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2009 Sundance Film Festival

Old 12-03-08, 08:53 PM
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2009 Sundance Film Festival

Slashfilm discusses a few of the films (photos at link):
The Sundance Institute has announced the first half of the line-up for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Included in the first press release are the films in competition in the Drama and Documentary segments. 3,661 feature-length films were submitted this year, which is 37 more films than last year. For the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected including 87 world premieres, 19 North American premieres, and 4 U.S. premieres representing 21 countries with 42 first-time filmmakers, including 28 in competition. Before we get into the full list, I would like to point out some of the films that particularly interest me. Also, now should be the time for me to admit that I focus more on English-language films, so my foreign picks will probably be lacking.

The Wrestler screenwriter Robert Siegel makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, which stars Patton Oswalt as a parking garage attendant and hardcore New York Giants football fan who struggles to deal with the consequences when he is beaten up by his favorite player. Michael Rapaport also stars. I loved the humor that Siegel brought to The Wrestler, and with Oswalt in the lead - this one is a no brainer.

The Office star John Krasinski makes his directorial debut with a big screen adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s book Breif Interviews with Hideous Men. The story follows Julianne Nicholson as a doctoral candidate in anthropology who “tries to remedy the heartache” of being dumped with little explanation, by interviewing men about their behavior. Krasinski, Dominic Cooper and Timothy Hutton also star.

In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti stars as a famous American actor who in the midst of an existential crisis, “explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life.” Okay, doesn’t have the best plot description but Giamatti is involved, as well as David Strathairn, Emily Watson, and Lauren Ambrose.


Emmy Rossum stars in Adam Salky’s feature directorial debut Dare, about “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” IMDB also provides a different teaser synopsis: “The good girl, the outsider and the bad boy…like you’ve never seen them before.” This is a feature length adaptation of Salky’s 2005 short film which was met with acclaim at film festivals. I’m a sucker for coming of age films.

Everyone is talking about Paper Heart, the film that Michael Cera made under the raydar with his girlfriend Charlyne Yi. The film is apparently a meta-love story with the stars playing themselves (?). The pre-festival hype aside, I would see this film based on Cera’s involvement alone.

Teeth star Jess Weixler returns to Sundance opposite Jason Ritter in a big screen adaptation of Peter and Vandy, the Drama Desk Nominated Best Play that was lauded for its “almost embarrassing intimacy and killer comic timing.” The film tells the story of a contemporary Manhattan love story, told out of order, with no beginning and no end. Festival programer Geoffrey Gilmore says that “One of the themes” of this year’s festival is “the kind of new-generation love story,” … a new “way of telling love stories right now by a new, younger generation that’s different, that’s fresh, that’s original.” This and the Cera film Paper Heart seems to fit into this statement.

Jeff Daniels stars as the title character Arlen Faber, a reclusive author of a groundbreaking spiritual book awakens to new truths when two strangers enter his life. The film also stars Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah), Olivia Thirlby (Juno, Wackness), and Lauren Gram. The film was formerly titled “The Dream of the Romans“, which is a much better title if you ask me.

In Good Hair, Comedian Chris Rock turns documentary filmmaker when he sets out to examine the culture of African-American hair and hairstyles. I’m not sure if it will be good, like many of Chris Rock’s films, but I’ll always be there for anything the guy creates.

Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler was given unprecedented access for a film titled “The September Issue“. Cutler and crew shot Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour and her team over the corse of nine months as they prepared the 2007 VogueSeptember issue, widely accepted as the “fashion bible” for the year’s trends. I’ve always been interested in the world of journalism, even if the Fashion world might be a very different realm. And I must admit that The Devil Wears Prada has me very interested to catch this one.
Complete line-up at Sundance's Web site.

Last edited by NoirFan; 01-18-09 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 12-03-08, 09:42 PM
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Big Fan sounds interesting. The rest sound barely Netflix queue-worthy.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:51 PM
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Here's the second, far more appetizing half of the line-up. Photos at link.
The Sundance Institute has just announced the second half of next year’s programing for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Yesterday I took an in-depth look at the out of competition films, but there are just so many cool films in the batch today that I’ve decided not to hand pick through them all. I’m posting the entire Premeire line-up after the jump, complete with photos from some of the more interesting films.

PREMIERES
To showcase the diversity of contemporary independent cinema, the Sundance Film Festival Premieres section offers the latest work from American and international directors and world premieres of highly anticipated films. Films screening in Premieres are:

500 Days of Summer / USA. (Director: Marc Webb; Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)—When an unlucky greeting card copywriter is dumped by his girlfriend, the hopeless romantic shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days ‘together’ in hopes of figuring out where things went wrong. Cast: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. World Premiere

Adventureland / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Greg Mottola)—In 1987, a recent college graduate takes a nowhere job at his local amusement park and discovers the job is perfect preparation for the real world. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader. World Premiere

Brooklyn’s Finest / USA (Director: Antoine Fuqua; Screenwriter: Michael C. Martin)—After enduring vastly different career paths, three unconnected Brooklyn cops wind up at the same deadly location. Cast: Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin. World Premiere

Earth Days / USA (Director: Robert Stone)—The history of our environmental undoing through the eyes of nine Americans whose work and actions launched the modern environmental movement. World Premiere. Closing Night Film

Endgame / UK (Director: Pete Travis; Screenwriter: Paula Milne)—A political thriller in which a businessman initiates covert discussions between the African National Congress and white intellectuals to try and find a peaceful solution to the Apartheid regime. Cast: William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong. World Premiere

I Love You Philip Morris / USA (Directors and Screenwriters: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa)—The true story about con artist and imposter Steven Jay Russell, a married father whose exploits land him in the Texas criminal justice system. Based on the novel by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker. Cast: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro. World Premiere

The Informers / USA (Director: Gregor Jordan; Screenwriters: Bret Easton Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki)—A drama based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, set in the 1980s, focusing on wealthy Angelinos consumed by a decadent lifestyle. Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke. North American Premiere

In the Loop / UK (Director: Armando Iannucci; Screenwriters: Armando Iannucci and Jesse Armstrong)— A fast-paced film about Britain and America’s special relationship in the lead-up to a war no one seems to be able to stop. Cast: Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander. World Premiere

Manure / USA (Director: Michael Polish; Screenwriters: Mark Polish and Michael Polish)—A comic tale centered on manure salesmen in the early 1960s. Cast: Téa Leoni, Billy Bob Thornton, Kyle MacLachlan. World Premiere

Mary and Max / Australia (Director and Screenwriter: Adam Elliot)—The tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman (voice), Toni Collette (voice), Barry Humphries (voice). World Premiere, Opening Night Film

The Messenger / USA (Director: Oren Moverman; Screenwriters: Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)—Two soldiers from different generations form a unique bond as they cope with their assignment with the Army Casualty Notification department. Cast: Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker. World Premiere

Moon / UK (Director: Duncan Jones; Screenwriter: Nathan Parker)—Before returning to Earth after three years on the moon, things go horribly wrong for astronaut Sam Bell. Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey. World Premiere

Motherhood / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Katherine Dieckmann)—A mother of two from Manhattan is having a day that would challenge even the toughest maternal multi-tasker. Cast: Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards. World Premiere

Rudo and Cursi (Rudo y Cursi) / Mexico (Director and Screenwriter: Carlos Cuarón)—Two siblings rival each other inside the world of professional soccer. Cast: Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Guillermo Francella. U.S. Premiere

Shrink / USA (Director: Jonas Pate; Screenwriter: Thomas Moffett)—Unable to come to grips with a recent personal tragedy, Los Angeles’ top celebrity psychiatrist loses faith in his ability to help his patients. Cast: Kevin Spacey, Keke Palmer, Mark Webber, Dallas Roberts, Saffron Burrows. World Premiere

Spread / USA (Director: David Mackenzie; Screenwriter: Jason Dean Hall)—A handsome young man survives in Los Angeles by seducing wealthy older women. Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Anne Heche. World Premiere

Brooklyn's Finest, I Love You Philip Morris, Moon and The Informers in particular look interesting.

Last edited by NoirFan; 01-24-09 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 12-05-08, 05:10 AM
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In the Loop is a spinoff of The Thick of It, one of the better UK sitcoms of the past few years -- Iannucci is an insanely underrated figure, so it's nice to see someone's paying attention.
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Old 12-05-08, 07:12 PM
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I just noticed one of the films, Grace, is directed by a friend of mine. Good luck Paul!
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Old 01-18-09, 11:17 AM
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Re: 2009 Sundance Film Festival

Original list updated with links to individual film threads.
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