As South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) approaches, Ashley Menzel takes a look at her most anticipated films of the festival. SXSW takes place in Austin, Texas every March. SXSW is a massive event spreading across film, interactive, comedy, gaming, and music and takes over the city of Austin. We have had the pleasure of heading to SXSW and seeing some great films. This year looks like it will be a lot of fun. This is a list of my most anticipated films (in no particular order).
If there ever were the perfect mix of my favorite criminally underrated actors, it is Most Likely to Murder. Directed by Dan Gregor, the film stars Adam Pally and Rachel Bloom, two of the funniest and most unique actors working today.
Director: Dan Gregor, Screenwriters: Dan Gregor, Doug Mand
Billy, the coolest kid in high school, comes back to his hometown 15 years later to find he’s no longer cool and the girl he still has feelings for now dates the former town outcast. Billy becomes obsessed with proving the outcast is a murderer. Cast: Adam Pally, Rachel Bloom, Vincent Kartheiser, John Reynolds, Didi Conn, Ethan Phillips, Doug Mand, Hasan Minhaj, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Julia Goldani Telles.
SXSW has some great films that take you by surprise. I think that Sadie has the potential to do that. The film has some wonderful actors and I think will be very heartwarming. The film stars Melanie Lynskey, Sophia Mitri Schloss, John Gallagher Jr., Danielle Brooks, Tony Hale, Keith Williams, and Tee Dennard.
Director/Screenwriter: Megan Griffiths
While her father is away serving in the military, Sadie battles to preserve his place on the home front when her mother takes an interest in a new man. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Sophia Mitri Schloss, John Gallagher Jr., Danielle Brooks, Tony Hale, Keith Williams, Tee Dennard.
Maika Monroe and Jeremy Allen White are two fantastic young actors who star in Shotgun. I think these two will work really well with each other.
Directors/Screenwriters: Hannah Marks, Joey Power
A young couple’s relationship develops quickly when one of them is diagnosed with a life-changing illness. Cast: Maika Monroe, Jeremy Allen White, DeRon Horton, Marisa Tomei, Sasha Lane, Joe Keery, Gina Gershon, Dean Winters, Olivia Luccardi.
The description of the plot just hooked me. It seems so strange and bizarre that it has to be funny, right?
Director: Robert Schwartzman, Screenwriters: Nick Rutherford, Kirk C. Johnson, Will Elliott
Facing the fourth year of their engagement, an indecisive couple is thrust into the most uncomfortable night of their lives by intentionally and unintentionally involving a third party in their relationship. Cast: Lauren Lapkus, Nick Rutherford, Lucy Hale, Beck Bennett, Dree Hemingway, Beverly D’Angelo, John Kapelos, Maya Kazan, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Kyle Mooney.
Isle of Dogs
Stop motion animation + dogs = a dream come true. The film looks incredibly unique and well crafted. I can’t wait to see it!
Director/Screenwriter: Wes Anderson
Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy’s odyssey in search of his dog. Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Mari Natsuki, Fisher Stevens, Nijiro Murakami, Liev Schreiber, Courtney B. Vance.
Directing and screenwriter couple Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz are bringing another film to SXSW. They had previous brought Miss Stevens, which I enjoyed. I can’t wait to see what else they can bring to the table.
Director: Julia Hart, Screenwriters: Julia Hart, Jordan Horowitz
In this genre-bending supernatural drama, a woman is forced to go on the run when her extraordinary abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home. Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Denham, David Strathairn.
I’m just here for Jay Duplass.
Director: Lynn Shelton, Screenwriters: Lynn Shelton, Jay Duplass
An ex-con struggling to readjust to life in his small town forms an intense bond with his former high-school teacher. Cast: Jay Duplass, Edie Falco, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben Schwartz.
Call me curious, but it intrigues me from the description to the actors.
Director/Screenwriter: Andrew Bujalski
The general manager at a highway-side ‘breastaurant’ has her incurable optimism and faith–in her girls, her customers, and herself–tested over the course of a long, strange day. Cast: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Shayna McHayle, James LeGros, Dylan Gelula, AJ Michalka, Brooklyn Decker, Lea DeLaria, Jana Kramer, John Elvis.
Tye Sheridan is a young actor that has shown a ton of potential in most independent projects. Friday’s Child sounds like something that could be dramatic but also well-written and acted. I am intrigued.
Director/Screenwriter: A.J. Edwards
Fresh out of foster care at age 18, a young drifter turns to petty crime to survive and discovers an impossible love in an unlikely friend. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Imogen Poots, Jeffrey Wright, Caleb Landry Jones.
I love sci-fi films and this seems like a really interesting plot.
Directors/Screenwriters: Zeek Earl, Chris Caldwell
A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote moon on the hunt for elusive riches. But there are others roving the moon’s toxic forest and the job quickly devolves into a desperate fight to escape. Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Pedro Pascal, Jay Duplass, Andre Royo, Sheila Vand, Anwan Glover.
I hate scary films but sometimes, they are the best. I’m always fascinated by the supernatural and hauntings, despite the nightmares they give me.
DirectScreenwritersters: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
An arch-skeptic debunker of the supernatural embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’. Adapted from the Olivier Award Winning hit stage play. Cast: Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther, Jill Halfpenny, Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse.
I’m convinced that technology will take over the world in the near future, so this is right up my alley.
Director/Screenwriter: Leigh Whannell
In a utopian near-future when technology controls everything, a technophobe avenges his wife’s murder and his own paralysis-causing injury with the help of an experimental computer chip implant – STEM – that turns out to have a mind of its own. Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie.
Hearts Beat Loud
Having read some reviews of this film from Sundance, I think I’m going to love it. Nick Offerman is a joy to watch in every role he tackles and with a killer cast with Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Blythe Danner and Sasha Lane, it is going to win big at SXSW.
Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch
A father and daughter become an unlikely songwriting duo before she leaves for college. Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, Sasha Lane.
This seems too crazy to actually be real, but so intriguing.
Director/Screenwriter: Bart Layton
The unbelievable but true story of four young men who mistake their lives for a movie and attempt one of the most audacious art heists in US history. Cast: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, Udo Kier.
Another film with great buzz out of Sundance, Eighth Grade is pretty high on my list of most anticipated films for the fest.
Director/Screenwriter: Bo Burnham
Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus far disastrous eighth-grade year—before she begins high school. Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan.
The reviews I’ve read of this film have piqued my interest and I can’t wait to experience this film.
Director/Screenwriter: Boots Riley
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe. Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, and Danny Glover.
While I’ve already seen First Reformed at Telluride last year, it is worth mentioning that I think people should see it. It is not what I expected at all.
Director/Screenwriter: Paul Schrader
The pastor of a small New England church (Ethan Hawke) spirals out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife (Amanda Seyfried) in this taut, chilling thriller. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles, Michael Gaston, Philip Ettinger, Victoria Hill.