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2010 Sundance Film Festival Preview!

Jan. 18, 2010by:

In just a few days, Iím going to be making my first trip to the Sundance Film Festival in beautiful Park City, Utah. I honestly cannot begin to explain how excited I am. Iíve been dreaming of going to the festival for years. After all, this is where Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, and countless others, got their start.

While independent film isnít quite what it used to be, Sundance is still a major force to be reckoned with. Last yearís Sundance saw the debut of PRECIOUS, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, ADVENTURELAND, MOON, BLACK DYNAMITE, IN THE LOOP, and many others.

Luckily, the press office has granted me full press accreditation, so I should be able catch lots of films for the site, so make sure to check regularly for reviews. I also will be updating my Movie Fan Central blog live from the fest, so hopefully Iíll have some good stories and anecdotes to share.

Iíve spent the last few days planning out a tentative schedule of films to see. I plan on catching at least twenty films, and among the films on my schedule, here are a few highlights.

BLUE VALENTINE

BLUE VALENTINE is a relationship drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Goslingís involvement is more than enough to make this a must see, as heís truly one of the best actors of his generation. Sundance has been good to Gosling over the years, with HALF-NELSON, which played in the 2006 festival, garnering him an Oscar nomination in 2007. Will this do the same?

HESHER

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a mysterious loner who takes a fatherless thirteen-year-old boy under his wing. Like Gosling, Iíll check out anything Levitt does. This looks like a much darker film than 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, but anyone whoís seen MYSTERIOUS SKIN can attest to the fact that Levitt is no slouch when it comes to drama. Something tells me this is going to be one of the big hits of the festival, and I canít wait to see it. The fact that Natalie Portman co-stars doesnít hurt.

HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE

This is the directorial debut of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER actor, Josh Radnor, who also stars. Considering that itís supposed to be about a group of young New Yorkers trying to find their place in the world, obviously Radnor hasnít strayed too far from his comfort zone. At worst, this could be a self-indulgent star vehicle that rides the coat-tails of its small screen counterpart. However, it could also be this yearís GARDEN STATE. Iíll let you knowÖ

HOWL

James Franco stars as beat-poet Allen Ginsberg. Need I say more? A whole lot of buzz on this one folksÖ

HOLY ROLLERS

Jesse Eisenberg stars as a Hasidic Jew, who goes to work as an ecstasy dealer for a friend with ties to an Israeli drug cartel. Eisenberg starred in two of my favorite films last year, ADVENTURELAND, and ZOMBIELAND, so itíll be interesting to see how he follows them up. He tends to pick good projects, so this could be a real winner.

SYMPATHY FOR DELICIOUS

Actor Mark Ruffalo makes his directorial debut with this film about a newly paralyzed DJ, who enters into the world of faith healing. Orlando Bloom co-stars.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS

James Gandolfini stars with Kristen Stewart, in this story of a middle-aged man getting involved with a sixteen-year-old prostitute, who resembles his dead daughter. Could be excellent, could be creepy, or could be both. Weíll seeÖ

THE RUNAWAYS

K-Stewís other big Sundance film, in this one; she plays a circa-1975 Joan Jett, during her formative years with The Runaways. Dakota Fanning plays the bandís lead vocalist, Cherie Currie. While I think Fanningís too young to play Currie, who was sixteen when she joined the band (Fanning was 14 when this was filmed), Iím nonetheless really looking forward to this one, as Iím a sucker for music biopics.

SPLICE

Vincenzo Natali, director of CUBE, returns with this, the tale of two scientists (Adrien Brody, and Sarah Polley), who mischievously splice the DNA strands of several animals to create a new creature- which Iím sure will run amuck at some point.

FROZEN

Three skiers get stuck on a chair-lift after a ski resort is shut down for the weekend. The synopsis makes me queasy (in a good way), letís see if the film does the same.

BURIED

Ryan Reynolds plays a civilian contractor buried alive in Iraq, with nothing but a candle, a knife, and a cell phone to keep him company. This should be a tour de force for Reynolds, whoíll also get to prove whether or not he can carry a film.

THE KILLER INSIDE ME

My most anticipated film of the festival; this stars Casey Affleck as a psychotic sheriffís deputy, opposite Jessica Alba (as a prostitute), and Kate Hudson. Itís based on a classic piece of pulp fiction by Jim Thompson, and with Michael Winterbottom directing, who previously helmed 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE, A MIGHTY HEART, and the awesome TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY, this could be one of the major films of the year. Of course, being Sundance, where anything can happen, it may also be an unqualified disaster. Iíll keep you postedÖ

Missing anything? Strike back below, with your picks of the fest!

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:25PM on 01/20/2010

Major Distributors

Sad news for filmmakers. Due to budgetary constraints, Manka Bros. will not be attending this year's festival.

[link]

Sad news for filmmakers. Due to budgetary constraints, Manka Bros. will not be attending this year's festival.

[link]

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4:33AM on 01/19/2010

Sundance Lies

Only in that they don't practice what they preach. Its truly hard for new filmmakers to make a mark here anymore, as to get into the festival you really only have three options: Get a movie star involved, or make the film about homosexuality, or make a film about a racial minority.

There's nothing wrong with doing any of those three options, but it gives a huge advantage. Also, I attend Sundance every year as I literally live around the corner from it, and I can honestly say most of the
Only in that they don't practice what they preach. Its truly hard for new filmmakers to make a mark here anymore, as to get into the festival you really only have three options: Get a movie star involved, or make the film about homosexuality, or make a film about a racial minority.

There's nothing wrong with doing any of those three options, but it gives a huge advantage. Also, I attend Sundance every year as I literally live around the corner from it, and I can honestly say most of the films suck. Best film I've ever seen at the Dance? "Reprise", a Norwegian film that was a real discovery but that ultimately got ignored.

Case in point to how far Sundance has fallen low: Not one, but TWO "Drunk History" films got into the documentary shorts section. Look them up if you don't know what they are, but they are in no way documentaries, but goofy vanity projects for the stars involved.
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7:28PM on 01/18/2010

Nice lineup but...

What happened to the days when Sundance used to be the place where unknown, undiscovered films/filmmakers were discovered?

Nowadays it's Cannes Jr.

Indy filmmakers get the shaft nowadays...
What happened to the days when Sundance used to be the place where unknown, undiscovered films/filmmakers were discovered?

Nowadays it's Cannes Jr.

Indy filmmakers get the shaft nowadays...
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4:28AM on 01/19/2010
Completely agree with you. As someone who got rejected by Sundance this year, but am now happily getting into other fests, its a bummer to see the true Independents not have a home at Sundance anymore.
Completely agree with you. As someone who got rejected by Sundance this year, but am now happily getting into other fests, its a bummer to see the true Independents not have a home at Sundance anymore.
6:46PM on 01/18/2010
a lot of these look awesome, i hope most of them get nationwide viewings
a lot of these look awesome, i hope most of them get nationwide viewings
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5:51PM on 01/18/2010
So that's what Orlando Bloom's been doing!
So that's what Orlando Bloom's been doing!
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3:42PM on 01/18/2010
Not only do almost all of these sound really solid, but its the long awaited return of Gosling and Affleck, who both basically teased us with some amazing performances and then disappeared for like 2+ years. I pretty much hate anyone who gets the golden oppurtunity to attend this.
Not only do almost all of these sound really solid, but its the long awaited return of Gosling and Affleck, who both basically teased us with some amazing performances and then disappeared for like 2+ years. I pretty much hate anyone who gets the golden oppurtunity to attend this.
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2:33PM on 01/18/2010
looks like a great year for sundance
looks like a great year for sundance
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12:02PM on 01/18/2010
HESHER!!!!!!!!
HESHER!!!!!!!!
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+3
10:33AM on 01/18/2010

LOOKING GOOD

Allot of the films on this list look pretty dang awsome! I'll be on the look out for these.
Allot of the films on this list look pretty dang awsome! I'll be on the look out for these.
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9:55AM on 01/18/2010

Awesome

I can't wait to see these movies, These are my kind of movies! Most of my friends are ignorant to these types of movies! Real Ones, They like shit movies such as Wild Hogs, GI Joe
I can't wait to see these movies, These are my kind of movies! Most of my friends are ignorant to these types of movies! Real Ones, They like shit movies such as Wild Hogs, GI Joe
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9:45AM on 01/18/2010

That's it?...

there's a small handful of titles on that list that appeal to me, but I', definitely hoping you find some gems. Still, a little underwhelmed by most of these. Blue Valentine looks worth while for the acting...

PS - I hate Garden State.
there's a small handful of titles on that list that appeal to me, but I', definitely hoping you find some gems. Still, a little underwhelmed by most of these. Blue Valentine looks worth while for the acting...

PS - I hate Garden State.
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9:13AM on 01/18/2010
Save for just a few, I'm really amped for this lineup!
Save for just a few, I'm really amped for this lineup!
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9:01AM on 01/18/2010
Splice looks good
Splice looks good
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