By Wendy May
Just when you thought you’d seen all of the hottest releases, a new crop of films pop up at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Over the years, Sundance has grown from a grassroots gathering of artists brought together by screen legend Robert Redford to an internationally recognized 10-day event in Park City, Utah.
It’s the time to celebrate independent filmmaking and the place where some of the biggest names in Hollywood flock to even if they have no film to promote (I’m looking at you, Paris Hilton).
Sundance officially wrapped on Jan. 27, but some of the most buzzed about flicks will continue to make headlines throughout the year. Here are the films that made a splash this year at the Sundance Film Festival and the ones that deserve your attention when they’re set for wide release.
Don Jon’s Addiction: In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, Don Jon’s Addiction tells the story of Jon Martello, a young man who is aptly crowned Don Jon by his peers due to his frequent female conquests and his dark turn with sex and porn addiction. Levitt doesn’t just hide behind the camera, he also wrote, produced and stars as the titular character, a role he had to beef up in order to play.
Don Jon’s Addiction also stars Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore and made quite an impression on the Sundance crowd. It was reported the film was purchased for a cool $4 million by Relativity Media after the Weinstein Company was outbid – not a bad start to the year for Levitt.
Prince Avalanche: This quirky comedy stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch and is brought to you by director David Gordon Greene, the man behind The Sitter and Pineapple Express.
The story focuses on the budding and surprising bromance between Rudd and Hirsh as they spend their summer painting traffic lines in the country highway following the destruction of a forest fire. After months of isolation from society, the pair turn to one another to divulge intimate details and converse about many topics, but mostly women. If you’re into eccentric plots and oddball characters, you’ll want to mark the release date of this film on your calendar.
Kill Your Darlings: Man of many talents, Daniel Radcliffe, steps into the shoes of poet, Allen Ginsberg in this highly praised film that also stars Michael C. Hall and everyone’s favourite Olsen sister, Elizabeth.
During 1944, Ginsberg, along with poets and writers, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs (played by Jack Huston and Ben Foster, respectively) become enthralled with the murder of an English professor by the hands of fellow poet, Lucien Carr – a true event that rocked the inner beat poet circle.
Radcliffe auditioned for the role of Ginsberg in 2008 and after production stalled shortly thereafter, the film was shelved. It wasn’t until a few years later that filming got the green light and Radcliffe still remained the frontrunner to play the famous poet.
Fruitvale: A film that won both audience awards and grand jury prizes at Sundance was the dramatic narrative, Fruitvale. Fruitvale tells the true story of the 2008 death of Oscar Grant. Grant was a 22 year old who was shot and killed in Oakland, California in a public transit station by a police officer.
First-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who hails from the same neighbourhood as Grant, wrote and directed the film and enlisted the talent of Oscar winner, Octavia Spencer and actor Michael B. Jordan to tell this dramatic and eye-opening story.
Wendy May is a self-professed movie fanatic and reader of salacious celebrity gossip whenever she can squeeze it into her day. This usually entails standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in waiting rooms and, of course, perusing her favourite entertainment sites at the end of the day. When she isn’t indulging in her daily entertainment fix, Wendy works as a communications professional in Toronto.