Keep these films on your radar.
Today marks the first day of Austin’s very own SXSW, a film festival that, like, really strives to keep things weird, man. One thing we love about SXSW every year is the consistent programming of diverse films across the board, and 2019 is no exception. You can catch some major blockbuster films premiering at the fest, take Spielberg’s Ready Player One last year, for instance, tiny little genre gems like Prospect, or even films that end up pushing the entire industry in a new direction like Jim Cummings’ self-distributed Thunder Road.
So what are we excited for this year? Well…
I mean, of course, this is going to be on my list. Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated follow-up to Get Out has been on my radar for months. It’s got an amazing cast, with Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke in the lead roles, and the vague, creepy trailers are just enough to keep audiences guessing. What the heck is up with those doubles? Peele is one of a few current directors whose storytelling abilities I trust, and I can’t wait to enjoy the ride of Us. – Jo Light
2. The Highwaymen
The Highwaymen is based on the true story of the two Texas Rangers who put an end to Bonnie and Clyde’s spree. Apparently writer John Fusco has been trying to get his script for this movie made since he had Robert Redford and Paul Newman in mind for the leads. Finally, it has landed at Netflix and premieres this week and SXSW, and I’m pretty excited. Mainly because our very own John Fusco wrote it. Wait… our guy is JON Fusco. Ok… I’m still excited though. Texas Rangers! Bonnie and Clyde! Period piece! I’m in! – George Edelman
Technically this is a work-in-progress screening, but the combo of Kumail Nanjiani (an unwitting Uber drive) and Dave Bautista (a cop hot on the trail of a brutal killer) in an action buddy comedy just sounds too awesome to pass up. Plus, excited to see up-and-coming martial artist Iko Uwais and American Vandal star Jimmy Tatro thrown in. – Jourdan Aldredge
4. The Mountain
And yay, on the sixth day of May 2019, he saw The Mountain, and The Mountain was good. There is some sort of weird spiritual undercurrent throughout Rick Alverson’s latest film that you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s almost like the director’s religion is surrealism, and The Mountain is his plea for the world to take it up. Shot in 4:3, the period piece which premiered at Venice last year, is a beautifully constructed meditation on art and humanity. Jeff Goldblum plays a traveling lobotomist, struggling to keep his practice alive in an increasingly ethical medical world. He takes on a young apprentice in Tye Sheridan, whose past trauma may or may not indicate he needs a lobotomy himself. Hannah Gross is great in it. – Jon Fusco
5. The Beach Bum
I’ll never forget when I saw Spring Breakers in the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles on its opening weekend. It was truly an experience to see how audiences are expecting one thing were essentially trolled by Harmony Korine. I’m looking forward to what he does, even if at times it falls flat because he’s flat out weird. He’s willing to do strange things and commit to them fully, it’s a breath of fresh air as more and more movies, and tv shows feel homogenized by the systems in place and various gatekeepers. Korine movies are unique and twisted, and even when that doesn’t work, I’m interested in the effort. – George Edelman
6. Sword of Trust
Lynn Shelton’s new movie sounds like the kind of raucous indie fun that SXSW is made of. The story follows Cynthia and Mary (Jillian Bell and Michaela Watkins), who learn Cynthia has inherited a sword that supposedly proves the South won the Civil War. Marc Maron joins them as an ill-tempered pawnshop owner who’s willing to navigate the black market and sell the thing. I’m excited to see all these top-notch comedic actors work under Shelton’s able direction. – Jo Light
7. Olympic Dreams
This one deserves to be on the list purely because it’s a wonder a film like this ever got made. Former Olympian-turned filmmaker Alexi Pappas was granted unparalleled access to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea to make her film, which draws from her own experiences as an athlete under the intense pressures of the world stage to take home the gold. There is probably no one else who could’ve made the film, which takes us inside the Olympic Village and gives us an intimate glimpse at the facilities and lives of the athletes as they are amid competition. One-man crewed by partner Jeremy Teicher, perhaps this sort of film could be better suited as a documentary, but with some star power in Nick Kroll, it will be intriguing to see how the narrative plays out. – Jon Fusco
8. Frances Ferguson
Bob Byington’s follow up to SXSW 2017 standout Infinity Baby, and the director of one of my favorite mumblecore comedies Harmony and Me (2009), is back with a new feature featuring Kaley Wheless in the titular role of Frances Ferguson. Excited to hear Nick Offerman narrating in what looks like a bit of a madcap comedy based on actual events. – Jourdan Aldredge
For more, see our ongoing list ofcoverage of the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.
No Film School’s podcast and editorial coverage of the 2019 SXSW Film Festival is sponsored by Blackmagic Design.