It’s time again to reprint my Twitch Sundance Previews in one easy to scroll through place. Be sure to check out all the originals and lots of reviews and wraps at TwitchFilm.com
Sundance 2012 Preview: Dramatic Competitions
Sundance 2012 Preview: Documentaries
Sundance 2012 Preview: Premieres & Spotlight
Sundance 2012 Preview: Midnight & Next
Sundance 2012 Preview: Short Films
To kick things off, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the notable films from each of the Dramatic Competition sections. It’s the nature of Sundance (especially the competition sections) to be a bit of a crapshoot guessing at which films will be the hits. Who would have guessed it would be Like Crazy not Little Birds or Another Earth instead of Another Happy Day that would get Park City buzzing last year. We’ll have wall to wall coverage of everything buzzing this year. For now, here are a few films that caught our eyes.
On to the Dramatic Competition.
SAVE THE DATE
With a cast that includes Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Mark Webber, Geoff Arend, and Melonie Diaz, this indie romantic comedy about love on the rebound from director Michael Mohan (One Too Many Mornings) has all the marks of a Sundance hit waiting to pop off.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
To say Mark Duplass is a popular man around Park City is to sell the talented filmmaker/comedian short. At this year’s festival alone, Duplass has two starring credits, three producing jobs, and one writer nod. One of those starring roles is alongside Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell, and Jeff Garlin in director Colin Trevorrow‘s feature debut about magazine employees who investigate a classified ad regarding Time Travel.
Youssef Delara (English as a Second Language) and Michael D. Olmos have teamed up to direct this story of a young Latina hip-hop artist struggling to come up in LA’s Echo Park neighborhood. Newcomer Gina Rodriguez stars alongside such Latino heavyweights as Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos (father of director Michael).
Indie sweetheart Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as a woman trying to sober up in James Ponsoldt‘s relationship drama about a couple whose marriage revolves around the bottle.
Ry Russo-Young has got herself some mean Mumblecore cred after co-starring in Joe Swanberg‘s Hannah Takes the Stairs and Alex Ross Perry‘s The Color Wheel. That Tiny Furniture writer/director Lena Dunham has teamed up to co-write Russo-Young’s latest directorial effort only ups the ante. The movie stars Olivia Thirlby, John Krasinski, Dylan McDermott, and Rosemarie DeWitt in this tale of (get this) romance in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood.
I’m really not sure what to expect from Rick Alverson‘s Brooklyn hipster comedy that stars indie vet Kate Lyn Sheil (Silver Bullets, The Color Wheel, You’re Next, Green) alongside Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (yep, that Tim & Eric!).
Ben Lewin‘s coming of age story of a 38 year-old man confined to an iron lung has one hell of a cast led by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy.
Quentin Dupieux follows up his quirky hit Rubber with this story of a man searching for his lost dog, encountering a pizza-delivering nymphomaniac, a jogging-addict, a French Mexican gardener, and a pet detective along the way. Jack Plotnick, Steve Little, and William Fichtner star.
ABOUT THE PINK SKY
Keiichi Kobayashi directs Sundance’s lone feature contribution from Japan; a black and white story of a school girl who finds a wallet loaded with yen.
Luciano Moura (Nascimento from the Elite Squad films) stars as a man traveling across Brazil in search of his runaway son.
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Animal Kingdom and Warrior star Joel Edgerton stars as a man struggling to cope with a friend’s disappearance in Kieran Darcy-Smith‘s nonlinear feature debut.
THE LAST ELVIS
Armando Bo‘s feature debut tells the story of a Buenos Aires Elvis impersonator (played by real life Elvis impersonator John McInerny) coming to grips with the truth that he might not really be The King.
MY BROTHER THE DEVIL
Sally El Hosaini directs her debut feature about two brothers struggling to find their way in London’s Arab gangland.
Jesus Camp, Boys of Baraka, and 12th & Delaware directors Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady return to Park City with this docu about the decay of America’s Motor City.
Jeff Orlowski chronicles National Geographic photographer James Balog’s attempt to visually capture climate change by photographing Earth’s shrinking glaciers. This one is sure to have some stunning cinematography.
THE INVISIBLE WAR
This Film is Not Yet Rated director Kirby Dick‘s latest is an exposé on sexual assault and rape in the US Military. Hide your children, hide your wife.
THE OTHER DREAM TEAM
This docu directed by the producer of Douchebag and Like Crazy chronicles the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic Basketball team.
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
Eugene Jarecki told the tale of the Military Industrial Complex in his docu Why We Fight. His latest takes a hard hitting look at the War on Drugs.
THE ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA
Don Argott and Sheena Joyce‘s (director and producer of The Art of the Steal) doc based on a book by Kelly McMasters examines the effects of nuclear energy in the US and those living in the shadows of the silos.
Mads Brugger snuck into North Korea with a pair of Danish-Korean comedians to expose the government’s fascist hypocrisy in 2010’s Sundance World Docu Competition winning The Red Chapel. In his latest, Brugger heads to central Africa on a purchased diplomatic passport to see just how much money can buy in a deeply corrupt economy.
Family members question the identity of a boy who is found in Spain three and a half years after going missing from San Antonio, Texas in Bart Layton‘s doc.
Up the Yangtzee director Yung Chang is back with this documentary about rural Chinese boxers.
INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE
Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky take a look at the world of indie game developers in their debut feature.
SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP
Rapper/actor Ice-Tt and filmmaker Andy Baybutt teamed up to make this docu chronicling the history of hip-hop, featuring Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Caz, Nas, Mos Def, Eminem, Chuck D, KRS-One, Run-DMC, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg.
UNDER AFRICAN SKIES
West Memphis Three doc trilogy Paradise Lost director Joe Berlinger headed to South Africa with Paul Simon on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the release of his seminal Graceland in order to examine the impact of that album on apartheid and the birth of a nation.
WEST OF MEMPHIS
Amy Berg turns from sexual abuse by priests in her Oscar nom’d Deliver Us From Evil to one of the most controversial crimes in years in her West Memphis Three chronicle.
BONES BRIGADE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Stacy Peralta‘s last doc Crips and Blood: Made in America tackled a tough subject and failed to piece it all together in a cohesive way. With his fourth film, Peralta returns to the light hearted subject matter that made his first two films (Dogtown and Z-Boys and Riding Giants) so successful. This film focuses on the skateboarding crew that Peralta helped build in the skateboarding explosion of the 1980s – including: Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain, and Rodney Mullen.
Nicholas Jarecki directs Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and Brit Marling (she’s baaack!) in this thriller set in the high stakes world of hedge fund management.
FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL
Ari Graynor and Lauren Ann Miller play two girlfriends who move in together and start a secret business in Jamie Travis‘s feature directorial debut. Justing Long, Mark Webber, and Seth Rogen co-star.
LAY THE FAVORITE
Stephen Frears (The Queen) returns to the place he launched 1991’s The Grifters with this big cast sports book romantic comedy starring Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Joshua Jackson.
Parker Posey plays a manically ambitious grocery store manager in this Michael Walker comedy. Eric Mabius and Sundance rock star Josh Pais co-star.
RED HOOK SUMMER
Clarke Peters (of The Wire and Treme fame) stars in this multi-generational dramedy from none other than Spike Lee.
Actor/director Joshua Radnor follows up falling in love with Kate Mara in Happythankyoumoreplease by falling in love with Lizzie Olsen in this sophomore effort. Richard Jenkins and Zac Effron co-star.
CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER
Rashida Jones co-wrote (with Will McCormack) and stars alongside Andy Samberg, Chris Messina, Ari Graynor, Emma Roberts, and Elijah Wood in Lee Toland Krieger‘s (The Vicious Kind) relationship comedy.
Leslye Headlund makes her directorial debut with this knot-tying comedy featuring an all-star cast of Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fischer, James Marsden, and Adam Scott.
Bradley Cooper plays a plagiarizing writer in Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal‘s psychological drama co-starring Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, and Zoe Saldana.
Rodrigo Cortes made a splash at Sundance two years ago with Buried. He returns with this supernatural thriller starring Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Lizzie Olsen, and Toby Jones.
Jesse Eisenberg killed it as a drug dealing Hassidic Jew in the woefully underappreciated 2010 Sundance dud Holy Rollers. Now he’s back as a drug dealing piano prodigy in Philip Dorling and Ron Nyswaner‘s comedy co-starring Melissa Leo, Tracy Morgan, and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
You’ve heard plenty about it – and if you are at Sundance then you are in for a real treat. Gareth Evans‘s Indonesian actioner will kick Park City in the head with its nonstop silat swinging martial arts. Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, and Yayan Ruhian star. Don’t fear, rest of the world. Your chance to see one of the best action movies in decades is coming very soon.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER
Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass star in Lynn Shelton’s TIFF hit follow-up to Humpday.
OSLO, AUGUST 31ST
Joachim Trier‘s Anders Danielsen Lie starring Reprise follow-up about addiction is, without a doubt, a masterpiece.
People have been expecting amazing things out of Andrea Arnold after 2010’s sleeper Fish Tank. But people haven’t been saying too many amazing things about her adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic. The fact it was accepted to Sundance is a good sign.
WHERE DO WE GO NOW
Nadine Labaki‘s Caramel follow-up about women banding together for peace in Lebanon was that country’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Feature.
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE
It seems like there was more buzz over the weird stills that came out of Paolo Sorrentino‘s Sean Penn-as-aging-80s-rocker drama than from the actual movie when it premiered at Cannes. Now Sundance audiences will get a chance to make up their own minds.
Certainly one of our very most anticipated films of the festival, this anthology of found footage horror includes segments directed by Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg, and Ti West and features performances by most of those guys along with Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil, Calvin Reeder, and Lane Hughes. Can’t wait!
JOHN DIES AT THE END
Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, and Doug Jones star in legendary Bubba Ho-Tep director Don Coscarelli‘s interdimensional horror-drug-adventure-comedy.
Katie Aselton follows-up her relationship comedy The Freebie with this remote island thriller written by hubby Mark Duplass and starring Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell alongside her.
Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien star in Nicholas McCarthy‘s feature follow-up to last year’s haunted house hit short.
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS
Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace direct this doc chronicling the final concerts by LCD Soundsystem. Turn. It. Up.
Richard Bates‘s feature debut is a psycho-sexual teen comedy about an outcast teenage girl out to pop her cherry. The film stars AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, and (wait for it…) John Waters.
Jon Wright‘s Irish madcap drunken fishing monster flick looks like a classic midnight rollicker.
TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE
Oh boy. Love’ em or hate ’em, Tim & Eric are certainly one (err, two) of a kind. Their first feature, B$M, promises to be a movie.
The Zellner Bros. of Red Vs. Blue and Fantastic Debates fame have written, directed, (David) produced, and shot (Nathan) this indie about a mischievous girl who finds a woman stuck down a well.
Craig Zobel made a splash a few years ago with his part-reality/part-scripted The Great World of Sound. He returns with this fast-food restaurant interrogation drama starring Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, and Pat Healy (of The Innkeepers fame).
THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID
Carrie Preston (Arlene from True Blood) directs Anne Heche in this female driven comedy.
28 HOTEL ROOMS
Chris Messina and Marin Ireland star as love-struck adulterers in Matt Ross‘s mosaic-like debut feature.
I AM NOT A HIPSTER
Find out what happens when a misanthropic indie musician gets a surprise visit from his three sisters and estranged father in Destin Daniel Cretton‘s feature debut.
As the clock ticks closer to Sundance kick-off on Thursday, we thought we’d give you a little bonus preview of some of the Short Films that caught our eye. Most have a trailer and a couple of the full shorts are embedded. All are from Sundance except the final short, Crown, which is in Slamdance. Enjoy!
This incredibly impressive short from Cutter Hodierne about Somali pirates is just dying to be made into a feature. Keep an eye on these guys.
I simply can’t get enough of this kids video gone wild from This Is It Collective. I particularly love when the puppets switch to people in suits without losing a beat. So wonderfully wacky!
Nash Edgerton (brother of Joel) follows up his hit 2007 short Spider with this romance with a morbid twist.
With a running time of only 4 minutes, you’ve got to think there is a lot of material yet to explore in Matt Lenski‘s doc which makes one immediately think of a robo-pornographic Marwencol.
Children need stay very, very far away from this wacky shopping mall bathroom gay gangbang farce. Kyle Henry should be admired for his boldness — but this one is not for the buttoned up type.
Don Hertzfeldt completes his Everything Will Be Okay trilogy with this 23 minute short highlighting his incredible style of animation.
Ventura Durall‘s Ethiopian street kid drama looks pretty intense.
University of Texas lecturer Kat Candler‘s short shows what happens when bad kids go wild.
I was a big fan of Nicolas Provost‘s feature The Invader so I can only imagine he knows what he’s doing with this stock footage short films as well.
With a title like that and a description as “Le Jetée starring 2 Live Crew,” how can you not be intrigued by Jillian Mayer‘s short? That’s a heckofa trailer as well.
Lucy Walker‘s “visual haiku” takes a look at Japan as spring blossoms on the tsunami hit landscape.
CG Robots in England by Kibwe Tavares. Check it out!
There is something very strange going on in the neighborhood in AG Rojas‘s ultra-stylish SLAMDANCE short.