Every year film fans and movie critics alike head to Park City, Utah, and the Sundance Film Festival in search of cinematic gems. Every Sundance festival has amazing experiences, but misses are commonplace as well. Here's our take on the movies we see coming out of Sundance with a head of steam!
20. "In a World..."
Lake Bell's directorial debut gets deep into a topic we're all fascinated with, the voice-over industry. Given Demetri Martin and Rob Corddry's involvement, there should be plenty of laughs to be had here.
Jane Lynch, Josh Radnor and Sundance darling Juno Temple star in a film about everything from relationships to parenting. Fans of the show "Key and Peele" will be please to see Keegan-Michael Key here; the actor/comedian also appears in another Sundance film this year (which almost made our list) called "Hell Baby."
This little Sundance gem looks to be a modern day "Bonnie and Clyde," only this time starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. Director David Lowery is a relative unknown, but so were Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith before Sundance recognized their talent.
Steve Coogan has been close to breaking out for many years; will this be the film to put him over the top? In this period piece directed by frequent collaborator Michael Winterbottom, Coogan plays a fellow trying to start the first "gentleman's club" in London.
16. "Touchy Feely"
This is a buffet of Sundance regulars, from writer/director Lynn Shelton ("Humpday," "Your Sister's Sister") to Scoot McNairy ("Killing Them Softly") and Ellen Page ("Juno"). The synopsis is far too complicated to broach without writing a novella, but suffice it to say we are anticipating glowing reviews.
Could this surreal drama be Jessica Biel's comeback? It's a spooky thriller starring Kaya Scodelaria ("Skins," Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights") about finding one's place in the world. You might say that's par for the course for Sundance films, and we'll agree, but some of them are very well done.
Shailene Woodley's follow up to "The Descendants" looks a bit like "Brick" meets "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." Those are great films to look like!
Every Sundance Film Festival needs some scares, and the follow-up to "V/H/S" should do the trick. This one seems destined to surpass the original at the box office, and the home video market for horror is very dependable.
Shia LaBeouf has made plenty of noise about wanting to break out of the "Transformers" mold. Well, here's his chance, with a Sundance film that sounds like a darker version of "Garden State."
David Gordon Green, he of "Pineapple Express" and "Your Highness," brings another comedy to Sundance. This one has a "My Idiot Brother" feel. Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch will bring the chemistry, and this should get a nice little boost from Sundance reviews.
Only four female directors have been nominated for a Best Director Oscar, and "Lake" co-director Jane Campion is one of them. "Top of the Lake" looks fairly bleak, and that six-hour running time is going to weed out all but the heartiest of film critics. Still, it will be a buzzy title, and it's meant to be a television show, so perhaps the longish running time will completely work.
Could this be the film that finally gets Naomi Watts her Oscar? It's a film about an illicit lesbian affair based on a Doris Lessing novel and directed by Anne Fontaine. The reviews will tell us right away if they pull it off.
It was a no-brainer that the story of Steve Jobs would hit the big screen, but is this too soon? And is Ashton Kutcher really the guy to play Mr. Jobs?
People loved director Jeff Nichols's second movie, "Take Shelter," so he's likely to play to packed houses here. Also helpful is the inclusion of Matthew McConaughey as the title character Mud; he's an outlaw who takes two young boys under his wing. This one debuted at Cannes to largely positive reviews.
This is the directorial debut of the writers of "The Descendants," and it stars Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Steve Carell and Toni Collette. "The Way, Way Back" is primarily the story of a 14-year-old on his summer vacation, and with this pedigree, there's no reason this one shouldn't be a huge winner at Sundance 2013.
This wraps up the Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy love saga we've watched unfold in "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." Many consider those movies to be Ethan Hawke's and Richard Linklater's best work, so this is extremely likely to receive fawning reviews and leave audiences in tears.
Also check out: Preview: The 10 Least Depressing-Sounding Movies at Sundance
Celebrated Korean director Chan-wook Park ("Oldboy") is looking to take Sundance by storm with "Stoker," his first English-language film. Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Jacki Weaver star in this mysterious thriller.
You know the Amanda Seyfried from "Mamma Mia" and "Les Miserables," but she's aiming to break out as a sexy female lead. What better way than "Lovelace," the story of real life porn star Linda Lovelace? Because it combines sex and big names, this will be covered by everyone in Park City.
If you're looking to make a splash at Sundance, you could do much worse than casting Daniel Radcliffe in your film. "Kill Your Darlings" is the dramatization of the friendship of writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, David Cross and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
This film is destined to be seen in a theater near you. It's got an A-list star in Scarlett Johansson, an "It" boy in director/writer/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an icon in Julianne Moore and a "Look who is back!" storyline in Tony Danza. It's also Gordon-Levitt's feature-length directorial debut. That is a recipe for big Academy love, especially once you consider the plotline of porn addiction. This will be the film that gets rewarded for "Shame" broaching the subject in 2011.
So there you have it, our buzzy picks of Sundance 2013. Of course, the joy of Sundance is the surprises, so check in daily for our comprehensive coverage!