The Sundance Film Festival may be this magical land full of new movies you’ve never seen or heard of until your local news does a puff piece about celebrity parties, but it really is one of the most important film festivals in the world. So with that said, we took a look at this year’s slate of films and selected ten that will most likely arrive in theaters later this year.
Who’s In It: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Nate Parker.
What’s It About: Richard Gere returns to playing a high-powered businessman in this true-to-life thriller about a hedge-fund power player who’s desperately trying to sell off his empire before the depths of his fraud are revealed.
The Buzz: We’re on the lookout for co-star Brit Marling in her first trip back to the big screen since exploding out of last year’s Sundance with two debut films, Another Earth and Sound of My Voice.
Who’s In It: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Kyle Bornheimer.
What’s It About: Hot off the success of Bridesmaids, this wedding-themed ensemble comedy revolves around three girls who reluctantly take on bridesmaids’ duties for the girl they all called “Pig Face” in high school. Plenty of booze, drugs and raunch is said to ensue.
The Buzz: Is this the next Bridesmaids or just one of many upcoming wannabees?
Celeste and Jesse Forever
Who’s In It: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts.
What's It About: Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg lead this comedy that follows the perfect couple as they attempt to pull off a perfect, amicable divorce.
The Buzz: Can these two TV veterans begin to make a more successful transition to the big screen?
Lay the Favorite
Who’s In It: Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall.
What’s It About: Bruce Willis heads up a team of geeky older men who’ve figured out a way to game the sportsbook system in Las Vegas.
The Buzz: We’re not crazy about Vince Vaughn returning to Las Vegas without Jon Favreau (Swingers), but if there’s ever a safe gamble in Hollywood, it’s Bruce Willis, who always manages to entertain.
Who’s In It: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, John Magaro, Elizabeth Reaser.
What’s It About: A 30-something guy returns to his alma mater only to fall in love with a 19-year-old student currently attending school there.
The Buzz: Elizabeth Olsen returns to Sundance after a break-out year at the festival in 2011, where her film Martha Marcy May Marlene won many accolades and eventually went on to snag Olsen more than a few award nominations.
Who’s In It: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones.
What’s It About: Two investigators of paranormal hoaxes have their views tested when they meet a legendary blind psychic.
The Buzz: It’s one of the festival’s best (and most recognizable) ensemble casts (on paper), and Cillian Murphy is one of the best actors who doesn’t get enough work. Plus, hey, there’s Elizabeth Olsen again. We better get used to seeing her more often.
Red Hook Summer
Who’s In It: Clark Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, James Ransone, Thomas Jefferson Byrd.
What’s It About: A boy from Atlanta travels to Brooklyn, New York to spend a summer with the grandfather he’s never met.
The Buzz: Written and directed by Spike Lee, the film was originally said to have ties to Lee’s 1989 hit Do the Right Thing, though it’s not a direct sequel.
That's What She Said
Who’s In It: Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis, Alia Shawkat.
What’s It About: Three women embark on romantic adventures in New York City.
The Buzz: This is a wild card – and its cast doesn’t automatically grant it a pass to theaters – but we envision female-lead comedies being hot this year and next because of Bridesmaids, and That’s What She Said could find itself on the lucky side of popular assuming it’s as entertaining as its three lead actresses.
Who’s In It: Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde with Zoe Saldana
What’s It About: An aspiring writer claims one man’s long-lost work as his own, and, as such, he then must suffer bizarre consequences.
The Buzz: This is the festival’s closing night film, which, in recent years, hasn’t been as strong as the films sandwiched in the middle. But a solid cast and an intriguing premise have us very interested in where this thriller will take us.
West of Memphis
Who’s In It: Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Directed by Amy Berg
What’s It About: A long-in-development documentary on the West Memphis murder trial that just recently ended with three men being freed from prison after spending years behind bars for brutal murders they didn’t commit.
The Buzz: It unfortunately arrives right behind another HBO documentary surrounding the same subject, Paradise Lost 3, but this one has celebrity backers like Peter Jackson involved, not to mention the excellent Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil) at the helm.