Sundance 2010 Preview: Etc.

After a hard day watching documentaries about globalisation and touching dramas about growing up in a gentrified Echo Park, what’s a still fiending film fan to do? The answer is head for Sundance’s fringe events. This year, Park City at Midnight serves up a helping of Canadian revenge, a Guillermo del Toro-endorsed horror film, and the wackiest ski thriller since Hot Dog. Also pulling in the A-list names to Utah are two premieres celebrating the great American traditions of hot rock chicks and dying slowly in Texas.

Click here to read our U.S. Documentary Competition Preview
Click here to read our U.S. Dramatic Competition Preview
Click here to read our International Documentary Competition Preview
Click here to read our International Dramatic Competition Preview

Premieres

The Killer Inside Me

Jim Thompson’s bone-dry noir novels of dice ‘n’ deceit have inspired plenty of cinematic adaptations, ranging from Steve McQueen in The Getaway to John Cusack palming twenties in The Grifters. Bringing his 1952 masterpiece to the screen is director Michael Winterbottom, more used to guerilla filmmaking like In This World. The dream cast includes Casey Affleck as a sociopathic Texas sheriff and Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson as his itchy women. Don’t worry about the plot, because Thompson never did. Just groove on the fetid funereal atmosphere.

The Runaways

In the late ‘70s, the all-girl band The Runaways were fun, flirty, and just a little bit jailbait. After lighting up the charts with “Cherry Bomb,” guitarist Joan Jett hearted rock ‘n’ roll, lead guitarist Lita Ford kissed me deadly and singer Cherie Currie fell off the charts into addiction. Her memoir is the basis for this biopic, whose kiss between leads Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart has fuelled at least fanboy fantasy. Michael Shannon plays Kim Fowley, the scariest Svengali in rock ‘n’ roll.

Playing in the Park City at Midnight Sidebar

Les 7 jour du talion (7 Days)

We got a wild one here. The murderer of his daughter may have been apprehended, but Dr. Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault, Genie nominated for Les 3 p’tits cochons) needs a lot more closure than a trial can permit. He plans to kidnap the killer, torture the beast for a week, and then turn himself into the police. The police have some different ideas about justice and try to stop Hamel while he still has a shred of humanity to cling onto. This Quebecois thriller is adapted by Patrick Senecal from his own novel. It’s Saw but without the Rube Goldberg element.

Buried

With his appearances in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his forthcoming turn as the Green Lantern, the name “Ryan Reynolds” has been on a lot of people’s lips. Reynolds has stared down Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes in his time, but Buried could be the biggest challenge yet. He plays a military contractor in Iraq who wakes up in a coffin and spends the next hour-and-a-half trying to get his way out. Never mind the end of The Vanishing, just being that long without our cellphone would creep us out.

Frozen

What could be more nightmarish than spending a weekend stuck in a ski lift? How about watching a movie about three people stuck on a ski lift? Awesome chops are needed to pull off such a premise—Hitchcock barely kept Lifeboat afloat. Writer/director Adam Green, in a hilarious interview, is in no doubt about his abilities. “As a director, these are the kinds of stories you dream of telling,” he says. Watching the results, though, might require a thermos of coffee.

Splice

If you’re going to pull a Dr. Moreau and start splicing together the DNA of various species, at least have the smarts to shut the cage on the results. In Vincenzo Natali’s horror thriller, scientists Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley have to deal with the rapidly mutating consequences. Before you ask what two actors of their caliber are doing in midnight fare, be advised that the film is executive produced by Guillermo del Toro. Squirmy Brody explains himself in a video found on the official site.

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