Blind

Sundance 2014

Seems like just twelve days ago that Kate Erbland and I posted a list of our most anticipated films playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Our choices were based on elements as diverse as cast, premise, the filmmaker’s previous work, and even the two-word concept of an “abortion comedy.” As is always the case, though, expectations are never fully met, and while some movies we expected to love ended up disappointing us others that weren’t even on our radar completely blew us away. That, in a lanyard-wearing nutshell, is the beauty of film festivals. Unlike movies that open at your local cineplex or release onto Blu-ray and DVD each week, the majority of festival titles are unknown entities. There are no trailers or other marketing materials for these films, and the talent involved are often barely familiar faces at best. Most of the screenings are complete crapshoots, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This year’s Sundance was one of the most rewarding film festivals I’ve attended in regard to quality, and it’s evident in the high number of films already picked up for distribution. It’s telling that I had to exclude great and/or highly entertaining movies like Dear White People, Cooties, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, and The Battered Bastards of Baseball to narrow down my list below. Keep reading to see Kate’s and my top fourteen films of Sundance 2014.

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review blind

Movies about blind women seem to fall into a subgenre all their own, and the overwhelming majority of them (including Wait Until Dark, Julia’s Eyes, The Eye, Blink, South Korea’s Blind) are suspense thrillers. The women are seemingly helpless victims-to-be forced to survive some malevolent outside force threatening their lives. The new Norwegian film, Blind, has chosen a different route. Ingrid (Ellen Dorritt Petersen) has recently lost her sight to a degenerative disease, and she has made her apartment the entirety of her new world. Her husband Moreten (Henrik Rafaelsen) is supportive, but she ignores his suggestions that she venture outside again. Her alone time already allows her mind to wander, but it also comes with thoughts on her husband’s infidelity, the lives of strangers, and the distinct sound of breathing in the apartment when she should be alone. But are these things real or imagined?

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Set in a post-nuclear future Japan, blind tells the story of one man’s commute to work that becomes an incredible journey. Its imagery is both intimate and universal, using the jarring icon of the gas mask and the beauty of the life of the city to make something evocative and experimental. What will it cost you? Only 4 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Min Soo-ah (Kim Ha-neul) is a police cadet in training who takes it upon herself to look after her younger brother. Her latest attempt to bring him home from the b-boy club scene sees him handcuffed inside the car, but when she loses control of he wheel the resulting accident claims his life and leaves her blind. The decisions she made that night get her removed from the police force, but it’s the guilt that weighs the heaviest. Three years later she’s living with her Labrador guide dog named Wisey and still struggling with her impairment. Frustrated with her life, she takes a late night taxi ride that quickly becomes a hit and run. She reports it, but the police are unclear as to how a blind person can be a witness so they assign the case to a throwaway detective (Jo Hie-bong). Unfortunately for Soo-ah, while the police aren’t taking what she witnessed very seriously the killer is. And he’s looking to silence her for good.

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If you somehow aren’t aware by now, we take Fantastic Fest pretty seriously ’round these parts. America’s largest genre festival will kick the doors off the hinges for its 7th incarnation this September, and your faithful crew here at Starship Reject could not be more excited. As always, we’ll be assembling our Fantastic Fest Death Squad to attempt the insane goal of reviewing each and every film that plays this year. Take a gander at some of the titles that have jumped out at us from this latest batch. First up is Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia. Antichrist was huge at Fantastic Fest back in 2009, and the buzz out of Cannes and from a brief run in LA has me chomping at the bit to see Von Trier’s latest as soon as possible. While certainly polarizing, Von Trier is also an extremely versatile and uncompromising filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see him put his own unique spin on a story with sci-fi elements. You can bet the Rejects will be first in line for this one come September. You also know we’re looking forward to You’re Next, the new film from the team behind last year’s A Horrible Way to Die. While their previous effort wasn’t a perfect film, the last 20 minutes in particular were chilling and showed quite a bit of promise with their fresh take on serial killer celebrity. Adam Wingard returns to direct You’re Next, and genre favorite AJ Bowen joins a cast that includes […]

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Concept Art from The Home

A friend to the movie geek community and a member of said community are making a movie. And they are bringing Peter Jackson’s WETA team along for effects.

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