Sunday, December 2, 2007


January’s coming ‘round again, and it’s time for another year at Sundance.
As usual, there’re a bunch of films on the schedule that I’ve been looking forward to for some time, some that I’ve been hearing good things about, and some that pique my curiosity from the strength and allure of a magickal synopsis. (Film synopses are courtesy of

From the first category (films I’ve been looking forward to for some time):

Be Kind Rewind: written and directed by Michel Gondry; with Jack Black, Mos Def, Mia Farrow, and Danny Glover; from visionary music video director Gondry, who gave us Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and La Science Des Reves (The Science of Sleep)
Synopsis: When a man whose body accidentally becomes magnetized unintentionally erases every tape in his friend's video store, the pair set out to remake the lost films, including Back To The Future, The Lion King and Robocop.

The BrØken: written and directed by Sean Ellis; with Lena Headey and Richard Jenkins; the sophomore feature from Cashback director Ellis, I mentioned this in my Cashback review (see Archive)
Synopsis: On a busy London street a woman sees herself driving by in her own car. Stunned, she trails the mystery woman as events take an eerie turn into a living nightmare.

Choke: based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel, adapted and directed by Clark Gregg; with Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, and Kelly MacDonald; I loved David Fincher’s adaptation of Fight Club, so I’m curious to see how Choke translates to the big screen
Synopsis: Choke is the sardonic story about mother and son relationships, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks.

Diary of the Dead: written and directed by George A. Romero; with Nick Alachiotis, Matt Birman, George Buza, and—get this—Wes Craven, Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, and Guillermo del Toro! I mentioned this in my Land of the Dead review (again, see Archive)
Synopsis: When a group of film students making an indie horror film find themselves trapped in a world being consumed by flesh-eating zombies, they cleverly switch gears and use the camera to document the world crumbling around them.

Transsiberian: directed by Brad Anderson, written by Anderson and Will Conroy; with Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Thomas Kretschmann, Eduardo Noriega, and Sir Ben Kingsley; I’ve mentioned this a number of times ‘round these parts, particularly in the El Maquinista review (yes, again with the Archive)
Synopsis: A Trans-Siberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers.

From the second category (films I’ve been hearing good things about):

Los Cronocrimenes (Timecrimes): written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo; with Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernandez, and Barbara Goenaga
Synopsis: A man accidentally travels back to the past, only to meet himself there. He also encounters a series of mysteries—pieces of an unpredictable jigsaw puzzle of terror, drama, and supsense—that all lead to an unthinkable crime.

Otto; Or, Up With Dead People: written and directed by Bruce LaBruce; with Jey Crisfar and Katharina Klewinghaus
Synopsis: A lonely gay zombie searches for love and meaning in contemporary Berlin.

And from the third category (synopses that have piqued my curiosity):

Baghead: written and directed by Mark and Jay Duplass; with Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, and Greta Gerwig
Synopsis: As previously done in their last film The Puffy Chair, the Duplass Brothers explore the minutiae of relationship dynamics in this in-depth study of a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head.

Donkey Punch: directed by Oliver Blackburn, written by Blackburn and David Bloom; with Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, and Tom Burke
Synopsis: After meeting at a nightclub in a Mediterranean resort, seven young adults decide to continue partying aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the ocean. But when one of them dies in a freak accident the others argue about what to do, leading to a ruthless fight for survival.

Peur(s) Du Noir (Fear(s) of the Dark): directed by Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Callou, Richard McGuire, Pierre Di Sciullio, and Lorenzo Mattotti, written by Jerry Kramsky, Pirus, and Romaine Slocombe; Artistic Director: Etienne Robial
Synopsis: Ten leading graphic artists and cartoonists have breathed life into their phobias and nightmares in this animated feature.

Reversion: written and directed by Mia Trachinger
Synopsis: In a world in which the past, present and future simultaneously unfold, a woman whose genetic mutation leaves her devoid of morality struggles to preserve her romance with the man she loves.

Sleep Dealer: directed by Alex Rivera, written by Rivera and David Riker; with Leonor Varela and Luis Fernando Pena
Synopsis: Set in a near-future, militarized world marked by closed borders, virtual labor and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences, three strangers risk their lives to connect with each other and break the barriers of technology.

There’s also:

Funny Games: Michael Haneke remakes his own well-regarded 1997 thriller with Naomi Watts and Tim Roth
Synopsis: A family settles into its vacation home, which happens to be the next stop for a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers on an excursion through the neighborhood.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh: based on Michael Chabon’s novel, adapted and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber; with Jon Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Sienna Miller, Mena Suvari, Nick Nolte, and Thurber; I loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and Summerland, so I’d love to see this and hope Chabon’s writing resonates on the screen as well as it does on the printed page
Synopsis: The film chronicles the defining summer of a recent college graduate who crosses his gangster father and explores love, sexuality, and the enigmas surrounding his life and his city.

Red: directed by Trygve Allister Diesen, co-directed by Lucky McKee, written by Stephen Susco; with Brian Cox and Tom Sizemore
Synopsis: An older, reclusive man's best friend and inspiration for living is his 14-year-old dog named "Red." When three troublesome teens kill the dog for no good reason, the grieving man sets out for justice and redemption by whatever means available to him.

Towelhead: written and directed by Alan Ball; with Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, and Summer Bishil; I love American Beauty and Six Feet Under, so I have high hopes for this one
Synopsis: The life of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl is illuminated as she navigates her way through the confusing and frightening path of adolescence and sexual awakening.

Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?: directed by Morgan Spurlock, written by Jeremy Chilnick and Spurlock; Super Size Me was great, and so is 30 Days, so I hope Spurlock hits this one out of the park too
Synopsis: Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores every nook and cranny of the Middle East on a quest to find the world’s most wanted man.

It should be noted that most of these films are not in official competition, and will be found under the Spectrum, New Frontier, and Park City at Midnight out-of-competition sections.
The 2008 Sundance Film Festival will run from January 17-27, 2008, in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah.
Check complete list of films in competition here, and films out of competition here.

(OS’s courtesy of [Be Kind Rewind] and [Timecrimes and Funny Games]; images courtesy of [The BrØken and Otto].)

1 comment:

franQ said...

Don't expect too much from THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, esp if you're a fan of the book.

85% of the novel's original story has been CHANGED and major characters completely CUT or altered to fit DODGEBALL writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber's "vision."

Fans are outraged and have begun an online boycott

Check it out for more info!