The Sundance Film Festival 2013 is well and truly underway and as usual there some standouts and some major disappointments. As the reviews come rushing in the careers of actors and film makers can be made or broken.
Among all the awards handed out at Sundance, everyone holds their breath for the winner of the Grand Jury Prize. Last year it was Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is currently up for an Oscar for Best Picture and launched the career of director Benh Zeitlin and star Quvenzhane Wallis. In 2011 it was Like Crazy (the unofficial runner up went to Martha Marcy May Marlene), while Jennifer Lawrence got her break at Sundance in Winters Bone in 2010.
So who is in the running for the top prize in 2013? Will it be a young filmmaker or an established one that steals the hearts of Hollywood this year? Which young stars will launch themselves as the new Michelle Williams or Ryan Gosling? Here’s a recap of a few of the films creating a buzz so far.
This premiere feature was highly anticipated, especially by international film fanatics like the World Movies team. Park Chan-wook of Oldboy unveiled his first English feature this week – a Hitchcockian mystery led by Australians Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Jacki Weaver. Unfortunately this bleak and stylized thriller has been getting pretty mixed reviews, with quotes like ‚Äúweird and silly‚Äù, ‚Äúbrutally empty, (a) deeply unfortunate movie” and on the other side ‚Äúthe most amazing and terrifying film of the year‚Äù. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself.
Fruitvale is currently in the lead for the Sundance break-out film for 2013. The fact that the great and powerful wizard of Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, has put down $2.5 million for the film’s distribution rights is a promising start – as are the reviews coming out of Sundance. Fruitvale takes an in depth look at the real-life murder of 22-year-old African American Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by a police officer in 2009 for an altercation he had nothing to do with. The incident took place at the Fruitvale Bart train station and was captured on the phones of onlookers – sparking national outrage. Produced by Forest Whitaker and starring last year’s Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale will surely launch the career of first-time writer-director Ryan Coogler and rising star Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, The Wire). Watch this space.
THE ARTHOUSE FAVOURITE
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (US)
Fruitvale might have some competition on its hands in the form of the Malick-esque outlaw romance Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. The title alone had everyone buzzing (Sundance loves a long ambiguous title). The lead characters of Ruth and Bob are played by rising star Rooney Mara and the brooding Casey Affleck as a young Bonnie and Clyde style couple. Bob is serving a 25 year sentence in prison while Ruth raises their young daughter, but when Bob escapes they struggle to reconnect. The reviews for David Lowery’s 70s set Southern drama have been pretty stellar – including ‚Äúa triumph of visual poetry‚Äù.
THE POTENTIAL CULT CLASSIC
Crystal Fairy (Chile/US)
Sundance loves a bit of drama but some comedy gems have come out of the festival – such as Napoleon Dynamite and Little Miss Sunshine. Crystal Fairy by Chilean director Sebastian Silva (previous Sundance winner for The Maid) directs Michael Cera in a strange drug-fuelled comedy about a young American in Chile searching for the psychedelic San Pedro cactus. Silva and Cera also collaborated on the mysterious Magic Magic this year, and both films are premiering at Sundance 2013. The reviews are mixed and range from ‚Äúhilarious‚Äù to ‚Äúsometimes funny‚Äù. Either way the World Movies team is excited for this film – especially after we spied two leaked clips on the internet last week.
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