The 32nd annual Sundance Film Festival, one of the most anticipated showcases for new movies from American and international independent filmmakers, began on January 21 and runs until the 31st. Not only will more than 100 movies premiere during the 10-day festival, Sundance’s organizers have decided this year to make the selections accessible to the public, not only to those who attend the event in Park City, Utah.
YouTube launched its streaming video rental service during the second day of the festival, and will feature three titles from this year and two from last year. The IFC channel will also run three other titles on-demand to cable subscribers the same nights they premiere at Sundance. The Sundance Film Festival USA tour will also premiere another movie on January 28 in eight cities across the U.S.
Of the 100 movies premiering during the festival, there are several that are highly-anticipated and will most likely get distribution deals. They include ‘The Company Men,’ which marks the directorial debut of television producer John Wells. The drama, reminiscent of the recent George Clooney hit ‘Up in the Air,’ focuses on the economy and layoffs. At a white-collar company, several employees, including its founder, played by Tommy Lee Jones, and a rising hotshot, played by Ben Affleck, are hit particularly hard by the layoffs. The movie also features Maria Bello, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper and Rosemarie DeWitt.
Another sure hit is ‘Nowhere Boy,’ a biography about the teenaged John Lennon. The movie focuses on when Lennon was raised by his aunt, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and started The Beetles with Paul McCartney. This movie not only garnered attention for its subject matter and Johnson’s stand-out performance, but also created gossip in England last year when its 19-year-old star, Aaron Johnson, became engaged to its 42-year-old director, Sam Taylor-Wood.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt comes off his Golden-Globe nominated turn in ‘(500) Days of Summer’ in the movie ‘Hesher.’ He plays the title character, who becomes entangled in the lives of a grieving father, played by Rainn Wilson, and his young son. When dangerous drifter Heshner then chases after the retail clerk, played by Natalie Portman, the son has a crush on, things become complicated. The movie is also creating buzz that Gordon-Levitt will receive more nominations for his portrayal of the tattooed, greasy-haired Hesher.
Other noteworthy entries in this year’s festival include ‘Blue Valentine,’ which features Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a married couple who sees their relationship disintegrate as time jumps. Katie Holmes is set to make a career comeback, much like several of her ‘Dawson Creek’ co-stars are doing on television the past two seasons, in ‘The Romantics.’ Holmes leads the all-star cast, which includes Adam Brody, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, Elijah Wood and Candice Bergen, in a story about young adults who reunite and relive old times at a wedding.
Written by: Karen Benardello