It feels like only yesterday that CoS Film returned from Sundance, battle-tested and weary. Hell, as we’ve been preparing for this year’s South by Southwest, we still find ourselves calling it Sundance on occasion. But SXSW isn’t Sundance or any other film festival either. This is a place where truly independent productions can still find a home, where genre movies and comedies belong right next to the more serious fare, where that next sleeper indie you’ll be talking about all year is just waiting to be found.
In 2015, SXSW continues to expand its importance in the festival year with heavy hitters like Paul Feig, Alex Gibney, Judd Apatow, and Ryan Gosling showing their latest stuff, but what’s most fun about SXSW (aside from the drinking-as-networking atmosphere, perhaps) is the element of surprise, like seeing Attack the Block come out of nowhere in 2011 to become the talk of the festival. You never know which underappreciated gem is on your list until you get there, and neither do we. But our schedules are built, our bodies are as ready as they’re ever going to be, and starting this Friday, we’ll be bringing you our nonstop daily coverage of the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival.
In the meantime, though, all that stuff we’re looking forward to seeing? Here’s a quick taste of what we have in store.
The Road Warrior
“And the Road Warrior? That was the last we ever saw of him. He lives now, only in my memories…”
Too bad, so sad, Road Warrior narrator. Fans of that film will have the chance to see it on the big screen at SXSW this year, as well as a Q&A with director George Miller. The Road Warrior is a post-apocalyptic action classic, boasting a silent-but-brutal performance by Mel Gibson as “Mad” Max Rockatansky, as well as car chases that haven’t been matched over the past 30+ years.
There is something else about the inclusion of this film in this year’s festival that has our attention. The movie isn’t celebrating a special anniversary, so why have it play? Maybe because the movie will end at midnight, which would be the perfect time for director George Miller to announce a special advanced screening of Mad Max: Fury Road. Fingers crossed. –Justin Gerber
All Things Must Pass
The Internet did not kill Tower Records. That’s one myth Colin Hanks debunks in his hotly anticipated documentary, All Things Must Pass. For a good hour and a half, the Son of Tom turns back the pages on the once-celebrated franchise, which filed for bankruptcy in 2006. Veteran purists, who once found and bought Appetite for Destruction or Nevermind or The Chronic from its very aisles, will no doubt enjoy this trip to the past.
But this is more than just some nostalgic journey. Hanks is deeply invested in capturing the company’s “explosive trajectory” and its “legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon,” according to a press release. And if his eye is as sharp as his World War II and space-loving father’s, who’s produced quality television for HBO for decades, then we’re in for another rock ‘n’ roll documentary worth crankin’ up. –Michael Roffman
Six years ago, Ross Katz directed HBO’s Taking Chance, about a marine (Kevin Bacon) who escorts home the body of a fallen soldier. Katz is better known as a two-time Oscar nominee for producing Lost in Translation and In the Bedroom. So, naturally, his feature-film debut as a director is written by … comedian Nick Kroll? Nick Kroll of Kroll Show? “The Douche”? Star of The League? Fabrice Fabrice? Okay then.
We don’t know too much about Adult Beginners. It follows a corporate flameout (Kroll) who moves in with his sister (Rose Byrne) and her family, which admittedly sounds a bit tired. However, it does feature a script written by the oft-hilarious Kroll and also boasts a supporting cast led by Bobby Cannavale, Joel McHale, Jane Krakowski, Bobby Moynihan, and Jason Mantzoukas. Cautiously optimistic, to say the least. –Justin Gerber