Compared to prestige-oriented film festivals like Cannes, Toronto or Sundance, the
Here's a look at five of the fest's buzzed-about films so far.
Fast start for 'Furious 7'
Universal Pictures' biggest franchise made a splash with a surprise screening just after midnight Sunday. The sneak peek at "Furious 7," which opens April 3, provided an emotional sendoff for series star
Early reviews indicate that the new sequel will offer more of the high-octane, logic-defying action for which the series is known. Collider's Perri Nemiroff wrote, "'Furious 7' is everything you'd want in a new
Comedian Amy Schumer screened a work-in-progress version of "Trainwreck," which marks her screenwriting debut and first major film role. A sort of role-reversed rom-com, the movie finds Schumer playing a magazine writer repulsed by the idea of monogamy and utterly baffled when she actually meets a nice guy (
Reviews so far have commended Schumer and Apatow. The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore wrote, "Cutting through many of the easy signifiers found in bad-behavior comedies to get at what it actually feels like to be an intimacy-phobic mess, 'Trainwreck' finds Judd Apatow putting his directing chops in service of Amy Schumer's deeply felt but crackingly funny screenplay."
'Man in the Machine' thinks different about Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs' life has already been the subject of a couple of narrative films and an extensive biography by Walter Isaacson, not to mention
Some early reviewers appreciated the film's critical approach: The Guardian's Alex Needham wrote that Gibney's "unsparing portrait of Steve Jobs will prove extremely displeasing to devotees, but it's a riveting and important corrective to the myths Jobs helped to propagate, and which in the four years since his death have proved as seductive as his machines — and a lot more durable."
'Ex Machina' an A.I. tale with real smarts
From "The Man in the Machine" to the ghost in the machine. Veteran sci-fi screenwriter Alex Garland ("28 Days Later," "Sunshine") screened his directorial debut, "Ex Machina," starring Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander in a story of obsession, desire and artificial intelligence.
Ahead of the film's debut, senior programmer Jarod Neece said it "might be one of the best films we've ever played at South by Southwest," and for many in attendance it lived up to the hype.
The Times' Mark Olsen called "Ex Machina" a "sci-fi chamber drama that manages to be tactile, cerebral and gripping, crammed with big ideas while also feeling like an engagingly twisting thriller. It is smart cinema, smartly done." He added that "The film played very well to the room Saturday night …. Perhaps because of the concurrent interactive conference occurring at SXSW and the general emphasis on technology at the festival, the film seemed to hit home with this audience in particular."
Mission accomplished for 'Spy'
Following the recent misfires of "Tammy" and
Judging by early reactions, McCarthy — who's also working with Feig on a female-led "Ghostbusters" reboot — has her mojo back.
Variety's Justin Chang wrote that it's "gratifying to see what [McCarthy] can do with a vehicle that's firing on all cylinders for a change." The result is "an uproarious blast of globe-trotting action-comedy delirium that doesn't spoof the espionage-thriller genre so much as drop a series of banana peels in its path."
Chang also gave writer-director Feig kudos for his "beautifully structured, zinger-stuffed screenplay."
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