It feels like just yesterday I was rounding up the final Conversation on the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Oh right, it was just yesterday. But festival season is upon us (is there really a festival season? It seems there's festivals all year until it merges with Oscar season) and now it's time to skip over such fun but less newsworthy fests like Oxford, True/False and Miami to start discussing the 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival. In case you aren't paying attention, the lineup minus the midnight program was posted earlier.
I've already got my plane tickets purchased and my colleague's couch reserved and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of stuff I missed by not being in Park City last month. Hopefully I won't sleep through many movies like I did last year (a midnight show combined with an Alamo burger and some beers will do that to a hard-working man of the entertainment press. The leftovers and premieres I'm most anxious for are The Imposter, The Comedy, Marley (Kevin Macdonald's Bob Marley doc), Trash Dance, Francine (The Patron Saint doc-makers go narrative), Under African Skies and Indie Game The Movie.
As for those I've seen, I order all Austinites and other SXSW attendees to see the following brilliant works of cinema: The Raid, Girl Model, God Bless America, Paul Williams Still Alive and Last Call at the Oasis. Oh, and this isn't exactly film related (though he is awesome at scoring...), but my brother-in-law, aka Cassettes Won't Listen, is playing the music fest. So stay long enough for that!
One thing I'm bummed about: no Beasts of the Southern Wild, which the fest attempted to show but were refused by Fox Searchlight. One thing that will bum me out more: 21 Jump Street can not possibly be as funny and well done as the buzz is leading me to believe (I'm also keeping my expectations low for The Cabin in the Woods). We'll see.
What 2012 SXSW Film Fest titles are people already buzzing about? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:
The Austin, Texas festival will host screenings of the Will Ferrell Spanish-language comedy Casa de mi Padre, festival favorite The Raid, Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America, and the world premiere of 21 Jump Street, which recently screened to press to overwhelmingly positive praise. Add these films to the previously announced festival opener Cabin in the Woods (from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard), and I’m sufficiently envious of those making the trek to Austin. - Adam Chitwood, Collider
A few notable titles include the world premiere of the already hailed 21 Jump Street, Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture follow-up Girls (actually an HBO show), The Mars Volta/At the Drive-In co-founder Omar Rodriguez Lopez's Los Chidos, Drew Goddard's Joss Whedon co-written The Cabin in the Woods, and, of course, another awesome festival bow for everyone's favorite action movie in decades, Gareth Evans's The Raid. - Ryland Aldrich, Twitch
It should come as no surprise that some of my most anticipated include The Raid, The Cabin In the Woods, The Hunter, Thale, and the documentary Seeking Asian Female. (Don’t judge.) - Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects
Let me personally vouch for both "21 Jump Street" and "Cabin In The Woods." I've seen both, and I'm surprised by just how much fun "Jump Street" is. I have no love of the source material, but the movie is flat-out hilarious, and I suspect it's going to get a lot of buzz coming out of this fest. And "Cabin"? You have no idea how much fun that one is, and I can't wait to see it with an opening night festival audience as they get their minds well and truly blown. Add to that movies like "God Bless America," "Lovely Molly," "KID-THING," and "The Raid," all of which I really enjoyed, and this festival looks like a huge bundle of awesome. - Drew McWeeny, HitFix
One of the highlights is the unbelievably smart and hilarious 21 Jump Street, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller. Both of those are World Premieres. Other highlights include The Hunter, Killer Joe, The Babymakers, frankie goes boom, God Bless America, The Imposter, The Raid, Bernie and Casa de mi Padre just to name a few. - Germain Lussier, /Film
The centerpiece film is 21 Jump Street, a comedy remake of the undercover teen cop drama from the late ’80s starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Don’t scoff just yet. The style is in the same vein as MacGruber, SXSW’s centerpiece two years ago that brought the house down. Last year, the festival hosted the female phenom Bridesmaids. Phil Lord and Chris Miller directed Jump Street and 2009’s underrated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Johnny Depp cameos alongside Hill and Tatum and, who knows, may even appear at the premiere. - Jeff Leins, News in Film
21 Jump Street - Last year's big mainstream discovery at SXSW was Bridesmaids; this year it's Sony taking the gamble with a headlining sneak peek at their cop reboot, which stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as undercover officers. [...] frankie go boom - Jordan Roberts' entry, which stars Charlie Hunnam, Chris O'Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Ron Perlman, and Chris Noth, had me at its synopsis: "a flick by bruce about his little brother frank who's a crybaby fuck who shouldn't do lame-ass embarrassing shit if he dozn't want people 2 see it." - Jen Yamato, Movieline
I'm super interested in the world premiere of Jordan Roberts' frankie go boom, starring Charlie Hunnam, Chris O'Dowd, Lizzy Caplan and Ron Perlman, all of whom I love, and with my favorite summary of any of the films on the list [...] and I think Nate Meyer's See Girl Run sounds potentially cool--or potentially dangerously cutesy. It stars Robin Tunney as a 30-something woman who gets wrapped up in her romantic past, but I decidedly dig the cast (Tunney, Adam Scott, Jeremy Strong, William Sadler). - Meredith Borders, Badass Digest
Most intriguing for us is the Duplass brothers long ago completed "Do-Deca-Pentathalon," finally premiering after sitting on the shelf. The movie was shot in 2008 and then picked up way back in the summer of 2010, and not much has happened since. The duo already knocked out another film in "Jeff Who Lives At Home" opening later this year, but this one is finally seeing the light of day. The dark comedy follows two brothers who compete in their own private 25-event Olympics that no one else is allowed to view or compete in, and we're definitely curoius to check it out. [...] One film we encourage everyone to see is William Friedkin's "Killer Joe." Making its U.S. premiere, the film is one delightfully fucked up and perverse noir, starring Matthew McConaughey as a crooked cop who is hired by a young man (Emile Hirsch) to kill his mother, and puts his sister (Juno Temple) up as collateral. From there it gets even more insane. Let's just say, you will never look at fried chicken the same way again. - Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
One marquee movie with a Texas connection is the Dallas-set Killer Joe, reuniting Bug filmmaker William Friedkin and playwright Tracy Letts, and starring Matthew McConaughey (and that's not the only film he's in that will play SXSW). Other notable movies playing the fest include Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America, the Will Ferrell-starring Casa de mi Padre and Guy Maddin's Keyhole ... among many many others announced. - Jette Kernion, Slackerwood
Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater, who gave McConaughey his big break in "Dazed and Confused," will screen his dark comedy, the locally shot "Bernie," which stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and McConaughey. Other movies with Austin ties playing SXSW include "Do-Deca-Pentathalon" from University of Texas alumni, brothers Jay and Mark Duplass; Austinite Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me," starring [Nick] Offerman and Kevin Corrigan; and the Zellner brothers' "Kid-Thing," which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. - Matthew Odam, Austin 360
Other SXSW regulars are making their directorial debuts this year, including Jonny Mars ("America's Parking Lot"), Amy Seimetz ("Sun Don't Shine"), Adele Romanski ("Leave Me Like You Found Me") and Martha Stephens, who produced "Passenger Pidgeons" and now directs competition title "Pilgrim Song." - Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood
Multiple documentaries of interest to a Los Angeles audience are premiering, including "The Announcement," about Magic Johnson's 1991 revelation that he was HIV-positive and retiring from basketball; "Uprising: Hip-Hop & the L.A. Riots;" and "Sunset Strip," a 100-year history of the so-called loudest street on the planet. - Rebecca Keegan, 24 Frames (Los Angeles Times)
Several documentaries in the program look at Los Angeles and the raucous past of its music culture. Those include “Sunset Strip,” about the history of that iconic portion of Sunset Boulevard, and “Uprising: Hip Hop & the L.A. Riots.” Celebrity figures in “$ellebrity,” a documentary by the star photographer Kevin Mazur, and in “Decoding Deepak,” also a documentary, in which Gotham Chopra examines his famous father, Deepak. - Michael Cieply, The Carpetbagger (New York Times)
Conversation Twitter Poll: What 2012 SXSW film are you looking forward to?
@jessecarp: Really interested in the first few episodes of Lena Dunham's Girls (The Raid, Cabin in the Woods and Bernie close behind).
@Ed_Travis: Looks like I'll be seeing The Raid early. My most anticipated film of 2012.
@TravisStevens: KILLER JOE, CABIN IN THE WOODS & new films from Amy Seimetz w/@LenHamhock, Jonas Ackerlund & a Bad Brains doc? AWESOME
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.