SXSW wrapped up last week and now that we’ve had a chance to reflect and take it all in we’re here with the best of the best from the festival. Nick and I awarding the best six films with a coveted spot on our list. It’s coveted because films that appear on this list are guaranteed to become huge and make billions of dollars (Note: guarantee not guaranteed).
So what stood out this year for us? There was plenty premiering and still more that had buzz. While not every movie blew us away there was plenty we wish you could all see now. It was tough to whittle it down to just six so make sure you check out our full reviews and interviews here. Still, these are definitely the best.
The Infinite Man
Aside from being the biggest surprise of SXSW along with the film below, The Infinite Man is also a really good move. Taking place entirely in one location and shot on a shoestring budget this Australian time-travel comedy-romance is one of the smartest time travel films I’ve seen a good long while. Newcomer director/writer Hugh Sullivan has a bright career if he can weave this constantly looping plot together so seamlessly and perfectly play it as the characters develop. – Matthew Razak
Predestination is on this list because it was a surprise. I ended up picking the film because Matt and I didn’t want to double up on any features, yet I didn’t really want some filler. So I ended picking the one with Ethan Hawke in it, and I was thoroughly impressed. Predestination is intelligent, meticulous, and features an impressive range for the relative newcomer Sara Snook. When it releases for everyone else, you should give it a shot. It’s a bit on the long side, but it’s a big step up from the Daybreakers duo. – Nick Valdez
We’ll probably never see a movie like Boyhood again and that alone puts it on this list, but the amazing part is that it is actually fantastic as a movie too. Eschewing big drama in order to perfectly capture the essence of growing up it delivers a film that’s easily the most complete coming of age story told. Twelve years in the making and every one of them worth it.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
I’m not as big a fan of Wes Anderson as my fellow editors here on Flixist, so I had virtually no expectations for The Grand Budapest Hotel. My experiences with his films have been slim, yet I still was able to understand Budapest. Looking back on it now I notice a few more flaws, but Budapest remains a favorite. From its rich tapestry of colors, to bevy of actor cameos that weren’t wasted, and the seemingly throwaway lines about screenwriting just under the surface, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a spectacular film to behold. – Nick Valdez
The Raid 2
Sad story: we didn’t actually get to see The Raid 2 at SXSW. There was an issue with a screener where subtitles weren’t showing up. Instead we watched director Gareth Evans field questions from an increasingly perturbed audience and have two of the lead actors stage fight for us. Yet the The Raid 2 is so good (I have since seen it) that despite not actually seeing it at SXSW it is still one of the best movies there. Gareth Evans is the greatest action director working. – Matthew Razak
In Joe, Nicolas Cage drops the acting bomb. I don’t think I can stress that enough. I know it takes a lot for a man to produce as much kookiness and intensity as he delivers in his roles, but Joe takes all of that and fine tunes it. For every quiet moment, you get some shifty eyes. For every silently intense scene, you get Cage duct taping a wound shut. It’s basically everything you want out of Nicolas Cage, but you great a great movie on top of it. With a great cast, well built environment, and naturalistic vibe, Joe is not only one of my favorites of SXSW, but one of my favorite movies of 2014. – Nick Valdez