Sundance 2021 Most Anticipated
One of the last times where life felt normal for me, was 2020's Sundance Film Festival. Now here we are a whole year later and both life, as well as the festival, have been transformed. Instead of the usual hustle and bustle of standing in line and trying to get to different theaters on time for screenings, this year due to the pandemic, everything is online and the festival is just a bit shorter. That said, I couldn't be more excited for Sundance and all of its offerings even if things are a bit different. Here are the ten films I'm looking forward to the most.
10. HOW IT ENDS
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: On the day an asteroid is scheduled to obliterate Earth, freewheeling Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) scores an invite to one last wild gathering before it all goes down. Making it to the party won’t be easy, though, after her car is unceremoniously stolen, and the clock is ticking on her plan to tie up loose ends with friends and family. With a little help from her whimsical younger self (Cailee Spaeny), Liza embarks on a journey by foot across Los Angeles as she seeks to make peace with her regrets—and find the right company for those last few hours.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: Couldn't we all use a nice little end of the world comedy right now to lighten things up?? But also I really like Zoe Lister-Jones and the rest of the cast as well.
For more information on how to view How it Ends click HERE
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the only hearing member of a deaf family. At 17, she works mornings before school to help her parents (Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur) and brother (Daniel Durant) keep their Gloucester fishing business afloat. But in joining her high school’s choir club, Ruby finds herself drawn to both her duet partner (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) and her latent passion for singing. Her enthusiastic, tough-love choirmaster (Eugenio Derbez) hears something special and encourages Ruby to consider music school and a future beyond fishing, leaving her torn between obligation to family and pursuit of her dream
WHY I'M INTERESTED: I haven't seen Ferdia Walsh-Peelo since Sing Street, which was one of my favorite movies to ever come out of Sundance. This sounds like a great concept and I'm really interested to see the perspective of someone who grew up the child of deaf adults.
For more information on how to view CODA click HERE
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson), a refined, upper-class 1920s woman, finds breezy refuge from a hot summer day in the grand tearoom of New York City’s Drayton Hotel. Across the room, she spots a blond woman staring her down. Irene wants to steal away, but before she can, Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga) rushes over to stop her. It turns out the two were in high school together, and while both are African American women who can “pass” as white, they have chosen to live on opposite sides of the color line. Now, their renewed acquaintance threatens them both.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: Rebecca Hall is such an underrated talent that I can't help but be incredibly excited to see what she does in her directorial debut here. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga are both incredible actresses and I'm excited to see them bring this story alive.
For more information on how to view Passing click HERE
7. MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: Thirteen-year-old Sammy is struggling to cope with the death of her mother. After she is caught vandalizing one of her school’s restrooms, her father, fed up with her wild behavior, enrolls her in a summer course—if she fails, she’ll be sent to a boot camp for delinquent youth. After storming out of her first class, Sammy meets Margot, a surly magician. Margot forces Sammy to be her assistant for a performance, and although Sammy seems uninterested, she seeks Margot out after the show and asks to become Margot’s pupil. Margot agrees, and as their unlikely friendship grows, we learn that she and Sammy understand each other more than they expected.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: If there's one thing I love to find at Sundance, it's a good coming of age film. I'm hoping this one has the charm, humor, and heart to join some of my other favorites I've discovered at Sundance.
For more information on how to view Marvelous and the Black Hole go HERE
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: What. Is. That. Noise. When Molly hears knocking coming from the ceiling in her new apartment, she naturally searches for the source. The upstairs neighbors don’t know what she’s talking about and dismiss her with cool indifference. Is this all in her mind? After all, she’s still processing a traumatic event that left her mentally unwell, and the unprecedented heatwave isn’t helping her think clearly. As the knocking intensifies and gives way to a woman’s cries, Molly becomes consumed with finding out the truth. Could it be Morse code? Is someone trapped? And more importantly, why doesn’t anyone care?
WHY I'M INTERESTED: For the past five or so years, the Midnight section of Sundance has always produced at least one truly great horror movie, my bet is on this one.
For more information on how to view Knocking click HERE
5. JOHN AND THE HOLE
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: While exploring the neighboring woods, 13-year-old John (Charlie Shotwell) discovers an unfinished bunker—a deep hole in the ground. Seemingly without provocation, he drugs his affluent parents (Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle) and older sister (Taissa Farmiga) and drags their unconscious bodies into the bunker, where he holds them captive. As they anxiously wait for John to free them from the hole, the boy returns home, where he can finally do what he wants.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: Such a fine cast has been assembled here that it immediately caught my attention. But aside from that, I have to say I'm really intrigued seeing Michael C. Hall play against his usual type and be on the other end of a hostage by sociopath scenario.
For more information on how to view John and the Hole click HERE
4. THE SPARKS BROTHERS
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: Sparks is your favorite band’s favorite band, and soon to be yours too. Whether or not you’re aware of it, Sparks likely had a hand in something you’re fond of. This is a band that has been in the background of almost every art form across the last 50 years. Growing up in the ’60s, Los Angeles brothers Ron and Russell got by on a heavy diet of popcorn matinees and pop music until the spotlight of school talent shows illuminated their way on a musical journey that has so far spawned 25 studio albums.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: There are certain filmmakers whose work I will see as long as I know they are involved. Edgar Wright is one of those people. I love Baby Driver and Scott Pilgrim vs The World more than I can say, so I will see anything Wright directs.
For more information on how to view The Sparks Brothers click HERE
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled decapitations and eye gougings she pores over. Her sense of duty to protect is amplified by guilt over her inability to recall details of the long-ago disappearance of her sister, recently declared dead in absentia. When Enid is assigned to review a disturbing film from the archive that echoes her hazy childhood memories, she begins to unravel how this eerie work might be tied to her past.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: It's no secret that I love horror, but the plot here sounds absolutely wild. I love movies about movies, but paired with the horror genre this could truly be fantastic. Also the preview image is insane.
For more information on how to view Censor click HERE
2. THE BLAZING WORLD
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: Ever since Margaret (Carlson Young) was six years old, she has been haunted by the memory of watching her sister drown during an explosive fight between her parents. As a young woman, she slides further into her twisted inner life, ultimately finding herself on the brink of suicide. Through an epic journey down the smokiest and scariest corridors of her imagination, she tries to exorcise the demons pushing her closer and closer to the edge.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: The psychological story paired with the elaborate imagery I've seen of the film garnered my immediate attention and placed this movie high on the list. I really hope this is as great as the potential it has.
For more information on how to view The Blazing World click HERE
1. PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND
SUNDANCE SUMMARY: In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor (Bill Moseley), whose adopted granddaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella) has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within five days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman—and his own path to redemption.
WHY I'M INTERESTED: Yes, a potential wacky Nicolas Cage mayhem movie has topped my most anticipated list, what has happened to me? Well for starters, I've really loved how he's embraced the crazy with his recent choices with Mandy and Color Out of Space so now his movies seem to be in on the joke that the more outrageous the Cage performance, the better.
For more information on how to view Prisoners of the Ghostland click HERE
Well, that's it for now, but come back over the next week to see my quick takes of everything I see at this year's festival.