Hive Five: Surveying the Music Films at Sundance

[caption id="attachment_24023" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem in "Shut Up and Play the Hits." Photo: Courtesy of Pulse Films"]"James Murphy"[/caption]

The venn diagram of “music nerds” and “film nerds” has a lot of overlap, and it’s always exciting when those two worlds collide – whether it’s Terrence Malick and Ryan Gosling at a music festival or a heap of interesting, music-related movies at Sundance. And this year, the lineup of music-themed movies at the Park City, Utah film fest (happening now!) – be they documentary, narrative, or short films – is pretty awesome. Here are five of the most intriguing films for music lovers at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

1. Shut Up And Play The Hits

We couldn’t all get tickets to the LCD Soundsystem farewell shows at Madison Square Garden, but even if we could, we wouldn’t see everything in Shut Up And Play The Hits, the documentary film by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace that captures the final 48 hours of James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem performing career -- with narration by Murphy and Chuck Klosterman, because the filmmakers are happy to give you exactly what you want.

2. I Am Not A Hipster

Perhaps the most defining characteristic of the curious breed known as the hipster is its steadfast denial of being such a thing. Giving voice to hipster-denialism in the form of a narrative feature about a singer/songwriter with interesting hair and a penchant for plaid shirts, I Am Not A Hipster looks to go beyond the surface of hipsterism and reveal that even people who are balancing a six-pack of PBR on their fixies have emotional depth, too. Maybe.

3. Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke

We all love La jetée, the French science-fiction film from the '60s about time travel in a post-nuclear war Paris (which also inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys), but wouldn’t we love it more if it were set in Miami and starred Luke Campbell from 2 Live Crew? The answer is yes, we would love it more in that circumstance. For proof, this short film by visual and performance artist Jillian Mayer, will be screening throughout the week at Sundance.

4. The Last Elvis

Everybody loves a good Elvis impersonator movie -- from 3000 Miles To Graceland or Honeymoon In Vegas -- the genre is beloved. But it’s about time someone made a film about the dark side of that level of dedication to The King, and The Last Elvis, a story about a Buenos Aires celebrity impersonator, aims to be that picture. With a lead performance by real-life Elvis impersonator John McInerny, it’s not just some random actor with a pompadour bumming you out and singing “Can’t Help Falling In Love” – it’s someone who knows the heartache of being the King.

Trailer The last Elvis from luis Staffolani on Vimeo.

5. Filly Brown

Even in a 2012, post-record industry world, “sleazy record producer” is still a villain archetype worth deploying in a movie about a young, coming-of-age rapper. In Filly Brown, the titular emcee has to choose between being true to herself and her people, or being true to the guy who’s dangling paper in front of her. And with a cast that includes Edward James Olmos (Filly Brown is co-directed by his son) and Lou Diamond Phillips, you just know there are going to be some heart-rending speeches about loyalty involved.