH: That’s a good question, but a hard question to answer. It was so integral to the west coast music scene in the 60’s and 70’s. It really was. When (record executive) David Geffen says he would go there 3-4 times a week, everybody in the music industry went 3-4 times a week. It was truly the place. It’s hard to imagine a music industry without Tower. There would still be a music industry, it just would have been very different. Tower really represented the merchandising business very well and helped come up with certain things that were revolutionary. At the same time, they represented all of music. I like to think of them as some of the best aspects of the music merchandising business because there was something there for everybody.

SS: I don’t think that you could put your finger on any other corporations that were as big as Tower were and look at them and think of them as a worldwide “mom and pop.” Every story was a “mom and pop” and it’s almost counter-intuitive to say something like that, but they truly were and that was unique and special.

For more coverage of SXSW 2015, click here.

SXSW 2015 Review – One & Two

March 16, 2015 by  
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Starring: Kiernan Shipka, Timothée Chalamet, Elizabeth Reaser
Directed by: Andrew Droz Palmero (“Rich Hill”)
Written by: Andrew Droz Palmero (debut) and Neima Shahdadi (debut)

Around 20 minutes into Andrew Droz Palmero’s narrative feature length debut, the film hints towards something entirely different than its initial moments. The audience doesn’t know the cause, reasoning, or consequences behind it, but it is an intriguing mystery that brings up a lot of curiosity and an equal amount of questions. Unfortunately, like many other pieces of story throughout the film, it is never fully paid off, which is a common theme in the visually impressive and narratively frustrating “One & Two.”

Walled off from other civilization, siblings Zac (Timothée Chalamet) and Ava (Kiernan Shipka) find themselves with unexplainable special abilities. With an ailing mother who encourages these abilities and an overbearing father who forbids them, Zac and Ava feel trapped and isolated and begin to wonder about life outside the confines of their farm.

Palmero, who after spending years as a cinematographer burst onto the scene as a director with last year’s acclaimed documentary “Rich Hill,” makes his mark in his narrative feature film debut with a keen visual eye and a strong ability for tone. Evoking filmmakers such as Jeff Nichols, Palmero is able to cultivate a quiet and unsettling atmosphere, matching the teenage angst and family frustration of his characters. There is also some solid, albeit slightly repetitive usage of special effects, with which Palmero is able to show restraint, doling them out sparingly without sacrificing effectiveness.

The faults of “One & Two” come at the hands of its storytelling and its refusal to answer many of the questions that come up. Palmero keeps his mysteries close to the vest, which is not inherently a bad thing, but so little is divulged throughout the course of the film and as a result, the conclusion or any of the events leading up to it lack any true satisfaction. The difficulty of latching onto anything in the narrative also leads to a collateral effect of blunting the brother/sister relationship and some of the thematic elements.

There’s a lot to admire about “One & Two,” and more specifically, about Palmero’s future as a filmmaker. He has an incredible ability to develop mood and atmosphere that should give him a prosperous career and make him a unique voice. On a micro level, however, “One & Two” never delivers on the potential of its set up. Palmero is clearly more interested in the journey than the destination. Consequently, this makes for a an unbalanced cinematic experience. As the minutes tick by and little of consequence is happening, interest beings to wane and one can’t help but feel like there should be more to it all.

For more coverage of SXSW 2015, click here.

SXSW 2015 Review – Twinsters

March 15, 2015 by  
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Starring: Samantha Futerman, Anaïs Bordier
Directed by: Samantha Futerman (debut) and Ryan Miyamoto (debut)

Many people may joke about seeing someone else’s (or their own) doppelganger walking down the street or in a public place, but have you ever seen someone who you truly felt could be your twin? In a random online message, Los Angeles based actress Samantha Futerman was contacted by a French girl who claimed to look exactly like her. With similar adoption stories and a burgeoning personal relationship, Futerman and her look-alike, Anaïs Bordier, investigate whether their bond extends deeper than superficial in “Twinsters.”

The film spans from when Samantha was first contacted up until after the two are able to meet in person, which allows for events to take place over real time with real reactions from everyone involved. As the two begin to bond over text, the pair uses Skype to communicate across Oceans, which is where their relationship really starts to take shape. They form a true long-distance relationship as they do daily tasks such as sit each other at the end of their dinner table on a laptop, introduce them to friends and family, and countless other things. As they contemplate whether they could be separated twins, the two have no problems staying up late and talking for hours, developing their own inside jokes and being insanely goofy the only way truly close friends or family can. The film does a great job of giving backstories and context for each of the girls to show what life was like for their first 25 years and how different their journeys have been thus far.

A strong suit of “Twinsters” is its ability to show how technology contributed not only to the discovery of each other, but the means by which people in this digital age communicate with each other around the world. With similar music and visual representations of Facebook and other technological services, the film version of “Catfish” is an apt comparison for the films stylistic sensibilities, which is a good thing.

It is entirely lighthearted and sweet and nearly impossible to not be wildly charmed by “Twinsters.” Moments such as when Samantha and Anais meet for the first time and adorably giggle uncontrollably while inspecting every facial feature of each other shows the surrealism of the experience through the eyes of its subjects. Though the audience finds out the truth about their relationship (and perhaps a smidge too early in the film), one gets the sense that it truly doesn’t matter if they are twins who were separated at birth or not. As we see the two walk through England holding hands and virtually inseparable, it is abundantly clear that Samantha and Anaïs are bonded for life. It is an absolute pleasure to watch their relationship blossom as “Twinsters’” giant, beating heart mirrors that of its subjects.

For more coverage of SXSW 2015, click here.

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