White Bird in a Blizzard

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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Jon Hamm

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s mostly about smaller-name actors getting roles in upcoming projects, but that can be interesting too. Not everyone can be an old favorite coming back to an X-Men movie or getting hounded about the new Star Wars. It’s been known for a while that Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is a big fan of comedy—just look at how many lowly podcasts he’s appeared on, bit parts in comedies, and even his SNL host gigging for proof of that—but he’s yet to get his chance to take his love of the yuks further and actually star in a comedic feature. That might soon change though. Variety is reporting that he’s currently circling a project called Epic Fail that’s about a down-on-his-luck high school teacher who hires two students to kidnap his wife, in the hopes that if he swoops in and rescues her he might rekindle his marriage. The film has been written by Kevin Costello and will be directed by Mark Teitelman.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that has a theory casting agents are kind of just coasting going into the Thanksgiving holiday. Bryan Cranston. For a long time he was viewed as being an under appreciated character actor, or even “the dad from Malcolm in the Middle,” but these days he’s basically the most universally beloved actor in the business. It’s amazing what cooking meth in your tighty-whities can do for your career. What a coup for the upcoming crime drama, Eye of Winter, then, that it’s landed Cranston as its lead. He’ll be playing a blind criminal who takes a struggling motel owner (Alive Eve) and her daughter hostage so that they can be his eyes while he attempts to retrieve a package from a crooked cop (Logan Marshall Green). Tze Chun (Children of Invention) will direct and has co-written alongside Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon. [Variety]

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