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A preview of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival!

January 20th will mark the beginning of yet another edition of the Sundance Film Festival, and once again, lucky bastard that I am, I’ll have the pleasure to cover the festival for JoBlo.com. Expect many reviews to show up here throughout the festival. Last year, which was my first year attending, ended up being a terrific edition that saw the premieres of many films that turned out to be among the best of the year. Films like ANIMAL KINGDOM, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, CATFISH, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, FOUR LIONS, WINTER’S BONE, HOWL, THE KILLER INSIDE ME, CYRUS, BLUE VALENTINE, and more.

2011 looks to be another amazing installment and the following is a list of some of the films I’m most looking forward to catching.

RED STATE

Kevin Smith’s sure to be controversial entry into the horror genre. Good or bad, its obvious Smith’s really stretching himself here, and I can’t wait to see for myself how he handles something so vastly different from anything he’s done before. With a cast featuring John Goodman, Melissa Leo, and the always great Michael Parks, this is a must-see.

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN

Rutger Hauer as a hobo. With a shotgun. Yes please! Where do I line up? Actually, this is based on the fake trailer that won the Grindhouse competition a few years ago. I loved the trailer, as well as director Jason Eisener’s follow-up short, TREEVENGE. I can’t wait to see this one, especially with a ravenous, Midnight crowd.

KNUCKLE

An intriguing documentary about Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting, and the generations' long feud between two rival clans that leads to them taking each other on in the ring. It already has a distribution deal, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this ends up as one of the big hits of the fest.

TERRI

An indie-comedy starring John C. Reilly, about him mentoring an obese, high school outcast. Sounds a lot like CYRUS, but should be fun.

CEDAR RAPIDS

A big indie-comedy starring John C. Reilly, and Ed Helms, and one that’s being tipped to be a big sleeper once it hits theaters in March. I can’t say I found the trailer all that funny, but it’s a Fox Searchlight film, and they haven’t gone wrong with much over the last few years.

THE DETAILS

Hungry raccoons torment Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks. Given the two leads, this will be one of the hot ticket films, and my never-ending crush on Banks assures that I’ll be first in line!

MY IDIOT BROTHER

Indie comedy starring Paul Rudd as a stoner slacker taken in alternately by his three gorgeous sisters, played by Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, and Zooey Deschanel. Given the cast involved, this might be another sleeper later in the year.

THE SON OF NO ONE

Channing Tatum re-teams with his GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS director Dito Montiel in this gritty crime drama co-starring Al Pacino. It’s been chosen as the closing night film, which likely means it’s a fine piece of work. While some might scoff at Tatum’s involvement, I think he did great work in SAINTS, and between this, and THE EAGLE, it looks like he’s really trying to stretch himself. Will this be the movie that makes him a proper actor?

WIN-WIN

Tom McCarthy (THE VISITOR)’s new film, starring Paul Giamatti as a high-school wrestling coach. Giamatti and McCarthy make this a must-see and indie rock band, THE NATIONAL, contributed to the score. Intriguing.

THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED

A drama starring J.K Simmons as a father struggling to bond with a son whose brain tumor makes him unable to form new memories. This one’s already picked up a distributor, and word has it the soundtrack is incredible, and even features a few Beatles tracks, which must have cost an arm and a leg to license. I doubt anyone would invest the kind of cash it would take to pull off that coup if the film wasn’t worth it. This one could be Simmons’ Oscar film.

I MELT WITH YOU

A thriller from Mark Pellington (the great ARLINGTON ROAD) and starring the great Thomas Jane, as well as Jeremy Piven and Carla Gugino. The film follows four old college friends who reunite for a weekend of drinking and drugs but their fun weekend takes them to an unexpected place. I’d love to see Jane come into his own, as I still think his role in STANDER should have made him a star.

REAGAN

An epic documentary from Eugene Jarecki about Ronald Reagan’s life which took him from Hollywood stardom all the way to the White House. A controversial figure to be sure, but one that’s sure to make for a fascinating documentary.

Source: JoBlo.com

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