Joshua Looks At This Year’s SXSW Lineup And Gives His Most Anticipated Films

It’s just days away, guys.   Days away.

We are only a few days away from the official start of this year’s SXSW Film Festival, and it couldn’t have gotten here at a better time.   Just a few weeks after the bomb that was this year’s Academy Awards, and just a few weeks following the completion of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Austin feels like the absolute heaven that it has been known to be over the past few years.

And with a lineup like this year’s, 2012 may be one of the most interesting years in SXSW history.   Here are the ten films that yours truly is looking forward to most:

10. Bear

Directed by Nash Edgerton, this short film comes to us from the creators of Blue Tongue Films, and the same team behind one of the all-time greatest short films ever made, Spider. A sequel of sorts, this film finds our hero, Jack, with a different girl following the death of Jill in the previous film, but with the same bad luck. An inventively simple set up, Bear is one of not only the most interesting shorts SXSW has to offer, of which there is a shockingly large amount, but film in general.   I’ve embedded Spider below so you can get a taste of what’s to come.

9. 21 Jump Street

Shoot me, the buzz has me interested.   Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the film is the big screen adaptation of the cult ‘˜80s TV show, and will find its ‘world premiere’ (despite various press and public secret screenings) at this year’s festival.   With a fine cast, and some buzz that seems to be at a shockingly high level (some are already calling this the comedy of the year), Austin should be rocking come this film’s debut.

8. Killer Joe

While its been a minute since we’ve seen something from William Friedkin (2006’s masterful Bug), his return to the big screen will show at this year’s SXSW, and with a top notch cast, including Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch, this film may have found some odd press after being rated NC-17, but it sounds killer.   Following the story of a man who puts a hit on his mother to collect the insurance, the film should be just the right blend of brutality and dark humor that is the cat nip of Austinites and SXSW attendees.   The Paramount won’t be the same.

7. Small Apartments

I hate Jonas Akerlund. Be it his awful pieces of feature length filmmaking, or his pretentiously self-indulgent music video work, he’s just far from being my cup of tea.   But you know what is my cup of tea? The cast for his new film, Small Apartments, which will debut at SXSW this year.   Starring Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville and Juno Temple, the film follows a man who after killing his landlord, must hide the body whilst also trying to make a quick buck with the help of his friends and neighbors. I have absolutely no expectations for this film, but with that odd little cast, this thing has the potential to be either utter garbage, or kind of brilliant.   And it is that uncertainty that makes any world premiere great.

6. The Do-Deca Pentathlon

From the creative team of Jay and Mark Duplass, the film follows two brothers who make up their own Olympic-style contest during a family reunion.   Take one of the best writing/directing teams the film world has to offer and then toss in some good old family drama, and you have a film that should fit right up this writer’s alley.  I’ve been a big fan of this pair for a while now, and their mumblecore stylings should really fit well here.

5. Los Chidos

From Mars Volta leader Omar Rodriguez Lopez, the film follows a family attempting to keep with their traditions in the face of a stranger coming into their lives.   The premise is described as looking into the family’s ‘beautiful Latino traditions of misogyny and homophodia,’ so the social satire/discussion should be absolutely brimming here.   I’m a big fan of Lopez as a musician, and while I haven’t seen his previous film, this should be one of the more intriguing unknown entities that SXSW 2012 has to offer.

4. ‘Girls’

The first three episodes from Lena Dunham’s new HBO series will premiere at the festival this year, and with a killer cast, this could be one hell of a follow-up to Tiny Furniture. Personally, as a huge fan of Furniture, and her webseries ‘Delusional Downtown Divas,’ I couldn’t be looking forward to this more.   HBO is taking a huge risk giving a series over to an indie darling like this, but Austin is a home to Dunham, so the arms should be wide open, and the response massively warm.

3. Intruders

From the acclaimed filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (The Orphanage), the film is part of SXSW’s midnight slate, and follows the story of two kids who are each ‘visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.’   The film stars Clive Owen, and looks to try and take the spot held last year by the bloody brilliant horror film Insidious.   It features a top-notch cast , and the return of Fresnadillo is one that has been long coming, so this has a ton of potential and even more anticipation.

2. Classics: restored

Both The Oyster Princess and Yellow Submarine will be playing at this year’s festival, one with a brand new, live score from Bee vs. Moth and the other with a brand new restoration.   I haven’t seen the Lubitsch silent, but the Beatle’s animated classic is one of my favorite animated films of all time, so there is so much anticipation here, finally being able to see these films on the big screen.   This is exactly what festivals like this, SXSW in particular, is about.

1. Keyhole

Guy Maddin’s new film on the big screen? Not only is there not a single filmmaker on this planet like the Canadian auteur, but his films scream big screen viewings.   His take on the haunted house film, this is simply the most interesting, and this writer’s most anticipated, film of SXSW 2012.

What ones are you looking forward to?

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