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SXSW 2013: The 10 Films We Can't Wait to See

By Dana Harris, Peter Knegt, Eric Kohn, Nigel M. Smith and Alison Willmore | Indiewire March 6, 2013 at 1:28PM

The SXSW Film Festival kicks off on Friday with a studio comedy, "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," but it's the smaller movies that really stand out at this essential celebration of new American cinema. From "Tiny Furniture" to "Weekend," low budget movies that have premiered with little to no buzz at SXSW often wind up among the more significant sleeper hits of the year (and a few grow even bigger than that). Here's a sampling of the movies that Indiewire's team is looking forward to checking out at this year's festival.
3
"Milo."
"Milo."

"Milo" (Directed by Jacob Vaughan)

How can you NOT be all for a film that's official SXSW synopsis reads simply: "A man discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to the fact that he has a demon baby living in his colon." Add that to the presence of Jay and Mark Duplass (as executive producers) and a cast that includes Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Sormare, Stephen Root, Patrick Warburton and Mary Kay Place and we're beyond sold. Even if it's bad, Jacob Vaughan's directorial debut (his other credits include editing Katie Aselton's "Black Rock") could still very likely be cult classic-ly so. [Peter Knegt]

"Drinking Buddies" (Directed by Joe Swanberg)

When the news came out that prolific microbudget American filmmaker Joe Swanberg was making a relationship comedy with movie stars, I was among the initial skeptics. But it sounds like "Drinking Buddies," which stars Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde and Ron Livingston, has come together in the tradition of Swanberg's other movies: shot and edited on a quick time frame, heavily improvised and attuned to the intimate experiences of young adulthood. Set around the platonic friendship of two Chicago residents working a brewery, the movie sounds like a traditional Swanbergian take on relationship politics. As the filmmaker improves his technique each time out, the movies are less impressive for their honesty than for their skill, which makes this project -- bound to receive more attention than anything he's done before -- worth anticipating whether or not you've been a fan of Swanberg's earlier films. There's no question that his process, like the director, continues to mature. [Eric Kohn]

"Short Term 12" (Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton)

Brie Larson has mined a pretty great career as a stellar supporting player with memorable performances in "Rampart," "21 Jump Street" and Diablo Cody's HBO show "United States of Tara" as Toni Collette's rebellious daughter. In "Short Term 12," the second feature from "I Am Not a Hipster" director Destin Daniel Cretton, the young actress moves up to leading lady status to anchor the drama as Grace, a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility, pregnant with the child of her co-worker boyfriend (John Gallagher Jr.), and weighed down by one dark secret she's harboring. Larson's involvement is reason enough to expect a solid feature. Another: the pedigree of the Cretton's project. Based on his short of the same name, which won the Jury Prize at Sundance in 2009, the feature script adaptation won a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [Nigel M. Smith]

"Some Girl(s)" (Directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer)

Neil LaBute's recent cinematic output (the dreadful "Wicker Man" remake, "Lakeview Terrance" and the so-so comedy "Death at a Funeral") hasn't put the playwright-filmmaker in good graces, but his latest effort "Some Girl(s)" looks like it has the chance to reverse the bad karma. For one, it's based on his stellar play that plays to LaBute's strengths -- the delicate power balance between the two sexes (as evidenced in his strongest works "In the Company of Men," "Your Friends and Neighbors" and "The Shape of Things"). Two, it boasts one hell of a terrific ensemble (Adam Brody, Emily Watson, Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Kazan and Kristen Bell headline the cast). And thirdly, LaBute chose not to direct it, in favor of Daisy von Scherler Mayer, known for the seminal Parker Posey vehicle "Party Girl" and AMC's "Mad Men." What of the plot? In "Some Girl(s)," Brody plays a soon-to-be-married writer who embarks on a journey to reunite up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for past relationship transgressions. [Nigel M. Smith]

"We Always Lie to Strangers" (Directed by AJ Schnack and David Wilson)

As the film's title suggests, this story about the music-hall tourist destination of Branson, Mo. may be the kind for which two filmmakers are better than one. Documentarian Schnack profiled musicians They Might Be Giants in "Gigantic" (SXSW 2002 ) and with "Kurt Cobain About a Boy." Wilson came to SXSW with his short "Big Birding Day" -- and he's based in Columbia, Mo., about 200 miles north of the "Live Music Show Capital of the World" that boasts dozens of tribute acts. Branson is also home to many performing families, and they're the focus of this doc that explores the inherent and unexpected weirdness that results when you live in a city that proclaims itself the bedrock of family-values entertainment. [Dana Harris]


This article is related to: South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), We Always Lie to Strangers, Some Girls, Short Term 12, Drinking Buddies, Holy Ghost People, Hey Bartender, Haunter, 12 O’Clock Boys





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