October 27, 2016
        "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars        

SXSW starts with Source Code; 5 more Must-See films

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: South By Southwest has grown to become a must-attend for film aficionados, the launch pad for spring’s high-profile offerings and a fan-friendly environment for discovering emerging talents and experimental cinema.

Coupled with the concurrent Music and Interactive components, SXSW’s Film program helps turn downtown Austin, Texas into a bustling metropolis of ideas and imagination. It’s also crazy busy, so come early, prepare to be patient, and most of all, enjoy.

This year’s festival kicks off tonight around 6 p.m., though the banner event will be the World Premiere of Duncan Jones’ “Source Code,” a sci-fi thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier trying to identify a bomber on a doomed, Chicago-bound train. Jones’ film plays the Paramount Theater tonight, but it’s just one of a hundred films we’d eagerly cover if we had the time. And clones. And maybe access to our own source code. But let’s not get into spoilers.

HollywoodNews.com is heading back to Austin to cover SXSW 2011. We’ll have reviews, interviews, buzz reports and on-the-ground blogs to make you feel like you are there. Be sure to bookmark the site and check back often during the fest, which runs through Saturday, March 19.

In the meantime, to whet your whistle for coverage (or help you plan out your schedule if you happen to be in Austin), here are 5 “can’t miss” films for the coming week. If you happen to be at SXSW, look us up. If not, enjoy this year’s coverage, and plan to be there next year. It’s truly something special.

1. The Beaver – Is Jodie Foster’s latest directorial effort about more than a man and his hand puppet? Will audiences be able to look past Mel Gibson’s tabloid exploits and appreciate the performer we know he can be? These and other questions will be answered when “The Beaver” holds its World Premiere on Wednesday, March 16. Part of me feels like I should already be in line.

2. Win Win – Another winning drama from Tom McCarthy, director of “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor.” His latest boasts an outstanding ensemble telling the story of a high school wrestling coach who takes a troubled young teenager under his wing. Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and Melanie Lynskey co-star.

3. Paul – Universal kindly screened Greg Mottola’s “Paul,” a love letter to sci-fi fans (and an homage to all things Spielberg), prior to SXSW. Having seen it, I’m still contemplating catching it at the Paramount on Sunday evening, because that’s the ideal crowd for Mottola’s consistently funny comedy. It opens everywhere on March 18.

4. Hobo With a Shotgun – I have been told by those closest to “Hobo” that it is the best Troma film that Troma never made. If that doesn’t get your juices flowing, skip the midnight screening of “Hobo,” because this isn’t your type of film. Jason Eisener’s contemporary thriller killed at Sundance … literally. I can’t wait to see it in Austin.

5. The Ain’t It Cool News 15th Anniversary Screening – Harry Knowles remains a driving force behind Austin’s unique film culture. He and his movie-news fan site have become synonymous with Austin and SXSW, so it will be interesting to see what he chooses for this special program. Something old? Something upcoming? All I know is I plan to be in the Paramount on Monday night to find out.

Also on the list: Bellflower; Conan O’Brien: Can’t Stop; Detention; Hesher; The Other “F” Word; The Key Man; Fuck My Life; The Interrupters; Life In a Day; and on and on and on …

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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