Keith Simanton's 25 Most Anticipated Films of Sundance, 2018
I've been fortunate enough to have been attending Sundance since 2001. I have to say this might be the best sight-unseen lineup that the talented festival programmers have ever put together. There are numerous films that were nearly on this long list, the bench is so deep. Lynne Ramsey/Joaquin Phoenix's "You Were Never Really Here" isn't here because I saw it in Cannes. I'll be interested to see if the edit has changed since then though. Also, my apologies to first-time directors for including mostly known contributors here. I hope to discover your films in Park City too.
Deb Granik came to Sundance in 2010 with "Winter's Bone," directing Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes to Oscar nominations. Can she do the same for another favorite actor of mine, the sublime Ben Foster?
As a person who used to buy National Lampoon and who laughed as hard as I've ever laughed reading it I'm very excited to see this talent-studded film. (The "Futile" poster, btw, is a takeoff of an infamous Lampoon cover where a dog had a pistol leveled at its head alongside the headline, "If You Don't Buy This Magazine We'll Kill This Dog.") I also loved the under-rated "They Came Together," the best thing that director David Wain has done so far. Forte in a serious turn is always worth watching.
You should be interested in this film for many reasons. Brothers David and Nathan Zellner were last in Park City with "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter." Or you could be a sucker for the Western genre, as I so hopelessly am. Or you could think that Robert Pattinson was brilliant in "The Rover" and "Good Time" or that you're hoping that Mia Wasikowska finally has the role that suits her best. Lots of reasons.
Great actors swarm to great parts and here you have Rose Byrne, Chris O’ Dowd, and Ethan Hawke, so that's good. Jesse Peretz showed promise with "My Idiot Brother." Perhaps his adaptation of this Nick Hornby novel (always a good starting point) will prove to be a success.
As a big fan of the Danish play and the guy who wrote it I'm intrigued to see how Shakespearean this is or if they're just going to leave the text behind. And it's got that Ridley person also. And Tom Felton as her brother Laertes and he's been very good in many things that weren't Harry Potter
As much as I think the Chloe Grace Moretz is a classy, talented actress I'm extremely excited to see the next performance by Sasha Lane. Lane was the stunning lead in "American Honey" and she brings a vitality to the screen that is hard to match.
I like post-apocalyptic films. I like Dinklage though the jury is still out with me on Fanning. Director Reed Morano, usually a cinematographer, promises us great setups of this intriguing pairing of stars.
Brad Anderson has made a number of films very unlike each other from the creepy, still "The Machinist" to the downright terrifying "Session 9" to the thriller "Transsiberian." Interested to see what he does with what sounds like solid genre territory.
If you told me Kathryn Hahn was starring in a spoken-word, tone-poem, stream of consciousness one-person play in the Playplace sitting area of the McDonalds down by the Interstate I'd go. Here she's directed by Tamara Jenkins (“Slums of Beverly Hills,” “The Savages”) + a Paul Giamatti bonus
I had the good fortune to see Robin Williams in person twice at Sundance. Once when he turned a Q&A into a one-man show after the Eccles screening of "One Hour Photo" and again later that same week when he burst out of the Egyptian Theater in antic/manic flourishes into snowy Main Street before hopping in his ride. Seems fitting to catch this doc.
Ethan Hawke, by most old accounts, was an ego-engorged young actor. Having had the privilege to have met him and dealt with him on many occasions in the last few years my experience has been that he's a serious, hard-working artist committed to the vision at hand, be that a play, a film, or music. Hawke's also one who is the first to be self-deprecating. How that applies to direction will be fascinating to see. Plus, I thought "Chelsea Walls" (his first feature) showed promise.