SXSW 2014 Films I'm Excited Aboutby IMDbRich | created - 26 Feb 2014 | updated - 11 Mar 2014 | Public
As always I'm super excited about the experience of attending SXSW - and there's plenty to dig about the lineup this year.
Odds are I won't be able to attend all of these (and the 20+ others that caught my attention). But you can be sure all will be safely on my IMDb watchlist to ensure I don't miss them as they become available more broadly.
The list isn't really in order of interest for the most part.
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1. The Raid 2 (2014)
R | 150 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force.
Votes: 123,434 | Gross: $2.63M
A sequel to one of the most fun action films I've seen in years, playing with a packed house the same 2000+ seat Paramount theater where I saw the first one - how could this not be on my must see list. If it's not on yours I question your ability to enjoy life.
Well, maybe not completely - but at least a little bit.
2. Premature (2014)
R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A high school senior has to re-live losing his virginity over and over again until he gets it right, with the right girl.
"A high school senior has to re-live losing his virginity over and over again until he gets it right."
I suspect there are two initial reactions possible to a film that looks like it would've been pitched as Groundhog Day meets American Pie a. I can't believe they ripped off Groundhog Day!?! That's lame. b. I can't believe they ripped off Groundhog Day and melded it with a raunchy teen sex comedy!?! How can I watch that as soon as possible!
Being squarely in the second camp I'm going to be queuing up for the first available screening of this one.
Also lending a positive buzz I was a fan of the FCU Fact Checkers shorts from director Dan Beers who also headed up Premature.
3. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2014)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama
A jaded Japanese woman discovers a hidden copy of Fargo (1996) on VHS, believing it to be a treasure map indicating the location of a large case of money.
Votes: 12,033 | Gross: $0.62M
Love, love, love the idea of a woman from Japan believing that the missing satchel of money in Fargo is real and seeking to find it. I'm actively trying to lower my sky-high expectations to insure I don't hurt what I'm hoping to be a magical viewing experience.
4. The Infinite Man (2014)
Not Rated | 85 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
A man's attempt to construct the ultimate romantic weekend backfires when his quest for perfection traps his lover in an infinite loop.
5. Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity (2014)
Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary, Action, Biography
Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity takes us on an exhilarating journey with choreographer Elizabeth Streb - pushing the boundaries between action and art and daring us to join Streb and her dancers in pursuit of human flight.
Votes: 71 | Gross: $0.02M
OK - here I'm cheating as I've had a chance to preview this one and look forward to others seeing it.
If Evel Knievel had been into dance, a bit LESS risk averse and had a borderline cult like following then this documentary would be about him. Instead it's about Elizabeth Streb the founder of "pop action" dance. Which is a mash-up of stunt work, acrobatics, dance, and general disregard for the laws of physics and good sense. Oh, sometimes with giant mechanical apparatuses thrown in for good measure.
The dance is truly something to behold onscreen as company members throw themselves at walls, dodge rotating I-beams and generally make dance look more suicidal (or at least masochistic) than I'm used to seeing.
The picture alternates between Streb's history, performances and interviews with her dancers. It's hard not to note the bordering on deity worship that has the young men and women literally risking life and limb to aspire to Streb's punishing esthetic ideals while barely making ends meet. But then again they seem to be having a hell of a lot of fun with their extreme take on motion arts.
Either way - check this one out by any means necessary. Oh - and if someone has a ticket to a live performance by these folks count me in. Seriously - please....
6. Wild Canaries (2014)
Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A Brooklyn couple suspects foul play when their rent controlled neighbor suddenly drops dead.
A Brooklyn hipster whodunit brought to Austin by up and coming NYC indie filmmakers seems like a great risk to take at a festival like this. Whether it approaches the mumblecore genre blender genius of a Cold Weather remains to be seen but I'm feeling super optimistic on this one.
7. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A depressed musician reunites with his lover. Though their romance, which has already endured several centuries, is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister.
Votes: 100,919 | Gross: $1.88M
8. Boyhood (I) (2014)
R | 165 min | Drama
The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.
Votes: 353,921 | Gross: $25.38M
A drama shot by Richard Linklater with the same actors over a 10+ year span grabs my attention. The positive feedback it's received cements it. Cannot wait to experience all (almost) 3 hours of this one.
9. Fort Tilden (2014)
R | 98 min | Comedy
A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach.
Frankly, the short summary "A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach" had my attention from the start. As someone who personally often "neither knows where they’re going nor how they plan to get there" the story of two young women attempting to get to the beach in NY with that same problem at hand sounds especially appealing.
10. Beyond Clueless (2014)
TV-MA | 89 min | Documentary, Horror, Romance
Beyond Clueless is a dizzying journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 modern coming-of-age classics.
"Beyond Clueless is a dizzying journey into the mind, body and soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of over 200 modern coming-of-age classics."
I love that we have the genres set for this film as documentary, romance and horror. Any documentary that melds together coming-of-age classics is definitely going to spill into the romance and horror genres.
I have no idea what to expect, but cannot wait to see what director Charlie Lyne has cooked up.
11. Arlo and Julie (2014)
Not Rated | 76 min | Comedy, Mystery, Romance
A neurotic couple's obsession with a mysterious puzzle comically unravels their world, disconnecting them from reality and jeopardizing their fragile relationship.
"A neurotic couple's obsession with a mysterious puzzle comically unravels their world, disconnecting them from reality and jeopardizing their fragile relationship."
12. Stage Fright (I) (2014)
R | 89 min | Comedy, Horror, Musical
A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater.
Votes: 4,786 | Gross: $0.01M
"A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater."
Seriously, do you really need me to explain the appeal of musical theater and bloody horror? If so, go find a way to watch the short film The Legend of Beaver Dam and you'll see what I mean.
13. We'll Never Have Paris (2014)
R | 92 min | Comedy, Romance
A man screws up on a transcontinental level in a noble effort to win back "the one."
"A man screws up on a transcontinental level in a noble effort to win back 'the one.'"
I'm a total sucker for this sort of thing. It's absolutely not that it was written and directed by Simon Heldberg of The Big Bang Theory. I actually just noticed that now. But I suppose for fans of his there's another reason to check it out.
14. Open Windows (2014)
Not Rated | 100 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
A jilted fan soon finds himself pulled into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse after he accepts the opportunity to spy on his favorite actress via his laptop.
Just being the new movie from Nacho Vigalondo the director of Timecrimes would be enough for me to put this one high on my must see list. Throw in what sounds like a potentially interesting plot and a much talked about scene shot at my beloved and much missed South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse ensures I'll be at the front of the line for this one.
15. Housebound (2014)
Not Rated | 107 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery
A young woman is forced to return to her childhood home after being placed under house arrest, where she suspects that something evil may be lurking.
Being sentenced to home detention with your mom is one level of problem. Having your mom's belief that the place is haunted turn out to be true is another matter entirely. I'm not a ghost story fan in general - but properly executed I can really enjoy the genre. I'm in!
16. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
R | 86 min | Comedy, Horror
Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are vampires who are struggling with the mundane aspects of modern life, like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
Votes: 183,279 | Gross: $3.33M
New Zealand mockumentary about vampires trying to get by in the big city. It's got vampires, it's got humor. Yes, it seems to largely have the plot of the less than spectacular VAMPS. But I'm still very much looking forward to it. Seems like the setup here may have stronger legs.
17. Among the Living (2014)
Not Rated | 90 min | Horror, Thriller
Three kids skip school in order to explore an abandoned film studio lot where they catch site of a woman being dragged across the lot by a masked man.
A group of kids meet their fears personified in something reading like Stand By Me meets any slasher film. I'm intrigued...
18. Big in Japan (2014)
Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Music
A struggling Seattle Rock band, Tennis Pro, take one last shot at making it big as they embark on a comical musical odyssey in Tokyo with hopes to prevent their day jobs from becoming their careers.
Two things going for this one. It's the latest from the director of Outsourced (which I quite enjoyed - the movie not the TV show) and it's got a strong Seattle connection to the local band Tennis Pro. Sadly its playing a bit later in the festival when I'll be heading back. But I've added it to my watchlist to ensure I don't miss it later.