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Ten movies we can’t wait to see at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Our man in Utah, Time Out New York’s film editor, picks the films he’s most looking forward to seeing at the annual indie shindig


Director: Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater has been on fire lately – not just with last year’s magnificent ‘Before Midnight’, but ‘Bernie’, his complex Texas crime comedy (my favourite movie of 2012). His latest, a surprise festival entry, is a project he’s been working on in dribs and drabs for 11 years.


Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Michael Fassbender wrecked audiences in ‘Shame’; there’s no telling if he’ll be able to do the same thing while encased in a papier-mâché head in this film from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson (‘What Richard Did’). (The actor plays mysterious musician Frank Sidebottom.) The potential for joy is high.

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I Origins

Director: Mike Cahill

Writer-director Mike Cahill (‘Another Earth’) and frequent collaborator Brit Marling have come to represent the best of what Sundance is: brainy, independent and genre-savvy. Their latest director-actor collaboration involves eye science and a radical discovery.

Concerning Violence

Director: Göran Olsson

Finally: the fierce documentary based on the writings of anticolonial theorist Frantz Fanon we’ve all been waiting for. Less sarcastically: this is the latest film from archival-footage-shaper Göran Olsson. His 2011 film ‘The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975’ was arresting – a real reclaiming of history.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Director: David Zellner

It just sounds too weird to miss: a lonely Japanese woman becomes obsessed with an American crime movie and heads to wintry Minnesota (can you guess the film?) to get some closure. The star is Rinko Kikuchi (‘Babel’).

Last Days in Vietnam

Director: Rory Kennedy

‘Miss Saigon’ aside, little work has been made about the chaotic 1975 episode in which Americans fled in helicopters from the embassy rooftop in Saigon, an undignified end to a disastrous war. Director Rory Kennedy dives into the moment.

Life Itself

Director: Steve James

A documentary about critical giant Roger Ebert was inevitable, so it’s a relief that it comes from ‘Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James, a longtime Chicagoan (like his subject) and a filmmaker fond of inspirational challenges.

Love Is Strange

Director: Ira Sachs

It’s definitely a step toward the mainstream for American writer-director Ira Sachs, a purveyor of rough-hewn intimacy in ‘Keep the Lights On’. But you can’t improve on his cast, primarily Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as loving partners who encounter headaches after they formally tie the knot.

The Trip to Italy

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Let the bickering begin (again): Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s first outing, 2010’s ‘The Trip’, wasn’t just a trove of riotous Michael Caine impressions. It hid an understated vein of loneliness and male immaturity. I expect great things. And scallops.

White Bird in a Blizzard

Director: Gregg Araki

It’s rumored that this missing-mother psychodrama is a return to ‘Mysterious Skin’ territory for Sundance vet Gregg Araki. Seeing as how I enjoyed his ‘Kaboom’ territory as well, my hopes are sky-high.

It’s been a decade since I last attended the Sundance Film Festival, where I met Metallica’s life coach, boggled over Shane Carruth’s ‘Primer’ and fell fully clothed into an indoor swimming pool. (No comment on which incident was trippiest.) Needless to say, I’m stoked to be returning: Time Out will have daily reviews of all the buzzed titles and more. Here are the ten films I’m most excited to see.

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