SXSW 2018 Preview from Berkreviews.com

I’ll be attending the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas from March 9th through the 16th. I’ve been very impressed with SXSW online tools and the ability to plan my screenings on their ap. Of course, plans will change and I may hear buzz about a movie that I hadn’t planned on seeing and decide to drop something and go see that. Nevertheless, I’ve basically planned my whole week. I invited Matt from What I Watched Tonight to join me on this bonus episode of Berkreviews.com Moviecasts to discuss a couple of films from each day I’ll be attending the festival as well as suggesting a couple that interest him that didn’t make my list.

All of the information below was found at SXSW.com under their schedule. You can view my whole schedule HERE, but these are the films we discussed at length:

Friday 3/9:

Social Animals  

Directed by Jonathan Ignatius Green starring Humza Deas, Kaylyn Slevin, Emma Crockett

Social Animals - SXSW 2018
Credit: Justin Loera

“A daredevil photographer, an aspiring swimsuit model, and a midwest girl next door are all looking for the same things from their Instagram accounts––a little love, acceptance and, of course, fame––and they’ll do just about anything to get it. With an observational eye, Social Animals peeks into the digital and real worlds of today’s image-focused teenager, where followers, likes and comments mark success and self-worth.”

Support the girls

Directed by Andrew Bujalski starring Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Shayna McHayle, James LeGros, Dylan Gelula, AJ Michalka, Brooklyn Decker, Lea DeLaria, Jana Kramer, and John Elvis.

Support the Girls
The Double Whammies family. Credit: Ryan Green

“Lisa Conroy is the last person you’d expect to find in a highway-side “sports bar with curves,”–but as general manager at Double Whammies, she’s come to love the place and its customers. An incurable den mother, she nurtures and protects her girls fiercely–but over the course of one trying day, her optimism is battered from every direction…Double Whammies sells a big, weird American fantasy, but what happens when reality pokes a bunch of holes in it?”

Blood Fest

Directed by Owen Egerton starring Robbie Kay, Jacob Batalon, Seychelle Gabriel, Tate Donovan, Barbara Dunkelman, Nick Rutherford, and Zachary Levi.

Blood Fest - SXSW 2018
From left to right Robbie Kay as Dax and Seychelle Gabriel as Sam in Blood Fest | Credit: Rooster Teeth

“Fans flock to a festival celebrating the most iconic horror movies, only to discover that the charismatic showman behind the event has a diabolical agenda. As attendees start dying off, three teenagers with more horror-film wits than real-world knowledge must band together and battle through every madman, monstrosity, and terrifying scenario if they have any hope of surviving.”

Saturday 3/10:

Sadie

Directed by Megan Griffiths starring Sophia Mitri Schloss, Melanie Lynskey, John Gallagher Jr., Danielle Brooks, Tony Hale, Keith L. Williams, and Tee Dennard.

Sadie - SXSW 2018
Credit: T.J. Williams, Jr.

“SADIE is the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives at home with her mother while her father serves repeated tours in the military. Sadie is extremely attached to her father despite his prolonged absence, and when her mother begins dating a new man, Sadie takes extreme measures to end the relationship and safeguard her family through the only tactics she knows–those of war.”

Final Portrait

Directed by Stanley Tucci starring Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy, Tony Shalhoub, and Sylvie Testud.

Credit: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

“FINAL PORTRAIT is the story of the touching and offbeat friendship between American writer and art-lover James Lord and world-renowned artist Alberto Giacometti, as seen through Lord’s eyes and revealing a unique insight into the beauty, frustration, profundity and sometimes the chaos of the artistic process. Based on Lord’s memoir, set in 1964, while on a short trip to Paris, Lord is asked by his friend, Giacometti, to sit for a portrait. The process, promises Giacometti, will take only a few days and so Lord agrees — ultimately wondering ‘how much longer can it go on like this?’ ”

Sunday 3/11:

Blindspotting

Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal

“Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He works alongside his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal) as movers forced to watch their old neighborhood become a trendy spot in the rapidly gentrifying Bay Area. When a life-altering event causes Collin to miss his mandatory curfew, the two men struggle to maintain their friendship with the changing social landscape exposes their differences.”

Hereditary

Directed by Ari Aster starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd, Alex Wolff, and Milly Shapiro.

Hereditary SXSW 2018
Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Alex Wolff in HEREDITARY | Credit: Pawel Pogorzelski, Courtesy of A24

“When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.”

Monday 3/12:

Eighth Grade

Directed by Bo Burnham starring Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton.

Eighth Grade SXSW 2018
Elsie Fisher in EIGHTH GRADE | Credit: Josh Ethan Johnson, Courtesy of A24

“Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus far disastrous eighth-grade year—before she begins high school.”

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man

Directed by Tommy Avallone starring Tommy Avallone, Joel Murray, Peter Farrelly, Jordan Goetz, Adam Morgan, Trevor Rathbone, Tyler Van Aiken

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man SXSW 2018
The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man | Credit: Photo by Chris Raab

“One man’s journey to find meaning in Bill Murray’s many unexpected adventures with everyday people, rare and never-before seen footage of the comedic icon participating in stories previously presumed to be urban legend. Whether it be singing karaoke late at night with strangers or crashing a kickball game in the middle of the afternoon, Bill Murray lives in the moment and by doing so, creates magic with real people.”

Tuesday 3/13:

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Directed by  Morgan Neville starring Joanne, John and Jim Rogers, David Newell, Francois Clemmons, Susan Stamberg, Tom Junod, Yo-Yo Ma

Won't you be my Neighbor SXSW 2018
Credit: Jim Judkis

“Fred Rogers led a singular life. He was a puppeteer. A minister. A musician. An educator. A father, a husband, and a neighbor. Fred Rogers spent 50 years on children’s television beseeching us to love and to allow ourselves to be loved. With television as his pulpit, he helped transform the concept of childhood. He used puppets and play to explore the most complicated issues of the day—race, disability, equality and tragedy. He spoke directly to children and they responded by forging a lifelong bond with him—by the millions. And yet today his impact is unclear. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? explores the question of whether or not we have lived up to Fred’s ideal. Are we all good neighbors?”

A Prayer Before Dawn

Directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire starring Joe Cole.

A Prayer Before Dawn SXSW 2018
Joe Cole in A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN | Credit: Courtesy of A24

“Based on the international best-seller, A Prayer Before Dawn is the true story of Billy Moore, a troubled young British boxer sent to one of Thailand’s most notorious jails. Refusing to die inside prison, Billy becomes a student of the lethal art of Muay Thai Boxing, and in the process, finds a brotherhood that will guide him on an incredible journey to redemption.”

Wednesday 3/14:

Lean on Pete

Directed by Andrew Haigh starring Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel, Justin Rain, Lewis Pullman, Steve Zahn, and Alison Elliott.

Lean on Pete SXSW 2018
Charlie Plummer | Credit: Photo by Scott Green, courtesy of A24

“Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) arrives in Portland, Oregon with his single father Ray (Travis Fimmel), both of them eager for a fresh start after a series of hard knocks. They experience adventure and heartbreak in equal measure, but never lose their irrepressible hope and resiliency as they pursue their dream of finding a place they can call home.”

Pet Names

Directed by Carol Brandt starring Meredith Johnston, Rene Cruz, Stacy Parish, Chelsea Norment, Jake Bradley, Lilliana Winkworth, and Christina Seo.

Pet Names SXSW 2018
Cam (Rene Cruz) and Leigh (Meredith Johnston) have a late-night tent talk. | Credit: Dana Shihadah

“Grad-school-dropout Leigh spends seemingly endless days caring for her ill mother in her childhood home. A chance encounter with her ex, Cam, leads Leigh to make a last-minute decision to invite him on her solo camping trip. Falling into old patterns of familiarity is easy for the duo; what’s hard is facing deep-seated wounds between them that never healed. Between losing Cam’s dog, tripping on mushrooms, drunken nights by the bonfire baring their souls, making up dumb songs, and jealous arguments, the “vacation” becomes a constant guessing game of whether or not the two will find themselves back together, or never speaking again.”

Thursday 3/15:

Pass Over

Directed by Spike Lee and Danya Taymor starring Jon Michael Hill, Julian Parker, Ryan Hallahan, and Blake DeLong.

Pass Over SXSW 2018
Jon Michael Hill and Blake DeLong in Pass Over

“Academy Award nominee and Honorary Oscar winning Spike Lee captures the poetry, humor and humanity of this urgent and timely play about two young black men talking trash, passing the time, and dreaming of the promised land. A provocative riff on Waiting for Godot, Pass Over is by newcomer Antoinette Nwandu.”

Summer ‘03

Directed by Becca Gleason starring Joey King, Andrea Savage, Paul Scheer, Jack Kilmer, Erin Darke, Stephen Ruffin, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Logan Medina, and June Squibb.

Summer '03 SXSW 2018
Joey King in Summer ’03. | Credit: Ben Hardwicke

“Inspired by true events, Summer ’03 centers on Jamie, a 16-year-old girl (King) and her extended family who are left reeling after her calculating grandmother (Squibb) unveils an array of family secrets on her deathbed. Jamie is left to navigate her nascent love life and maintain her closest friendships in the midst of this family crisis.”

Friday 3/16:

Blaze

Directed by Ethan Hawke starring Benjamin Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Wyatt Russell, Jenn Lyon, Kris Kristofferson, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, and Richard Linklater.

Blaze SXSW 2018
Credit: Steve Cosens

“BLAZE is inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. The film weaves together three different periods of time, braiding re-imagined versions of Blaze’s past, present and future. The different strands explore his love affair with Sybil Rosen; his last, dark night on earth; and the impact of his songs and his death had on his fans, friends, and foes. The braided storyline terminates in a bittersweet ending that acknowledges Blaze’s profound highs and lows, as well as the impressions he made on the people who shared his journey.”

Thunder Road

Directed by Jim Cummings starring Kendal Farr, Jim Cummings, Nican Robinson, Jocelyn DeBoer, Macon Blair, Bill Wise, Jordan Fox, and Chelsea Edmundson

Thunder Road SXSW 2018
Kendal Farr and Jim Cummings. | Credit: The 10 East

Officer Arnaud raises his daughter as a love letter to his late Mom. Based on the 2016 short film.

That’s a taste of what SXSW has to offer. The site will have all my reviews going up as quick as I can competently write them. I’m hoping to see between 3 and 4 movies each day I’m there at a minimum so check back daily to see what I’m watching and my thoughts on them. I’ll admit, I’m also hoping to catch at least one of the two Doug Loves Movies tapings as that is one of my favorite podcasts.

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