There’s nothing quite like the South by Southwest film festival, which runs from March 10-19 in Austin, Texas. It’s the perfect intersection of high-profile Hollywood talent and films and filmmakers you’ve literally never heard of before. It’s a total celebration of the mainstream and the independent, and every year they try to merge the two as much as possible.
SXSW is the kind of place where you can attend an hour-long conversation with a brilliant filmmaker, then wander over to watch a festival favorite that hasn’t gotten a wide release yet (like Free Fire, pictured above), get out from that to check out the debut of a movie from a first-time filmmaker who is about to explode onto the scene, and end your night at the premiere of a big-budget movie people the world over dying to see. It really does have something for everyone, as you can see by our picks for 10 of our most anticipated movies (and events) of SXSW 2017.
From John Wick codirector David Leitch, Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron as a British secret agent tasked with recovering a stolen list of other secret agents. We could keep talking about it, but we’re pretty sure we had you at “From John Wick codirector David Leitch.” It is worth noting, though, that this is currently a July 28 release, so if the studio is eager to premiere it this early, they must know it delivers the goods.
Edgar Wright has a perfect directorial track record, so we have every confidence that his latest movie is going to be brilliant as well. After all, when you’ve made Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World’s End, you’ve earned a lifetime of interest from us. That said, there’s no doubt a lot of pressure on Wright’s shoulders to keep that record going. And with Baby Driver being his first movie that isn’t overtly a comedy (it’s a crime thriller about a heist gone wrong), we can’t wait to see what that looks like.
The Archer sounds a bit like a gritty young-adult movie only without a dystopian sci-fi setting. It’s about a champion high school archer who winds up in prison after defending her best friend’s life. It’s no ordinary prison, though, and eventually she escapes with the help of another inmate. Their freedom is far from guaranteed, however, when the prison’s warden begins hunting them in the woods.
Evan Katz became a favorite of the indie scene after 2013’s Cheap Thrills, which also premiered at SXSW. Since then he’s been doing a bit of TV work (Scream and Hap and Leonard), but now he’s back to feature work with this dark comedy starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau about a disgraced cop’s return to civilian life after being discharged from prison. As if that wasn’t already incentive enough, Small Crimes was also cowritten by Macon Blair (I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore).
Win It All
Jake Johnson may have found great success in recent years thanks to New Girl and Jurassic World, but he still feels a bit like an untapped talent. The newest movie from his Drinking Buddies director Joe Swanberg may help show us a side of Johnson we haven’t seen yet. In it, he plays a gambler who suddenly finds himself in possession of a whole lot of money and not a lot of sense of what to do with it. Win It All also stars Joe Lo Truglio, Aislinn Derbez and Keegan-Michael Key.
George Lazenby may not be the most famous actor who ever played James Bond, but that’s also the point behind the new biopic Becoming Bond. It’s a comedy all about the apparently unbelievable chain of events that led a former car mechanic to land one of the most high-profile acting jobs on the planet, even though he had zero experience with acting.
Harry Dean Stanton has spent a lifetime stealing movies with just a scene or two, be it The Green Mile, Christine or Repo Man. But now he’s becoming the full focus of a feature with Lucky, a comedy about a faithless man who finds himself on a spiritual journey very, very late in life. This is also the directorial debut of John Carroll Lynch (The Invitation, Zodiac), and features a stellar supporting cast that includes David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt and Beth Grant.
What if the final girls of a horror movie knew they were actually in a horror movie? That seems to be the premise behind Tragedy Girls, a horror-comedy about two young ladies (Deadpool‘s Brianna Hildebrand and X-Men: Apocalypse‘s Alexandra Shipp) who strive to become horror legends after their small town experiences its own slasher.
This is the kind of movie where the image from the festival guide instantly piques our interest. According to the description, “It’s the story of a small-town gorilla, Sylvio, who is stuck in his job at a debt-collection agency.” But is he really a gorilla? Is it a guy who just lives his whole life in a gorilla suit? Guess we’ll have to watch to find out.
Gareth Edwards’ Keynote
SXSW isn’t just about watching movies. A huge part of the fest involves discussion as well, often with some of the most interesting names in the business. There are a ton of interesting speakers this year (Lee Daniels, Jill Soloway, and Seth Rogen, to name a few), but we’re perhaps most intrigued by Gareth Edwards’ spot. After all, he got his big breakthrough a few years ago when Monsters premiered at SXSW. Since then he’s directed Godzilla and Rogue One, so it should be a fascinating, and hopefully candid, discussion on home turf.