"Kill Your Darlings"
The casting is enough to make you stop in your tracks: Danielle Radcliffe is Allen Ginsberg; Ben Foster is William S. Burroughs; Jack Huston is Jack Kerouac. Michael C. Hall, Kyra Sedgwick, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross and Elizabeth Olsen also star. The film follows the Beat Generation poets as they have to deal with the aftermath when one of their own, Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) kills a man. The film, directed by first-time feature filmmaker John Krokidas, is in the fest's US Dramtic Comptition. [Bryce J. Renninger]
For anyone who missed Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s documentary “Inside Deep Throat” (which played Sundance in 2005), this fictional account of the heartbreaking life and groundbreaking times of Linda Lovelace should illuminate the cultural explosion that was the pornographic crossover sensation “Deep Throat.” The Oscar-winning Epstein (“Howl,” “The Times of Harvey Milk”), along with Friedman, his frequent collaborator, here tackle their richest material yet. And while the film has an eyebrow-raising cast (Peter Sarsgaard!, James Franco!, Sharon Stone!, Chloe Sevigny! Eric Roberts!), all eyes will be on Amanda Seyfried as the titular damsel in undress, and whether she can elevate her status in Hollywood by nailing a challenging role in a film that must toe a very fine line without slipping into the same sleaze it’s depicting. [Jay A. Fernandez]
Tyler Ross, last seen as Nate in "Nate & Margaret," stars in this curious-sounding feature-length debut of writer-director David Andalman, in which the great-great-grandson of Al Jolson wanders around the DC area trying to become a black man (or at least his mangled idea of what a black man should be). Making matters worse, he also suffers through a series of sexual misadventures. Early buzz suggests the movie is very funny, a feat already accomplished by the premise alone. One assumes there will be plenty of sagging and terrible hip hop imitations in store. [Eric Kohn]
"Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer"
Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s new doc takes on the controversial trial of the radical feminist activists Pussy Riot. The group had risen up against the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin’s 2011 re-election, famously entering Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior singing “Mother Mary, Banish Putin!” That event led to the arrest and eventual sentencing of three members of the group for hooliganism, which in itself led to an international outcry of support to free Pussy Riot. Lerner and Pozdorovkin's doc provides considerable access to the group as they stand trial and provides a window into the serious injustices of the Russian legal system. [Peter Knegt]