Most Anticipated Films from the Sundance Film Festival!

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Sundance-rotating1By: Joey Magidson
and Terence Johnson

Sundance Film Festival is right around the corner! Joey and I are incredibly excited to attend the festival on behalf of the site and are looking forward to all the films and people we will meet. As many of you know there are a ton of films that premiere at Sundance so, Joey and I decided to take an in-depth look at the schedule and find the films that we are the most excited to see at the festival. Take a look at our Top 10 Most Anticipated Sundance Films after the jump!

Joey’s Top 10

10. Lovelace: This one is just morbid curiosity on my part.  I’m fairly certain that this Linda Lovelace biopic will be a mess, but what has me hopeful in a small way is that the directors previously made Howl, a film that made my Top 10 list a few years back.  Amanda Seyfried as Lovelace is, well…interesting.
9. A.C.O.D.: Earlier this year Richard Jenkins mentioned a project to me while I was interviewing him called Adult Children of Divorce.  That film is now premiering at the fest and features a great cast including Adam Scott, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jessica Alba, and Jenkins.  Could this be the breakout comedy of Sundance?
8. S-VHS: I enjoyed the found footage horror flick V/H/S last year, and now we get the sequel, one of the first to ever play the festival (though not the only one this year, or in fact the only one on my list here).  If the filmmakers can continue to show off diverse scares while keeping things interesting, this could easily be a new indie horror franchise to annually look forward to.
7. The East: Brit Marling made a lot of fans with her last film at Sundance, the similarly themed cult film Sound of My Voice.  Now she’s got her sights set on anarchist groups, and with a bigger cast that includes Ellen Page, I’m very interested to see what she’s up to now.
6. The Way, Way Back: The co-writers of The Descendants get their chance to direct, and the final product sounds like it could be akin to Adventureland, a favorite of mine.  I feel like either Steve Carrell or Sam Rockwell could potentially break out into next year’s Oscar race from this one, so I’m really looking forward to it.
5. Upstream Color: I still don’t know if I understand Shane Carruth’s other film Primer, but it’s truly something different.  The promise of something just as intelligent and different has me very excited for this one.
4. The Spectacular Now: The writers of (500) Days of Summer, the director of Smashed, along with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Shailene Woodley in the cast?  This seems almost tailor made for me.
3. Prince Avalanche: Once upon a time I would have included David Gordon Green on a list of my favorite directors working today.  His studio comedies have been a very mixed bag, but a return to more indie territory, along with a teaming of Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd…well, he’s got me hyped up for one of his movies again.
2. Don Jon’s Addiction: I love actors who step behind the camera, and I’m a huge Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan, so this is one of my most anticipated films of 2013, Sundance be damned.  Add in Scarlett Johansson to the cast and only one other title at the festival has me more hotly anticipating it.
1. Before Midnight: Part of me feels like Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater are playing with fire by trying to take two perfect films and add a third to them.  Still, I’m dying to see what’s happened to these characters, so if I could only see one film at this year’s fest, I’d have to go with this one!

Terence’s Top 10

10. A Teacher – Try though I may, I can never resist juicy sounding material as you will see with this and the following entry. A Teacher is about a teacher who falls in love with one of her students. What’s so interesting about this premise is that it plans to focus on how a relationship such as this would exist in the modern world of sexting and other technological impulses.
9. Two Mothers – Robin Wright + Naomi Watts in a drama about two women who fall for each other’s sons is either a bad Lifetime movie waiting to happen or a glorious critique of social taboos. Either way it sounds fantastic and I am certainly planning on catching a screening.
8. Stories We Tell – Sarah Polley’s documentary got some great publicity coming out of  Telluride and I’ve been keeping tabs on this documentary since then. I’m thrilled that this film will be at Sundance for my viewing. To even talk about the details of the plot, but sufficed to say Sarah Polley set out to make a love letter to her family and ended up discovering more than she thought possible. Polley is one of most interesting directors working today given the deft touch she employs with difficult subject matter and I’ve no doubt she’s delivered again.
7. Kill Your Darlings – Daniel Radcliffe has proven himself very capable outside of the Harry Potter franchise but tackling the role of Alan Ginsberg is something that should really test him and his abilities. He won’t be going it alone however, as Kill Your Darlings stars one of the best ensembles in a film playing at Sundance (Dane Dehan, Elizabeth Olsen, Jack Huston, Michael C. Hall, Kyra Sedgwick and Jennifer Jason Leigh).
6. Don Jon’s Addiction – Joseph Gordon has really exploded in a big way the past few years and even if he was merely acting in this movie it would be one of my anticipated films. But given that he both wrote and directed this film, and got a fantastic supporting cast to join him, I am thoroughly intrigued as to what JGL will do with this movie.
5. American Promise – Coming off a year with such great documentaries, I’m now energized for what the art form can do. This documentary about two African American boys growing up and their experiences going through public and private school. Education is a cause near and dear to my heart and I’m looking forward to seeing what critiques the directors can bring forth about its place in the African American community.
4. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – This film stars one of my favorite young actors (Nate Parker) and two other actors I greatly admire (Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck) in a tale about an outlaw couple who struggle to reunite after the father is thrown in jail. This movies sounds like a mix between Terrence Malick’s Badlands and Bonnie and Clyde, and with that cast I’m certainly going to be first in line to see it.
3. kink – One of the Midnight selections for the festival is this documentary which takes an inside look at the porn studio Kink which operates from inside the San Francisco Armory Building. For those of you unfamiliar, Kink makes porn that caters BDSM community. This sounds like a fascinating subject for a documentary and having grown up in the Bay Area, I’m incredibly drawn to how the industry has flourished in San Francisco. If anything, this movie can’t not be titilating right?
2. Stoker – I want this movie in front of my eye balls right this second, but I guess I can hold on Park Chan-Wook’s English language film till Sundance arrives. The trailer was so atmospheric and Kidman looks like she’s having a ball playing the evil mother of the tale. Add to the intrigue that the script was penned by Prison Break Wentworth Miller and you’d have the most anticipated film at Sundance except for…
1. Fruitvale – I vacillated between putting this and Stoker number one, but given the real world implications and commentary it won out. Fruitvale, the telling of the story of Oscar Grant is something that is very close to my heart. As a both an African-American and a Bay Area resident, the actual ordeal was like something out of a nightmare and I was incredibly invested in the social issue it brought forth. Having had a front row seat to the whole ordeal, I am incredibly interested in how they are planning to tell the story. Will they go for shock value or be more restrained? The closeness I feel towards the story will probably make this one of the tougher films I’ll have to sit through but with a cast that is led by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan, I’ll be sure to watch.