With the 2019 Sundance Film Festival starting up on Thursday night, here are a few of the films that I am excited to see at the Park City film festival.
I’ve had a love of comedy since as long as I can remember. I moved to Chicago for improv/sketch comedy before somehow becoming a film critic. Late Night is hands-down one of my most anticipated films since the lineup was first announced in November. Nisha Ganatra directs from a script written by Mindy Kaling. The film stars Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Paul Walter Hauser, Reid Scott, and Amy Ryan. The world premiere is this Friday but I’ll be catching this one on Saturday.
Adam Driver stars as Senate staffer Adam Jones. He’s tasked with investigating the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. Scott Z. Burns writes and directs this star-studded political thriller. The cast includes Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Ted Levine, Maura Tierney, and Michael C. Hall. The world premiere is this Saturday but because of good old scheduling conflicts, I’ll see it during the final weekend.
This is one of three films during Sundance that feature comedian Jim Gaffigan. Gaffigan alone isn’t the only reason to see it, of course. After all, this is yet another star-studded cast! Bert & Bertie co-direct from a screenplay written by Lucy Alibar. The film stars Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell, and Allison Janney. The world premiere will be during the second Friday. Don’t worry because Amazon Studios is already distributing the film.
Writer-director Dan Gilroy reunites with Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo for a film about fine-art trading and representation. If there’s any justice in the world, Russo would get an Oscar nomination after being robbed for the previous film. The cast also includes Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, and Natalia Dyer.
Other films in the Premieres section that I am highly anticipating include After the Wedding; Animals; Blinded by the Light; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile; I am Mother; Official Secrets; Paddleton; Relive; Sonja—The White Swan; The Mustang; The Tomorrow Man; and Top End Wedding. The hard part–of course–is finding room in my schedule for all of these films.
Among the films screening in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, I’m going to try and see as many of them as possible. I’m especially anticipating Before You Know It, Big Time Adolescence, Brittany Runs A Marathon, Hala, Honey Boy, Imaginary Order, The Sound of Silence, Them That Follow, and To the Stars. Them That Follow is another film is the second of the three Gaffigan films while To The Stars includes his My Boys co-star Jordana Spiro in the cast.
As far as the U.S. Documentary Competition, the film that I’m looking forward to seeing the most is Apollo 11. Todd Douglas Miller directs the film, which will be distributed by Neon. After all, this year marks the 50th anniversary of when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon. Other films that I’m looking forward to are David Crosby: Remember My Name, Pahokee, Midnight Family, Mike Wallace is Here, and Where’s My Roy Cohn?. Again, I’m not able to see everything.
I’m not able to fit as many films in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition into my schedule as I’d like. The films in this program that have my interest include Dolce Fine Giornata, Koko-di Koko-da, The Souvenir, and We Are Little Zombies.
As far as the World Cinema Documentary Competition goes, there are a few films here that have my interest. They include Midnight Traveler, Shooting the Mafia, Stieg Larsson – The Man Who Played With Fire, and Sea of Shadows. Sea of Shadows reunites the same team that gave us The Ivory Game so that’s reason enough to anticipate this one!
There are a handful of films screening in the Documentary Premieres section that have my interest. I regret that I can’t fit all of them into my schedule. Last year was the Year of the Documentary and I have high hopes for 2019 to follow this trend. The films that I’m interested in include Ask Dr. Ruth; Love, Antosha; MERATA: How Mum Decolonized the Screen; Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool; Raise Hell: The Live & Times of Molly Ivins; Untouchable; and N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear. Years ago, I wrote a political blog that I later turned into an outlet for book reviews. Because of this interest in politics, I have a very high interest in Janice Engel’s documentary on late political columnist Molly Ivins.
The Spotlight program features films that have previously screened during other film festivals. This includes the likes of Anthropocene: The Human Epoch and Maiden. I’m really hoping to fit The Mountain into my schedule because of Jeff Goldblum but with so many screening conflicts, it might not happen.
There are several films that are screening in the NEXT program that have my interest. The first of which is Adam because I support transgender filmmakers. There’s also Light from Light, which is the third film featuring Jim Gaffigan. Other films that have my interest in this program include Paradise Hills, The Death of Dick Long, The Wolf Hour, and The Infiltrators.
It’s going to be tough to stay up for the Midnight program but I’m going to do my best to see these films, if not see another screening that is earlier in the day and not when I’m fighting to stay awake. The trio of films that have my interest include Corporate Animals, Greener Grass, and Little Monsters. When you have an improv heavy cast as Greener Grass does, you get my interest almost immediately. The cast of this film includes Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, Mary Holland, and The Good Place‘s D’Arcy Carden.
Among the Indie Episodes, the programs that have my interest include Bootstrapped, Work In Progress, Girls Weekend, and State of the Union.
As far as the shorts go, there are a number of these films that have my interest. They include A Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure, Fran This Summer, Old Haunt, The Rat, sometimes i think about dying, and Sundowners.