Features

17 Must-See Movies at SXSW 2011

Tabloid

Did you hear the one about the beauty queen who flew across the ocean to rescue kidnap liberate her Mormon lover? Errol Morris’ past documentaries include The Thin Blue Line, A Brief History Of Time, The Fog Of War, and many more. While they all share the same level of quality they differ dramatically at times in content and topic, and his latest may just be the oddest one yet. This true story from 1977 gets a Rashomon-style dissection as each of the participants recollections differs from the next. Far from the global issues Morris has explored recently this looks to be a far more intimate and human tale that promises to entertain as it bewilders. -RH

Super

James Gunn’s Taxi Driver-esque vigilante film is funny, dark, subversive, and is just a whole lot of fun. It’s by no means a film for everyone, but to those looking for a film that goes outside the norm, this is for you. Super is an odd film, in the sense that it gets to have its cake and eat it too by being both successfully twisted and emotionally satisfying. That’s no easy tonal task to pull off. -JG

Elevate

Filmed over the course of 4 years, Elevate is a fish-out-of-water documentary about a group of West African Muslim teenagers who attend prep schools here in the U.S. thanks to scholarships for both their academia and basketball skills. Having to deal daily with being the outsiders they each have their own struggles with managing their differences in a foreign environment that may not be as accepting of them.

The subject sounds intriguing and potentially heartbreaking and/or cheerful given the conflicts. The fact that first-time filmmaker Anne Buford chose to abandon her career in order to develop her own production company and choose this as her first project makes the story seem too engaging to not want to listen to. -AC

My Sucky Teen Romance

Directed by Austin wunderkind Emily Hagins, My Sucky Teen Romance promises to sink its fangs into the current spate of teen vampire flicks. As a horror fan, I find myself spitting on the ground whenever Twilight is mentioned. I admire the fact that an 18-year-old filmmaker is firing back at these wastes of celluloid, and I can’t wait to see a parody with bite. -BS

Detention

The trailer for Joseph Kahn’s high schooler killer pic was messy. It was overstuffed and didn’t quite give a clear sense as to what the film is about. But all that trailer overload was filled with certain aspects that could make for a gangbuster picture: aliens, hipsters dying, and the idea of a famed movie killer coming to life. All these different flavors could make for a big ‘ol mess, but let’s hope that’s not the case… -JG

Source Code

With the quiet and intriguing reservation of his first feature-length film Moon, Duncan Jones expressed a certain kind of subdued science-fiction that has been utilized less and less over the decades since Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Source Code is Jones’s sophomore picture about a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and learns that he’s become part of an experiment that allows someone to live in the life of another person in the last 8 minutes of their life. It sounds like Being John Avatar only you get to look like Jake Gyllenhaal instead of a large, blue John Malkovich. Too bad it’s only for 8 minutes. -AC

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