Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s off to freezing-weather-with-hopefully-awesome-films we go!We have our East Coast correspondent Christie Ko, our on the ground, traveling reporter Brendan Walsh and myself returning for yet another year at the Sundance Film Festival starting tomorrow and staying for the whole festival! Brendan has already posted his much watch list and it’s obvious that the two of us will be competing for a few of the films this year. We’ll both be battling it out alongside all the other journalist who aren’t invited to see Red State to get in, though something tells me that if anyone can, it’ll be Brendan despite whatever feminine-charms I might have.
I thought I was the only one seeking out good Ben Foster films (had to specify with The Mechanic working it’s way into theaters) but apparently, I’m not his only fan! Who would have thought! I am the only one out of our group who will definitely be hitting up Ewan McGregor‘s film The Details because frankly, there’s almost nothing I can’t watch him in and it’s nice to see him back at the festival.
Apparently documentary filmmakers have stopped trying to make sense of politics and have left it to the fictional filmmakers. In an odd swap, Kevin Spacey will be tackling the political front in his fictional film, Margin Call (hopefully on par or better than Casino Jack did) and well-known documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock will be taking on Hollywood. Politics are basically fictional, and no one likes to take their time and take a look at the truth in Hollywood so I say the swap is a good thing! I’m looking forward to seeing Kevin Spacey get political and Morgan Spurlock make the first doc-buster ever!
Paul Giamatti (isn’t he amazing?), the indie darling (self-professed in an interview I’ll have up with him soon) will be returning to the festival with his latest film, Win Win. Frankly when Giamatti is on screen it’s always a win, win… count me in!
Then there’s a bit of light-hearted fun with My Idiot Brother starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and my favorites Emily Mortimer and Steve Coogan, as well as The Details which stars
Tobey Maguire and once again Elizabeth Bank, in the film with the best synopsis ever….
…Enter the raccoons, who repeatedly tear up his grass. When Jeff tries to eradicate these meddlesome vandals, his efforts initiate a bewildering chain reaction involving a crazy cat lady, multiple infidelities, extortion, organ donation, and somebody on the wrong end of a bow and arrow.
It definitely seems like Sundance has lightened up a bit this year and is going for more comedies and thrillers than in previous years. Though (not on my list) is Meek’s Cutoff will be there for those of you who like watching people walk around for a while.
And of course I need myself a little horror and blood (though Brendan will be taking Hobo with a Shotgun because of how graphic we hear that bad boy is) I’ll be taking, Oregionian starring Lindsay Pulsipher, who acted in one of my films and is absolutely amazing.
Of course we’ll have our ears open for other great films that surprise everyone and we’ll have a lot more reviews than the following, but check out the list of films you can expect to see reviews from below…
Sundance Films I Want to See 2011:
- Red State
- The Woman
- The Details
- Margin Call
- Cedar Rapids
- My Idiot Brother
- Perfect Sense
- Win Win
- The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
- Project Nim
- Fight for Your Right Revisited (Short)
- Diarchy (Short)
More Info on all the Films Mentioned Above:
- Here/U.S.A (Director and screenwriter: Braden King) —Will (Ben Foster) is a satellite-mapping engineer conducting a survey of Armenia. One morning at his hotel, he meets Gadarine (Lubna Azabal), an Armenian expatriate and photographer, who has recently returned home. The pair impulsively decide to drive across the country together.
- Red State/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kevin Smith) — A group of misfits encounter extreme fundamentalism in Middle America. Cast: Michael Parks, Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman, Melissa Leo.
- Oregonian/U.S.A (Director and screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder) — If you know Calvin Lee Reeder’s short films Little Farm and The Rambler, you know you are in for some thick atmosphere in The Oregonian. Reeder is a king of ambiance, using color and sound to creep you out as much as the sinister characters do.
- The Details/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jacob Aaron Estes) —When hungry raccoons discover worms living under the sod in a young couple’s backyard, the pest problem sets off a wild and absurd chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity, organ donation and murder by way of bow and arrow.Cast: Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Ray Liotta, Dennis Haysbert.
- Cedar Rapids/U.S.A. (Director: Miguel Arteta; Screenwriter: Phil Johnston) —A wholesome and naive small-town Wisconsin man travels to big city Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at a regional insurance conference. Cast: Ed Helms, John C Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alia Shawkat, Sigourney Weaver.
- The Convincer/U.S.A. (Director: Jill Sprecher; Screenwriters: Jill Sprecher & Karen Sprecher) —An insurance salesman, caught in a caper involving a rare musical instrument, sets off a series of dramatic consequences. Cast: Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour.
- Margin Call/U.S.A.(Director and screenwriter: JC Chandor) —Over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis, the key people at a investment bank struggle to decide how to handle an emergency business situation while examining the personal and moral implications of every action they take. Cast: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci.
- The Music Never Stopped (Director: Jim Kohlberg; Screenwriters: Gwyn Lurie and Gary Marks, based on the story “The Last Hippie” by Oliver Sacks) — A father struggles to bond with his estranged son who suffers a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories. He learns to embrace his son’s choices and to try to connect with him through the power of music. Cast: J.K. Simmons, Julia Ormond, Cara Seymour, Lou Taylor Pucci, Mia Maestro.
- My Idiot Brother/U.S.A.(Director: Jesse Peretz; Screenwriters: Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall) — After serving time for selling pot, Ned successively moves in with each of his three sisters as he tries to get back on his feet. His best intentions quickly bring the family to the cusp of chaos and ultimately the brink of clarity. Cast: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer.
- Perfect Sense/United Kingdom (Director: David Mackenzie; Screenwriter: Kim Fupz Aakeson) —A poetic and magnetic love story about two people who start to fall in love just as the world begins to fall apart. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner, Stephen Dillane, Denis Lawson and Connie Nielsen.
- Salvation Boulevard/U.S.A. (Director: George Ratliff; Screenwriters: Doug Max Stone and George Ratliff, based on the novel by Larry Beinhart) —An evangelical preacher who has captivated a city with his charm frames an ex-hippie for a crime he did not commit. Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei.
- The Son of No One/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Dito Montiel) —Two men in post-9/11 New York are forced to relive two murders they committed as young boys. Their lives start to unravel by the threat of the revelation of these shocking and personal secrets. Cast: Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
- Win Win/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Tom McCarthy, based on the story by Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni) — When a disheartened attorney moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach stumbles across a star athlete, things seem to be looking up. That is, until the boy’s mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor.
- The Greatest Movie Ever Sold/U.S.A (Director: Morgan Spurlock) –
- Project Nim/UK (Director: James Marsh) – Filmmaker James Marsh returns to the Sundance Film Festival with an unflinching, unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about Nim’s true nature—and indeed our own—is comic, revealing, and profoundly unsettling.
- Diarchy / Italy (Director and Screenwriter: Ferdinando Cito Filmomarino) – Giano and Luc are traveling through the woods when a storm breaks, forcing them to take shelter in Luc’s villa. Gradually and insidiously, a competition emerges between them, with terrible consequences.
- Fight for Your Right Revisited – (Written and Directed by: Adam Yauch) – After the boys leave the party . . . Starring: Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Jack Black
Check back in soon for more coverage from Sundance!