The Raid 2: Berandal

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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trailer the raid 2 berandal

Oh, Gareth Evans, how you bring me pure joy. The Raid 2: Berandal is on its way, though not nearly quickly enough. March 28, 2014 feels lightyears away, but I take heart in the slow peeling back of the violent onion layers that are the most recent trailers for the sequel to 2011’s cult hit. The latest gives us yet another peek into the personal life of undercover police officer Rama, played by Indonesian superstar and pencak silat expert Iko Uwais, who in my mind is most certainly the heir apparent to Tony Jaa’s throne of martial arts beat ‘em ups.

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laggies

There’s no science when it comes to picking the big winners at a film festival before the first film strip unfurls (or someone hits play on a digital file, as is most often the case these days), no proven method to the madness, no guaranteed formula to finding the best of the best. It’s a gamble every single time, and that’s precisely where much of the joy in attending a film festival comes from. That discovery, maddening as it may seem. This year’s Sundance Film Festival is predictably stuffed with all manner of films and talents – from the star-studded to the utterly up-and-coming – and while it’s certainly easy to pick out pictures that “sound” like they might be good or at least feature “bankable” talent, there are always a few sleepers that sneak in and captivate an unsuspecting audience. That all said, we here at Film School Rejects have attempted to apply our expertise and our personal interests to this year’s festival in order to pick out a handful of films that just might be the best of the fest, but that are at least guaranteed to send us running into a theater to see them once the festival kicks up. It’s time for Sundance! And it’s time for films! It’s even time for anticipation! And now it’s time for some anticipated Sundance films!

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trailer the raid 2 berandal

I normally wouldn’t watch a trailer in advance for a film I’m already excited about, but the last time I tried posting a teaser without actually looking at it things didn’t quite work out all that well. So this time I actually sat through all two minutes and thirty four seconds of the first full trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal. It is a thing of beauty. You should probably just go ahead and watch it now too.

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teaser the raid 2 berandal

I have a simple rule regarding trailers. If I already know I’m interested in the film I try my best not to watch teasers or trailers for it. But if I’m on the fence or completely disinterested, then I’ll give it a view on the off chance it changes my opinion, does its job, and makes me want to see the movie. Which brings us to The Raid 2: Berandal. The first teaser has just dropped for it, and it’s below for your viewing pleasure (courtesy of Twitch). I won’t be watching it though because I’ve seen, loved, bought on Blu-ray, and re-watched a dozen times The Raid. Writer/director Gareth Evans returns along with star Iko Uwais with a direct sequel to that film, and that’s all I really need to know to get my ass into a seat when Sony Pictures Classics releases the film here next year. Well, that and the smile on Hammer Girl’s face in the poster above. For the rest of you though, check out the first teaser for The Raid 2: Berandal below. Just don’t tell me what you see.

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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