SXSW film festival: Five movies to look out for

Premiere of new Jane Bond-style thriller starring Charlize Theron at Texas fest

Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde
Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde

The South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival has a long history of turning up new talent and premiering titles that go on to much acclaim.

This year was no exception, with a crop of thrillers and comedies already causing a buzz among the crowd at Austin, Texas.

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Ana Asensio's psychological thriller about undocumented female immigrants in New York won the Grand Jury Award for feature films.

Shot on Super 16 film, Asensio chronicles a day in the life of Luciana, a young immigrant woman struggling to make ends meet while trying to escape her past.

As Luciana's day unfolds, she is put through a series of increasingly harrowing experiences until she realises there are evil forces behind her ordeal. This is survival horror, but with a social conscience.

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron stars as a steely, kickass spy in this action-heavy Cold War-revival film based on a graphic novel by Antony Johnston. The plot and characterisation are more Jane Bond than John Le Carre, but Atomic Blonde is stylishly crafted, with well-choreographed action and a talented supporting cast, including James McAvoy as a rogue agent who helps fill the gaps between fight scenes. Released in the UK in July.

Baby Driver

Kevin Spacey, Lily James and Ansel Egort star in Baby Driver, by cult British comedic director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead). Elgort is young getaway driver Baby, who is working to pay off a debt to Doc (Spacey), an alarmingly calm crime boss.

Key to Baby's skill behind his wheel is also his weakness: a childhood injury that has left him with distracting ringing in his ears. To deal with this, he mixes a personal soundtrack to choreograph his every moment and only takes his earphones out, pausing the film's soundtrack, when things get really serious.

This is a one-last-job comedy crime tale with a killer soundtrack.

The Strange Ones

Co-directors Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein's feature debut is an eerie, moving coming-of-age tale.

Alex Pettyfer and James Freedson-Jackson play brothers on the run. Their father is dead and his house engulfed in flames, but what happened remains a mystery.

When the pair find a cabin in the woods, they envisage a self-sufficient life of hunting far from civilisation, but their plans soon fall apart and they are forced to come to terms with the past.

A Bad Idea Gone Wrong

Writer/director Jason Headley's debut feature is a charming, clever, light-as-air indie comedy.

With a nod to Pulp Fiction, the film introduces us to bumbling wannabe criminals Marlon (Breaking Bad's Matt Jones) and Leo (Will Rogers).

The hapless duo accidentally arm an alarm system and have to break out of the house they just broke into when they discover an unexpected housesitter.

Suddenly they have to deal with a hostage situation, double crosses, sexual tensions and discoveries that make their difficult escape even more unlikely.

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