The Sundance Film Festival has announced their hotly anticipated premiers for the 2014 festival. There’s plenty to be excited about as variety is one of the Sundance’s well-known specialties. There are new films’ from Mike Cahill (Another Earth) and Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister), as well as actors stepping into the directing ring such as David Cross and William H. Macy. Another surprise is the official premier of Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2, which if anything like the original, should be a bloody good time.
Also included is the complete list of documentary premiers. Some of the more interesting titles include, Life itself, which is a look into the life of Roger Ebert and Mitt should give an idea of what pressures might occur during a presidential election.
The 30th annual Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16-26, 2014.
17 Feature Film world premieres
“Calvary” (Ireland-U.K.) — Directed and written by John Michael McDonagh. A darkly comedic drama about a priest forced to do battle with dark forces when his life is threatened one day during confession. Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Marie-Josee Croz.
“Frank” (Ireland-U.K.) — Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, written by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan. An offbeat comedy about a wannabe musician who joins an avant-garde rock band led by the musical genius of the title. Cast: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy.
“Hits” — Directed and written by David Cross. Fame, delusion, earnestness and recklessness collide for a small town of dreamers in upstate New York. Cast: Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, James Adomian, Jake Cherry, Derek Waters, Wyatt Cenac.
“I Origins” — Directed and written by Mike Cahill. A molecular biologist and his lab partner uncover evidence that could change society as we know it. Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi.
“Laggies” — Directed by Lynn Shelton, written by Andrea Seigel. A coming-of-age story about a 28-year-old woman-child forced to get her act together when she receives an unexpected marriage proposal. Cast: Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber.
“Little Accidents” — Directed and written by Sara Colangelo. A drama of secrets and lies set in a small American coal town still reeling from a recent mining accident. Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloe Sevigny, Jacob Lofland, Josh Lucas.
“Love is Strange” — Directed by Ira Sachs, written by Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias. Ben and George finally tie the knot after nearly 40 years together, but when George loses his job as a result, they’re forced to live apart and rely on the support of family and friends. Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan, Cheyenne Jackson.
“A Most Wanted Man” — Directed by Anton Corbijn, written by Andrew Bovell. Corbin’s follow-up to “The American” is an adaptation of John le Carre’s bestselling thriller. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright. A Lionsgate release.
“Nick Offerman: American Ham” — Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, written by Nick Offerman. A live taping of Offerman’s one-man show at New York’s historic Town Hall theater, featuring a collection of anecdotes, songs and woodworking/oral-sex techniques. Cast: Offerman.
“The One I Love” — Directed by Charlie McDowell, written by Justin Lader. A struggling married couple plan a weekend getaway, only to discover an unusual dilemma waiting for them. Cast: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson.
“The Raid 2″ (Indonesia) — Directed and written by Gareth Evans. The rookie officer left standing in “The Raid: Redemption” goes undercover to infiltrate the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate. Cast: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadewo, Alex Abbad. A Sony Classics release.
“Rudderless” — Directed by William H. Macy, written by Casey Twenter, Jeff Robison and Macy. A grieving father stumbles upon a box of his deceased son’s original music, spurring him to form a rock ‘n’ roll band. Cast: Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, Macy.
“They Came Together” — Directed by David Wain, written by Michael Showalter and Wain. A subversive spoof of the romantic-comedy genre with a vaguely Jewish leading man and a klutzy but adorable leading lady set against a New York backdrop. Cast: Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders, Max Greenfield, Christopher Meloni. A Lionsgate release.
“The Trip to Italy” (U.K.) — Directed by Michael Winterbottom, written by Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan and Winterbottom. Another round of food, rivalry and laughs from “The Trip” duo. Cast: Coogan, Brydon. An IFC Films release.
“The Voices” (U.S.-Germany) — Directed by Marjane Satrapi, written by Michael Perry. A genre-bending tale about a lovable but disturbed factory worker with an evil talking cat, a benevolent talking dog and a peculiar relationship with a woman in accounting. Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver.
“White Bird in a Blizzard” — Directed and written by Gregg Araki. This adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel tells the story of a young woman whose life is turned upside down by her mother’s disappearance. Cast: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Gabourey Sidibe, Thomas Jane.
“Young Ones” — Directed and written by Jake Paltrow. When his life is altered forever by a series of events, a child is forced to make choices no child should ever have to make. Cast: Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, Kodi Smit-McPhee.
11 Documentary Films world premieres
“The Battered Bastards of Baseball” — Directed by Chapman Way, Maclain Way. An account of how in 1973, Hollywood veteran Bing Russell founded the Portland Mavericks, the only independent baseball team in the country.
“Finding Fela” — Directed by Alex Gibney. A portrait of the life, music and political significance of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the creative force behind the musical movement Afrobeat.
“Freedom Summer” — Directed by Stanley Nelson. A look back at the summer of 1964, when more than 700 student activists took segregated Mississippi by storm, registering voters, creating freedom schools and establishing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
“Happy Valley” — Directed by Amir Bar-Lev. A look beyond the headlines of the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal.
“Last Days in Vietnam” — Directed by Rory Kennedy. Examines the moral quandary facing American soldiers and diplomats during the final weeks of the Vietnam War: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate only U.S. citizens.
“Life Itself” — Directed by Steve James. Recounts the life of film critic Roger Ebert, from his early days as a bachelor and Pulitzer Prize winner through his partnership with Gene Siskel to his brave battle with cancer.
“Mitt” — Directed by Greg Whiteley. A close-up look at Mitt Romney during his U.S. presidential run.
“Revolution” (U.S.-U.K.) — Directed by Greg Barker. A look at ordinary individuals transformed by the moral and personal challenges they encounter when they stand up for what they believe is right.
“This May Be the Last Time” — Directed by Sterlin Harjo. An investigation into Native American filmmaker Harjo’s family history, namely the mysterious 1962 disappearance of his grandfather and the songs of encouragement sung by those who searched for him.
“To Be Takei” — Directed by Jennifer Kroot. A chronicle of the life of actor-activist George Takei, from his origins in a WWII internment camp to the helm of the Starship Enterprise and beyond.
“Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger” — Directed by Joe Berlinger. An account of corruption at the highest levels of law enforcement as seen through the recent trial of infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger.