It’s official, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival begins in just one day and I would be lying if I didn’t say I am freaking pumped! While arranging lodging, flights, and most importantly, a tentative schedule is always frustrating, Sundance remains my most anticipated film festival of the year. I don’t know if its because almost all the films are first rate premieres or if it’s the overall film lover atmosphere but whatever it is, Sundance definitely starts the year off right for those who live and breathe film like I do.
In preparation for any film festival, one must start by researching the films set to screen or premiere. With about 200 films playing at Sundance 2014, it can be quite challenging trying to pick out a few films that you should see. I often make a few schedules just in case things don’t go as planned , which always seems to happen at every festival I attend, but needless to say I always have a few films that are “must sees.” Below you will find my picks for the 10 “must see” movies premiering or showing at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
10. White Bird in a Blizzard – There are two reasons to see this film without even looking at the plot. The first is that Gregg Araki is the director of this film. What has he done in the past? Well, he directed Joseph Gordon-Levitt in one of the most daring and disturbing movies I have ever seen and that movie is Mysterious Skin. The second reason to see this movie is because Shailene Woodley is the star of it. Woodley is not only easy on the eyes, but one talented actress as well. Ever since I first saw her in The Descendants back in 2011, I knew this girl was going places and she rightfully deserves all the attention that she has been getting thus far in her career.
White Bird in a Blizzard will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/20/2014 – 9:45 pm at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
1/21/2014 – 8:30 am at The MARC in Park City
1/24/2014 – 6:00 pm at the Salt Lake City Library Theatre in Salt Lake City
1/25/2014 – 7:30 pm at Redstone Cinema 7 in Park City
9. Boyhood – This was the last film added to the Sundance Film Festival slate and I can honestly say that I can’t wait to see it. Boyhood is directed by Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke. This is the duo behind one of my favorite film trilogies of all time, the Before trilogy. However, that is not the only reason that I want to see this film so badly. I want to see it because it has an amazing premise that was actually shot over a 12 year span. Thats right, Linklater wanted to capture a child growing up and his relationship with his parents so he shot the film over a span of 12 years from the first grade until high school graduation. I think the premise alone is interesting and given the talent involved, this might be one of the best reviewed features to come out of Sundance this year.
Boyhood will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/19/2014 – 9:45 pm at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
1/20/2014 – 8:30 am at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
8. Wetlands – Alright so this movie grabbed my attention simply because it sounded really weird. I think if you are going to Sundance, you need to see at least one really weird film and this year I pick this one. The movie is about a teenage girl, who is obsessed with bodily fluids. Now, this is a German film so this could be extremely weird to the point where I might not be able to handle it since the premise talks about sharing tampons and what not, but hey its a film festival why not check out something that is completely out of the ordinary.
Wetlands will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/18/2014 – 3:00 pm at the Temple Theatre in Park City
1/19/2014 – 9:00 pm at the Salt Lake City Library Theatre in Salt Lake City
1/21/2014 – 5:30 pm at the Prospector Square Theatre in Park City
1/23/2014 – 11:59 pm at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City
1/24/2014 – 7:30 pm at the Redstone Cinema 7 in Park City
7. Fed-Up – Sundance is usually the home of several amazing documentaries each and every year. I realize that while documentaries aren’t for everyone, I usually go see at least one or two of them every time I venture to a film festival. The reason why I picked Fed-Up is because I am fascinated by how the media manipulates us in terms of health and heathy eating. This documentary investigates the media and it’s lies, but it also addresses why we as people aren’t living as long and it could be because of what we are eating. As someone who is always battling my love for food with how I look in the mirror, I am very intrigued to see what new information this film brings to the table.
Fed Up will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/19/2014 – 11:30 am at The MARC in Park City
1/20/2014 – 3:00 pm at Broadway Centre Cinema 6 in Salt Lake City
1/22/2014 – 9:30 pm at Redstone Cinema 1 in Park City
1/23/2014 – Noon at the Temple Theatre in Park City
1/25/2014 – 9:00 am at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre in Park City
6. They Came Together – Fresh off her Golden Globe win, Amy Poehler makes her way back to Sundance to premiere her latest comedy, They Came Together. Personally, just Poehler being in the project is enough for me to see it, however, this movie is directed by David Wain and written by Wain and fellow Stella cast member Michael Showalter. These two comedic minds brought us a lot of great films but mainly one of my favorite comedies Wet Hot American Summer. The premise sounds hilarious since its about the little guy trying to fight back against big corporate conglomerates in the candy industry. Oh, and I forgot to mention it has an amazing cast that not only includes Poehler, but Michael Shannon, Paul Rudd, and Ed Helms as well.
They Came Together will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/24/2014 – 9:45 pm at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
1/25/2014 – 8:30 am at The MARC in Park City
1/26/2014 – 3:00 pm at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City
5. Wish I Was Here – I have been waiting years for Zach Braff to make another film since his directorial debut of Garden State. This film, which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, has been a passion project for Braff for quite some time and is a film that has a lot of potential. Yes, it has been a while since Braff was in the limelight, however, after Garden State, I am convinced that he should be an independent filmmaker so I am very excited and curious to see just how good Wish I Was Here is. The film also has a pretty solid cast that includes the likes of Josh Gad, Jim Parsons, Kate Hudson, Ashley Greene, and Mandy Patinkin.
Wish I Was Here will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/18/2014 – 11:15 am at The MARC in Park City
1/24/2014 – 9:30 pm at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City
1/25/2014 – 3:30 pm at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
4. Life After Beth – A horror comedy about Zach (Dane DeHaan) whose girlfriend Beth (Aubrey Plaza) dies and because he misses her so much, Zach decides to play Frankenstein and brings her back as a zombie. Needless to say, this sounds like something right up my alley because I dig the whole horror comedy genre as well as the zombie genre. However, when you mix in the comedic mind of Aubrey Plaza as the zombie girlfriend, well it sounds like an absolute blast. The film also has a great supporting cast that includes Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, and Cheryl Hines. This one sounds like its going to be a crowd favorite and I am sure will be picked up by a major studio by the end of the festival.
Life After Beth will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/19/2014 – 2:30 pm at the Library Center Theatre in Park City
1/20/2014 – 9:00 pm at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City
1/21/2014 3:00 pm at the Sundance Resort Screening Room at the Sundance Resort
1/22/2014 11:45 pm at the Library Center Theatre in Park City
1/23/2014 12:15 pm at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
1/24/2014 1:00 pm at Redstone Cinema 2 in Park City
3. Life Itself – A documentary about Roger Ebert, the man who inspired almost everyone who lives and critiques film. Roger Ebert was not only someone who I not only looked up to as a critic and journalist, but someone who proved that reviewing a film is its own art form. This documentary is an inside look of the well-known and loved critic and is one something that I had my eye on every since I first read about the film. Needless to say, this film will connect with a very large audience at Sundance especially with well over 200 press people running about who probably feel the same way about Roger Ebert as I do.
Life Itself will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/19/2014 5:15 pm at The MARC in Park City
1/20/2014 1:00 pm at Redstone Cinema 2 in Park City
1/23/2014 9:00 pm at the Sundance Resort Screening Room at the Sundance Resort
1/24/2014 9:00 am at the Temple Theatre in Park City
1/25/2014 9:15 pm at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City
2. The Double – This one isn’t a Sundance premiere, but I am still dying to see it. The Double premiered at TIFF last year, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to see this film at that festival. After hearing nothing but praise about this film from my friends and fellow critics, my interest for this film heightened. Let’s be honest, it has been a while since Jesse Eisenberg had a hit on his hands, but based on the buzz, I think that this one might bring him back into the indie spotlight. On a random side note, The Double is written and directed by Richard Ayoade, who was one of the main stars of The Watch from 2012. Yea, the alien invasion film with Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill. I know it was awful.
The Double will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/17/2014 8:30 am at the Library Center Theatre in Park City
1/17/2014 8:30 pm at The MARC in Park City
1/18/2014 9:30 pm at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden
1/21/2014 6:00 pm at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City
1/25/2014 5:30 pm at Prospector Square Theatre in Park City
1. I-Origins – While Brit Marling might not be a household name (at least not yet), she is definitely someone who us film addicts truly adore. My love for Brit Marling began at SXSW 3 years ago, when the festival did a secret screening of the Mike Cahill film Another Earth. I didn’t know anything about the film or who was in it, but I was pretty intrigued by what I watched. After that screening, I began to follow Marling as not only an actress but as a writer and producer, all of which she is amazing at. Now, three years later, Cahill and Marling are making their way back to Sundance to showcase another film, which I can safely say will probably be one of my favorites of the festival. The film is about two biologists who discover something that could change humanity. I don’t know anything else about this film other than that and I can safely say, I will be there at the world premiere.
I-Origins will be playing at Sundance on the following dates and at the times listed below:
1/18/2014 3:30 pm at Eccles Theatre in Park City
1/19/2014 8:30 am at The MARC in Park City
1/20/2014 1:30 pm at Redstone Cinema 7 in Park City
1/21/2014 6:30 pm at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City
1/24/2014 9:00 am at the Eccles Theatre in Park City
1/25/2014 9:30 pm at Salt Lake City Library Theatre in Salt Lake City
To purchase tickets or join the ewaitlist for tickets, please visit the official Sundance Film Festival website by clicking right here.