December 1, 2011

THE BIJOU @ SUNDANCE: Behold the Edgy

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Sundance announced the second group of its 2012 titles today (Competition entries were announced yesterday; Premieres will be unveiled on Monday), mostly in what are traditionally the most untraditional categories of the Festival:  Park City At Midnight, Next, and New Frontier. Also announced were the Spotlight films, which is where Sundance puts films that have already shown at other festivals.  Below, some titles that instantly catch the eye:

THE RAID:  This is a Spotlight title seen in Toronto (my review is here), a galloping action movie that features one spectacular fight scene after another.  It’s already won US distribution and a probable English-language remake.  
WHERE DO WE GO NOW?:  A very well-regarded Toronto title from the Middle East, about Lebanese women trying to defuse religious tensions.
WUTHERING HEIGHTS:  Another extremely well-reviewed Toronto film, a new version of the classic story directed by Fish Tank‘s Andrea Arnold.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER:  Yet more Toronto goodness, a funny and perceptive semi-improvised comedy (my review is here) that stars Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass as a trio caught in an extremely messy family situation.
BLACK ROCK:  Thinking of Duplass, he’s credited as writer (although the film was almost certainly improvisational) of his wife Katie Aselton’s midnight thriller that stars her with Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth.  Aselton’s The Freebie was one of the most impressive surprises of last year’s Sundance , so her follow-up is eagerly anticipated.
EXCISION:  Now this sounds like a midnight movie:  a high school student who wants to be a doctor “goes to extremes” to please her mother, with a cast that includes 90210‘s AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Roger Bart and John Waters.
GRABBERS:  Meet an Irish blood-sucking sea creature.
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS:  The last 48 hours of LCD Soundsystem.
TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE:  Directed by and starring Tim and Eric.
V/H/S:  Half a dozen directors including mumblecore maestro Joe Swanberg and House of the Dead‘s Ti West combine for a midnight “found footage” horror movie.
COMPLIANCE:  A prank caller convinces a fast food manager to interrogate an employee, and things don’t go well, with a cast that includes Dreama Walker, who’ll be a star of ABC’s Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt 23 as soon as the network puts the damn show on the air.
I AM NOT A HIPSTER:  Just because of the title, which will apply to very few people in the Sundance audience.
SLEEPWALK WITH ME:  Standup comic Mike Birbiglia makes his directing (with Seth Barrish) and starring debut in the story of a standup comic who sleepwalks, with Lauren Ambrose.
28 HOTEL ROOMS:  A long-term love affair seen in fragments, with Chris Messina and Marin Ireland.
ROOM 237:  “An experimental documentary explores the numerous theories about the real meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.”  You couldn’t keep me away from this one with a stick.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."