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The 2014 South By Southwest Film Festival is underway, and at the moment, I don’t feel overwhelmed. If you’ve ever attended this annual smorgasbord of cinema, music and interactivity, then you know that a feeling of "control" is rare. There’s so much to do in Austin during SXSW week that it’s so easy to lose your grip on a schedule. Sometimes that means you miss out on the major title you thought you NEEDED to see. But it usually also means that you can discover a new, unexpected gem from a powerful filmmaker still hoping to have audiences hear his or her voice.

Case in point, Friday evening at SXSW brings us the World Premiere of director Jon Favreau’s Chef, the first movie that he directed since 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens. But the movie is being described as much closer in tone to Favreau’s earlier projects, from Made (which he helmed) to Doug Liman’s Swingers. We’ll be back with a video blog reaction to Favreau’s indie revival sometime Saturday morning.


From there, though, I’m rolling the dice on a pair of unknown films that hook me with their potential. Hugh Sullivan’s The Infinite Man follows yet another rookie inventor who believes he can craft a time machine to correct the mistakes he has made with the love of his life. That never goes well.

The Midnight movies at SXSW are events, in and of themselves, and tonight’s promises gritty thrills. Daniel Stamm directs 13 Sins, about a dead-broke and down-on-his-luck salesman who receive a mysterious phone call telling him he is part of a revolutionary, on-camera game show that MAY solve all of his financial problems… if he can survive 13 tough challenges.

We are going to do our best to bring you the flavor of Austin with all of our SXSW updates this year. We’re going to lean on video coverage whenever possible, and help you feel like you are in Austin, enjoying South By right alongside us. Stay tuned all week for coverage on Chef, Veronica Mars, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, the anticipated (and gory (The Raid 2), and hopefully a few surprise titles.

In the meantime, scan our guide to the 10 Can’t Miss titles playing this year’s festival, and tell us which movies you are hoping we cover. Maybe it will alter my flexible schedule!

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