Thursday, December 02, 2010

FILM: My Top 10 2011 Sundance Picks

Here are the Top 10 films (dramas and documentaries) that I think will do well next year at Sundance, based on plots and casts. There are plenty of star-driven films that'll get noticed purely on casting choices, but I also chose a few because of their intriguing plots. Here they are in alphabetical order:

All Your Dead Ones (Todos Tus Muertos)
Director: Carlos Moreno
Screenwriters: Alonso Torres and Carlos Moreno
Cast: Alvaro Rodríguez, Jorge Herrera, Martha Marquez, Harold Devasten, John Alex Castillo
Plot: One morning, a peasant wakes to find a pile of bodies in the middle of his crops. When he goes to the authorities, he quickly realizes that the dead ones are a problem nobody wants to deal with.

Another Earth
Director: Mike Cahill
Screenwriters: Mike Cahill and Brit Marling
Cast: William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, Flint Beverage
Plot: On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, a horrible tragedy irrevocably alters the lives of two strangers, who begin an unlikely love affair.

The Guard
Director and Screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Don Cheadle, Brendan Gleeson, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot, Fionnula Flanagan
Plot: A small-town cop in Ireland has a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a fondness for prostitutes and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international drug-smuggling ring that has brought a straight-laced FBI agent to his door. However, a surreal chain of events pulls him into the action.
Homework (above)
Director and Screenwriter: Gavin Wiesen
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Rita Wilson, Blair Underwood
Plot: Quirky, rebellious George has no ambitions other than to cut his next class. But one day, one girl gives him the perfect reason to figure out who he really is.

The Ledge 
Director and Screenwriter: Matthew Chapman
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard, Christopher Gorham
Plot: Perched on a ledge, a man says he must jump by noon, while a cop races against time to get to the bottom of it.

Like Crazy 
Director: Drake Doremus
Screenwriters: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston
Plot: A young American guy and a young British girl meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship.

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Director and Screenwriter: Sean Durkin
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen (left), Brady Corbet, Hugh Dancy, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson
Plot: Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure (Documentary)
Director: Matthew Bate
Plot: When two friends tape-recorded the fights of their violently noisy neighbors, they accidentally created one of the world's first 'viral' pop-culture sensations.

Take Shelter 
Director and Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker
Plot: A working-class husband and father questions whether his terrifying dreams of an apocalyptic storm signal something real to come or the onset of an inherited mental illness he's feared his whole life.
Vampire (above) 
Director and Screenwriter: Iwai Shunji
Cast: Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rachel Leigh Cook, Kristin Kreuk, Aoi Yu, Adelaide Clemens
Plot: On the surface, Simon seems like a fairly normal, average young man, devoted to his teaching job and ailing mother. Secretly, he is compelled to hunt through online chat rooms and message boards, searching for the perfect girl who will ensure his own survival.

Check out the other candidates in the competition.

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