Much like the town of Brigadoon, Park City, Utah is nearly ready to rise out of the mist, appearing for the one time a year in which it becomes a real city capable of hosting corporate-sponsored parties where celebrities take pictures of themselves sporting fuzzy hats. Also, movies are screened—indie movies that sometimes end up being the next year's awards contenders and springboards to bigger things, as happened this past year with films such as The Sessions, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, and Safety Not Guaranteed.
And much as the previous Sundance was heavy on names commonly bandied about The A.V. Club like Aaron Paul, Aubrey Plaza, Lizzy Caplan, and Alison Brie, you'll probably also recognize a lot of the names on this year's competition roster. In fact, this year there's a movie with Nick Offerman, Megan Mullaly, and Alison Brie, one that isn't just them getting high together. Sundance: Increasingly relevant to your interests.
As always, attempting to predict what will break out of Sundance is a fool's game, but we can point you to the ones that have people in it you probably like. For instance, there's Lake Bell's In A World…., a film she wrote, directed, and stars in as a woman following in her father's movie trailer voiceover footsteps, and that also features Demetri Martin and her Childrens Hospital co-stars Ken Marino and Rob Corddry. And The Lifeguard, in which Kristen Bell gets into a "dangerous" relationship with a teenage boy, probably while frequently wearing a swimsuit, and somewhere Martin Starr fits in there.
And then there's Kill Your Darlings, in which Daniel Radcliffe finally makes his debut as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg after years of screwing around with Harry Potter, aided by Ben Foster, Michael C. Hall, and Jack Huston. And come midnight, there's Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's horror comedy Hell Baby, plus the quick turnaround horror sequel S-V/H/S. These, and any of the other films that have Bret McKenzie, Kyle Chandler, Kathryn Hahn, Alia Shawkat, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, etc. in them.
And while Elizabeth Olsen and Casey Wilson (who are both starring in two films apiece) have made an earnest bid, their attempt to dominate Sundance has, of course, been outdone by James Franco, who arrives to redress last year's glaring lack of any Franco with no less than two Francos. Sundance has added both Franco's previously reported "homo-sex-art-film" Interior. Leather Bar—which imagines what was in that 40 minutes of "gay S&M footage" rumored to be cut from 1980's Cruising, then adds a slight Franco of intellectualizing—and the Franco-produced documentary kink, which goes behind the scenes of an S&M porn studio to find all of the fascinating things that James Franco can't stop thinking about or pointing cameras at for whatever reason, likely because sadomasochism is "a metaphor for public self-expression" or something. Anyway, the complete list of Sundance films added so far is here.