The 2014 Sundance Films We’re Most Excited About

They Came TogetherSundance Institute

Following the fantastic year of cinema to which we just bade farewell, 2014 offers up a pretty promising Sundance Film Festival lineup. We’ve highlighted the movies about which we are most excited — comedies, horrors, long-awaited dramas, documentaries, and whatever the hell Frank is.


Why We’re Excited About This One: Described as a “subversion/spoof/deconstruction of the romantic comedy genre,” They Came Together is the latest film from David Wain and Michael Showalter, the minds behind the cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer, starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, and featuring a plot almost directly lifted from You’ve Got Mail. They Came Together promises to make fun of every single romantic comedy trope you could possibly think of, but because of the team involved, you can also guarantee it will be smart and funny in its own right. Poehler and Rudd have already proven that they have great chemistry, thanks to films like Wet Hot American Summer and his guest arc on Parks and Recreation, and frankly, we’re just surprised that it’s taken this long for them to appear in a rom-com together. – Julia Emmanuele


Why We’re Excited About This One: Roger Ebert was the great populist film critic who brought movie criticism to the mainstream, and with a single hand gesture, he changed the industry forever. Ebert made caring about film cool, and when he loved a film, you felt that love penned into his words. Even his tongue-lashings were something to behold. Life Itself examines the life and career of one of film’s most legendary and popular figures. – Jordan Smith


Why We’re Excited About This One: The directorial debut of William H. Macy, Rudderless is about a grieving father who comes across the songs that his son wrote before his death, and forms a band to play those songs and start the process of moving on. It stars Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, and Laurence Fishburne, and while it’s very likely that the film could veer into trite, overly-sentimental territory, the original concept and talented cast are enough to keep us interested. Macy’s already proven himself to be a talented actor and writer, so we have high expectation for his first film. Luckily, if his filmography proves anything, he knows how to pick a good script. – Julia Emmanuele


Why We’re Excited About This One: If you’ve seen The Trip, then you already know. The 2010 comedy paired Steven Coogan and Rob Brydon as at-odds pals enjoying (and lamenting) each other’s company during a restaurant tour through the UK. The dry, soft, subdued comedy derived from Coogan’s inflated boorishness and Brydon’s mental vacancy, with a subtle dramatic undercurrent about loss and loneliness that kept the piece substantial (but never unfunny). A raising of the stakes could work… or, simply, another go ’round just as they did three years ago. – Michael Arbeiter


Why We’re Excited About This One: What happens to the losers?  That’s the question the upcoming documentary Mitt tries to answer as it charts Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign from its hopeful beginnings, to its bitter end. While most of the time, politicians can seem like a mouthpiece for special interests or cogs in the political machine, this documentary promises to cut through to the very real man underneath the suit and tie and all-American smile. – Jordan Smith


Why We’re Excited About This One: Because it’s Michael gosh-darn Fassbender wearing a giant bobble-head mask for the entire length of the movie. He’s playing some kind of musicially inclined weirdo, a superstar with more than his share of eccentricities. And we’re particularly thrilled by the idea of seeing/not seeing Fassbender carry a role without the use of his face. – Michael Arbeiter


Why We’re Excited About This One: Every once and a while, Hollywood needs a swift kick in the pants when their films start to sag, and the Indonesian phenomenon, The Raid not only assaulted it’s way into western consciousness, but knocked the action film status quo off its axis and delivered a visceral, palpitation inducing, and best of all, joyous time at the cinema that roused audiences who were too busy being lulled to sleep by the umpteenth American blockbuster with too much shaky-cam, and too many pulled punches. How can we not be excited by a sequel that promises to deliver even more breathless action. – Jordan Smith


Why We’re Excited About This One: The Voices centers around Jerry Hickfang, a factory worker whose relationship with a woman in accounting “takes a sudden, murderous turn,” he is guided down a new life path by his “evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog,” and stars Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, and Jacki Weaver. Need we say anything else? – Julia Emmanuele


Why We’re Excited About This One: Because after 12 f**king years, it’s finally here. Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke’s father-and-son drama, more than a decade in the making, is finally hitting the public eye and revealing what mackerel of genius the fellows behind the Before series have been cooking up for so long. Even more sensitive to the heartstrings than that of their romantic trilogy is the subject matter here: the relationship between a dad and his kid as the latter enters, sustains, and exits childhood. Never before has a project like this been made — one that chronicles the life of not just its characters but its actors as they, too, grow; young Ellar Coltrane has been working on this movie as the titular boy for his entire life. God, there’s so much to be excited about with this piece of dynamite. – Michael Arbeiter