While blockbuster season will draw to a close at the end of December, indie movie season is just heating up, and with the Sundance Film Festival revealing their first slate of films for the January shindig, we’re getting a lot of new looks at the upcoming pictures. So let’s dive in.
First up, already riding high with “Smashed,” which just earned Mary Elizabeth Winstead an Indie Spirit Award nomination, director James Ponsoldt has wasted no time in making his followup, which he hopes can cause lightning to strike twice in Park City. A cast of young up-and-comers lead his latest with Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley and Brie Larson toplining, with Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler and Winstead in a small role in support. Here’s the official synopsis: Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to “save.” As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and “saving” and corrupting become inextricably blurred.
Meanwhile, Michael Cera is looking prove to folks that he’s more than just George Michael Bluth. And the actor seems to have found a kindred spirit with Sebastian Silva, the Chilean director behind “The Maid.” He has already shot the thriller “Magic Magic” with the helmer, but arriving first is “Crystal Fairy,” which, judging by the synopsis and pics, sounds pretty outrageously trippy: Jamie invites a stranger to join a road trip to Chile. The woman’s free and esoteric nature clashes with Jamie’s acidic, self-absorbed personality as they head into the desert for a Mescaline-fueled psychedelic trip.
And of course, every Sundance brings with it the films we totally forgot about or didn’t even know were happening, which brings us to “The Lifeguard.” And while the movie boasts the usually funny Kristen Bell and Martin Starr (minor “Party Down” reunion!) they’ll be exercising their dramatic chops this time around. Here’s the synopsis: A former valedictorian quits her reporter job in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager.
Lastly, indie fave Lynn Shelton heads back to Park City with another promising project, “Touchy Feely.” And if the cast of Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy and Ellen Page doesn’t have you excited, we’re not sure what to tell you. But we’d pretty much watch anything with this cast. Here’s the synopsis: A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.” [The Film Stage]