SXSW: The 10 Movies We're Most Excited to See

SXSW officially starts today in rainy Austin, and with 133 features (including 78 World Premieres and 76 first time directors), there is A LOT to wade through. Here are our picks for the ten films we're most excited to see at the festival -- be sure to keep an eye out for our reviews of these titles as our SXSW content rolls out over the course of the next week! SXSW forrrreevvverrrr...


What Is It?

Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a cornrowed drug / arms dealer named Alien (James Franco, natch) who wants them to do some dirty work.

dir: Harmony Korine. Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson

Why Are We Excited? 

Because no one can stop talking about this wild head trip of a movie from "Kids" director Korine. Word is it must be seen to be believed, and that what you see will be craze-balls amazing. It should also be noted that tons of top critics (i.e. Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Time) hate the film, which is my kind of endorsement! While there are plenty of Sundance favorites screening at SXSW, including my personal most anticipated movie of 2013, "Before Midnight", with that I at least have some idea what to expect. With this? No idea what's in store, except that Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez will be acting distinctly un-Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez-like. Thus "Spring Breakers" is our most anticipated Sundance holdover at SXSW.



What Is It?

Shakespeare’s classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon’s film, "Much Ado About Nothing".

dir Joss Whedon cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz,

Why Are We Excited?

JOSS WHEDON. SHAKESPEARE. EVERYTHING WONDERFUL. Shot in black & white in his Santa Monica backyard over the course of 12 days right after wrapping "The Avengers," "Much Ado About Nothing" finally makes its return to the festival scene for the first time since it debuted at last year's Toronto International Film Fest, and all of the geeks are freaking out, myself included. The whole cast is expected to show up for the screening and subsequent panel, ramping up for the film's April release. Oh, and they are all staying on an "Arty Bus", the Vine-tastic antics from which you can follow at @muchadofilm. Dying inside.



What Is It?

On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings.

dir Daisy Vn Scherler Mayer screenwriter: Neil LaBute Cast : Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson

Why Are We Excited?

Being excited about Neil "Not the bees!" LaBute seems odd, I know, but he is at his best when exploring dark comedies about relationships! And gender roles! And this certainly fits that bill. Not to mention the list of Girl(s) is a highly impressive one, especially if you fall into that .004% of the population that loved both "Veronica Mars" and "Ruby Sparks", and casually enjoys "Once Upon a Time". Will LaBute's penchant for uncomfortably chauvinistic characters and bizarre recent film history ("the bees are in my eyes arghgh!!) ruin a perfectly good logline, or will this be his best adaptation since 2003s "The Shape of Things"? We'll be sure to let you know.



What Is It?

Lisa Johnson is one day shy of her 16th birthday and will be forever. She and her family are doomed to repeat the fateful day before they were all killed in 1985.

dir: Vincenzo Natali Cast: Cast: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, David Hewlett

Why Are We Excited?

Confession: "Splice" was in my top ten of its year. Confession number two: I don't regret that decision one little bit. Confession number three: If I could watch "Splice" right now, I would, but I'm at SXSW, so I can't. Life is hard. While the 2011 mad scientist flick was extremely divisive (read: everyone hated it but me), it certainly had vision, and no wonder, coming from the man who also made "Cube" (and not "Cube 2: Hypercube"). Now Natali returns with this horror flick appearing in the midnight series and I need it NOW.



What Is It?

Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer.

dir. Joe Swanberg cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston

Why Are We Excited? 

Prolific indie director Swanberg making a semi-romantic comedy that doesn't star unknowns? Whaaaat's happening? What will this be? Plus, hey, any movie that makes us SXSW goers feel better about any ill-advised situations we get ourselves into once our beer goggles are on seems a fitting choice, right? Though if I'm being honest, I'm mostly excited for this because of "New Girl"'s Jake Johnson. Because "New Girl"'s Jake Johnson is the best Jake Johnson.



What Is It?

The extraordinary story of a group of twenty-somethings who seized the streets of New York, transforming the meaning of comedy, performance and art through forming “Improv Everywhere,” a prank collective ten years in the making. dir Matt Adams.

Why Are We Excited?

Improv Everywhere has been causing friendly havoc in New York City for years, and now all of us -- participants, victims, and witnesses -- get a glimpse behind the scenes. How *do* they get that No Pants Subway Ride organized every year? Plus, we hear there may be an Improv Everywhere event taking place at SXSW around the film's premiere / there will obviously be an Improv Everywhere event taking place at SXSW around the film's premiere, so be sure to keep an eye on Twitter for updates tonight.



What Is It?

On the eve of an annual sibling reunion, a troubled young writer is sent reeling with the arrival of an unexpected guest.

dir Carlos Puga cast: Christopher Abbott, Gaby Hoffmann

Why Are We Excited?

"Girls'" Abbott (Charlie) breaks out of the "nicest guy ever turned total jerk, which I guess is okay cause Marnie DID break his heart, but man did that scene at his company hurt" mold in this drama. The kid has legitimate cred, having acted on the New York stage for years, and now is his chance to show off how honed his craft might be (not a euphemism. I think).



What Is It? 

An obsessive fantasy nerd gradually becomes unhinged when a charismatic hipster joins his role-playing game.

dir. Andrew Matthews and Katie Graham cast: Sad Edison, Garrett Graham, Brock England, Anne Gee Byrd, Cyndi Williams

Why Are We Excited? 

A movie about fellow nerds! A totally different type of nerd, fine, but I consider them to be my brethren all the same. Although tabletop RPGs are unfamiliar territory to me, I do loves me some intense board games (I have regular Battlestar Galactica The Board Game nights, don't mess with me) and I'm fascinated by what the next level of this sort of obsession of mine would be, especially if some hipster tried joining my group, psh. Plus, the directors DPed/edited "Best Worst Movie" and this is their directorial debut, so duh.



What Is It?

What happens when you allow yourself to act on your dreams? Spark takes us behind the curtain with organizers and participants of Burning Man, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth. Dir. Jessie Deeter.

Why Are We Excited?

Finally a chance to see what the hell Burning Man is actually all about without having to commit to a week in the desert (and undoubtedly ingesting more than anyone's fair share of peyote).



What Is It? 

A teenage boy is sent to a juvenile reform facility in the wilderness. As we learn about the tragic events that sent him there, his struggle becomes one for survival with the inmates, the counselors, and with the retired war colonel in charge.

Why Are We Excited?

The first movie from many members of the creative team of "Bellflower" since the beloved indie sensation's 2011 release. "Bellflower" producer/actor Vincent Grashaw makes his feature length writing/directing debut about a subject matter close to his heart.