SXSW Preview: 10 Films We're Battling Austin Traffic To See This Week

By Sean O'Connell 2012-03-09 12:37:50discussion comments
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You canít see everything.

Thatís the first reality everyone has to embrace before covering a film festival, particularly one that boasts as rich and diverse a schedule as South By Southwest. So Fat Kid Rules the World conflicts with Cabin in the Woods. One has to be sacrificed.

And yet, after weeks of juggling, I think I have my 2012 SXSW schedule locked in Ö which only means it should be blown to bits by Sunday morning. Buzz on titles Iím currently not familiar with will dictate that I adjust. Planned interviews will run long, meaning I miss a shuttle. The only way to cover a fest as extensive as SXSW is to roll with those punches and see what you can.

Here are the 10 titles Iím going to move heaven, earth and Austin traffic to attend. Keep checking Cinema Blend throughout the week, as Iíll have reviews, commentary, interviews and video blogs shot with my colleague, Adam Frazier, who will be covering for MovieHole. SXSW always is a time for cinematic discovery. Hereís what I plan to discover, in no particular order.

The Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard, Screenwriters: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Why weíre interested: Buzz on this alternative horror film has been at an all-time high, even though Iíve avoided details as best as possible because from what I hear, the less you know, the better it plays. Whedon and Goddardís involvement, alone, is enough for me (huge Buffy and Firefly fan), and the fact that this crowd-pleasing thriller sits in the opening night slot has us eagerly anticipating Friday evening.

The Raid
Director/Screenwriter: Gareth Huw Evans
Why weíre interested: Because I missed it at Toronto AND Sundance, and have been dying to see this bone-crunching action thriller since the minute I heard its plot. Rama and his special forces team must fight their way through a rundown apartment block when their covert mission to take down a notorious drug lord falls apart.

frankie go boom
Director: Jordan Roberts
Why weíre interested: A great cast: Lizzy Caplan, Chris OíDowd (Bridesmaids), Chris Noth and Ron Perlman, reportedly in drag. And the most abnormal plot description of SXSWís entire schedule: ďA flick by bruce about his little brother frank who's a crybaby fuck who shouldn't do lame-ass embarrassing shit if he dozn't want people 2 see it.Ē

Casa de mi Padre
Director: Matt Piedmont, Screenwriter: Andrew Steele
Why weíre interested: I really didnít know what to make of this offbeat Will Ferrell comedy, which casts the SNL veteran as a Mexican rancher who must defend his father's home against the country's most infamous drug lord. Then I saw the hilarious trailer. Iím still not 100% sure what Iím getting into with Padre, but now Iím confident I canít miss it.

Black Pond
Directors: Tom Kingsley, Will Sharpe, Screenwriter: Will Sharpe
Why weíre interested: This British thriller has been on my radar since it took home a BAFTA for Outstanding Feature Debut. It follows an ordinary family accused of murder when a stranger dies at their dinner table, and the buzz is deafening. I canít wait to see if it can live up to its hype.

Nature Calls
Director/Screenwriter: Todd Rohal
Why weíre interested: A late addition to this yearís SXSW schedule, Nature casts Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville as feuding brothers on a Boy Scout camping trip. The leads are worth it, but then you tell me Darrell Hammond, Maura Tierney, Rob Riggle and the late, great Patrice OíNeal lend support, and I put this one at the top of my list.

Safety Not Guaranteed
Director: Colin Trevorrow, Screenwriter: Derek Connolly
Why weíre interested: Because Iím a time-travel nut who loves to see how storytellers properly bend the space-time continuum. Because Safety rose a wave of positive buzz through Sundance earlier this year. And because Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson are red-hot rising talents right now, and I want to see what they can do on screen. (Add the Duplass Brothersí Do-Deca-Pentathalon as a bonus, because the siblings always host raucous screenings when they come back to Austin.

Brooklyn Castle
Director: Katie Dellamaggiore
Why weíre interested: Because Iím a documentary junkie, and SXSWís annual slate always promises multiple treasures. Iím hoping to catch The Imposter, Lost and Sound, Compliance and the Vanís Warped Tour screening of No Room for Rock Stars. But top of my list is the uplifting Brooklyn Castle, which promises an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs facing members of a junior high schoolís champion chess team.

V/H/S
Directors: Ti West, Adam Wingard, Joe Swanberg, David Bruckner, Glenn Mcquaid, Radio Silence, Screenwriter: Ti West, Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Radio Silence, Glenn Mcquaid
Why weíre interested: The annual Midnighters program at SXSW is legendary, and this yearís line-up shouldnít disappoint. While Iím looking forward to Citadel, John Dies at the End and Girls Against Boys, the one that really piqued my interest is V/H/S Ö and not just because it made Sundance audience members violently ill. Those above-mentioned directors are some of the most innovative voices working in horror today, and this sounds like a mixed tape of their greatest hits. Letís see how it plays with a rowdy SXSW crowd.

Super Secret Screening
Director/Writer: ?????
Why weíre interested: Saturday night, the Alamo Lamar will be buzzing with anticipation for a mystery movie thatís coming to theaters soon. Speculation is running rampant that, with Joss Whedon in Austin for Cabin in the Woods, the Secret could be an early screening of The Avengers. Iím 98% certain it canít be Ö but that 2% guarantees that Iíll be sitting front and center to see what SXSW has in store.

Thatís 10, and I didnít even mention 21 Jump Street, William Friedkinís Killer Joe, Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn in The Babymakers, Matthew Lillardís directorial debut Fat Kid Rules the World, the tender-sounding Leave Me Like You Found Me, countless other documentaries, Midnighters, and movies I havenít even heard of yet but could stumble into during this too-short fest. Have a recommendation? Shoot me a line. And enjoy our ongoing coverage of the 2012 South By Southwest Film Festival.

(Top Secret image via Pablo H Carldad/Shutterstock)
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