The 10 Most Buzzed-About Sundance Film Festival Movies

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival kicks off today from Park City, Utah, and with it comes a slew of new movies you've probably never heard of. That's a great thing, though, because it's these movies that will not only help shape the independent landscape over the next year, but many of them will also launch new talent and faces, some of whom may go on to some very big things in the near future. Folks like Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) got her start here, and Beasts of the Southern Wild -- which is nominated for multiple Oscars this year -- made its debut at Sundance in 2012.

So which movies should you be keeping an eye out for as they get set to premiere at Sundance? Here are 10 titles that are currently creating the most buzz ...

1. Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Who: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, David Lowery (Director)

The Buzz: You don't get a more intense trio than this, and that's especially true when you put them in a story about an outlaw (Affleck) who escapes from prison in order to reunite with his wife (Mara) and the baby he never knew. We expect lots of gritty Texas flavor and more than one awards-caliber performance out of this one.

2. Before Midnight

Who: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater (Director)

The Buzz: Linklater returns to tell the long-awaited next chapter in the lives of Celine and Jesse, nine years after their previous rendezvous. Many consider the duo's other two cinematic encounters, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, to be among two of the most romantic movies ever made.


 

3. Don Jon's Addiction

Who: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Star, Director), Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore

The Buzz: This is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, off a script he also wrote. Here he returns to Sundance as a ladies' man in search of a more gratifying sex life. Is there anyone who isn't turned on by that description and this cast?

4. Lovelace

Who: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, James Franco, Sharon Stone, Rob Epstein (Director), Jeffrey Friedman (Director)

The Buzz: Amanda Seyfried plays porn star Linda Lovelace, a role full of all sorts of demanding parts to it, both physical and emotional. While many will be focused on the sex (which we imagine will be plentiful) and Lovelace's Deep Throat, the real story will come in the tale of a troubled and abused woman rising up to discover her true self.


 

5.The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

Who: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, Fredrik Bond (Director)

The Buzz:  The next phase of Shia LaBeouf's post-Transformers career continues with this wild role in which he plays an American traveling through Europe who hooks up with a whole lotta trouble in the form of a mysterious Romanian woman (Evan Rachel Wood).

6. S-VHS

Who: Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Edúardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Huw Evans, Jason Eisener (Directors)

The Buzz: Another sequel premiering at this year's festival (Before Midnight being the other), S-VHS ambitiously debuts only 12 months after the first volume arrived, continuing the anthology theme with a host of new horror shorts from returning directors and some new ones, like Edúardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) and Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun). Don't tell anyone, but word is it's better than the first.
 


7. The Spectacular Now

Who: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, James Ponsoldt (Director)

The Buzz: Ponsoldt's Smashed was a, well, smash hit at Sundance last year, and now he returns with another unique tale about two very different people who sort of find each other amidst the chaos and addictions of high school. Many expect breakout performances from both Teller (Footloose) and Woodley (The Descendants) in the film, adapted from Tim Tharp's novel by the duo who wrote 500 Days of Summer.
 

8. Stoker

Who: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Park Chan-wook (Director)

The Buzz: Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Three ...Extremes) makes his highly anticipated English-language debut with this film about a girl who becomes infatuated with a mysterious uncle who arrives on the scene after her father dies in a car accident. We shall expect the unexpected, and look forward to loving every minute of it.

 


 

9. Mud

Who: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Nichols (Director)

The Buzz: Matthew McConaughey is currently enjoying the most impressive stint in his career, and pairing him with the excellent writer-director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) will only bring out the best in this story about two boys who stumble upon a charismatic outlaw (McConaughey) while out exploring.


10. The East

Who: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson, Zal Batmanglij (Director)

The Buzz: The duo who brought us the Sundance hit Sound of My Voice (Marling and Batmanglij) return to the festival with this much-anticipated follow-up about an ex-FBI agent who infiltrates a mysterious group of anarchists targeting wealthy and powerful corporate CEOs.  

For more from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, follow me on Twitter @ErikDavis, and check out extensive coverage over at our sister site, Movies.com.
 

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