The Best Movie Critic + review

SXSW Preview

Hey gang, Ben here. So it's sort of a misnomer to call this a South By Southwest preview considering that the film festival component of SXSW has already been running strong for 4 days. But I know a lot of you reading will be heading down for the music festival, which starts on Wednesday. If that's you, did you know that SXSW holds almost equal renound for its film festival as for music? If, like me, you're a bit of a renaissance geek, why not try both? Below you'll find a quick and dirty run down of my personal top bets for movies playing from Wednesday to Saturday at SXSW, separated by day. For specific showtimes and locations, check out da website.

On a side note, I have no idea whether I will be able to write reviews while I'm down there. I'm going to be a bit of a vagabond, I'm afraid. I'll write if I can, but in the meantime, Justin Couch has been gracious enough to lift the Movie Advocate's heavy load by his lonesome for the next week. Thanks Justin!

Okay, to the list!


Attack the Block is my #1 must see movie of SXSW. A group of South London street thugs have to think fast to survive a nocturnal alien invasion. Tough talk, makeshift weapons, and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) as the gang’s pot dealer? Yes please!!!! Unfortunately, this will most likely also be the most difficult screening for me to get into, as I don’t get into Austin until about an hour before showtime, not to mention the fact that the last two screening have both sold out. Word on the street is that Attack the Block is the shit.


Hipster favorite Miranda July is back. The Future is her first movie since Me and You and Everyone We Know. I don’t remember anything about that movie except for ))<>(( but I don’t remember specifically not liking it either. I may check this out.


An in-depth doc about what Coco was up to in the six months between his infamous NBC layoff and the launch of his new show. The word from last weekend’s screening is that this is the good stuff. If you can’t get enough Conan, this’ll be about as candid as it gets.


I think I’m finally allowed now to say that I saw Hobo with a Shotgun a few months ago. It is everything the trailer promised and more. Hobo with a Shotgun exists in the same world-gone-crazy movie universe as The Warriors, Class of 1984, and Predator 2. Amp up the villains in those movies to the n-th degree and pit them against a no-bull shit hobo with a shotgun and you have one hell of a movie. If you want good acting and production value, this is not your movie. If you want ludicrous exploitation gore overload, step right up.


Something about Argentinian serial killers and a bunch of zombie ladies covered in nitroglycerine? I have no clue what this movie is about, but what about that byline doesn’t scream “see this now?”


I was really, really excited to see Insidious (see below), but the reviews coming out of this weekend say that The Innkeepers is the real winner out of the two haunted house movies at SXSW this year. Poltergeist and The Haunting are getting lonely, so I’d say it’s about time we got another classic in that vein. Hopefully The Innkeepers is it.

THURSDAY(There are plenty of good looking movies playing on Thursday, but I already wrote about most of them above.)


Two slacker dudes want to be ready when the apocalypse comes, so they soup up their car a la Mad Max and put together homemade flame throwers. Not surprisingly, things don’t go according to plan. This has great buzz coming out of Sundance. I have a feeling Bellflower is to The Road Warrior what last year’s Monsters was to Godzilla.


Turkey Bowl is a "real time" comedy about a bunch of friends getting together to play touch football. I dunno, looks pretty fun...


This looks bizarre. Two friends - one an ex-metal rocker and one an ex-Christian rocker - take a male-bonding river rafting trip. At some point they run into a pair of Japanese girls reenacting Huck Finn, complete with their own Jim. Apparently it gets weirder from there. In case you didn't notice, the tagline on that poster above is, "God Will Fuck You Up." Ryan Hall wrote about The Catechism Cataclysm in his Sundance Fest writeup in January. Read Ryan’s review.


Deadly Dance Dance Revolution contests. What else do you need to know?


James Wan (Saw) hasn't really been my cup of tea in the past, but early word on Insidious was that it's the heir apparent to Poltergeist. That's a pretty high bar to clear, and unfortunately a lot of the reviews out of SXSW have been kinda meh. I don't know, I'll probably still see it if I have the chance. I'm a sucker for haunted house movies. Definitely one of my favorite horror subgenres.


This looks like Scream meets The Breakfast Club with... aliens? This trailer is sloppy as shit, but will the final product be insane genius? Or just insane?


My Sucky Teen Romance's director is a BNAT regular named Emily Haggis. Before rolling your eyes about this movie, keep in mind Emily is 18. What the fuck were you doing when you were 18? Certainly not directing your own movie and premiering it at SXSW. Jesus...


If Bellflower is the mumblecore Mad Max, Sound of My Voice is mumblecore Terminator. Or so I hear. This got great reviews out of Sundance. Two twentysomethings infultrate a cult to expose their leader as a crackpot. The cult leader says she's from the future. Soon they get in deeper than they can handle, and start to question whether this particular cult leader crackpot is actually the real deal. Read Ryan Hall’s review from Sundance.


An animated hedgehog who likes porn and booze is pursued by neo-Nazis who have created a flatulent clone of him? Uhhh...

Oh, but folks, there's soooooo much more. Dozens of screenings per day. Check out the full lineup here and see if anything strikes your fancy. Hope to see you there!




Okay, it's not SXSW proper, but if you're still kicking around Austin on Sunday night, the Alamo Drafthouse boys have dug up the only known 35mm print of Predator known to man! You R soooo DUMM if you miss this!!!!!

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SXSW Preview + review