10 Movies We Wish We Were Seeing at Sundance 2014

Started in 1978 by Sundance himself Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival is a yearly gathering of movie folks in the snowy climes of Park City, Utah where deals are done and the indie (and not so indie) releases for the year are teased.

And we wish we were there.Every year, dozens of highly anticipated movies pick up massive acclaim at the festival, going on to be picked up by major studios and eventually, finally arriving in local cinemas. And that’s just the ones that actually get bought, many more never see the light of day outside of the US – including hits last year like The Spectacular Now and Fruitvale Station.But we can’t be there [sadface] so we have to be content to browse the sites for reviews of movies we might ever see. So come join us as we list 10 Sundance 2014 flicks that we really wish we were seeing right now.The Raid 2Screening: 21/01We’re going to kick off with the obvious one. Gareth Evans’ 2011 (released in 2012) action film The Raid knocked our socks off, sliced them into ribbons and weaved the remnants into a weapon to bludgeon our brains. It was the best action film of the decade, hands down. And now there’s more of it.The Raid 2 kicks off moments after the end of the first entry, with hero Rama (Iko Uwais) already having quite a bad day and it’s about to get worse as he’s forced to go undercover to make corruption a thing of the past. WITH PUNCHING! Seriously, we’re quite excited. And its 148 minutes long!


Screening: 19/01Richard Linklater. Not a director who is at all fond of conventions. And so it goes with his latest offering, a ridiculously ambitious drama charting the life of a child from the age of 6 to 18. From boy to man. And he started shooting it in 2002.Collaborating once more with Ethan Hawke (who plays the father of the boy throughout), production was akin to making a short film every year for 12 years and the idea of seeing an actor change realistically over time is fascinating. Linklater was also interested in integrating elements of the kids real-life, so actor Ellar Salmon has helped to shape this utterly unique movie.The Trip to Italy

Screening: 20/01Back in 2010, director Michael Winterbottom released a six episode comedy series called The Trip – taking exaggerated versions of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a restaurant tour of England. Think of it as This is the End with more soup and you’ll have the idea – basically very, very funny.The Trip to Italy (which will also screen on TV in the UK) sees the same couple having six fancy meals in Italy. Brydon will likely be cheerful about this, Coogan not so much. The first series was edited down from 3 hours to a 2 hour movie and that’s set to happen here again, be sure to check out the full version when it airs later in the year.They Came Together

Screening: 24/01The writer and director of Role Models (and… Wanderlust) takes aim at romantic comedies in They Came Together. And with a cast that includes Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders it’s guaranteed to get some attention. Even more so because Michael Shannon is also in the mix.Rudd is Joel, Poehler is Molly and he works for the man who wants to shut down her quirky little store. So it’s basically You’ve Got Mail, only hopefully we actually want them to get together. Was Meg Ryan supposed to be really annoying there?Young Ones

Screening: 18/01Did you know Gwyneth Paltrow has a brother? And that he sometimes makes films? Well now you do. He previously made a low key drama but graduates to post-apocalyptic Mad Max territory for his second film.Young Ones again stars Michael Shannon (who is great in everything), this time playing Elle Fanning’s and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s dad in a future world where water is scarce and they have to do whatever they can to survive. Which in this case sees them going up against a baddie played by Nicholas Hoult. Nice cast and we love ourselves a wasteland. Plus, Michael Shannon!FrankScreening: 17/01Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up the local success of What Richard Did (starring a pre-Transformers Jack Reynor) with a film that sees him straying into more conventional territory.That’s partly down to the star quality – Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy come together for this strange-looking tale of a very strange band, led by Fassbender in a creepy mask. Gleeson is there to learn from the master musician, which involves a lot of strange instruments and (judging by this first released clip) an unusual amount of punching. We’re hoping for good things from this.

The Guest

Screening: 17/01We loved last year’s You’re Next – giving it a spot on our top films of the 12 month – and director Adam Wingard has been busy impressing us all over the shop – from A Horrible Way to Die to V/H/S. For his next offering, he’s heading for action territory.Written by You’re Next scribe Simon Barrett, The Guest is all about an ex-Marine (Downton star Dan Stevens) who gets all nasty on a family who recently lost their son. It sounds like young Maika Monroe will play against him while trying to protect her kid brother. Some empowering lady vs psycho action for you? Sounds good.Kumiko The Treasure Hunter

Screening: 20/01Actor and director David Zellner (who most recently featured in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) has a really strange set up here for a film that could find cult success.Basically, Kumiko is about a lonely Japanese woman (Rinko Kikuchi) who becomes convinced that the bag of money buried in the Coen Brothers’ Fargo was real and sets out from Tokyo to go digging around in Minnesota. This sounds properly crazy but with the delightful Kikuchi in frame and plenty of isolated, photogenic wastes to photograph it’s also caught our attention.The Voices

Screening: 19/01Graphic novelist and all round creative sort Narjane Satrapi adapted her own autobiographical comic Persepolis in 2007 and has released two French language features since. Now, she makes the move to her first American picture with a starring cast and batty premise.When weirdo factory worker Ryan Reynolds accidentally kills a woman he likes he retreats to his apartment. And there he takes advice from the only ones who will talk to him – his villainous cat Mr. Whiskers and naturally nicer dog Bosco. I told you it was batty but it also might be brilliant. Gemma Arterton, Jacki Weaver and Anna Kendrick star.CalvaryScreening: 19/01After the incredible local success of The Guard (which also premiered at Sundance back in 2011), writer/director John Michael McDonagh wanted to try something different for his follow up, Calvary.Basically McDonagh wanted an Irish story about a good priest, in this case played by The Guard’s leading man Brendan Gleeson. His Father Lavelle gets an ultimatum from a mysterious churchgoer suggesting he’ll be killed within the week, giving him just enough time to settle his affairs and reflect on what it’s all about. Darker than The Guard, it’s likely to cause some controversy in Ireland (but what doesn’t?). Also starring Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Domhnall Gleeson and more Irish folks. You can read more on Calvary in our interview with John Michael McDonagh.

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival runs from the 16th to the 26th of January 2014.In Short:
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