I never keep up with Sundance as it is happening each year. I find paying attention to most news as it rolls in to be dreadfully boring, and then there are the old cliches about Sundance being too commercial, no longer about true independent filmmaking, etc. But I just came across this New York Times article, about how this year's Sundance has a new director, John Cooper, who is apparently focusing more on independent, less commercial filmmaking. Should I be paying attention this year?
Whatever the case, I do know that Eric Mendelsohn's 3 Backyards looks interesting, and the Duplass Brothers' new film, Cyrus, stars John C. Reilly!
Update: Karina Longworth's review of Cyrus. This paragraph stood out:
"If it's somewhat surreal to sit down to a Duplass Brothers film and have it preceded by the Fox Searchlight logo and trumpet-and-drumbeat theme, the opening scene following that corporate stamp offers a sensation that could only be described as uncanny. A beautiful woman encounters a scruffy manboy, and they proceed to have an argument about his inability to meet her expectations. It all looks and feels familiarly low fi--almost like a sequel to The Puffy Chair, catching up on that film's couple long after they've broken up and have managed to stay friends twenty years later. Except for the fact that the woman is played by Catherine Keener, and the man is played by John C. Reilly, and even though neither is a massive star outside of Indiewood, within this context their faces feel so larger-than-life that the classic Duplass anticipatory zooms take on a whole new quality of invasive creepiness."
In other words, their style remains the same, but with more expensive cameras and bigger name actors. Sounds fine to me; I love John C. Reilly, and I like the idea of their bare aesthetic in the service of a "bigger" film. Which is not to say that it's the first film of its kind with such an aesthetic, of course. Karina's review isn't without its caveats, but I'm still excited.