No, I’m not lucky enough to be at this year’s Sundance film festival held in beautiful Park City, Utah and so no, I don’t have any reviews for you of the festival’s highlights, but as usual, many of the indie movies have created a buzz across the world wide web, and below is a list of a few which look set to be some of this year’s great early films.
It’s just a little taster of what’s to come from 2012, movies to keep an eye on and look out for in the coming months – once they get distribution deals of course.
Sundance is the hallowed ground for unusual projects and little known indie hits; for those abstract classics and some of the finest documentaries the world has to offer. Last year alone Sundance was of the first to screen the likes of The Guard, Like Crazy, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Another Earth, Take Shelter, Terri, Tyrannosaur, Margin Call and great documentaries like Project Nim, Senna and Being Elmo.
So, as Sundance comes to a close, with just a few days to go, here’s what everybody is talking about:
Whilst the likes of Red Lights (Cortes), Red Hook Summer (Spike Lee) and John Dies At The End (Coscarelli) are getting mixed responses, The Surrogate goes from strength to strength, not only gaining Sundance buzz but being touted as a possible Oscar contender too. Ben Lewin’s third film in a career spanning nearly 40 years tells the tale of poet and journalist Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes) who, paralyzed with polio, asks his priest (William H Macy) if anything can be done so that he doesn’t die a virgin. EnterHelen Hunt (sorry I couldn’t help myself) the sex surrogate. This unusual subject area is treated with the most care and the film looks set to win many awards in the near future.
Quentin Dupieux, the director who brought us Rubber - the tale of a killer tyre – returns with Wrong, which looks equally perplexing but just as dazzling. Wrong is the story of one man and his missing dog: Dolph (Jack Plotnick) wakes to find the love of his life missing and goes on a wacky journey in search of his friend and with a cast that includes the legendary William Fichtner (Prison Break, The Dark Knight). Dupieux is on fine form once again, here with another bite of random European cinema.
Josh Radnor (you know the annoying one from How I Met Your Mother) is a director – yes a director – and his second feature Liberal Arts comes a mere two years after his mediocre debut Happythankyoumoreplease. Radnor is seemingly forcing himself into leading roles after being type cast by the aforementioned TV show may have struck gold though with Liberal Arts, which he wrote, directed and starred in. 30-something year old Jesse (Radnor) who is struggling to come to terms with growing up and you know his own mortality and that, visits his old college and starts dating a 19 year old (Elizabeth Olsen, all grown up now), Zac Efron, Allison Janney and Richard Jenkins round off the cast. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype.
A major documentary in this year’s Sundance, The Impostor is Barry Layton’s film about the disappearance of a 13 year old Texan boy that brings to mind the phrase, ‘stranger than fiction’. The kid goes missing and leaves a worried family distraught, and then turns up 3 and a half years later in Spain. There is, though a twist in this tale – the kid tells his tale of woe only to be revealed to actually be an impostor: the Texan is actually a French teen named Frederic Bourdin. Crazy I know, but this sounds intriguing and engrossing.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Potentially the stand-out hit of Sundance, Beasts Of The Southern Wild is about a young girl, Hushpuppy, whose dad gets ill and follows her as she deals with this and what questions it brings up. Though it’s said to so much more and the filmmakers don’t just delve into such philosophical themes, director Benh Zeitlin has also created an entirely new world, a mythical water world which looks set to dazzle viewers called The Bathtub, which is a community made of societies leftovers which sits magically on the edge of the world itself is something I eagerly look forward to.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Time travel is making a comeback it seems with this year’s Looper and now Safety Not Guaranteed, a comedy sci-fi debut by Colin Trevorrow, which follows Aubrey Plaza (great in Scott Pilgrim, Funny People etc.) an intern at a Seattle Magazine who follows up on a classified ad in which a man looks for a time traveling companion. It seems the crazy just keeps coming at Sundance 2012. This sounds like a true delight and another one I’m eagerly anticipating.
Now, time for a powerful drama in Smashed. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim, Death Proof) plays an alcoholic teacher whose relationship with the equally drunk Aaron Paul (of Breaking Bad legend) is put to the test when Winstead goes sober. Sounds like a simplistic but heart wrenching movie, and Winstead is getting some serious buzz for what sounds like a career highlight for the young star.
For A Good Time, Call
After the huge success of Apatow’s Bridesmaids, it’s no wonder this little gem got snapped up by Focus Features. For A Good Time, Call is a female tour de force, featuring Lauren Anne Miller (Mrs Seth Rogen) and Ari Graynor (great in Nick & Norah, also in The Sitter) as two friends who start a phone sex line. It’s a side-splitting comedy with a real heart. and with the added bonus of Seth Rogen, Mark Webber and a great role from Justin Long, expect to see this in theatres shortly.
So, that’s that – eight of the biggest potential films at this year’s fest – did we miss any that you’ve been looking forward to? Let us know below. There’s many many more to check out, and we’ve still to hear of anything from Mark Webber’s debut The End Of Love, so watch this space.