It should be a good year for Gillian Flynn fans. Beyond the David Fincher adaptation of "Gone Girl," her previous book "Dark Places" is getting the cinematic treatment, and could pop up at Sundance. It follows Libby Day (Charlize Theron), who survived the brutal killing of her family as a child and is forced to confront the events of that day by a secret society obsessed with solving notorious crimes. Joining Theron is Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, Sterling Jerins and Christina Hendricks. It might be a bit too mainsteam for Sundance, but the film -- directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner -- is still looking for a US distributor and Sundance is a great place to find one.
"Get a Job"
From director Dylan Kidd, "Get a Job" is a comedy centered around a recent college graduate, his friends, and their attempts to secure employment. It stars Miles Teller as its central character, with Bryan Cranston, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie and Marcia Gay Harden, among others, joining him. It's the kind of American ensemble comedy that often finds its way to Sundance, which would mark a first for Kidd, whose first two films ("Roger Dodger" and "P.S."), debuted at Tribeca and Venice, respectively.
While writer-director James Roday's upcoming comedy "Gravy" is still lingering in mystery, the film is set to offer an exciting creative mix between old and new that has naturally caught our attention. The clearly ambiguous (yet enticing) synopsis is as follows: "This dark comedy follows a group that descends on a Mexican cantina on Halloween with a taste for more than what is on the menu." While that may be all there is to say about the film plot-wise, "Gravy" will mark "Psych" actor and writer Roday's first leap into film as director and will star up and coming as well as instantly recognizable actors including Molly Ephraim, Gabourey Sidibe, Sarah Silverman and Lily Cole.
After going all star crazy with this summer’s “Drinking Buddies,” Joe Swanberg is at it again, employing bankable actors for his latest ensemble comedy, “Happy Christmas.” “Buddies” star Anna Kendrick is back, alongside a roster of Swanberg newcomers including Lena Dunham, Mark Webber and Melanie Lynskey. As revealed exclusively to Indiewire, Swanberg shot the film last December, and given how swiftly the filmmaker works, it’s no doubt ready to screen at Sundance should they choose to program it. Plot details are being kept under wraps, but he did reveal to us that it “focuses on a family and is set during the holidays.” Working with "Beasts of the Southern Wild" cinematographer Ben Richardson (who also shot "Drinking Buddies"), the quintessentially digital-friendly Swanberg made "Happy Christmas" on Super 16mm film, his first production to utilize the medium since film school.
This feature was borne out of Kat Candler's short film "Hellion" which played well at last year's Sundance. It centers on a fracturing family in a small refinery town in Texas. Aaron Paul (who has four feature films planed for a 2014 release!) stars as an emotionally and physically absent father who must confront his delinquent son, whose actions push the family to the brink of collapse. The film also features Juliette Lewis and Jonny Mars, who appeared in the original short. It was shot in Candler's adoptive home of Texas, where many of Sundance's big films came out of last year.
The feature-length directorial debut of comedian and "Arrested Development" star David Cross takes aim at our YouTube-obsessed culture, focusing on a town in upstate New York whose inhabitants are recklessly fixated on delusions of fame. Unsurprisingly, Cross has rounded up a who's-who of comedy actors who include Matt Walsh, Michael Cera and Amy Sedaris. The film finished production back in September, which looks good for the film's chance of playing at Park City, with its quirky conceit no doubt helping its prospects as well.
“How to Catch a Monster”
Ryan Gosling might make his way back to Sundance for the first time since “Blue Valentine” debuted at the fest back in 2010 -- the difference this time being that he’d be attending the event as a director, and not as an actor. Principal photography on his directorial debut “How to Catch a Monster” wrapped early this year, so it’s not wild to assume that Warner Bros. might choose to debut the film in Park City. Written by Gosling, the film stars his “Drive” co-star Christina Hendricks, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Saoirse Ronan and “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith in a fantasy centered on a single mother who is swept into a dark fantasy underworld.
We've all heard of Civil War reenactors, but what would compel someone to reenact Vietnam? This documentary from Mike Attie and Meghan O'Hara follows a hardcore "platoon" of war reenactors in Northern Oregon who live in the woods for days at a time, sleeping in foxholes and eating canned food. They carry around M16s and giant backpacks as if they are actually involved in an ongoing war. The description gets even odder when it's revealed that many of the men who participate are veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. How far does PTSD go when soldiers returning home from war feel more comfortable reliving one that the whole country would rather forget?