Tag Archives: Simon Killer
Well, Utah’s famed Sundance Film Festival has once again come and gone, and once again, I wasn’t invited. Sigh. I won’t let that stop me from throwing in my two cents, though!
When all of the mega-celebs, indie darlings, and first-time newbies gather in Park City donning their Winter gear, the result is always plenty of buzz-worthy films to get excited about. Sure, a bad film can definitely get poor reviews and die at the annual festival, but it is more often than not a launching pad for great new films, actors, writers, and directors who are poised for stardom. Think about it; many Oscar-nominated and now-classic films got their starts at Sundance, including Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Itch, Napoleon Dynamite, Thirteen, and Winter’s Bone. Of course, there’s also anything starring Parker Posey. Love her.
So, what did 2012 have in store for those lucky enough to catch the screenings? If the many blogs, mags, and critics are any indication, there was a lot worth seeing and worth discussing. And since there seemed to be simply too many exciting new films to talk about, I’m going to give you five (just five!) that I am most looking forward to see in the upcoming year.
In no particular order…
1. Liberal Arts
Written and Directed by Josh Radnor
Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, Zac Efron
Josh Radnor, of “How I Met Your Mother” fame, hit a little bit of a dud with his 2010 debut film, Happythankyoumoreplease. Also having premiered at Sundance, it was initially well-received but then faced mixed reviews after getting its wide release. It is unsure whether Liberal Arts will face the same fate, but what we do know is that Radnor’s sophomore effort is generating some major– and most important, positive– buzz. Featuring an impressive and eclectic cast of actors, including new It girl Elizabeth Olsen in her first romantic lead role, the film is the story of a 35-year-old New Yorker (Radnor) who visits his alma mater and bonds with a 19-year-old student named Zibby. Critics have noted that the film’s message is a tad simplistic and that it takes a few wrong turns, but for the most part, Liberal Arts is shaping up to be a well-acted one-to-watch.
2. Beasts of the Southern Wild
Written by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Starring: Quvenzhane` Wallis, Dwight Henry
This moving story, told through the eyes of a six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy, took home the festival’s big Grand Jury Prize and is receiving overwhelming critical acclaim. Inspired by the locals who chose to stay in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina had devastated their homes and communities, it features two non-actors: Dwight Henry, a real-life owner of a bakery, and Quvenzhane` Wallis. You don’t know her name now (and probably can’t pronounce it), but this little girl was chosen out of 3,500 candidates and her performance is already being hailed as one of the greatest ever by a child actor. New York Magazine called the film an “Ode to Bayou life” that features incredible cinematography, amazing performances and elements of magical realism. It can’t be too long until Mr. Oscar starts calling.
Written and Directed by Leslye Headland
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson
Does anything with this film seem a little familiar? Of course, it’s odd timing that a film entitled Bachelorette would premiere only a year after the outta-the-park home-run mega hit that was Bridesmaids; there will inevitably be non-stop comparisons between the two films. And yes, they feature similar premises: in Bachelorette, a gang of thirty-something high school friends throw a bachelorette party for the first among them to be engaged, and wacky hijinks ensue. However, many critics say that Bachelorette is a far less lighthearted film; hardly a comedy at all. While it’s funny and definitely crazy, there are a lot more drugs, booze, and less jokey subject matter. While it has gotten mixed reviews, Kirsten Dunst has received praise for her acting, and in my opinion, you just can’t go wrong with anything starring the charming and beautiful Lizzy Caplan. I don’t think that I’ll run to the theatre to see this, but the cast definitely piques my interest.
4. Simon Killer
Written and Directed by Antonio Campos
Starring: Brady Corbet and Mati Diop
Antonio Campos made a huge splash with Afterschool in 2008, and Simon Killer is poised to follow in its footsteps, despite some less than stellar reviews. Brady Corbet was most recently that awkward guy who boned Kirsten Dunst on her wedding night in Melancholia, but despite his mere twenty-three years, he has already established himself in the indie world with several supporting roles, including in Funny Games and Martha Marcy May Marlene. In Simon Killer, Corbet plays a recent college grad in Paris who falls in love with a prostitute and undergoes an allegedly quite violent, psychological transformation. There is also a lot of nudity, a lot of sex, and no, not everyone thought this film was worth seeing. I, however, am curious about it. I happen to really like Corbet (particularly in Funny Games) and would like to judge his performance– and the film– for myself.
5. Safety Not Guaranteed
Written by Derek Connolly
Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell, Jake Johnson, Mark Duplass
Aubrey Plaza is known for her deadpan-style comedic skills, but she expands her horizons in Safety Not Guaranteed, a part sci-fi, part rom-com film which has really exploded as one of the biggest hits of the festival. Mark Duplass plays a man who puts out an ad seeking a companion for time travel, and Plaza’s skeptical magazine intern, Darius, seeks him out, unexpectedly falling for him. I’m also excited to see Jake Johnson on the big screen, because he is so great to watch opposite Zooey Deschanel on “New Girl.” Safety sounds both hilarious and heartfelt, and you just can’t get deterred when a film makes such waves at the festival. It’s a winning combo.