Sundance Film Festival 2005 Preview: PART ONE

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In celebration of the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, beginning January 20th and running through the 30th down in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Sundance Film Festival is easily one of, if not the, premiere festival for filmmakers of all experiences to showcase their films and this year is no different as this year boasts a huge list of films in nine different categories including Independent Feature Film Competition, the inaugural World Cinema Competition, Premieres, Park City at Midnight, American Spectrum, Frontier, Special Screenings and the Sundance Collection.

While there are far too many films for us to supply you with a full preview we are putting together daily updates of films that we believe will be of interest to our users. Some of these films you may have heard of such as the Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody thriller, The Jacket all the way to a film called The Squid and the Whale.

This first edition of our Sundance preview is just an example of what we will be offering you with pics you have not yet seen and movies you have not yet heard of as we begin with the five films: The Jacket, Ellie Parker, Kung Fu Hustle, Thumbsucker and Strangers with Candy.

Several of the films we will be previewing may or may not have official release dates yet, and most of them are still looking to be picked up just as Wolf Creek was a couple of days ago, so without further ado…

THE JACKET

The Jacket is a highly anticipated film, as it features the acting talents of the rising star Keira Knightley and Oscar-winner Adrien Brody. Described as a haunting and sensual psychological thriller that tracks a military veteran’s journey through a Möbius maze of life and death.

Sundance writer, Shari Frilot, describes the film as beautifully rendered, dramatically enthralling, and intellectually stimulating, The Jacket proves John Maybury’s enormous talent for focusing his skills as a painter and experimental filmmaker on the craft of storytelling.

The film tells the tale of Jack Starks (Brody) as he returns home to his native home in Vermont after he miraculously escaped death in the Gulf War. Upon his arrival he is wrongly accused of murder and thanks to a bout of amnesia is not able to defend himself, landing him in an asylum, where Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson) is developing a heavy course of experimental drugs.

Drugged up and locked away in the body drawer of the basement morgue, Jack’s treatment transports him through time, where he finds love with Jackie (Knightley) and his own death (but not who did it or how) in four day’s time. Ultimately, the only question that matters is: can he stop it?

To check out the rest of the cast and a gallery of 30 stills, including a couple you have not yet seen click here.

The Jacket has a running time of 102 minutes and is currently set for a March 4, 2005 theatrical release, and is being produced by Peter Guber, George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh.

ELLIE PARKER

One actress that has managed to wisely choose roles as of late is Naomi Watts, giving her a chance to not only impress audiences with her talents but also be involved in intriguing and entertaining films. According to Sundance writer, Geoffrey Gilmore, she has succeeded once again with Ellie Parker as he boasts the talents of director Scott Coffey and describes Watts as one of the most exceptional actresses working.

Ellie Parker (Watts) is an actress running from audition to audition, changing make-up, clothes and personality as she speeds along, barely attending to her whirlwind life as she strives to get cast in a movie all while none of her friends provide her any help. And just as she is about to lose faith in the whole process she comes to find that her manager, Dennis, played by none other than Chevy Chase, isn’t exactly piping up to stop her.

Even though it is described as a vital, powerfully intimate experience that will speak to everyone Ellie Parker is yet to pick up a distributor, hopefully Sundance will be the solution.

To check out ten pics from the film, some good, some bad, click here.

KUNG FU HUSTLE

If you saw last year’s release Shaolin Soccer then you are already familiar with the talents of Stephen Chow, if not, the picture gallery we have for his next film should tell you exactly what to expect as he takes his action/comedy Kung Fu Hustle to Sundance.

The 99 minute feature is set in 1940s Canton, China following Sing (Chow), a hapless wannabe gangster who must overcome his inability to wield a knife and demonstrate his mettle in order to become a member of the notorious Axe Gang.

The Axe Gang, meanwhile, want to reign supreme by occupying the most coveted territory, which is a sacred street protected by an unlikely cast of characters, many of whom are highly skilled kung fu masters disguised as ordinary people.

We have a full gallery of 15 outstanding images as well as links to a domestic and international trailer. To check out the goods just click here.

THUMBSUCKER

Thumbsucker doesn’t deviate from its name as you can tell from the above pic. That is Lou Taylor Pucci playing a bright but awkward high-school teen who’s only vice is his incessant thumb sucking, he wants to quit, but there isn’t a patch for this problem. He tries ink on the thumb and even hypnosis but nothing works. Then, despite his mother’s concern, he turns to meds and while they begin to work the question soon arises whether this is an answer or just a more acceptable form of pacification?

Based on the novel by Walter Kirn, Thumbsucker stars a large cast including the before-mentioned Lou Pucci and Tilda Swinton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Keanu Reeves, Benjamin Bratt, Kelli Garner and Vince Vaughn.

We have included three images from the film in our gallery, unfortunately, none of them feature our big name actors, but you do get a larger look at the “thumbsucker” himself, so click here for those.

STRANGERS WITH CANDY

Finally, our last preview for part one is Strangers with Candy, the television cult comedy that is making its jump from Comedy Central to the big screen.

As the fans rejoice, you can now know that the cast and writers of the popular series have all reunited to bring audiences a prequel to the insanity as we go back in time to when our hero, Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), emerges from her long prison stay. A 46-year-old ex-junkie, she returns to high school in a bid to start her life over, and hopefully snap her father out of his 32-year coma. Jerri realizes that high school isn’t so different from prison, and her hyperactive libido sends her chasing after anything with a pulse.

The film was written by Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello and Sedaris and Paul Dinello has taken the directorial reigns with a cast that boasts the likely names, Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, Gregory Holliman, Sara Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Allison Janney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Once again, Strangers with Candy is without an official distributor, but if it manages to tickle auds the way the show did, Sundance should find the film a home.

In celebration of its inclusion in the festival we have uploaded three pics from the film for you to enjoy, so click here to check those out.

And so the part one of our preview ends, but be sure to return tomorrow when I will showcase the Pierce Brosnan starrer, The Matador, Kevin Bacon’s directorial effort in Loverboy, the saucy UK import Layer Cake, the latest from Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man and the Michael Keaton drama, Game 6.

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