Well, it’s that time of year again–the yearly South By Southwest film festival has laid siege to Austin, Texas, having launched on Friday with a torrent of screenings, premieres, celebrity sightings, desperate conniving for  SXSW Film badges, and more.

Wading through the deluge of movie reviews, Twitter-hypes, and blog denunciations can always be an eye-reddening slog, so allow us to break down the best of SXSW for you thus far:

Top Flicks:

  • Leading off the SXSW buzz is the Edgar Wright-produced, Joe Cornish-directed Attack of the Block.  A wild-eyed mishmash of elements from The Warriors, Gremlins, Critters, and Predator (yeah, you read that right), the film lays out an alien invasion of London.  Or, as Ain’t It Cool News puts it:

“When Cornish took the stage to introduce the film he described it as Super 8 Mile and shockingly that’s a very apt description. It’s about pissed off aliens that land in gang-ridden South London and the teen thugs that stand up to them… While that dynamic is running, we also have a fun kids-defending-their-home action-horror flick. Thanks to the great guys at Spectral Motion and Cornish’s obvious nostalgia for movie monsters of my heyday the threat is very real.”

  • The Hollywood Reporter documented the madness of the Kill List screening at the Alamo Drafthouse, where, “amid plentiful trash-talking and audience jeering, a beer-slamming no-breaks relay race ensued that devolved into quite a spitting mess. Eventually, the movie itself played, which one attendee, who related this story to me, described as ‘fucking warped but amazing.’”  The film documents the decline into paranoia and madness of an ex-soldier turned contract killer.  Subtlety ahoy!
  • Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is (in addition to being a very apt title) a “thoroughly entertaining doc about the ‘Legally Prohibited’ tour” that “shows O’Brien funnier than ever, even when wounded,” that should, according to The Hollywood Reporter, assuage some of Coco’s lingering regrets about his Tonight Show debacle with “the thought that Jay Leno will never earn as much laughter in half an hour as he and his crew does in the first third of Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop.”
  • Cinematical tapped Girl Walks Into a Bar as “half an anthology piece, of sorts, and half an “all in one night” neo-noir dark comedy, ‘Girl Walks Into a Bar’ is about as “experimental” a flick you’ll find outside the festival circuit — it actually debuted on YouTube following its SXSW world premiere — but it’s also unexpectedly breezy, quick-witted, and rather fun.”
  • Finally, Ain’t It Cool News pegs Ti West’s The Innkeepers as “low budget, it’s a slow burn, but to me this film succeeds in all the ways Insidious failed… The Innkeepers takes place in an old hotel that is notoriously haunted, but not in a hidden Stephen King kinda way, but in the way that most medium-sized towns have that old hotel with a history.”

Keep checking in with ScreenCrave for more SXSW news!