Of the eighteen feature films making their debuts at Robert Redford’s annual lovefest, there are more than a few sexually-themed entries. Not that I’m complaining…aren’t we all looking for ways to heat up a long winter?
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City (and Salt Lake City and Ogden), Utah January 17th through the 27th.
1. Don Jon’s Addiction
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s first directorial feature, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tony Danza, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Brie Larson. A womanizer obsessed with porn tries to break the habit and become a better person. Um, why? And is it just me, or is JGL getting hotter with each passing year?
2. Two Mothers
Directed by Anne Fontaine (My Worst Nightmare, Coco Before Chanel), starring Naomi Watts, Robin Wright and Ben Mendelsohn. Lifelong best friends fall for each others’ sons, putting a strain on their relationship. Yes, you read that right. And yes, the title was wisely changed. (It was formerly called The Grandmothers, but no one wanted to see that “erotic tale.”)
3. The East
Directed by Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice), starring Julia Ormond, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson,Toby Kebbell and Brit Marling (who also wrote the screenplay). A private contractor (Marling) for an intelligence company infiltrates a corporate terrorism group to gather evidence against them, but she finds herself falling for its leader, Benji (Skarsgård), because…well, come on! Ellen Page plays one of Benji’s former lovers, Izzy, who becomes jealous over the new chick stealing her man’s affections. I’m hoping for a mud fight, followed by a rousing, naked group rendition of Kumbaya.
Directed by Chan-wook Park (Thirst, Oldboy), starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Goode and Jackie Weaver (written by Wentworth Miller). This horror/thriller is Park’s first English language film. India (Wasikowska) loses her father in a tragic car accident, but she and her unstable mother (Kidman) gain a
charismatic nefarious live-in uncle (Goode)…
5. The Look of Love
Directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Killer Inside Me, 24 Hour Party People), starring Stephen Fry, Imogen Poots, Steve Coogan and Anna Friel. Coogan portrays “King of Soho,” Paul Raymond, a British entrepreneur who started his fortune with nude live revues, moved into publishing (pornographic magazines), and then became one of the UK’s richest men, with his property investments.
Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman (Howl), starring Peter Sarsgaard, Amanda Seyfried, Robert Patrick, Juno Temple, Chloë Sevigny, Sharon Stone, Eric Roberts, Chris Noth, Wes Bentley, James Franco, Adam Brody and Bobby Cannavale. Biographical tale of 70s porn actress and Deep Throat star, Linda Lovelace. The stellar cast gives hope that the film will go further than—ahem—skin deep.
7. Before Midnight
Directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise/Sunset, SubUrbia), starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Everybody loves a
threesome trilogy? This final chapter was shot in Greece, the film reunites Jesse and Celine, who are now in their early forties. Here’s hoping this is more Summer Lovers than Mamma Mia.
Other notable debuts include a seven-hour series that marks the reunion of Jane Campion and Holly Hunter:
“Top of the Lake” (Series)
Directed by Jane Campion (The Piano, Holy Smoke, Bright Star), starring Cohen Holloway, Peter Mullan, Holly Hunter, Elizabeth Moss and Sarah Valentine. Moss plays a detective investigating a pregnant 12 year old girl’s disappearance. The girl, daughter of a drug lord, was last seen standing in water chest deep—in the middle of a lake.
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote), starring Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, James Woods, Matthew Modine, Lukas Haas and Lesley Ann Warren. The life and times of Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs.
Directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), starring Matthew McConaughey, Michael Shannon, Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard and Sarah Paulson.Two teens discover a fugitive hiding out, and decide to help him evade authorities.