Watch This: 2014 Sundance Hits To Look Out For
The world-famous Sundance Film Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary this past January in Park City, Utah. Historically the festival has premiered movies from some of the biggest names in American independent cinema, with directors as varied as Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, Doug Liman, Richard Linklater, Steven Soderbergh among other. It's a place for directors to make their mark, becoming icons in the process. This year saw another dazzling array of films, many of which will be making their way to theaters near you in the coming months.
Here's a list of five red-hot titles to look out for from our friendly film experts at JoBlo.com.
1. Infinitely Polar Bear
Coming from first-time director Maya Forbes, Infinitely Polar Bear is the story of a manic-depressive father trying to keep his family together in the face of adversity. It feels like a crowd-pleasing hit that could fall in the vein of past sleeper hits like Little Miss Sunshine and The Kids Are All Right. The latter’s Mark Ruffalo stars opposite Avatar’s Zoe Saldana in a performance that's already generating awards buzz. Watch Director, Maya Forbes speak about the writing and directing process here.
One of Sundance 2013's breakout stars Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now and the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot) returned to the festival in Damien Chazelle's Whiplash. Whiplash was the official opening night film of the festival, and was picked-up by Sony Pictures Classics shortly after for release later this year. The story of an aspiring jazz drummer trying to make it under the watch of a devoted, but extreme instructor (played by J.K Simmons) Whiplash is the type of film that constantly subverts audience expectations. What starts off as an inspiring coming-of-age tale eventually morphs into a dark, but often thrilling, drama about the price of perfection. J.K Simmons feels like he could be a potential nominee for Best Supporting Actor at next year's Oscars to boot. Fun fact: Miles Teller really played the drums for the music throughout the entire film.
3. The Guest
Downton Abbey heartthrob Dan Stevens utterly reinvents himself as a future action-movie-icon with The Guest, a thriller from You’re Next director Adam Wingard. Deftly blending multiple genres, including action, horror and comedy, The Guest feels like The Bourne Identity crossed with Halloween. Stevens gives a star-making performance as a mysterious veteran, who abruptly shows up at a fallen comrade's childhood home, ostensibly to comfort the grieving family. In classic horror-movie fashion, he's hiding a deadly secret, leading to an explosive, action-packed conclusion that kept Sundance audiences on the edge of their seats.
Richard Linklater—who started his career at Sundance with Slacker—returned to the fest with a surprise last-minute entry into the line-up. The film Boyhood just may prove to be his masterpiece. Shot over a twelve-year period, Boyhood tracks the coming of age of a young boy named Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) as he ages from a precocious six-year-old into a thoughtful eighteen-year-old on the cusp of becoming a man. Watching Coltrane age and develop over a twelve-year-span, under the masterful direction of Linklater (who's at his best), was one of the most moving experiences in the festival's history, and the film will likely make a big impact once it gets released later this year. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette—both of whom worked on this film on and off for twelve years—co-star as Coltrane's devoted parents.
5. The Raid 2
A massively entertaining action spectacle, The Raid 2, which could have easily just been a by-the-numbers sequel, emerged as one of the most talked-about films of the festival. Critics and audiences agree director Gareth Evans outdid himself with this epic two and a half hour thrill-ride. A boost of pure cinematic adrenaline, The Raid 2 ranks with The Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and The Dark Knight as one of the best action movie sequels of all-time. Star Iko Uwais emerges as the action-movie heir to watch. Related Links: Five Movies That Are Already Oscar Contenders For 2015 Now Playing in Your Living Room: April 11, 2014
April 28, 2014 via Pepsi