The 2008 Sundance Film Festival begins this week and I’ll be doing my best to cover it with my time-limited schedule. I thought I’d start coverage with a report on the movies that seem to be the ones getting the biggest pre-opening buzz.
These are some of the movies that are getting the most attention and are most likely to to be talked about quite a bit in the next couple of weeks on movie sites:
This is one of the few sci-fi films showing this year. It is set in a near future in which there is an underground class of “node workers” who plug their nervous systems into a global computer network that commodifies memory. A private company has hijacked control of a local water supply and is selling it back to the village at outrageous prices, provoking the mobilization of aqua-terrorist cells. The main character lives in the village but doesn’t care about this – he dreams of becoming a node worker and learns how to build his own transmitter, which he uses to hack into the lives of others and live vicariously. One night, he stumbles across a transmission destined to pave the way to the city of the future, but in a way he never could never have expected.
Diary of the Dead
George Romero returns once again to the genre he is famous for. Instead of continuing where his last film left off, in this film he essentially reboots his zombie infested world, but while staying true to what he has established over the course of 40 years. In a Cloverfield-like style, the movie follows a fledgling filmmaker who is working on an indie horror film when the zombie plague breaks out and he records what’s happening with his digi-cam.
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden
Morgan Spurlock, who brought us the most-excellent documentary Super Size Me decides to go on the trail of Osama Bin Laden due to how seemingly impossible it is to find the man. He explores the culture of the Middle East and the film is sure to be fascinating. Having yet to see the film, I do not know if he actually locates Bin Laden or not.
Be Kind Rewind
I mentioned this one in my 2008 movie preview. It’s a Jack Black comedy about a guy who mistakenly erases all the videos at a rental store and who creates his own versions of popular movies that end up being wildly popular themselves. The word on this is that it’s supposed to be very funny.
This one is about hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson). After a tough “job” in London, they are ordered by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) to head to Bruges, Belgium. They find themselves out of their element and are drawn into increasingly dangerous goings on with locals, tourists, and a film production. Despite the hard to pronounce title, In Bruges looks to be one of those off-beat and funny black comedies.
This one is very hot and generating a lot of discussion. Why? Because it’s based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk, the guy who wrote Fight Club. The film follows Victor Mancini, who as a child had a troubled mother who would steal him from foster families. He grows up to become a guy who makes a living as a historical re-enactor… and a choking con man. What does that mean? Basically, he goes to restaurants, chokes on his food, and then preys on the kindness of those who “save” his life. I’ll be curious to see how this adaptation compares to the most excellent David Fincher-helmed Fight Club.
You probably haven’t heard much about this one but the premise at least sounds quite funny. The plot revolves around an ex-actor, relentless dreamer, and sometimes-delusional high school teacher who has just mounted one of his infamous screen-to-stage productions – this time it’s Erin Brockovich and unfortunately the reviews aren’t all that he hoped for. When his students rebel and his job is threatened by budget cuts, he is forced to kick ambition into high gear and shoot for his ultimate dream: staging an original production of Hamlet 2, a sequel to Shakespeare’s classic. Now THAT sounds funny (and like something Hollywood would seriously consider churning out).
In addition to those, here are a few more I’d love to see and review, but I don’t know which I’ll be able to get to:
A German film about a teacher who tries to get past his students apathy about Fascism and the Nazis during World War II.
Director Michael Haneke remakes his own film about a family terrorized by two seemingly well-mannered young men.
A horror movie that takes place on a yacht out at sea.
I had the good fortune of getting a press pass for Screen Rant this year, but unfortunately my schedule is severely limited as well. I predict much stress and not a lot of sleep for about 10 days beginning this Thursday. :-)