South by Southwest, or SXSW for short is a week long party in Texas comprising of movies, music and tech. It has neither the smugness of the Oscars nor the pretentiousness of Berlin and Venice. It’s pure and simple fun, and the quintessential fest for geeks of all manners. It is also famous for ushering in some seriously great movies. Below are ten of the most talked about films from this year’s SXSW, all of which you need to keep an eye out for.
Last year Short Term 12 won the top prize at SXSW and went on to become one of the most moving and beautifully made films of the year. This year the prize went to Fort Tilden, a quirky comedy about two young girls trying to find a beach in a suburb. It’s supposedly a sort of Frances Ha meets Lost in Translation, and that is enough to make one excited.
Some of the best horror films over the past decade have come from SXSW and this year is no exception. Creep stars co-writer Mark Duplass as a creepy guy inflicted with Fatal Attraction. The film is produced by the guys who made Paranormal Activity but this film is a comedy drama rather than straight up horror.
What we do in the shadows
Another horror comedy comes from filmmakers Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi which stars a bunch of vampires who meet at an annual monster get together in New Zealand. A documentary crew gets permission from said vampires to cover their party, and hilarity ensues.
While making School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly, Before Sunset and Midnight, Richard Linklater had been shooting a radical project over the course of more than a decade. Boyhood follows a child who grows up in Texas over a course of twelve years from 2001 to 2013. It’s a technique that’s been done in Michael Apted’s ‘Up’ series but never before in a feature film of this scale.
The Raid 2
The Raid 2 still remains the most anticipated film of the year and the acclaim is through the roof. Evidently Director Gareth Evans has taken the best parts of the original film and pumped some seriously high dosage of acid for the sequel. We should be thankful that we’ll get to see it this May.
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett put a new spin on the home invasion genre in the critically acclaimed You’re Next a couple of years ago and their latest project is evidently even more visceral. The Guest is a mixture of a 90’s Cronenberg movie and an 80’s John Carpenter movie, and is a dark comedy mystery thriller with a heavy dose of violence.
The Infinite Man
What if Groundhog Day was used by someone who could turn back time and fix his broken relationship? Director High Sullivan uses the idea to supposedly grand results in his debut film. It’s certainly similar to last year’s About Time but is allegedly funnier, more intelligent and raw than the easy fluffiness of that film.
Director Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank chronicles the bizarre real life story of musician Chris Sievy (played by Michael Fassbender) who wears a large mask and turns into an alter ego named Frank Sidebottom. The film is an insightful debate on an artist’s dependence of someone other than himself to find his artistic inspiration.
The Internet’s Own Boy
A year ago Aaron Swartz, the internet hero who operated Reddit, compiled data for all of us, and faced 35 yrs of jail for the same, committed suicide. He was 26. The internet paid tribute to Swartz but still no one away from keyboard knows who he is. This could be fixed thanks to director Brian Knappenberger’s film The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz which records the young prodigy’s heartbreaking rise and fall.
Like Crazy was a great film on long distance relationships and writer-director Carlos Marqués-Marcet’s 10,000KM is supposedly even more terrific and ‘real’. The entire film only stars the couple going through the ups and downs of being romantically involved via computers. I suspect this plot device will become more prevalent over the next few years, considering so many contemporary youngsters can identify with it.