9 movies that I am totally psyched to see at Sundance 2019
Sundance is my favorite time of the year because not only does the festival kick off a new whole new year in film but it is a festival built on discoveries. There is something incredible about attending a film festival where you know little to nothing about the vast majority of films that are going to be playing there. In most cases, there are no trailers, no reviews, and very little information about the films that premiere at Sundance. Why is this such a big deal? Well, because films that play at Sundance could end up being great, mediocre, or terrible but you never know what you are going to get because you don’t have any preconceived notions because there is nothing to build up hype apart from a plot description and maybe a photo or two. This is, in my humble opinion, the best way to see a movie. You go in blind and don’t know what to expect. Some of the best films over the past decade have come out of Sundance including Eighth Grade, Whiplash, The Babadook, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Boyhood, among several others. If you love movies and love being surprised, you need to experience Sundance at least once. However, don’t blame me if you attend and become addicted to it. Even if I weren’t working in the industry, I would probably still find a way to attend Sundance each year because I love that much.
Every year before Sundance begins, I make a list of films that I am excited to see. Again, I don’t know if any of the films on this list will end up being break out hits and will receive a release, but I read through the program and find a few titles that stand out or speak to me. These films are based solely on their plot description, the cast, the filmmakers, or a combination of all three. I never research any of the films at Sundance before seeing them because like I said already, I like to be surprised. So without any further delay, here are nine movies that I am totally psyched to see at Sundance 2019.
While already set to be released by Amazon Studios later this year, Troop Zero sounds like a quirky little comedy that has the potential of being a big surprise at the festival. While the filmmakers aren’t well-known, the great cast that includes Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, and Mckenna Grace seem intriguing. Keep in mind as well that The Big Sick, although acquired by Amazon after the Sundance premiere, went on to be a massive hit for the studio as well as an awards contender.
Troop Zero is the closing night film of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will play at the following times:
Friday, February 1st 6:30 PM Eccles Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 8:30 PM Prospector Square Theatre Park City
Sunday, February 3rd 6:30 PM Rose Wagner Center Salt Lake City
Paradise Hills is part of the NEXT section, and each year there is typically at least one film that plays in this section that ends up being a festival favorite. Last year that film was Searching which was one of my favorite films of 2018. This year, my gut is telling me Paradise Hills might be the NEXT big hit. Explained in the Sundance program as a dark fairytale that deconstructs societal expectation for young women, I have a feeling that the film is going to be not only entertaining but timely. Plus the film is co-written by Nacho Vigalondo who wrote Colossal, a film that I adore. Lastly, when you look at the diverse and talented cast involved which includes Danielle Macdonald, Awkwafina, Eiza González, Milla Jovovich, and Emma Roberts, you can’t help but think to yourself, “that has to be good.”
Paradise Hills premieres at 9 pm on Saturday, January 26th at the Library Center Theatre in Park City. The film will play four more times again during the festival at the times and dates listed below:
Sunday, January 27th 8:30 AM Egyptian Theatre Park City
Tuesday, January 29th 11:30 PM Prospector Square Theatre Park City
Thursday, January 31st 3:00 PM Broadway Centre Cinema 6 Salt Lake City
Friday, February 1st 3:30 PM The Ray Theatre Park City
Anton Yelchin was a remarkable talent whose passing was truly devastating. I was a big fan and supporter of his work. The horrible car accident that took his life was a travesty as Yelchin was a star on the rise. I suspect that Love, Antosha is going to be a beautiful and touching documentary that will showcase the talent of Yelchin and leave the audience in tears. It is sure to be a moving tribute of his life and one that will feature many of his close friends and family members.
I look forward to seeing it although I know for sure that I will need to have several tissues on hand throughout the film.
Love, Anthosa is part of the Documentary Premieres section and will premiere at the MARC theatre on Monday, January 28, 2019, at 11:30am. It will play three other times during the festival which are listed below:
Tuesday, January 29th 6:00 PM Temple Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 6:30 PM Redstone Cinema 1 Park City
Sunday, February 3rd 3:30 PM Rose Wagner Center Salt Lake City
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Alright, so this one does have a little bit of hype surrounding it. I feel like I have been hearing about the Zac Efron/Ted Bundy movie for at least a year. While there hasn’t been much chatter about the film overall, I do know that a lot of people are excited to see Efron take on this role because it is unlike anything he has ever done so far in his career. I feel like that if Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile ends up being really great that this film could really boost Zac Efron’s career. Outside of his performance in The Greatest Showman back in 2017, I feel like Efron hasn’t really done a lot to wow the audience. He seemed to be stuck taking on roles that were comedic versions of himself and after a while, it just stopped being entertaining. This dramatic and dark turn could be just what the doctor ordered.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is part of the Premieres section and will premiere at the Eccles theatre on Saturday, January 26, 2019, at 9:45pm. It will play four other times during the festival which are listed below:
Sunday, January 27th 8:30 AM The MARC Theatre Park City
Tuesday, January 29th 6:30 PM Rose Wagner Center Salt Lake City
Wednesday, January 30th 6:00 PM Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room Sundance
Saturday, February 2nd 12:15 PM Eccles Theatre Park City
Who doesn’t love a good horror comedy? Personally, I think horror comedies have become one of the greatest sub-genres in cinema. Little Monsters sounds like a blast as it is about zombies and kindergartners. I feel like those two things when combined is the perfect recipe for a horror comedy. Plus there is a great cast involved including Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad. Sundance always does a spectacular job at programming films for the Midnight Madness and Little Monsters seems like it has the potential to be one of the biggest standouts amongst the other Midnight Madness titles.
Little Monsters is part of the Midnight Madness section and will premiere at the Library theatre on Saturday, January 26, 2019, at 11:59pm. The film will play four other times during the festival which are listed below:
Tuesday, January 29th 2:30 PM The MARC Theatre Park City
Wednesday, January 30th 11:45 PM Egyptian Theatre Park City
Thursday, January 31st 12:30 PM The Ray Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 11:59 PM Tower Theatre Salt Lake City
I love Mindy Kaling and miss seeing her on television whether it’s The Office, The Mindy Project, or the short-lived NBC sitcom, Champions. With the recent push for more female filmmakers and storytellers, Late Night seems like its going to be just what the doctor ordered. Being familiar with a lot of Kaling’s work, I know that she is no stranger to tackling important issues and using comedy to do so. When you combine Mindy Kaling’s brilliant writing and comedic star-power with a legendary dramatic actress like Emma Thompson, it’s very possible to think that it will be one of the biggest breakouts of the entire festival.
Late Night is part of the Premieres section and will premiere at the Eccles theatre on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 6:30pm. This is a very prime slot in the opening weekend which is another reason why I think its going to be a massive hit. If you can’t catch Late Night at the premiere, the film will play seven, yes, seven other times during the festival which are listed below:
Saturday, January 26th 9:00 AM Eccles Theatre Park City
Sunday, January 27th 3:15 PM Grand Theatre Salt Lake City
Monday, January 28th 12:00 PM Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room Sundance
Tuesday, January 29th 8:45 PM Library Center Theatre Park City
Tuesday, January 29th 9:30 PM Eccles Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 8:30 PM The MARC Theatre Park City
Sunday, February 3rd 6:15 PM Tower Theatre Salt Lake City
I am predicting that Share is going to be this year’s Eighth Grade. While the film doesn’t feature any well-known actors, the premise which deals with teenagers and the dangers of social media and viral videos. I feel like A24 saw this film way before Sundance and knew to pick it up before the bidding war started at the festival. The film is based off Pippa Bianco’s short film of the same name which premiered at SXSW a few years back.
Share is part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition section and will premiere at the Library theatre on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 2:45 pm. If you can’t catch Share at the premiere, the film is playing four other times during the festival which are noted below:
Saturday, January 26th 12:30 PM Rose Wagner Center Salt Lake City
Sunday, January 27th 11:30 PM Prospector Square Theatre Park City
Thursday, January 31st 3:30 PM Eccles Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 4:00 PM Redstone Cinema 2 Park City
I am seeing this movie because of Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges. These two actors are quickly becoming two of my favorites in the business. Noah Jupe for being so young has wowed me with incredible performances in Suburbicon and A Quiet Place. Lucas Hedges is on fire right now after 2018 with his Broadway debut plus three films. I do know that Shia LaBeouf wrote the film and after reading the premise, it does feel like it’s going to be personal for him so I am sort of curious as well what he brings to the table as well. Honey Boy was also one of the first titles announced in the line-up that immediately grabbed my attention.
Honey Boy is part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition section and will premiere at the Eccles theatre on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 3:30pm. If aren’t able to make the Honey Boy premiere, the film is playing four other times during the festival which are listed below:
Saturday, January 26th 12:15 PM Grand Theatre Salt Lake City
Saturday, January 26th 10:00 PM Redstone Cinema 2 Park City
Sunday, January 27th 9:15 PM Sundance Mountain Resort Screening Room Sundance
Wednesday, January 30th 9:30 PM The Ray Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 11:30 AM The MARC Theatre Park City
My first personal encounter with Harvey Weinstein was at Sundance back in 2013. I was at a public screening of The Kings of Summer which was originally titled Toy’s House when it premiered at Sundance. Weinstein was incredibly rude to me as well as many of the others. If that wasn’t bad enough throughout the film he kept picking up his cell phone and making calls while the movie was playing. He didn’t even bother to leave the theatre, but instead proceeded to talk loudly and over the film.
At this point, it is public knowledge how much of an asshole Harvey Weinstein is. However, the scandal that is at the center of Untouchable has been in the media nonstop for the past two years. What Weinstein was able to get away with for so many years is downright disgusting. I am curious what new information this film reveals about his rise to power as well as his fall. This will probably be the biggest documentary to come out of Sundance this year because it not only has been part of the conversation but highlights a man whose toxic masculinity was a huge problem in Hollywood for over a decade.
Untouchable is part of the Documentary Premieres section and will premiere at the MARC theatre on Friday, January 25, 2019, at 5:30pm. If you can’t catch Untouchable at its premiere, the film will be playing four other times during the festival which are noted below:
Saturday, January 26th 9:30 AM The Ray Theatre Park City
Sunday, January 27th 12:30 PM Rose Wagner Center Salt Lake City
Thursday, January 31st 8:30 PM The MARC Theatre Park City
Saturday, February 2nd 9:00 PM Redstone Cinema 7 Park City
With over 200 films playing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, you never know which ones will end up being great. It is always smart to take some chances when at Sundance and see something that you may not typically see because it could end up being amazing. While these nine films above are the ones that really piqued my interest, I do have a several other films that I am excited for as well. Those films include After the Wedding, I am Mother, Velvet Buzzsaw, Relive, Big Time Adolescence, Blinded by the Light, Native Son, Brittany Runs A Marathon, and the Nightingale.