SXSW Rolls the Dice on Its Opening-Night Film

21 kicks off SXSW Film 2008

It's the second day of the new year, so it must be time to talk South by Southwest 2008 (T minus two months and counting!). The gang across the way (seriously – they live on the other side of the beach volleyball court) has just announced their opening-night Festival film, 21, about the true-life adventures of a group of card-counting MIT students who take Vegas by storm.

Honestly, we're torn here: The script is from Peter Steinfeld (Be Cool) and the seriously buzzed-about Allan Loeb (Things We Lost in the Fire), but it's also directed by Legally Blonde's Robert Luketic (whose 2004 rom-com Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! prompted this critic to wonder, quite sincerely, "How exactly does one evaluate gradations of crap?"). Check out the trailer here.

Also on the 2008 docket are Steve James and Peter Gilbert's At the Death House Door, about the wrongful execution of Texan Carlos DeLuna and the Death House chaplain who spent the last day of DeLuna's life with him, and Erik Nelson's Dreams With Sharp Teeth, about sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison. These are in addition to previously announced films Flawless, Wild Blue Yonder, and the one we're most excited about, Run, Fatboy, Run, starring and co-written by Brit funny man Simon Pegg.

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