Alright! It’s 2012, which means this could be the last Sundance Film Festival ever, so we’d better make the most of it! With over 100 feature narrative & documentary films being screened, as well as short film programs, panel discussions, art installations, music performances, and industry parties, it’s next to impossible to decide how to spend our time here! However, I’ve managed to whittle down the top 5 films I’m absolutely determined to see, so whatever happens beyond that will be pure gravy. Check out the rest of the article after the jump, to see what my top 5 anticipated films of this year’s fest are, and be sure to check out Mali’s Top Five Films To See At Sundance 2012 as well!
UPDATE: Watch Mali Elfman and Brendan Walsh go through their Top 5 Most Anticipated Sundance Films below:
5. Celeste & Jesse Forever
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Screenwriters: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack
Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Chris Messina, Ari Graynor, Emma Roberts, Elijah Wood
Ever since I first saw her on David Kelly’s Boston Public, I’ve had a goofy crush on Rashida Jones, which has only grown as she’s developed and refined her career. She has a serene sincerity to her performance which often grounds the silliness of the comedies in which she tends to co-star. Now, she’s co-written a film about a “perfect” marriage coming to an end, and I’m truly curious to see her express herself as a storyteller, rather than a performer. I’m also very interested to see Andy Samberg, whose smug puss I usually can barely stand to even look at, playing a true character rather than a caricature.
4. We’re Not Broke
Directors: Karin Hayes, Victoria Bruce
Editor: Cindy Lee
Socially-conscious documentaries are a forte of Sundance, with such films as Restrepo, 8: The Mormon Proposition, and Waiting for Superman. But while many documentaries this year seem to focus on the human condition within the national climate, We’re Not Broke appears to be the most pointedly political. With the continued presence of the #Occupy movement, there is still a great deal of confusion and misinformation about the goals and opinions of those who count themselves among it. With any luck, this documentary will illuminate and clarify some of these points, and reveal some of the reasons behind the inequity among American economic classes.
3. Red Hook Summer
Director: Spike Lee
Screenwriters: James McBride, Spike Lee
Starring: Clarke Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, Nate Parker, James Ransone, Thomas Jefferson Byrd
My favorite Spike Lee film is usually whichever one I’ve seen most recently. And while I’m excited to hear that he’s slated to direct the upcoming American remake of Oldboy, I’m more excited to see him going back to his roots with a Brooklyn based family story. Also, the film stars Clarke Peters and James Ransome, two of the most gifted alumni of HBO’s prolific The Wire, adding to the film’s already prestigious pedigree.
2. The Raid
Director/Screenwriter/Editor: Gareth Huw Evans
With all the high minded melodrama, and exploration of the human condition of the typical Sundance films, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a stylized action film thrown in the mix. Showcasing the Indonesian martial art Silat, The Raid appears to be a mix between Elite Squad and Attack the Block. It’s a story of an elite SWAT team storming a tenement building run by a ruthless crime lord. With the singular setting and intense action, it should provide a welcome respite from the heavy emotional themes of the rest of the festival.
1. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Directors/Screenwriters: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim
Starring: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, Will Forte
Sundance has long prided itself on nurturing and developing the careers of independent filmmakers, and while the titular Tim and Eric have had successful careers in their own rights up to this point (Adult Swim’s Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job), this film seems to be the culmination of their cult icon status. They can only branch out and become more legitimate from here. In fact, they are both starring in another film, The Comedy, which may be a sign of things to come. But first, I plan to see this, and expect it to be better than Avatar.
So there you have it! I’m certain we’ll get to lots more movies than these, and am looking forward to dozens of other films, including narratives Filly Brown, The Surrogate, Your Sister’s Sister, Sleep Walk With Me, Black Rock, Excision, John Dies at the End, and documentaries The House I Live In, Teddy Bear, Detropia, West of Memphis, Finding North, and Shut Up and Play the Hits.
Watch Mali Elfman and Brendan Walsh go through their Top 5 Most Anticipated Sundance Films below:
Stay tuned for more highlights from this year’s Sundance Film Festival!