Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Sundance Film Festival Recap and Must-Sees

     The 2013 Sundance Film Festival has recently come to a close and being an avid follower of film bloggers from numerous sites, I have been reading and following all the news from the current fest. The best news is always hearing about up and coming filmmakers and the remarkable vision they can bring to film culture. I would love to go to this film festival just once. Well, more than once. I'm sure it would be a blast and an enriching experience. Speaking to filmmakers, writers and critics would be almost surreal. Seeing films for the first time with a large audience of sincere film admirers and historians. The stories, the films and the craft of making and critiquing films would just be utterly amazing. Well, on to some films that I'm already excited to see and hope some of them are released this year.
     The two films that I am most excited about seeing is David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints, starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, and Shane Carruth's Upstream Color. The former, being an outlaw tale about lovers in Texas that revels in the styles and themes of Terrence Malick or Robert Altman. A man breaks out of prison to reconnect with his wife and the daughter he has not met. The film got positive reviews and seems to be right up my alley. The latter, from the writer, director and star of another Sundance entry Primer (2004), titled Upstream Color. The film has been roughly labelled trippy, a thriller of the mind and, once again, exquisitely photographed in the vein of Terrence Malick. A film that appears to be about a man, a woman and the illusion of the reality of life. Maybe... We will see when it opens April 5th. Here is the trailer and it looks fantastic:
     Another film that is high, high on my must-see list for this year is Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke's Before Midnight, recently picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics. The film is the third in the "Before Trilogy" that follows the relationship and conversations between Jesse and Celine (Delpy and Hawke), nine years since we last saw them, in the second film Before Sunset (2004), the first being Before Sunrise (1995). The couple has been living in Paris and travel to Greece where, as with the other films, they talk about life and relationships with, I'm sure, the usual sharp writing by all three collaborators, and exhibit the true passion of filmmaking. Linklater is the master of indie filmmaking and I can wait to see what they have come up with here. Where are Jesse and Celine now in their adult lives? Can't wait!
     I also am truly excited to see Park Chan-wook's first English language film Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode. The film is going to be lushly shot, well-acted and probably extremely violent. Park is not shy when it comes to violence in his films. See his "Vengeance Triolgy" for evidence. There is also The East, from director and co-writer Zal Batmanglij and co- writer and star Brit Marling. The film is the third collaboration between the director and actress, the first being the short The Recordist (2007) and the second being the cult induced thriller Sound of My Voice (2011). Good film. The film appearts to delve into confusion and deception, as well as the meaning of life and existence. It goes into espionage, corporate and eco terrorism, and the effects these choices all have. The film stars the aforementioned Marling, Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard. Here is a trailer for that film here:

     I have to say those are my top five most anticipated films, resulting from reading mini-reviews, twitter reactions and plot information, but here is a list of films I'm also very interested in seeing:
  • Mud (Jeff Nichols) -- Looks great. Directed Take Shelter (2011) & Shotgun Stories (2007) and starring Matthew McConaughey.
  • Don Jon's Addiction (Jospeh Gordon-Levitt) -- Porn addiction.
  • Fruitvale (Ryan Coogler)
  • S-V/H/S -- Sequel to horror film V/H/S (2012)
  • Blue Caprice (Alexandre Moors) -- Beltway sniper attacks
  • In A World (Lake Bell) 
  • Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green) -- Return to form for Mr. Green??? Shot in Bastrop, TX.
  • Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski)
  • In Fear (Jeremy Loverling)
  • The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash)
  • Big Sur (Michael Polish) -- Kerouac.
  • Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas) -- Young Ginsberg, Kerouac & Burroughs.
  • The Look of Love (Michael Winterbottom)
  • We Are What We Are (Jim Mickle) -- Cannibals.
  • Twenty Feet from Stardom (Morgan Neville) -- Story about backup singers. Sucker for music docs and this one is supposed to be great!
  • Muscle Shoals (Greg Camalier) -- Doc on the legendary music studio in Muscle Shoals, AL. Sucker for music docs.
  • Sound City (Dave Grohl) -- More music docs.
  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (Alex Gibney) -- Gibney.
  • Inequality for All (Jacob Kornbluth) 
  • Dirty Wars (Rick Rowley)
  • Pussy Riot -- A Punk Prayer (Mike Lerner & Maxim Pozdorovkin) 
  • The Summit (Nick Ryan) 

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