Austin’s South By Southwest film festival begins Friday on a “Kick-Ass” note and goes out March 20 with a “Four Lions” Roar.
Indeed, the 133 features spread out through 11 categories at SXSW run the gamut. There are 58 world premieres — and one is even 3-D, the aptly titled “Hubble 3D,” which has its first public screening Sunday.
In Spotlight Premieres, there are SXSW veteran Aaron Katz’s “Cold Weather,” a detective story by way of extended-shot character studies; Tim Blake-Nelson’s “Leaves of Grass,” a stoner comedy by way of dual Edward Nortons; “Lemmy,” the doc on the iconic Motorhead frontman; and “American Grindhouse,” another doc that focuses on genre exploitation culture and its effect on filmmaking.
The headliners are what you’d expect from a festival heavy on genre and populist screenings: world premieres of Matthew Vaughn’s independent comic-book adaptation “Kick-Ass,” the “SNL” Hail Mary play “MacGruber” and leftovers from Sundance: “The Runaways,” “Get Low,” “Four Lions” and The Duplass Brothers’ “Cyrus.” There’s also the world premiere for “Mr. Nice” and a U.S. premiere for “Micmacs.”
Per usual, all the narrative features in competition are world premieres, from the sci-fi inspired “Earthling” to Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture,” a young New Yorkers comedy.
Likewise, the selections in darrative documentary are all new and completely untested: “Dirty Pictures” is “an intimate portrait of the life and work of Dr. Alexander Shulgin,” who helped people to literally trip the light fantastic; “The Canal Street Madam” shows a mother restructuring a brothel and her family after it gets raided; “Camp Victory, Afghanistan” the synthesis of three-year culmination of footage of the Afghan National Army and the National Guard sent to help them.
Those who couldn’t attend Sundance should make “The Red Chapel” a must-see, which took the World Cinema Prize: Documentary there in January. Many compare the film to “Borat” invading North Korea, which is dead-on about Mads Brügger’s provocative, self-deconstructing take on Kim Jong-Il’s media and government.
There’s still the Midnighters selection, which gives you the last chance to catch “Enter the Void” in its 156-minute eye-melting glory before it’s cut for theatrical release, and “Suck,” which promises vampires and rock ‘n’ roll that premiered way back at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival.