The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

Plus, find out how you can win a trip for two to this year's festival!

The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015
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With nearly 100 movies being screened and hundreds of bands hitting the scene, we'd forgive you for being totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of cool things you can check out at this year's SXSW Festival (March 13-22). But don't worry, we've got you covered. Before you head to Austin to soak up the amazing performances (and barbeque), check out the top movie and music picks from Zimbio editors Darrick Thomas, Joe Robberson, and Lani Conway.

Don't have tickets to this year's SXSW festivities yet? We've got your back there, too! At the bottom of this article you can enter to win a trip for two to this year's festival. We'll cover the flight and festival passes for you and a friend, provide VIP access to private events and parties, and set you up in exclusive 1-on-1 meetings with entrepreneurs & influencers from the tech and music scene.

Darrick's Picks

  • 1

    'Trainwreck' (Movie)

    The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

    If This Is 40 officially gave you Judd Apatow fatigue, don’t give up on him yet. After taking a few years off, Apatow has teamed up with breakout comedian Amy Schumer for his next film Trainwreck, a rough cut of which will be debuting at the SXSW film festival. Schumer’s blunt, fearless, empowering style is a perfect foil for Apatow’s stoner charm. Details on the plot have been kept tightly under wraps, but the Schumer/Apatow pairing combined with a cast that includes Bill Hader, Marisa Tomei, Brie Larson, and Tilda Swinton is all the reason you need to put Trainwreck on your SXSW to-do list.

  • 2

    Viet Cong (Music)

    The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

    They say that great art comes from tragedy. Maybe that’s part of the story for Viet Cong, and band born out of the Canadian group called Women who sadly lost their guitarist Christopher Reimer at 26 to a heart condition. While Women will always be part of them, it doesn’t define them as Viet Cong. Their debut album is gritty and propulsive and melodic and totally catchy. It’s a lot to juggle, but their breed of industrial art rock nails it, especially on “Continental Shelf,” a song that has already entrenched itself on our eventual “best of the year” lists.

  • 3

    Courtney Barnett (Music)

    The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

    “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.” Anyone who can pen a diss like and toss it off so casually under the crunch of a guitar should be on your radar. Courtney Barnett hails from Australia and is making her way to Austin in support of her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. That album title gives you a sense of her brand of more-rock-than-folk folk rock. Her rambling, irreverent, spoken-word lyrics will make you laugh at one moment and reevaluate your life in the next. (Listen here.)

Joe's Pick

  • 1

    'Ex Machina' (Movie)

    The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

    Starring Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, who will both appear in Star Wars Episode VII later this year, Ex Machina is the SXSW thriller to see in 2015. Directed by Alex Garland, the writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, the film bears more than a passing resemblance to the frantic work of Danny Boyle, who directed both of those movies. Ex Machina's chilling premise revolves around a brilliant scientist who invites a lucky programmer to evaluate his newest creation: a robot (Alicia Vikander) with capabilities far beyond anything in existence. Trust in the talent behind this one and the trailer, which highlights the film's visual promise.


Lani's Picks

  • 1

    Twin Shadow (Music)

    The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

    Much has changed for the rising prince of new wave since his last SXSW appearance back in 2011. Twin Shadow (née George Lewis, Jr.) released his breakout hit Confess, a glossier and punchier follow-up LP to his 2010 debut, Forget, and showcased his feel-good synth pop grooves and A-plus crooning on major festival stages around the world. Expect to hear new tracks from the singer/author's upcoming third studio album, Eclipse, when he returns to the SXSW stage this year. (Listen here.)

  • 2

    'Brand: A Second Coming' (Movie)

    The Movies and Music You Can't Miss at SXSW 2015

    There's a lot to say about Russell Brand. He's complicated, passionate, and a polarizing Hollywood figure. In Brand: A Second Coming, Ondi Timoner — two-time winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize — breaks apart the provocative comedian turned political activist, and gives us an inside look at Brand's journey from drug addict to anti-capitalist crusader. Even if Brand isn't your cup of tea, you can bet the actor's foul-mouthed insights and commentary will make for an interesting view.

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