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The 10 Most Anticipated Films at SXSW 2016

on March 07, 2016, 12:00am
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Untitled Fede Alvarez Project

Shiloh Fernandez

You remember Fede Alvarez, right? A few years ago, the Uruguayan film director and screenwriter managed to do the impossible: reboot Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Bloody, unforgiving, and chock-full of style, Evil Dead won over the most cynical horror skeptics and went on to gross nearly 100 mil worldwide. (Which, to be fair, is not too shabby for a franchise that rightfully lives, eats, and dies alongside Bruce Campbell.) Considering Alvarez originally dropped that film at South by Southwest, it makes sense that he’d return to Austin with his untitled follow-up. Once again starring Jane Levy, the story follows a group of thieving teens who break into a blind man’s home thinking it’s a breezy perfect crime. Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang (presumably the blind terror) also feature in this mystery project that will have us chewing on energy pills ahead of its midnight debut. –Michael Roffman

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Rainbow Time

Rainbow Time

Although mumblecore is a half-dead, somewhat pointless term these days, there’s still plenty of reason to get excited about anything involving the pioneers of the genre. And while writer/actor/director Linas Phillips doesn’t have the same notoriety as his cohorts the Duplass brothers, his work still places the same high currency on naturalism, discomfort, and — if we may get a little sappy for a moment — hope. Expect all of those traits in Rainbow Time, which follows the conflicted bond between Todd (Timm Sharp) and his mentally challenged older brother. Shonzi (Phillips). After their father dies, they have to move in together, complicating the relationship between Todd and his girlfriend, Lindsay (Melanie Lynskey). If any of that sounds a little sitcom-y, trust us, it won’t be. Phillips is too dark, intelligent, and invested in realism for that. –Dan Caffrey

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The Art of Organized Noise

The Art of Organized Noise

Some of the best documentaries are the ones that transform the way we look at the things we’ve always loved. Just as LA’s Wrecking Crew – chronicled in their own documentary – were some of the unheralded artists behind iconic songs by the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and Sonny & Cher, Organized Noize were basement beat-makers whose distinctive “Dirty South” sound helped establish artists like Outkast, TLC, Ludacris, and Goodie Mob. Interviews with hip-hop titans reveal not just the brilliance behind those beats, but also how Organized Noize served as inspirational figures for those then-unknown artists. But, just like in Searching for Sugar Man and A Band Called Death, the real story is in the subjects themselves; here, you’ll get to hear directly from the members of Organized Noize as they try to discern whether there’s still a place for them in the modern music industry. –Randall Colburn

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Beware the Slenderman

Beware the Slenderman

It feels like any time anyone writes about the mythological, Internet-generated boogeyman of the title, he somehow becomes more real. So we’ll keep this writeup brief. One of the most talked about films in the Documentary Spotlight, Beware the Slenderman chronicles the story of two Wisconsin preteens who stabbed their classmate — almost fatally — as a sacrifice to the fictional being. We’re suspecting that Oscar-nominated director Irene Taylor Brodsky won’t be arguing for the Slenderman’s existence, but exploring the influence of a much realer and potentially more monstrous force: the internet. –Dan Caffrey

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Pee Wee’s Big Holiday

 The 10 Most Anticipated Films at SXSW 2016

Pee-wee Herman is fascinating. Truly, he’s one of those rare characters that appeals as much to children as adults. The darkness and absurdity that pulses beneath Pee-wee’s aggressive form of whimsy elevates the hilarity of his childishness that much more. We saw that in Tim Burton’s iconic 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. But then 1988’s Big Top Pee-wee came around and, well … not so much. God bless Judd Apatow, then, for believing enough in Paul Reubens’ bizarre creation to bring it back. We’re excited because, unlike typical reboots or something like Fuller House, this isn’t a property that can coast on name recognition alone.

There’s probably a lot of people expecting Pee-wee’s Big Holiday to crash and burn, especially since Reubens’ status as a kid-friendly performer has been forever stained by his 1991 indecent exposure arrest (blame the mugshot). But it’s obvious that Apatow sees the appeal of a character like Pee-wee in this modern age, someone who exudes imagination and positivity in the face of the most dire circumstances. A role model for the young and old alike, I’d say. –Randall Colburn

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