Remaining Sundance 2008 Non-Competition Line-Up Announced
Yesterday, the 64 competing dramatic and documentary films in the 2008 Sundance Film Festival were announced. Today, the last half of Sundance's line-up has been announced, which includes another 57 films (making 121 total). 24 of which are in the Premieres category, 19 in Spectrum, and 14 in Park City at Midnight / New Frontier. I'll be damned if I'm not about to burst with excitement for some of the great films that will be featured at this year's fest. I'll say it again: Sundance is one of the greatest events for movie lovers the entire year, and 2008 may yet be one of the best years.
I'm looking forward to Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind, Towelhead which I've heard great things about, Transsiberian, Baghead, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, Michael Haneke's Funny Games, and Tarantino's Hell Ride. And damnit, you know what, screw U2 3D, I'm not seeing that and it doesn't even deserve to be at Sundance. But besides that, it looks like a hell of a year!
Assassination of a High School President - Directed by Brett Simon (The Sailor's Girl). A rookie journalist for the school paper unravels a mysterious plot involving the class president, drugs, and a ring of stolen test scores in this noir caper set at a quirky Catholic High School. Cast: Reece Thompson, Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Michael Rapaport, Kathryn Morris, Josh Pais.
Be Kind Rewind - Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Science of Sleep). When a man whose body accidentally becomes magnetized unintentionally erases every tape in his friend's video store, the pair set out to remake the lost films, including Back to the Future, The Lion King and RoboCop. Cast: Jack Black, Mos Def, Mia Farrow, Danny Glover.
CSNY Déjà Vu - Directed by Bernard Shakey aka Neil Young (Greendale). The war in Iraq is the backdrop as the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young "Freedom of Speech Tour" crisscrosses North America. Echoes of Vietnam-era anti-war sentiment abound as the band connects with today's audiences. Cast: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Mike Cerre, Stephen Colbert.
The Deal - Directed by Steven Schachter (Above Suspicion, The Mermaid Chair). A long-time Hollywood producer on the verge of suicide cons a major studio into financing a $100-million film based on a non-existent script, starring a black action star who has converted to Judaism. Cast: William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, LL Cool J.
Death in Love - Directed by Boaz Yakin (Uptown Girls, Remember the Titans). A self-assured but neurotic 40-year-old bachelor attempts to make sense of his complicated life as he negotiates his sexual relationships in the shadow of his mother’s concentration camp experience. Cast: Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset, Adam Brody, Lukas Haas.
Diminished Capacity - Directed by Terry Kinney (Found in the Street). Learning that his senile uncle harbors a priceless baseball card, Cooper embarks on a road trip intent on selling it to save money for his uncle's later years. He and his friends become entangled in the oddball world of baseball memorabilia and love. Cast: Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Virginia Madsen, Dylan Baker.
The Escapist - Directed by Rupert Wyatt (Subterrain). A convict twelve years into a life sentence is determined to make peace with his sick daughter. He develops an ingenious escape plan, recruiting a band of misfits to put it into action. Cast: Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Seu Jorge, Damian Lewis.
The Great Buck Howard - Directed by Sean McGinly (The Truth About Juliet, Two Days). When a law school dropout answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime. Cast: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks, Steve Zahn.
The Guitar - Directed by Amy Redford. The life of a woman is transformed after she is diagnosed with a terminal disease, fired from her job and abandoned by her boyfriend. Given two months to live, she throws caution to the wind to pursue her dreams. Cast: Saffron Burrows, Isaach De Bankole, Paz De La Huerta.
Henry Poole is Here - Directed by Mark Pellington (U2 3D, The Mothman Prophecies). Henry Poole abandons his fiancée and family business to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a "miracle" by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life. Cast: Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, Cheryl Hines, Adriana Barraza.
In Bruges - Directed by Martin McDonagh. Two London hit men are ordered to take a forced vacation in Bruges, Belgium. This is the suspenseful, twisted tale of how their time in exile goes awry. Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy.
Incendiary - Directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones's Diary). A spirited young mother juggles grief and love in the aftermath of a dramatic terrorist attack in London. Cast: Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, Matthew MacFadyen.
The Merry Gentleman - Directed by Michael Keaton (Tim Burton's Batman). After fleeing an abusive marriage, a young woman sets off to start a new life. When she finds herself an unwitting witness to a murder she stumbles into a curious friendship with a depressed hit man. Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Michael Keaton.
A Raisin in the Sun - Directed by Kenny Leon. After moving to Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s, a black family struggles to deal with poverty, racism, and inner conflict as they strive for a better life. Adapted for the screen from Lorraine Hansberry's play, this is a moving portrait of dreams deferred. Cast: Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sean Patrick Thomas.
Savage Grace - Directed by Tom Kalin. The true story of the beautiful and charismatic Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Their only child is a failure in his father's eyes, and as he matures and becomes increasingly close to his lonely mother, the seeds for tragedy are sown. Cast: Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Eddie Redmayne.
Sleepwalking - Directed by Bill Maher (Visual Effects on X-Men & X2). A young man ill equipped to raise his abandoned niece is forced to take responsibility when faced with the prospect of losing her to a foster home. Cast: Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Deborrah-Lee Furness.
Smart People - Directed by Noam Murro. An acerbic and self-absorbed literature professor has alienated his son and turned his daughter into an overachieving, friendless teen. When his brother unexpectedly shows up at his door, the man is forced is to confront his own life. Cast: Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, Ashton Holmes.
Towelhead (F.K.A. Nothing is Private) - Directed by Alan Ball ("Six Feet Under"). The life of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl is illuminated as she navigates her way through the confusing and frightening path of adolescence and sexual awakening. Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, Summer Bishil.
Transsiberian - Directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist). A Trans-Siberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Thomas Kretschmann, Eduardo Noriega and Ben Kingsley.
U2 3D - Directed by Catherine Owens & Mark Pellington. A 3-D presentation of U2's global "Vertigo" tour. Shot at seven different shows, this production employs the greatest number of 3-D cameras ever used for a single project.
The Visitor - Directed by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent). A college professor becomes embroiled in the lives of a young immigrant couple he discovers squatting in his Manhattan apartment. Confronted with adversity, these strangers become inextricably bound together. Cast: Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbass, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira.
What Just Happened? - Directed by Barry Levinson (Wag the Dog, Sphere, Bandits). A comedy about a desperate movie producer who is trying to survive a crazed director, a shameless actor, a clueless executive, a battered agent, and above all a broken second marriage while struggling to maintain a shred of dignity. Cast: Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro.
The Year of Getting to Know Us - Directed by Patrick Sisam. A commitment-phobic man reunites with his estranged, ailing father and comes to terms with his own childhood. Cast: Jimmy Fallon, Chase Ellison, Lucy Liu, Sharon Stone, Tom Arnold.
The Yellow Handkerchief - Directed by Udayan Prasad (Brothers in Trouble, My Son the Fanatic). A recently released convict and a pair of disillusioned young people, three strangers of two generations, bound by loneliness, reach out to one another, embarking on a road trip through Louisiana. Cast: Maria Bello, William Hurt, Eddie Redmayne, Veronica Russell.
August - Directed by Austin Chick (XX/XY). An aggressive young dot-com entrepreneur struggles to keep his head above water as the bottom falls out of the market in August of 2001. Cast: Josh Hartnett, Adam Scott, Naomie Harris.
Baghead - Directed by Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass (The Puffy Chair). As previously done in their last film The Puffy Chair, the Duplass Brothers explore the minutiae of relationship dynamics in this in-depth study of a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head. Cast: Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, Greta Gerwig.
Birds of America - Directed by Craig Lucas (The Dying Gaul). Three siblings couldn’t be more different, or more neurotic. But when they find themselves converging at the family manse, they become surprisingly indispensable to one another. Cast: Matthew Perry, Ginnifer Goodwin, Ben Foster.
Blind Date - Directed by Stanley Tucci (The Impostors). A married couple has suffered a tragedy, and now the only way they can relate to one another is by meeting as different characters through a series of personal ads. A remake of the original work by the late Dutch director Theo van Gogh. Cast: Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thijs Romer.
Bottle Shock - Directed by Randall Miller (Houseguest, The Sixth Man). The story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as "Judgment of Paris." Cast: Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodríguez, Eliza Dushku.
Chronic Town - Directed by Tom Hines. A bittersweet slice-of-life comedy about a cab driver with substance abuse problems who weathers a cold Alaskan winter with his cadre of friends and lovers. Cast: JR Bourne, Emily Wagner, Dan Butler.
Goliath - Directed by David Zellner. Faced with a demotion, a pending divorce, and less-than-friendly neighbors, a man pins his hopes for salvation on finding his missing cat, Goliath. Cast: David Zellner, Caroline O'Connor, Nathan Zellner.
A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy - Directed by Dennis Dortch. Six progressive vignettes explore sexuality and relationships in the black community of Los Angeles. Cast: Kathryn Taylor, Valley Jones, Chonte' Harris.
Love Comes Lately - Directed by Jan Schütte. An 80-year-old man continues to pursue his love life with youthful vigor, risking his relationship with the woman he loves. Based on the short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Cast: Otto Tausig, Rhea Perlman, Tovah Feldshuh.
Momma's Man - Directed by Azazel Jacobs (The GoodTimesKid). A man who has avoided his wife and child at home has a change of heart after an imposed stay in his own parents' loft. Cast: Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs, Dana Varon.
Quid Pro Quo - Directed by Carlos Brooks. A paraplegic New York public radio reporter becomes involved with a mysterious woman while researching a story about able-bodied people who secretly yearn to be paralyzed. Cast: Nick Stahl, Vera Farmiga, Kate Burton.
Red - Directed by Trygve Diesen. An older, reclusive man's best friend and inspiration for living is his 14-year-old dog named "Red." When three troublesome teens kill the dog for no good reason, the grieving man sets out for justice and redemption by whatever means available to him. Cast: Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore, Kim Dickens.
Anvil! The True Story of Anvil - Directed by Sacha Gervasi. At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the "demi-gods of Canadian metal," influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams.
The Black List - Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Journalist Elvis Mitchell interviews twenty African American leaders, ranging from athletes and academics to politicians, social activists, and artists, providing a series of living portraits—a unique glimpse into the zeitgeist of black America—and redefining traditional notions of a "blacklist."
Kicking It - Directed by Susan Koch. The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six players as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup.
The Linguists - Directed by Seth Kramer & Daniel A. Miller & Jeremy Newberger. David and Greg are "The Linguists," who document languages on the verge of extinction. In the rugged landscapes of Siberia, India, and Bolivia, their resolve is tested by institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest.
Made in America - Directed by Stacy Peralta. With a first-person look at the notorious Crips and Bloods, this film examines the conditions that have led to decades of devastating gang violence among young African Americans growing up in South Los Angeles.
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? - Directed by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me). Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores every nook and cranny of the Middle East on a quest to find the world's most wanted man.
Young@Heart - Directed by Stephen Walker. A choir of Massachusetts senior citizens delights audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash and Coldplay to Jimi Hendrix and Sonic Youth.
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT
Adventures of Power - Directed by Ari Gold. In his quest to become the world's greatest air-drummer, a small-town dreamer must overcome obstacles and ridicule to save the day. Cast: Adrian Grenier, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Jean-Louis.
The Brøken - Directed by Sean Ellis (Cashback). On a busy London street a woman sees herself driving by in her own car. Stunned, she trails the mystery woman as events take an eerie turn into a living nightmare. Cast: Lena Heady, Richard Jenkins, Asier Newman.
George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead - Directed by George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead). When a group of film students making an indie horror film find themselves trapped in a world being consumed by flesh-eating zombies, they cleverly switch gears and use the camera to document the world crumbling around them. Cast: Nick Alachiotis, Matt Birman, George Buza, Wes Craven, Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro.
Donkey Punch - Directed by Olly Blackburn. After meeting at a nightclub in a Mediterranean resort, seven young adults decide to continue partying aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the ocean. But when one of them dies in a freak accident the others argue about what to do, leading to a ruthless fight for survival. Cast: Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke.
Funny Games - Directed by Michael Haneke (Caché). A family settles into its vacation home, which happens to be the next stop for a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers on an excursion through the neighborhood. Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart.
Hell Ride - Directed by Larry Bishop (Mad Dog Time). Quentin Tarantino presents this bloody, sexy tale of motorcycle revenge. It's a modern-day take on 1960s motorcycle flicks, with bikers who hit the road to avenge the death of one of their "old ladies" at the hands of a rival motorcycle gang. Cast: Larry Bishop, Dennis Hopper, Michael Madsen.
Otto; Or, Up With Dead People - Directed by Bruce LaBruce. A lonely gay zombie searches for love and meaning in contemporary Berlin. Cast: Jey Crisfar, Katharina Klewinghaus, Susanne Sachsse, Marcel Schlutt.
Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes) - Directed by Nacho Vigalondo. A man accidentally travels back to the past, only to meet himself there. He also encounters a series of mysteries—pieces of an unpredictable jigsaw puzzle of terror, drama, and supsense—that all lead to an unthinkable crime. Cast: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga.
cASTING a gLANCE - Directed by James Benning. An experiential look at Robert Smithson’s monumental sculpture, the Spiral Jetty, as it has evolved over 30 years in concert with the ebb and flow of the Great Salt Lake.
Eat, For This Is My Body (Mange, Ceci Est Mon Corps) - Directed by Michelange Quay. A dreamlike meditation on the evolution of racial conquest and liberation in Haiti. Cast: Sylvie Testud.
Fear(s) of the Dark (Peur(s) du Noir) - Directed by Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Callou, Richard McGuire, Pierre Di Sciullio, Lorenzo Mattotti. Ten leading graphic artists and cartoonists have breathed life into their phobias and nightmares in this animated feature.
Half-Life - Directed by Jennifer Phang. As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father's desertion and the powerful presence of their mother's new boyfriend.
Reversion - Directed by Mia Trachinger. In a world in which the past, present and future simultaneously unfold, a woman whose genetic mutation leaves her devoid of morality struggles to preserve her romance with the man she loves.
Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Parts 4 and 5 - Artist: Yang Fudong. A rare screening of the artist's most recently completed films in his celebrated series, based on the history of seven intellectuals in the ancient Chinese Wei and Jin Dynasties.