After all, it's just a ride….

Sundance London 2014 – Prologue

sundance14Sundance London 2014 revealed their line-up this morning. I haven’t delved too much into the Utah festival highlights from January other than reading a Sight & Sound round-up a couple of months ago, an exercise which pointed me toward a couple of movies to see, a few others were already on my radar from plaudits in various cinema podcasts  or websites. There is no absolute ‘essential I can’t wait to see that’ type picture on the level of last years Upstream Colour, but that’s fine, the joy of these festivals is much more aligned to discovering something new and unexpected, just like last springs Kings Of Summer. Plenty of short films and documentaries are on offer this year, and special guests confirmed so far  include Rose McGowan, Jarvis Cocker for some reason and David Cross, alongside quite a few up and coming directors and writers. To keep things brief I’ve highlighted a few of the twelve narrative features getting their European or UK premieres, many of them don’t even have trailers yet but I’ve managed to find some material from the American festival;

Blue Ruin – I’ve mentioned this before and I think this is my most anticipated picture, so I’ll be drawing a discreet veil over the movie for the next month for fear of spoilers. I love a good, powerful vengeance movie, which this looks to be holding in spades.

Fruitvale Station – US reviewers have been raving about this from its North American festival screenings, it’s probably the project with the highest chance of ‘crossing-over’ and securing wider distribution like Beasts Of The Southern Wild did a couple of years ago. Politics, race, gun-violence, could be a volatile combination.

Frank – Being British and of a certain age I’m aware of Frank Sidebottom, some friends of mine have even seen the eccentric perform live before his premature passing in 2010. I’m curious to see exactly how this goes down, especially with international audiences who must be wondering who the fuck is this guy, and a little light comedy should a refreshing counterpoint to the dark serious dramas on the rest of the roster. More comedy is also in the form of Trip To Italy which should be hilarious given the previous pedigree.

Kumiko Treasure Hunter – I think any film fan couldn’t help be fascinated by the story of Takako Konishi, the depressed Japanese lady who travelled halfway around the world to the frosty wastes of Minnesota  to search for the stashed loot from the movie Fargo. Yes, that’s right, the movie Fargo. Actually the whole story has become something of an urban myth and the filmmakers seem to have used that as the springboard for their story, rather than a straight report of the tragic case. Let’s see if Rinko Kikuchi can lay those memories of the waterlogged Pacific Rim to rest.

They Came Together – It’s difficult to believe no-one has satirised the rom-com genre given the rich clichéd pickings on offer, but here we are. This could be fun (‘my god you read fiction, that’s amazing’) and Amy Poehler is always worth watching – I’ve just learnt that she used to be married to the unfortunately named Gob from Arrested Development. So today hasn’t been a total loss I suppose….

Memphis – I really like the look of this, a moody, atmospheric drama named after the place it’s set. This looks like it has a real texture and temperature , but just what the hell was going on 00:49 in that clip above? Was that intentional? Fucking weird man…..

The Case Against Eight – Oh go on then, I’ll throw in one documentary to pad this out. I like a good political expose,  how the lumbering infrastructure of government can be infiltrated and manipulated to various groups ends, a bit of a busman’s holiday given the day job I suppose. This five years in the making, behind the scenes insight into California’s  battle against the repeal of same-sex marriage should be interesting, if you’re a civil rights minded soul. My position on the issue is paraphrased from some comedian I heard proclaiming that ‘if gay and lesbian people want the right to be just as miserable as everyone else who is married, who are you to stop ’em?’…

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