The 2019 Sundance Film Festival that took place from January 24 to February 3 is one of the most exciting events of the year. The movies screened in the festival are a preview of the Oscar-quality films that will hit the big screen for the coming year. Here are the 10 films that caught my eye at the festival this year.
Honey Boy is such a peculiar film. it’s a semi-autobiographical tale, based on Shia LaBeouf childhood and his relationship with his alcoholic father, which is played by Shia LaBeouf. LaBeouf also wrote the screenplay, and the movie protagonist, Otis, is apparently a stand-in for LaBeouf. It cannot get more meta than that. Besides all his personal problems I consider Shia LaBeouf a great actor. And I think this film will help us to understand the struggles he dealt with as a child star and how that influenced his lifestyle as an adult. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to watching this movie.
Director: Alma Har’el
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe.
This is not Berlin
This is a semi-autobiographical coming of age movie by the writer-director Hari Sama. Set in the politically charged world of 1986 Mexico City, it follows the seventeen-year-old Carlos who doesn’t fit in anywhere. Not in his family nor with the friends he has chosen in school. But everything changes when he is invited to a mythical nightclub where he discovers the underground nightlife scene: punk, sexual liberty, and drugs. I really like movies set in the 1980s. And the trailer looks really good too. So I will definitely check this out.
Director: Hari Sama
Cast: Xabiani Ponce de León, José Antonio Toledano, Ximena Romo, Mauro Sánchez Navarro, Klaudia García, Marina de Tavira.
Paddleton is a comedy/drama that stars Mark Duplass and Ray Romano. The movie is about an unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors that becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer. I really like everything Ray Romano has done since he finished his Sitcom. And based on the trailer I saw, this will be great too. It is scheduled to be released on February 22, 2019, by Netflix.
Director: Alex Lehmann
Cast: Mark Duplass, Ray Romano, Ravi Patel, and Christine Woods.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
This is a thriller that tells the story of the serial killer Ted Bundy from the perspective of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who struggled to accept the reality of her boyfriend’s nature. That is a lot of buzz surrounding this film. And I’m very curious to see if it will pay off.
Director: Joe Berlinger
Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons.
I Am Mother
I Am Mother is a thriller-science fiction film with an interesting premise. A teenage girl is raised underground by a robot “Mother”, designed to repopulate the earth following an extinction event. Some critics are saying this movie reminded them of the 2009 Duncan Jones’ MOON. If that is true, I'm all in!
Director: Grant Sputore
Cast: Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank.
Late Night is a comedy film directed by Nisha Ganatra from a screenplay by Mindy Kaling who also stars in the movie. The movie is about a legendary late-night talk show host that’s suffering from low rates and is about to lose her show. She has her world turned upside down when she hires a female staff writer in an attempt to change things and keep her show. I have high exceptions for this movie. Mindy Kaling is super funny and an excellent writer. I hope it doesn’t disappoint me.
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Paul Walter Hauser, Reid Scott, Amy Ryan.
The Sunlit Night
The Sunlit Night is an adaptation of Rebecca Dinerstein’s novel of the same name. Set between New York City and the far north of Norway, the movie follows American painter Frances and émigré Yasha as an unlikely pair who find each other in the Arctic circle. I’m interested in this movie mainly because I adore Jenny Slate. But the film has received mixed reviews though.
Director: David Wnendt
Cast: Jenny Slate, Zach Galifianakis, Alex Sharp, Gillian Anderson, Fridjov Sáheim, David Paymer.
This is a satirical thriller/horror film written and directed by Dan Gilroy. And It’s set in the world of contemporary art in Los Angeles. The movie has a very interesting premise. After a series of paintings by an unknown artist is discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art. I’m super excited for this movie. The trailer looks amazing and I will always be up to see a Jake Gyllenhaal and Dan Gilroy collaboration. It is scheduled to be released on February 1, 2019, by Netflix.
Director and screenwriter: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer.
Leaving Neverland is a documentary directed by filmmaker Dan Reed. It focuses on two men, Wade Robson, and Jimmy Safechuck, who allege they were sexually abused by the pop star Michael Jackson as children.Now in their 30s, they tell their story and how they came to terms with it years later. I’m super interested in this Doc. At this point, we all heard the rumors that Michael Jackson acted inappropriately with young boys. So I’m curious to see if the film actually makes a good point about those accusations.
Director Dan Reed
Wounds is a psychological horror film based on the novella The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud. The film centers on disturbing and mysterious things happening to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar. Writer-director Babak Anvari, who in 2016 made the critically acclaimed Under the Shadow, is the main reason I want to check this movie. I’m also a sucker for good jump scare movies.
Director: Babak Anvari
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Armie Hammer, Zazie Beetz