12 films to watch out for at Sundance 2015

  • 12 films to watch out for at Sundance 2015

With the 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicking off in Utah this week, get set for a barrage of great (and not-so-great) films set to hit our screens in upcoming months.

So, to help you wade through all the titles, we've picked out a dozen of the films that you should expect glowing recommendations coming out of the festival.

True Story

Premieres: 23 January
Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill
Genre: Thriller

The true story (hence the title) of Christian Longo (James Franco), a recently-captured member of the FBI's most wanted, who's been living as New York Times journalist Michael Finkle (Jonah Hill).

Finkle meets Longo in jail and they bond as they swap tips and backstories, but soon, a psychological game develops between the two.

It's a dramatic turn from Franco and Hill, who might just be able to pull it off for a gripping thriller, crammed full of twists.

 

Mississippi Grind

Premieres: 24 January
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn, Sienna Miller
Genre: Drama

A gambler on a losing streak (Ben Mendelsohn) teams up with a charismatic younger poker player (Ryan Reynolds) in a bid to turn his fortunes around.

The pair then set off on a road trip around the South in a bid to win back their losses and make a bit more for themselves, in this quirky buddy movie.

 

The Bronze

Premieres: 22 January (Opening Night Film)
Starring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole
Genre: Comedy

A comedy penned by The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch and her husband, which sees an Olympic bronze-medallist gymnast's position as local celebrity threatened by a new young athlete.

The Sundance programmers have confirmed that there will be more comedies at this year's festival, and this has the biggest buzz of the bunch.

 

Mistress America

Premieres: 24 January
Starring: Juliet Brett, Michael Chernus
Genre: Comedy

Coming off the back of the success of Frances Ha, writer-director Noah Baumbach's new project looks set to be another smart, fun New York comedy.

A college freshman takes her adventurous soon-to-be stepsister under her wing, capers and hijinks ensue.

 

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Premieres: 24 January
Genre: Documentary

Promising rare and unheard songs as well as photography, artwork, demos and journals, it has been executive produced by Cobain's daughter Frances Bean.

Coming out with Courtney Love's seal of approval approval, it's likely that this documentary will praise the saintly Nirvana frontman, rather than explore any darker details about his life and death.

 

Slow West

Premieres: 24 January
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Genre: Action

Michael Fassbender hits the old west as Silas, a mysterious traveller who accompanies a 16-year-old boy on a journey across the American frontier.

With the hope of a 12 Years a Slave Fassbender performance, rather than last year's Sundance effort, Frank, it could be a big score for the German-born, Irish actor.

 

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Premieres: 25 January
Genre: Documentary

Scientology is always a great and murky topic to explore in a bid to stoke up the hornets nest.

Using Lawrence Wright's book of the same name as inspiration, Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) interviews past followers to learn more about the church and its (dubious) practices.

Unsurprisingly, the retorts and criticisms have already started coming from the Church of Scientology.

 

Experimenter

Premieres: 25 January
Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Kellan Lutz
Genre: Drama

Telling the tale of Stanley Milgram's famous experiment, in which he made subjects administer increasingly strong (and harmful) electric shocks to unseen strangers.

Peter Sarsgaard stars as the scientist, whose story starts with meeting his wife, through to the experiments and their public outrage.

Experimenter could do for radical human obedience tests what The Imitation Game did for WWII code breaking.

 

The End of the Tour

Premieres: 23 January
Starring: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky
Genre: Drama

The story of Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) striking up an unlikely friendship with The Pale King author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) after the publication of Infinite Jest.

It is the most star-studded and highly-anticipated film to premiere at Sundance, while many David Foster Wallace fans have voiced their reservations over Segel's acting ability to portray the Pulitzer Prize nominee.

 

Z for Zachariah

Premieres: 24 January
Starring: Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Genre: Sci-Fi

After an apocalyptic disaster, awkwardly there are only three people left on the planet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, and Margot Robbie.

Naturally, an emotionally-charged love triangle emerges in this loose adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's classic Sci-Fi novel.

With Star Trek's Chris Pine, 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor and Margot Robbie from The Wolf of Wall Street, there's mainstream expectations from this one.

 

Last Days in the Desert

Premieres: 25 January
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ciarán Hinds
Genre: Adventure

After the parade of biblically-themed films of recent times, including Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings, comes Last Days in the Desert.

The film focuses on Jesus' forty days of fasting in the desert while struggling with temptation from the Devil.

Interestingly, Ewan McGregor plays both Jesus and the Devil, in what could be the best of the recent takes on Bible stories, or could flat on its face, depending on how it's depicted.

 

The Nightmare

Premieres: 26 January
Genre: Documentary

Director Rodney Ascher found notability with his popular Room 237, about obsessives of The Shining and their theories of its deeper meaning, is back with The Nightmare.

Covering the disturbing condition of sleep paralysis - where sufferers are unable to move despite being awake (of which Ascher is a sufferer) in the director's self-labelled 'horror-documentary'.

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