This year’s Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, January 17 and runs though the 27th. In case you missed our previous mentions, ComingSoon.net will not be attending this year’s festival for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean we’re not excited about what this year’s festival has to offer in terms of new movies. As in years past, many of the movies premiering at Sundance will be what we’ll be watching and talking about from now until the end of the year.
We decided to pick out twenty movies we think will have the most interest and buzz at the festival. For the most part, the movies we picked are ones that have yet to get distribution but are very likely to have some by the end of the festival with three exceptions, that being the two movies from Fox Searchlight that are premiering at the festival and one other. Hopefully all twenty of these movies will be ones we’ll all have a chance to see real soon.
At the time of this writing, Sundance has released at least one production still from each of the movies, but in some cases, you can click on the title and see a couple more.
That acronym stands for “Adult Children of Divorce” and it’s Stu Zicherman’s debut which stars Sundance vet and one of our personal favorites, actor Adam Scott, as a man trying to cope with his parents’ divorce 15 years earlier after taking part in a study about divorced children. Zicherman’s great cast also includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch, Richard Jenkins, Clark Duke and Amy Poehler, so if nothing else, it should be very funny.
Filmmaker Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back together for their second sequel to the popular ’90s favorite, Before Sunrise, with their characters once again reuniting, this time in Greece. Fans of the previous movie, Before Sunset, which was nominated for an Oscar for its screenplay, should be thrilled to watch Jesse and Celine catch up after nine years in this new setting.
Michael Polish of the Polish Brothers (Twin Falls Idaho), who have had many a film at Sundance, returns with one of two Jack Kerouac-related movies at this year’s festival – the other is Kill Your Darlings below. Based on Kerouac’s 1962 book, it stars French filmmaker Jean-Michael Barr as Jack Duluoz whose sudden fame leads to substance abuse as he travels to the Big Sur wilderness with his friends.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a longtime Sundance favorite who scored the gig hosting this year’s award’s show, makes his directorial debut with this story of a modern-day Don Juan (played by JGL himself, of course). JGL is hot right now and it doesn’t hurt that he has the likes of former indie darling Scarlett Johansson and Brie Larson acting opposite him. And former TV star Tony Danza to boot?
The East (Fox Searchlight)
One of only a few movies coming into Sundance with distribution already in place, Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling’s follow-up to last year’s Sound of My Voice, which premiered at Sundance one year earlier, and they’re reunited for a movie involving eco-terrorists led by “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgard. Co-starring Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell and Patricia Clarkson, Marling this time plays a law enforcement agent who goes undercover within the group.
Sundance has always been a great place for new talent to be discovered as seen in recent years by Elizabeth Olsen and Quvenzhané Wallis and this year’s new find may be Kaya Scodelario–star of Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights–who plays a girl who becomes obsessed with her mysterious neighbor, played by Jessica Biel. Directed by Francesca Gregorini (Tanner Hall), it also stars Alfred Molina and Frances O’Connor and it’s premiering at Sundance in competition.
Anyone who watches Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital” already knows how funny actress Lake Bell can be and probably has seen an episode or two directed by her, but now she makes her feature film debut with a comedy in which she plays a vocal coach who pursues her dream of becoming a voice-over artist, pushed by her father’s famed movie trailer voice-over career.
Indie thrillers are a regular genre at Sundance, especially high concept ones as epitomized by Open Water, Ryan Reynolds’ Buried and others. TV veteran Jeremy Lovering’s thriller stars Alice Englert (from the upcoming Beautiful Creatures) and Iain De Caestecker as a couple on their way to a music festival that become the target of a mysterious figure who follows them throughout the countryside.
The big buzz behind this film in competition directed by John Krokidas is that it stars Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, playing beat poet Allen Ginsberg, as it shows his early days at Columbia University in 1944 when he meets Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, as played by Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Ben Foster, and they form a friendship that leads to the birth of a generation.
Director Michael Winterbottom and actor Steve Coogan first made waves on these shores in 2002 with their Tony Wilson biopic (of sorts) 24 Hour Party People and they’ve since worked together twice more, most recently in the hilarious road comedy The Trip. This time, Coogan plays club owner and porn publisher Paul Raymond, known as the “King of Soho,” and while he may not be as known here as Wilson, we’re convinced the movie will be just as entertaining.