In Review

SXSW: the best and weirdest films from the Texas film festival

From adult animation to erotic fan fiction - via an adorable kidnapped kitten

Keanu

The 2016 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, is the annual launchpad for a range of talking-point titles, from buzzy small-scale studio gems to offbeat indie fare. We look at some of the films destined to receive attention on the movie circuit this year

Everybody Wants Some!!       

Indie film legend and writer-director of Boyhood Richard Linklater has called Everyone Wants Some!! the "spiritual sequel" to his Generation X comedy-drama Dazed and Confused. But while that dealt with high school in the 1970s, his new offering takes place in the 1980s and follows a college baseball team during the crazy first few days of the new academic year. Variety says the "master of the modern hangout movie achieves his most sustained comic bliss-out in years".

Keanu

One of the stranger offerings of the festival is this film debut from Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, aka Comedy Central's Key and Peele. The weird action comedy (pictured above) follows two cousins (the sketch maestros) who hatch a plot to retrieve an adorable stolen kitten called Keanu by posing as drug dealers for a street gang. Reviews have been mixed. IGN says even filmgoers unfamiliar with Key and Peele will find Keanu "a hilarious, character-driven action-comedy full of heart and fun". But The Guardian says the "titular cat is best thing about the first film by the comedic duo that bears little of the wit that made their Comedy Central show such a sensation".

Slash

Writer-director Clay Liford's comedy-drama explores the world of adolescent outsiders who dabble in fan-fiction. The story focuses on Neil, a 15-year-old suburban Texas high schooler who channels his emerging homoerotic desires into writing florid "slash fiction" (fan-fiction about same-sex encounters) about the sexual adventures of a hunky mainstream sci-fi hero. When classmates steal his notebook and expose his stories, Neil inadvertently attracts the attention of an older student and kindred spirit. Variety calls it an "effortlessly engaging dramedy that somehow manages to sustain an air of buoyant sweetness even while repeatedly referencing erotic fantasies and sexual anxieties".

Pee Wee's Big Holiday

For years, Pee Wee Herman actor Paul Reubens and producer Judd Apatow have hinted that a new film was on the way. Now, following some years of development, Pee Wee's Big Holiday, is here. It will screen at the festival and appear on Netflix later this month. Coming more than 20 years after Big Top Pee Wee, the film tells the story of how a fateful meeting between Pee Wee Herman and a mysterious stranger inspires him to take his first-ever holiday, where adventure and friendship await. Award-winning producer Steven Soderbergh has apparently given the film a ringing endorsement, claiming it will "break the internet".

Sausage Party

The festival will present a work-in-progress screening of the upcoming film from the team behind The Pineapple Express and Superbad, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan. Sausage Party, an adult animated comedy due out in August, features the voices of Rogan, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill and follows a sausage's quest to discover his existence. Goldberg said of the film: "A lot of people are like, 'Do you dudes just get baked on a couch and come up with ideas?' That one, yes!"

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