02 February, 2012

Sundance Film Festival 2012

Movies I saw this year at the Sundance Film Festival


A recent college graduate goes to Paris after breaking up with his girlfriend of five years. His life should be open-ended and full of promise, but he can’t shake his feelings of loss. Being a stranger in a strange land only aggravates his situation. When he falls in love with a young mysterious prostitute, a fateful journey begins, though we soon learn that Simon is the one with deeper secrets.

Director/screenwriter Antonio Campos is a powerful, visceral storyteller. He and his team have created the perfect cinematic language to bring this hauntingly dark odyssey to life. The camerawork is exquisite and the sound design rich, engineered to permeate your psyche and make you feel you are walking in Simon’s shadow. Brady Corbet, a gifted Festival alumnus, inhabits the dark soul of Simon in one of his most complicated and fully realized performances. In fact, every role is perfectly cast to keep the film taut and tense. Simon Killer is a neonoir thriller that creates an unsafe world where the line between truth and dishonesty blurs. - J.C.

CAST Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, Michael Abiteboul, Constance Rousseau, Lila Salet, Solo

Me and Gilbert at the movie

Mati Diop, Constance Rousseau, and Me
Actor Brady Corbet, Actor Mati Diop, Actor Constance Rousseau, Cinematographer Joe Anderson, and Director Antonio Campos

Thirteen year-old Marta has recently moved back to southern Italy with her mother and older sister and struggles to find her place, restlessly testing the boundaries of an unfamiliar city and the catechism of the Catholic church.
 Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Stars: Salvatore Cantalupo, Anita Caprioli and Renato Carpentieri

Translator, Director Alice Rohrwacher, and Sundance volunteer

It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.

Stars: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes and Paul Giamatti

Sundance volunteer, Actor Chase Williamson, Director Don Coscarelli

Pauline isn’t your typical teen. She picks scabs, dissects road kill, and fantasizes about performing surgery on strangers. Her fascinations disturb her parents and her classmates. Pauline reserves special disdain for “the church” and her “therapist,” Reverend William, who, in Pauline's mind, is in no position to judge, or indulge in, her psychosexual fantasies. No one understands Pauline except for Grace, her younger sister, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. An outcast at school and at home, Pauline decides she is ready to lose her virginity. . . and this is when the weirdness really begins.

Richard Bates Jr. directs the hell out of this film with an expert understanding of multiple genres. Elements of horror, teen comedy, and cult classic are blended into a bone-jarring vision and peppered with great performances from the likes of Traci Lords and John Waters. But it is AnnaLynne McCord’s hideously captivating performance as Pauline that we may never forget. Excision will burrow under your skin and remain with you long after the lights come on. - T.G.

CAST AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter, John Waters

Director Richard Bates Jr., Sundance volunteer