The Way, Way Back DIRECTOR: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash CAST: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James
Speaking of Community, here’s The Way, Way Back, the directorial debut of “Dean Pelton” himself, Jim Rash — who co-writes and co-directs with Nat Faxon, with whom he penned the Oscar-winning screenplay for The Descendants. (You may recall their acceptance speech.) This script has been floating around for a while, as the duo resisted selling it to another director (it’s been around so long, in fact, that they had to retitle it after another film called The Way Back was released last year); based on the talent their Oscar win drew to it, it’s looking like it was worth the wait.
Touchy Feely DIRECTOR: Lynn Shelton CAST: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page, Josh Pais
Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister was one of our favorite movies of Sundance 2012, and she’s not sleeping on it: she’s back this year with a new comedy/drama, and with Sister star Rosemarie DeWitt in tow. Also promising: yet another chance to enjoy the work of last year’s primary object of “Who is that terrific actor?” questions, Scott McNairy (Argo/Killing Them Softly/Promised Land), and a Juno reunion for Ellen Page and Allison Janney (who is also in The Way, Way Back, and there is no such thing as too much Janney).
The Lifeguard DIRECTOR: Liz W. Garcia CAST: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Alex Shaffer, Amy Madigan, Joshua Harto, David Lambert
We’ve probably spent a bit too much time and energy puzzling over the career of the wonderful Kristen Bell, whose dazzling three-season performance as Veronica Mars was one of contemporary television’s best, but whose film choices since that show’s sadly premature end have ranged from problematic (Hit and Run, Serious Moonlight) to horrifying (When in Rome, You Again, Burlesque). Hopefully going the indie route will help; this comedy/drama sounds both terrifyingly relatable — she plays a 30-year-old who ends up living at home and working her high school job — and promising, particularly with Freaks and Geeks and Party Down’s invaluable Martin Starr in the mix.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks DIRECTOR: Alex Gibney CAST: Documentary
Alex Gibney is one of the most gifted documentary filmmakers out there: whether investigating torture (Taxi to the Dark Side), Congressional corruption (Casino Jack and the United States of Money), the fall of a governor (Client 9), the Enron scandal (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), or just a famously fumbled baseball (Catching Hell), his films have the brains and intellectual brawn of good investigative journalism, and the wit and innovation of great cinema. He’s also wildly prolific; his furiously powerful Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (one of our ten best docs of last year) has barely left theaters and he’s already got another one on deck — taking on a topic that seems a perfect match for his unique gifts.
C.O.G. DIRECTOR: Kyle Patrick Alvarez CAST: Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll, Dean Stockwell, Casey Wilson, Troian Bellisario
As noted in the Sundance Film Guide, C.O.G. is the “first film adaptation of David Sedaris’ work.” ‘Nuff said.
That’s what we’re looking forward to at “The ‘dance” — Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.