For years I have had a love/hate relationship with the Sundance Film Festival. The fest has delivered some truly amazing films recently (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Winter’s Bone ) while also seeming to promulgate it’s own brand of zany, quirky bullshit movies (Nobody Walks, Smart People, Sunshine Cleaning, Anything w/Brit Marling).
For the 2013 fest (Jan 17-27, 2013), I’d like to highlight seven films which seem worthy of getting excited over. Why seven? No reason other than a nice alliteration. There are more than seven which will be good films but you can trawl through other websites for more exhaustive lists.
1. Upstream Color
Long-anticipated follow-up from writer/director Shane Carruth (Primer). I don’t want to know much of what it’s about, I will go see it since Primer was so damn good.
New film from ace English director Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Down Terrace) that follows a new couple on a journey through the English countryside that’s…eventful.
Great German Poster for the film:
3. I Used To Be Darker
Matthew Porterfield (Putty Hill) directs a movie about a gal fleeing Northern Ireland to end up with relatives in Baltimore who are in the midst of their own familial troubles.
4. Don Jon’s Addiction
Joseph Gordon-Levitt steps behind the camera to direct his first movie, so why not make it a film about a sex-addict (played by Joe) and cast Scarlett Johansson opposite you? Why not indeed.
5. Prince Avalanche
David Gordon Green (George Washington, All the Real Girls) returns to his roots after slumming in the Apatow Comedy Ghetto. The film pairs Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two highway workers circa 1988. It’s a remake of Either Way, an Icelandic film.
6. The Way, Way Back
A coming-of-age tale of a 14-yr old working at a water park. Co-written & directed by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (writers of The Descendants and actors in their own right). It stars Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette, and Faxon & Rash.
7. The Spectacular Now
A hard-drinking high schooler is lured in by an outcast. It’s got a great Sundance pedigree as it’s written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500) Days of Summer) and directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed). It stars Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) and Shailene Woodley (scene-stealing older daughter in The Descendants).