The streets of Downtown Austin, TX, are flooded with badge-holders lugging bookbags and shoulder-strapped briefcases. Telephone poles and sidewalks are covered with flyers for movies with titles like Big Ass Spider!, Loves Her Gun, and Kiss of the Damned. Pedestrians shuffle from location to location with that overwhelmed look that indicates five too many tacos, one too many Lone Star pounders, and brisket.
All of this can only mean one thing: It's once again time for the annual SXSW Film Festival, Austin's eight-day-long celebration of independent cinema from all parts of the world. And, per usual, this year's lineup of intriguing motion pictures runs the gamut from buzz-worthy horror (V/H/S/2, You're Next, and Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem) to documentaries about Napster (Downloaded, directed by former Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure star Alex Winter) and nostalgia for V/H/S technology (Rewind This!). And that doesn't even cover all of the foreign dramas, quirky comedies, and special screenings of new films starring the likes of Matthew McConaughey (Mud), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon's Addiction, his directorial debut), and Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers).
Yours truly, Complex Senior Staff Writer Matt Barone, will be here in Austin through next Saturday, March 16, catching as many of the screenings as humanly possible. Hopefully without succumbing to a BBQ coma and/or a gluttonous overload spurred by the excellent menu provided by the city's flagship theater, Alamo Drafthouse's Ritz venue, located smack-dab on of 6th Street, which begins to resemble New Orleans Mardi Gras once the Music portion of SXSW begins on Tuesday.
As of now, the self-imposed goal is to see 30 movies by the time I head back east next Saturday, and—considering that I saw 27 last year during a stay that lasted two days less—that's definitely not a pipe dream. Plus, if the quality of films continually lives up to the first two that I caught tonight, it'd be a shame if I didn't reach that mark. Even if, by day six, the SXSW fatigue and dementia (caused by a massive celluloid consumption in such a short amount of time) has me feeling like one of the characters in Chuck Palahniuk's novel Haunted.
So far, so good, though. Earlier this evening, the world premiere of the long-awaited, heavily hyped Evil Dead remake took place at the Paramount Theatre, one of SXSW's biggest screening venues. It was prefaced by the premiere of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, the Steve Carell/Jim Carrey magician comedy that opens next Friday
Is Evil Dead the epic, mind-blowing horror remake that fans of Sam Raimi's original cult classic have been clamoring for? Or, like so many genre revamps that've come before it, is Evil Dead (opening nationwide on April 5) yet another case of a badass trailer followed by an underwhelming feature-length effort? And how about The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Is it 2013's first actually hilarious comedy? Or is more blunder than wonder?
The answers can be found after the jump. Let the 2013 SXSW Film Festival's cinematic games begin.
Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)