The official, and growing, film lineup for the 2014 South by Southwest Festival was announced earlier this week and it contains some rather lackluster world premieres, but excellent festival favorites. To start, the festival will kick off with Jon Favreau's Chef on Friday, March 7. Meh... It might be ok, but my interest level is below mid-level. It follows a renowned chef (Favreau) who leaves a high-end Los Angeles restaurant and reignites himself working out of a food truck. It could be good and Favreau as some skills, but not rushing to see this one. There are two more premieres that are just completely uninteresting to me in Veronica Mars and Neighbors. The former, a feature film based off the popular TV series starring Kristen Bell. Never watched the show. Do not care. The latter, being the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron film Neighbors. Might be funny and will probably contain plenty of funny one-liners, but who cares about this either. SXSW really did not go all out with big premieres, but they made up for it with some festival favorites form this year and last.
The first one is a special screening of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which will include a Q&A with the distinctive director following the screening. Cannot wait for this one and really hope I can get into this screening. The film has already received glowing reviews from its recent premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. It is Anderson. It will be good and has an absolutely stellar cast of Anderson favorites. Another film from a director I admire quite a bit that is showing at SXSW is Jim Jarmusch's vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. This is another one I am dying to see and really hope I can get in to. The film stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as vampires who have been passionately in love for hundreds of years. I love all of Jarmusch's films and his brilliant use of comedy. A must-see. It screened at Cannes and many other film festivals last year, receiving very good reviews.
Some more films that have previously screened at other festivals that I am really looking forward to are Jason Bateman's Bad Words and David Gordon Green's Joe. Bad Words is Jason Bateman's directorial debut and he stars as a vindictive adult who lost a spelling bee as a youngster and seeks revenge. Joe, which stars Nicolas Cage in a return to quality filmmaking, seems to be similar in narrative taste to last years Jeff Nichols' Mud. A southern tale of adults and youth, men seeking redemption and revenge, and Green going back to his indie roots. The trailer is definitely promising and Cage needs to get back to doing films that matter.
One of the biggest screenings for me is Richard Linklater's Boyhood. A film that he has been working on for over 12 years here in Austin. It chronicles a young boys life form age 5 to 18. Great, positive notices out of this year's Sundance Film Festival and, in my opinion, Linklater hardly ever makes a mistake. Well, the remake of The Bad News Bears, but we will let that one slide.
There will be many films from all over the world and hopefully a great surprise like last year's excellent Short Term 12. Other films include The Raid 2, Frank, Predestination, Cesar Chavez, Obvious Child, Ping Ping Summer and Hellion. Plus, a 40th Anniversary screening of Tobe Hooper's classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The fest will also contain many conversations and keynote addresses, some being from Marc Webb, Robert Duvall, Tilda Swinton, Lena Dunham, Alejandro Jodowrosky and Mike Myers, to name a few. It is going to be great. Cannot wait to volunteer and see many, many films. It is going to be a good one.