Although troubles with the economy forced many people to stay home this year, the 2009 Sundance Film Festival still managed to churn out a pretty large number of good, solid films (with a lot of celeb-filled casts...see our complete Sundance photo gallery). As all of these flicks continue on to fill a spot in this packed 2009 marketplace, here are the 10 most buzzed-about films you’ll need to keep an eye out for:
500 Days of Summer
What It’s About: A guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in love with being in love falls for a girl (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn’t believe in love. This comical and heartbreaking film tracks the 500 days they were in each other’s lives.
The Buzz: “A 'what went wrong' romantic comedy that is smart and funny but never solves the mystery since the woman isn't asked.” – The Hollywood Reporter
What It’s About: Two old friends living extremely different lives (one’s married, one’s a spontaneous adventurer) reunite and decide to make a sex video together for an amateur porn festival. Oh, and did I mention they’re straight … dudes?
The Buzz: “If there is one thing that we can take away from director Lynn Shelton’s awkward sex comedy Humpday, it is that there is nothing more uncomfortable to watch yet strikingly hilarious than two straight men who set out to have sex on camera.” – Film School Rejects
What It’s About: Sam Rockwell plays a lonely man nearing the end of a three-year work contract on the moon. However, just as he’s about to finally return home to his wife and family, something (or someone) shows up to throw a wrench in his plans.
The Buzz: “A small, personal story wrapped in the trappings of classic sci-fi epic …” – Spout.com
What It’s About: Comedian (and YouTube regular) Charlyne Yi stars in this half-real, half-fake documentary about whether or not true love really exists. Michael Cera co-stars as Yi’s boyfriend (the two are also together in real life).
The Buzz: "Paper Heart is cute and touching, and more than a little romantic. I don't know what the commercial viability of a film like this is, but I do think it's the kind of movie that will find its audience, and its audience will adore it." – Chud.com
What It’s About: Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga directs this social-political thriller about three teens whose fates collide on a train in Mexico.
The Buzz: "Writer-director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s enthralling feature debut takes viewers into a shadowy world inhabited by many but noticed by very few – that of Central American migrants making the perilous trip through Mexico to get to the United States border." – Variety
What It’s About: With a screenplay from Nick Hornby, An Education follows a teenage girl in 1960s London whose life changes when a freewheelin’ playboy arrives in town.
The Buzz: “Wonderful coming-of-age story in 1961 London with a breakout performance.” – The Hollywood Reporter
I Love You Philip Morris
What It’s About: The writers of Bad Santa bring us this film starring Jim Carrey as a con man who falls in love with a fellow inmate (played by Ewan McGregor) while in prison. Absurd hilarity ensues.
The Buzz: “Less of a comedy than a hilarious tragedy, I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carrey in his most complicated comedic role since The Cable Guy …” – Variety
The Girlfriend Experience
What It’s About: Steven Soderbergh returned to the Sundance Film Festival with a secret screening of his new film about the life of a high-priced hooker in New York City.
The Buzz: “In 1989, Soderbergh gave Sundance, and then us, sex, lies and videotape; in 2009, he offers sex, truth, and digital video.” – Cinematical
What It’s About: A real-life fist fight broke out between film critic and filmmaker rep over the film, which means folks are now climbing over each other to check out this doc … about soil.
The Buzz: “The film is also beautifully shot [and] the colors were saturated and combined with the quirky but fun experts.” – Agnes Varnum, doc it out
What It's About: The baddest, blackest, flyest, most ass-kickin’-ist tough dude since Superfly retired must battle a bunch of baddies after his brother gets whacked.
The Buzz: The slightly overlong but consistently giggle-worthy Black Dynamite, which aims to do to Shaft and Superfly what The Naked Gun did to police procedurals. –Cinematical