SXSW 2013 Film Guide: 12 Premieres To Keep An Eye On
Yesterday, we previewed the top music acts playing at SXSW. Today, we bring you trailers of the most promising films premiering at the festival. Last year’s fest saw the premiere of two major Hollywood films: The Cabin in the Woods and 21 Jump Street – both were well-received by critics and audiences alike.
Of the ten films I previewed last year, I only got to see God Bless America and though the premise and trailer were awesome, I felt really dead inside after watching it. I did get to see the first five minutes of Iron Sky and that also looked promising but I haven’t mustered the motivation to watch the whole shebang. So, with thousands of frothing fans and industry types flocking to Austin to see what’s bound to hit it big nationwide, here are the 12 films that snatched my attention by the jugular.
Director: Alex Winter
Music: DJ Spookys
Downloaded explores and explains the evolution of Napster, from a largely unknown underground distribution medium into a full-blown global revolution to its downfall. “It’s about… the brilliant young minds that ignited the biggest youth revolt since Alan Freed hit the radio,” says director Alex Winter.
You might remember Alex from the Bill & Ted franchise and The Lost Boys. He co-created, co-wrote and starred in MTV’s The Idiot Box and the Fox comedy Freaked. Other directorial work includes Fever, a Cannes Official Selection, and two Emmy-Nominated Ben 10 movies for Cartoon Network. Hey Bill. Yeah, Ted? Party on, dude.
Director: Mike Mendez
Principal Cast: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Clare Kramer, Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Patrick Bauchau
When a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages across the city of Los Angeles, it is up to one clever exterminator and his security guard sidekick to kill the creature before the entire city is destroyed.
Mike Mendez has directed the horror films The Gravedancers that premiered at Tribeca, The Convent (Sundance) and Killers (Sudance). Big Ass Spider! is his 5th feature film.
There’s a great bit by Jerry Seinfeld in which he talks about how confusing women are. Women can pour scalding hot wax on their most sensitive private parts and yank hair out by the follicle yet they’re scared of spiders. Pretty sure eveyone’s scared of this spider, no matter how computer generated it appears.
Director: Dan Mazer
Screenwriter: Dan Mazer
Music: Ilan Eshkeri
Principal Cast: Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant
A brand new comedy from Working Title and the writer of Borat and Bruno that lifts the veil on the realities of the first year of marriage. Starting where other romantic comedies finish, I Give It A Year asks what happens after the epic romance and the fairy-tale wedding? When the confetti has been recycled and the presents packed away.
This feels like an unofficial sequel to The Five-Year Engagement, which is by far one of the most frustrating films ever made.
Director: Fede Alvarez
Producer: Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell
Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
Music: Roque Banos
Principal Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
In the much anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit horror film, five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.
Director Fede Alvarez started as an ad director specializing in visual effects. At 29, he founded his own production/post-production company and produced and directed the sci-fi short Panic Attack!. That led to being signed by CAA and a deal at Mandate Pictures.
I was skeptical about this remake until I saw Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are on board as producers. Plus, hot chicks.
Director: Harmony Korine
Screenwriter: Harmony Korine
Music: Skrillex and Cliff Martinez
Principal Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane
Four sexy college girls plan to fund their spring break getaway by burglarizing a fast food shack. But that’s only the beginning… During a night of partying, the girls hit a roadblock when they are arrested on drug charges. Hungover and clad only in bikinis, the girls appear before a judge but are bailed out unexpectedly by Alien (James Franco), an infamous local thug who takes them under his wing and leads them on the wildest Spring Break trip in history. Rough on the outside but with a soft spot inside, Alien wins over the hearts of the young Spring Breakers, and leads them on a Spring Break they never could have imagined.
This flick’s been causing waves for about a year now. It’s hard to get a good read on it. The trailer makes it seem like James Franco’s character is going to execute torture porn or something, but the official description you see above makes it seem like a Lady and the Tramp / Beauty and the Beast story. Then I realize Selena, Vanessa, and Ashley are in bikinis the whole time and I thoroughly chillax. I think I can finally view Ms. Gomez as a woman.
Director: Rob Zombie
Producer: Rob Zombie, Andy Gould, Jason Blum
Screenwriter: Rob Zombie
Music: John 5
Principal Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, Maria Conchita Alonso, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster
From the demented mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood. Lords of Salem tells the tale of Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a radio station DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a “gift from the Lords.” Heidi listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the “Lords of Salem” returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?
When is Rob Zombie going to make a zombie movie? Doesn’t that seem as natural as it gets?
Director: Don Scardino
Music: Lyle Workman
Principal Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, and Jim Carrey
Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act—both onstage and off—if Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.
Don Scardino won two Emmys as producer/director of “30 Rock” for five seasons and directed hundreds of TV episodes, including “The West Wing” and “Law & Order”. He directed “A Few Good Men” on Broadway and also wrote/directed “Lennon” on Broadway.
I’m really skeptical of this title. When I first saw the trailer I asked if this is Jim Carrey’s Comedy Comeback. Let’s get real – he hasn’t had a hit comedy since Bruce Almighty, which was a decade ago. Not so sure this will be it, but I’m pullin’ for him.
Director: Brian Spitz
Music: Sarah Schachner
Principal Cast: Patrick Moote
When Patrick Moote’s girlfriend rejects his marriage proposal at a UCLA basketball game on the jumbotron, it unfortunately goes viral and hits TV networks worldwide. Days after the heartbreaking debacle, she privately reveals why she can’t be with him forever: Patrick’s small penis size. “Unhung Hero” follows the real life journey of Patrick as he boldly sets out to expose this extremely personal chapter of his life confronting ex-girlfriends, doctors, anthropologists and even adult film stars. From Witch-Doctors in Papua New Guinea to sex museums in Korea, Patrick has a lot of turf to cover on his globe trotting adventure to finally answer the age old question: Does size matter?
I couldn’t NOT include this. There’s no way this is real. If it is, I need to get in the documentary business. I know that makes it sound like I’m not well-equipped, but I have my ways. I have… my ways.
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Producer: Tim Perell, Dennis Iliadis
Screenwriter: Bill Gullo, Story: Dennis Iliadis
Music: Nathan Larson
Principal Cast: Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall
Three college friends go to the biggest party of the year, each looking for something different: love, sex and a simple human connection. When a supernatural phenomenon disrupts the party, it lights a fuse on what will become the strangest night anyone has ever seen. As the three friends struggle to find what they’re looking for, the party quickly descends into a chaos that challenges if they can stay friends or if they can even stay alive.
Dennis Iliadis directed the remake of The Last House on the Left (2009) for which he won the Silver Raven Award for Best Director. He previously directed the controversial Hardcore (2005) which won the German Independence and Audience Award.
I’m sorry but any time you throw the words “college” and “sex” and “party” in my face, I’m going to give you a moment or more of my time.
Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Music: David Carbonara
Principal Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, and Emily Watson
Based on his play, Neil LaBute’s script follows a successful writer (Adam Brody) who, on the eve of his wedding, travels across the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for past relationship transgressions. Crisscrossing from Seattle to Boston, he reunites with high school sweetheart Sam (Jennifer Morrison), sexually free-spirited Tyler (Mía Maestro), married college professor Lindsay (Emily Watson), his best friend’s little sister Reggie (Zoe Kazan), and “the one that got away” Bobbi (Kristen Bell).
Daisy von Scherler Mayer (Party Girl) directs this journey of a modern-day Candide stumbling through a landscape familiar to most men – messy breakups. She directed/co-wrote Party Girl, starring Parker Posey. She also directed Bemelsmans’ Madeline (Frances McDormand, Nigel Hawthorne) for Columbia and The Guru (Heather Graham, Jimi Mistry, Marisa Tomei) for Working Title. Daisy has also directed TV including episodes of Mad Men, Nurse Jackie and Shameless.
Director: Jacob Vaughan
Executive Producers: Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass, John Norris, Clay Floren & Aimee Shieh, Kerry Johnson, Dallas Sonnier & Jack Heller
Screenwriters: Jacob Vaughan, Benjamin Hayes
Music: Ted Masur
Principal Cast: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Patrick Warburton, Mary Kay Place
A man discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to the fact that he has a demon baby living in his colon. And by “demon baby” they mean Taco Bell’s new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco.
Director: Stephen Finnigan
Producer: Stephen Finnigan
Screenwriters: Stephen Hawking, Stephen Finnigan & Ben Bowie
Music: Nick Powell & Alex Lee
Principal Cast: Stephen Hawking, Nathan Chapple, Arthur Pelling, Martin King, Joe Lovell
Hawking is the extraordinary story of the planet’s most famous living scientist, told for the first time in his own words and by those closest to him. Made with unique access to Hawking’s private life, this is an intimate and moving journey into Stephen’s world, both past and present.
BAFTA-nominated Stephen Finnigan has been making award-winning films for the past 18 years.
Why wouldn’t you want to get to know a genius better?
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