It’s January, which can only mean one thing (besides, ya know, Golden Globes and NFL Playoffs and Martin Luther King Day and a Presidential inauguration): Another Sundance Film Festival is upon us! For the twentieth(!) year, the SAGindie staff will be venturing to Mountain Time for the festival, our parka pockets stock full of movie tickets (and flasks). Sundance ’17 kicks off January 19, and you can follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep tabs on our movie-watching/partying habits.
Which movies are we most excited to see, you ask? Take a look at our staff picks below.
I’m looking forward to a couple of films at Sundance this year. Primarily…
BURNING SANDS (US Dramatic Competition, Co-Written and Directed by Gerard McMurray. Deep into a fraternity’s Hell Week, a favored pledge is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing.) – Not just because the writer/director is someone we know well, but because I have gone through the pledging process and I look forward to his informed take on it.
Also, how would anyone who grew up with ’80s hip hop NOT be crazy excited about…
ROXANNE ROXANNE – (US Dramatic Competition, Written and Directed by Michael Larnell. The most feared battle MC in early-’80s NYC was a fierce teenager from the Queensbridge projects with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At age 14, hustling the streets to provide for her family, Roxanne Shanté was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend.) – I can’t even say the title without singing the song.
GOLDEN EXITS (US Dramatic Competition, Written and Directed by Alex Ross Perry. The arrival of a young foreign girl disrupts the lives and emotional balances of two Brooklyn families.)
A GHOST STORY (NEXT, Written and Directed by David Lowery. This is the story of a ghost and the house he haunts.)
PERSON TO PERSON (NEXT, Written and Directed by Dustin Guy Defa. A record collector hustles for a big score while his heartbroken roommate tries to erase a terrible mistake, a teenager bears witness to her best friend’s new relationship, and a rookie reporter, alongside her demanding supervisor, chases the clues of a murder case involving a life-weary clock shop owner.)
THE FORCE (US Documentary Competition, Directed by Peter Nicks. This cinema vérité look at the long-troubled Oakland Police Department goes deep inside their struggles to confront federal reform demands, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson, and an explosive scandal.)
LIFE OF US (New Frontier, Lead Artists Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin, Pharrell Williams. This shared VR journey tells the complete story of the evolution of life on Earth.)
THE HERO (US Dramatic Competition, Co-Written and Directed by Brett Haley. Lee, a former Western film icon, is living a comfortable existence lending his golden voice to advertisements and smoking weed. After receiving a lifetime achievement award and unexpected news, Lee reexamines his past, while a chance meeting with a sardonic comic has him looking to the future.) – Is this Sam Elliott’s version of The Wrestler? Because I am ready for a season of gravelly Sam Elliott Best Actor award acceptance speeches.
I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE (US Dramatic Competition, Written and Directed by Macon Blair. When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves, alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.) – You can’t go wrong with Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood playing amateur sleuths! Also excited to see actor Macon Blair make the transition to directing.
THE FORCE (US Documentary Competition, Directed by Peter Nicks. This cinema vérité look at the long-troubled Oakland Police Department goes deep inside their struggles to confront federal reform demands, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson, and an explosive scandal.) – Criminal justice documentaries are one of my hobbies. Not making them, just watching them and getting riled up.
TROPHY (US Documentary Competition, Directed by Shaul Schwartz and Christina Clusiau. This in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big game hunting, breeding, and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities.) – This year’s Blackfish, perhaps?
THE LITTLE HOURS (Midnight, Written and Directed by Jeff Baena. A young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a dysfunctional convent in medieval Tuscany.) – The description sounds like a serious period drama, but methinks with this cast (Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon), it’s going to be damn funny.
DEIDRA & LANEY ROB A TRAIN (NEXT, Directed by Sydney Freeland. Two teenage sisters start robbing trains to make ends meet after their single mother’s emotional meltdown in an electronics store lands her in jail.) – Sundance always has a lot of movies with teens, this one looks better.
WIND RIVER (Premieres, Written and Directed by Tyler Sheridan. An FBI agent teams with the town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.) – I loved Taylor Sheridan’s previous works Sicario and Hell or High Water.
CROWN HEIGHTS (US Dramatic Competition, Written and Directed by Matt Ruskin. When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. Adapted from “This American Life,” this is the incredible true story of their harrowing quest for justice.) – It just looks so potent in so many ways.
CITY OF GHOSTS (US Documentary Competition, Directed by Matthew Heineman. With unprecedented access, this documentary follows the extraordinary journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” — a group of anonymous citizen journalists who banded together after their homeland was overtaken by ISIS — as they risk their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.) – Doc about journalists in Raqqa.
ROXANNE ROXANNE – (US Dramatic Competition, Written and Directed by Michael Larnell. The most feared battle MC in early-’80s NYC was a fierce teenager from the Queensbridge projects with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At age 14, hustling the streets to provide for her family, Roxanne Shanté was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend.) – Roxanne’s Revenge is savage.
BUSHWICK – (Midnight, Directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. Lucy emerges from a Brooklyn subway to find that her neighborhood is under attack by blackclad military soldiers. An ex-Marine corpsman, Stupe, reluctantly helps her fight for survival through a civil war, as Texas attempts to secede from the United States of America.) – Couldn’t fit in a ticket for this but it looks bonkers and I’m all about that.
WILL YOU BE AT SUNDANCE 2017? WHICH FILMS ARE ON YOUR MUST-SEE LIST?
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