Sundance 2013 Picks – Complete List

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Jan 152013
 

Finally, the complete list of my Sundance 2013 film picks, ranked and commented.After the rank of 20 it’s mostly a tie.

We’ll see how I do this year.

Tweet me if you agree, disagree or see a film you loved. See y’all there!

RANK FILM COMMENTS
1 ★★ Afternoon Delight Soloway’s first feature. Contemporary, sexy, dark comedy.
Bonus ★★ The Lifeguard A modern day THE GRADUATE
2 ★★ Narco Cultura Outrageous. Real. Scary. “Could win Grand Jury award”
3 ★★★ Ass Backwards Talked up a lot. Favorite of a few key programmers.
4 Don Jon’s Addiction Smart funny, “You have no idea what you’re in for.”
5 ★★ Crystal Fairy Fun story. Unique Americans in Chile–totally lost. Great performances by Michael Cera and Abby Hoffman
6 Two Mothers “Awards caliber performance by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright
7 The Spectacular Now “Touching coming-of-age film”
8 ★★ Hell Baby They had me at “Vatican’s elite exorcism team.”
9 The East Brit Marling infiltrates a mysterious anarchist collective
10 Lovelace “Brave role for Amanda Seyfried” “Possibly becoming this generation’s The Accused.” – The Atlantic
11 Interior. Leather Bar. Provocative recreation of “lost footage” from classic 70’s film, CRUISING.
12 C.O.G. The first film adaptation of a David Sedaris essay.
13 The Future Funny,strange love story with Rutger Hauer as a blind, ex-Mr. Universe
14 The Look of Love 60′s swinging sex clubs, porn and real estate
15 Blackfish Doc on the controversial captivity of large marine mammals centered on trainer-killer Tilikum
16 Who is Dayani Cristal? Doc that recreates the life of an anonymous body found in the Arizona desert.
17 Ain’t Them Bodies Saints “Poetic, meditative, beautifully shot, lyrical” Programmers gushed.
18 God Loves Uganda “Will leave you dumfounded and amazed”
19 The Way Way Back “A fun romp.”
20 In a World… “Plays like an Olympics of voice talent.”
21 The Moo Man “Starring the scene stealing Queen of the Herd Ida”
22 Sound City A celebrity creates a doc in such an interesting way. Programmers were skeptical, until they saw it. Great story.
23 Salma Moving.
24 Computer Chess “The worst looking film in the festival… by design.”
25 The World According to Dick Cheney “Just amazing.” “The single-most-powerful non-presidential figure in American history.”
26 Linsanity A favorite of two of the senior programmers.
27 Google and the World Brain Addresses the question, “Who owns knowledge?”
28 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Sure to spark late-night bar conversation.
29 After Tiller Humanizes people who have been demonized. Shakes up everyone’s beliefs
30 This is Martin Bonner Quiet character study.
31 Escape from Tomorrow “One of the strangest films in the category.” Shot secretly at a location I promised not to reveal, but you will recognize it.
32 Upstream Color I thought the description read ‘ageless orgasm.”
33 Cutie and the Boxer Breakout film.
34 Toy’s House A sweet coming-of-age movie. Wacky at times.
35 The Crash Reel “Eye-popping, yet intimate, story of U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce.” Enthralling.
36 Circles Classical, beautiful drama dealing with the aftermath of war atrocities and the desire for revenge.
37 Twenty Feet from Stardom Moving, enlightening. Singers will be performing Sunday night.
38 We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks Again, who owns knowledge.
39 Top of the Lake Will be broadcast as a miniseries on the Sundance Channel, but you can watch all 353 minutes in one sitting. Only one screening.

 

Jan 142013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #1

2012, 99 minutes, color, U.S.A., U.S. Dramatic

A lost LA housewife tries to rescue a stripper by taking her in as a live-in nanny.

PROGRAMMERS:

  • “Contemporary, sexy, dark comedy”

COMMENTS:

Soloway’s first feature, but she’s got a great track record. The concept is so rich with potential it is my top choice for Sundance.

Hmmmm, I didn’t hear any applause.  Oh well, see all ya’ll there.

Cast and Credits 

Director: Jill Soloway
ScreenwriterJill Soloway
Executive Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Allen Benello, James Burke, Chris Miller, Chris Kuenne, Rick Rosenthal, Nick Morton
Producers: Jen Chaiken, Sebastian Dungan
Principal Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch

 

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BONUS PICK: The Lifeguard

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Jan 122013
 

 SUNDANCE BONUS FILM PICK

2012, 94 minutes, color, U.S.A., U.S. Dramatic

A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager.

COMMENTS:

A friend involved in this film brought it to my attention too late to add to the rankings. It would be in my top ten, so I squeezed it in before the final, number one pick.

Kristen Bell is a wonderful actor, and Garcia has done great TV work. I’m looking forward to seeing her first feature.

Cast and Credits  

Director: Liz W. Garcia
ScreenwriterLiz W. Garcia
Producers: Mike Landry, Carlos Velazquez, Joshua Harto, Milan Chakraborty, Liz W. Garcia
Principal Cast: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Amy Madigan,  Joshua Harto, David Lambert

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Jan 112013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #2

English and Spanish with English subtitles, 2012, 103 minutes, color, U.S.A., U.S. Documentary

“To a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, narco-traffickers have become iconic outlaws and the new models of fame and success. They represent a pathway out of the ghetto, nurturing a new American dream fueled by the war on drugs.Narco Cultura looks at this explosive phenomenon from within, exposing cycles of addiction to money, drugs, and violence that are rapidly gaining strength on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.”

PROGRAMMERS:

  • “Outrageous, real, scary”
  • “Could win the Grand Jury award”

COMMENTS:

Can’t wait for this one. I am fascinated by drug sub-cultures around the world and this is one of the most warped realities I have heard of.

Cast and Credits 

Director: Shaul Schwarz
Producers: Lars Knudsen, Jay Van Hoy, Todd Hagopian
Associate Producers: Lauren Haber, Juan Bertrán
Cinematographer: Shaul Shwarz
Editors: Bryan Chang, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg
Composer: Jeremy Turner

 

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Jan 102013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #3

2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Midnight

“Ass Backwards is the story of two co-dependent best friends who fancy themselves as high powered stylish New York City gals – even though they share a water bed, sell their eggs for cash and think a table at Starbucks is a corner office. These loveable losers take a road trip back to their hometown to claim the beauty pageant crown that eluded them as children and discover that ignorance really is bliss.”

PROGRAMMERS:

  • A definite favorite of programmers… big programmers… they wouldn’t shut up about it and kept giggling out loud and exchanging glances like it was some grand inside joke

COMMENTS:

This sounds like a winner but historically, I have a terrible record seeing movies in the At Midnight category. I will do my best!

Cast and Credits 

Director: Chris Nelson
Screenwriters: June Diane RaphaelCasey Wilson
Executive Producers: Paul L. Woodring, Elysa Koplovitz, Paull Cho, Chad Burris, Ky Chaffin, Jeff Steen, Dori Sperko
Producers: Heather Rae, Molly Conners
Coproducers: Laura Mehlhaff, Mike Romero
Cast: June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alicia Silverstone, Jon Cryer, Brian Geraghty, Bob Odenkirk, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Paul Scheer, Sandy Martin and Lea DeLaria

 

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Jan 092013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #4

2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Premieres

The journey of a contemporary, porn-addicted Don Juan-type as he attempts to become less selfish.

 

PROGRAMMERS:

  • “Smart funny”
  • “You have no idea what you’re in for”

COMMENTS:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut. He’s smart and funny. Great cast including Tony Danza. I’m in.

(Another porn-related story. What’s happening to our festival and world?)

Cast and Credits 

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Screenwriter:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Executive Producer: Nicolas Chartier
Producer: Ram Bergman
Editor: Lauren Zuckerman
Principal Cast:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown

 

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Crystal Fairy

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Jan 082013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #5

2012, 100 minutes, color, Chile, World Dramatic

Odd, twentysomething American expats in Chile on a road trip in search of the legendary shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro cactus.

 

PROGRAMMERS:

  • “Fun story”
  • “Unique Americans in Chile–totally lost”
  • “Great performances by Michael Cera and Abby Hoffman”

COMMENTS:

Sounds like a fun concoction of wackiness, drugs and character. 

Cast and Credits 

Director: Sebastián Silva
Screenwriter: Sebastián Silva
Producers: Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín
Principal Cast: Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva

 

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Two Mothers

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Jan 072013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #6

2012, 100 minutes, color, Australia/France, Premieres

“A gripping tale of love, lust, and the power of friendship, Two Mothers charts the unconventional and passionate affairs embarked upon by two lifelong friends, Lil and Roz, who fall in love with each other’s sons. Afraid of facing the ire and judgment of their insular seaside community, they continue the relationships in secret over the years. Once the affairs are discovered, the revelation threatens to tear apart their lives and those of the young men, who must eventually choose between following a well-worn path or their true desires.”

 

PROGRAMMERS:

  • “Awards caliber performance by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright
  • The favorite film of the festival of one unnamed Sundance programmer

COMMENTS:

A unique take on a taboo topic adapted by a great writer and highly praised by the people who have seen it.

A dearth of social media around this film–thanks SOPHIE for having the only Twitter account I could find.

 

Cast and Credits 

Director: Anne Fontaine
Screenwriters: Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Doris Lessing
Executive Producer: Troy Lum
Producers: Philippe Carcassonne, Francis Boespflug, Andrew Mason
Principal Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile, Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe

 

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The Spectacular Now

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Jan 052013
 

 SUNDANCE FILM PICK #7

2012, 99 minutes, color, U.S.A., U.S. Dramatic

NOMINATED FOR THE GRAND JURY AWARD

“Sutter Keely lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified 7UP cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky hovering over him. Not a member of the cool crowd, she’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. She does have dreams, while Sutter lives in a world of impressive self-delusion. And yet they’re drawn to each other.”

 

PROGRAMMERS:

  • “Touching coming-of-age film”
  • “These weren’t the people you knew in high school”
  • “Has an edge to it”

COMMENTS:

I’m surprised a COA movie ended up so high on my list–not my favorite genre. I liked the excitement and reverence the programmer’s gave it.

This film’s cast/crew has more Twitter accounts than any other film I have picked. Y’all need to get out of your PJs and… wait, sorry, pot calling the kettle shiftless.

 

Cast and Credits 

Director: James Ponsoldt
Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, based on the novel by Tim Tharp
Executive Producers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, Matthew Medlin, Marc Shmuger
Producers: Tom McNulty, Shawn Levy, Andrew Lauren, Michelle Krumm
Coproducers: Billy Rosenberg, Dan Cohen
Principal Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler, Kaitlyn DeverDayo OkeniyiBob Odenkirk

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