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Sundance 2014: Buzzy Premieres Lean Toward Comedy, Documentary All-Stars Unveiled, Redford Books Failure Workshop

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood December 9, 2013 at 4:00PM

The Sundance Film Festival has unveiled the films selected to screen in its out-of-competition Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections. This is where the better-known directors and stars show up for red carpet walks in front of the Eccles Theater, and where much of the acquisition heat will be focused.
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"A Most Wanted Man"
"A Most Wanted Man"

PREMIERES

A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year. Presented by Entertainment Weekly.

 

Calvary / Ireland, United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh) — Calvary is a blackly comedic drama about a priest tormented by his community. Father James is a good man intent on making the world a better place. When his life is threatened one day during confession, he finds he has to battle the dark forces closing in around him. Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Marie-Josée Croz.

 

Frank / Ireland, United Kingdom (Director: Lenny Abrahamson, Screenwriters: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan) —

Frank is an offbeat comedy about a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant garde rock band led by the enigmatic Frank—a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head.

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy.

"Laggies"
"Laggies"

 

Hits / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Cross) — A small town in upstate New York is populated by people who wallow in unrealistic expectations. There, fame, delusion, earnestness, and recklessness meet, shake hands, and disrupt the lives around them. Cast: Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, James Adomian, Derek Waters, Wyatt Cenac, Jake Cherry.

 

I Origins / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mike Cahill) — A molecular biologist and his lab partner uncover startling evidence that could fundamentally change society as we know it and cause them to question their once-certain beliefs in science and spirituality. Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi.

 

Laggies / U.S.A. (Director: Lynn Shelton, Screenwriter: Andrea Seigel) — Laggies is a coming of age story about a 28-year-old woman stuck in permanent adolescence. Unable to find her career calling, still hanging out with the same friends, and living with her high school boyfriend, Megan must finally navigate her own future when an unexpected marriage proposal sends her into a panic. Cast: Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber.

 

Little Accidents / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sara Colangelo) — In a small American coal town living in the shadow of a recent mining accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws three people together—a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy—in a web of secrets. Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloë Sevigny, Jacob Lofland, Josh Lucas.

The rest of the lineup, after the jump...

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Festivals, Documentary, Alex Gibney, Lynn Shelton, William H. Macy, Anton Corbijn, Joe Berlinger


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.