What to see and who to watch from this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Covered in tattoos, wearing a bright pink bra and little else, Jennifer Hudson wraps a strap around her upper arm, pulls it tight, and shoots up. It's near the beginning of director George Tillman Jr.'s new film, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, and Hudson is playing Gloria: a prostitute, a junkie, and a negligent mother to 13-year-old "Mister" (Skylan Brooks).
Better known by her stage name, Emmy the Great, Emma-Lee Moss writes endearing and honest-seeming songs. Moss' latest project is something new: a film score. Working with composer Ilan Eshkeri (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, Coriolanus), Moss wrote the soundtrack to Austenland, which just premiered at Sundance.
Starring a trio of rapidly rising talent—Miles Teller as the gregarious protagonist, Sutter, Brie Larson as his popular but practical ex-girlfriend, Cassidy, and Shailene Woodley as the reserved and intelligent Aimee—the understated performances are what make The Spectacular Now.
Jeff Nichols first film, Shotgun Stories (2007), is sparse and dark—the story of three brothers from Arkansas, Son (played by Michael Shannon), Boy, and Kid, embroiled in a futile feud with their half siblings. His second film, Take Shelter (2011), is not so different. Nichols' third film, Mud (2012), is something else entirely.
Film festivals rarely scramble over horror movies. Creepy movies and violent dramas, perhaps, but nothing that involves crazed murderers with a giant axes in their hands and a tendency towards cannibalism. Writer-director Jim Mickle's films, however, are an exception.
NO is not Gael García Bernal's first political film. The Mexican actor and producer starred as romanticized revolutionary Che Guevera in Fidel (2002) and in The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and recently produced the Sundance-selected documentary, Who Is Dayani Cristal (2012) about Honduran migrants trying to get to the US by any means possible.
Less than a year after On the Road premiered at Cannes, Kill Your Darlings, another Beat-centric film, is competing for the coveted US Dramatic Prize at Sundance. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac, Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr, and Michael C. Hall as David Kammerer, an older teacher infatuated by Carr.
Lovelace is the first of two biopics of porn star turned activist and writer; another one, Inferno, is currently in production with Malin Ackerman as Linda. Why all the interest in the life of a '70s porn star?
"Boneshaker's definitely the first movie that I'm really, really proud of, so of course I was going to submit it to everything and anything," laughs filmmaker Frances Bodomo. Among the "everything and anything" was the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where Boneshaker premiered last week—a pretty impressive entrée into the professional film world.