And so it is that our first indication of the year to come in cinema has officially ended. After providing complete coverage of Sundance Film Festival 2013, we are here to wrap up the event with our picks of the 10 best films we screened, along with the rest. A birthplace for new talent, Park City had its fair share of break-outs this year both in front of and behind the camera, so get reading below and check back with us all year for more information on when you can see the mentioned films. For our full reviews from the festival, if available, click any of the film titles.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery)
With his directorial break-out David Lowery has crafted a subdued, slow-burn drama that aches with excellent performances from its ensemble, which includes Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker and Keith Carradine. Following the aftermath of a crime-filled life, the film skirts around the major peaks one may find in another drama of its kind, instead focusing on quiet, sublime exchanges. – Jordan R.
Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
The perfect end to a near-perfect trilogy, Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight once again stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as Jesse and Celine, two lovers working through the dos-and-don’ts of life. If it sounds like a general description, it’s deceivingly so. These films, simple as they are, speak to many truths, painful and otherwise. – Dan M.
Blue Caprice (Alexandre Moors)
In Blue Caprice, a taut character study of the two men behind the 2002 D.C. Sniper shootings, writer-director Alexandre Moors does an effective job of offering insight into the minds behind such senseless killings. Featuring two fantastic performances from Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond, playing the infamous criminals Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo (respectively), the film strives to capture an uncomfortable mood. Featuring one of the best performances from the festival in the form of Washington’s frightening portrayal of Muhammad, Moors has crafted a multi-layered dissection of one of the countries most incomprehensible crimes. – Raffi A.
Don Jon’s Addiction (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
A cross between Jersey Shore and Shame, Don’s Jon Addiction, the directorial debut from Sundance vet Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a sincerely personal and comedic examination about Internet porn addiction. Writing, directing and starring as the titular Don, Levitt injects a personal feel, giving an intimacy to Don’s issues, fantasizing about sexual experiences that are ultimately selfish. The film is both strangely relatable and intimate while also maintaining a brisk comedic pace, not an easy feat. – Raffi A.
Escape From Tomorrow (Randy Moore)
Easily one of the strangest films at this year’s Sundance festival is the audacious and provocative Escape from Tomorrow, a film shot guerrilla-style in both Disneyland and Disney World without the permission of Mickey Mouse. The premise is simple: on the last day of their family Disney vacation, Jim (Roy Abramsohn) is laid off from his job, which serves as a catalyst for a hallucinatory Disney experience. As the spiraling spectacle of madness becomes more bizarre, complete with memorable Disney rides getting demonic makeovers, Escape from Tomorrow delivers an engrossing take on what the family vacation represents in corporate America. – Raffi A.
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