Sundance Film Festival announces first wave of movies
Here are the ones that actually sound like they could be good. Ahh, Sundance. Where the movies that the proletariat will be talking about a year from now make their first stab at success. The legendary festival attracts the best and brightest in the American movie industry, and every year sees some breakout hits dazzle us. The festival just announced the sixteen entrants in the Drama competition as well as the sixteen documentaries, and here are a few that I think have a chance to be good.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
The second film by Dallas-based director David Lowery (no, not the Camper van Beethoven guy), Ain’t Them Bodies Saints stars Casey Affleck as a criminal who escapes from prison to reunite with his wife and his daughter, who he’s never met. It’s based on an earlier short film that Lowery has been workshopping for years, and early buzz is good on this one.
In A World…
Actress Lake Bell debuts as both a screenwriter and director for this one (which she also stars in), about a young woman whose father is the “In A World…” guy that narrates all of the movie trailers. Inspired by his success, she tries to become a voiceover overlord herself. A great cast including Rob Corddry and Demitri Martin makes this one sound pretty good.
Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes
Lesbian Italian countess (how often do I get to write those words?) Francesca Gregorini made her film debut with 2009’s prep-school drama Tanner Hall, but her sophomore film Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes looks to be a whole different beast indeed. Starring Kaya Scodelario as a young woman who becomes obsessed when a new woman lives in next door with a creepy resemblance to her dead mother, it co-stars Jessica Biel.
Shane Carruth’s Primer is one of my favorite mind-bending movies, a twisted time travel story that soaked deeply in the weird world of theoretical physics. It’s taken him seemingly forever to come up with a follow-up, but it looks just as weird. The official description for Upstream Color says “a man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism.” What that actually means I have no idea.
One of the most interesting documentaries on the slate, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish examines the world of captive killer whales – these normally peaceful predators lose their mind when they’re kept from the open sea and start murdering humans. Given what we know about their near-human intelligence, is there any good reason for doing this?
The cartel culture of modern Mexico is as fascinating as it is deadly, with a whole generation of young men seduced by the vast profits in a country struggling with desperate poverty. This documentary from director Shaul Schwarz studies two sides of the story – an aspiring narcocorrido singer and a crime scene investigator in Ciudad Juarez.
Monday will see the announcement of some of the bigger-name premieres at Sundance, so I’ll give you the scoop on those then.