When Ben P and I first got to The Sundance Film Festival, I wasn't really sure what this year was going to hold for us. It got off to a slow start as far as movies go, but as time went on it got better and better. By the time it was over, I was incredibly happy with how my Sundance 2012 experience turned out. Unlike Sundance Film Festivals of the past I think there were more good films than bad this year. Usually I find the bad outweigh the good, but there was only one movie I absolutely loathed this year, and that was Sean Penn's This Must Be The Place.
This year I saw a total of 27 movies, and out of those I've chosen my ten favorite movies from Sundance 2012. I believe these are all worth seeing when and if they are released. Just keep a look out for them, and we'll make sure to keep you updated on any updates, trailers, and release dates. Check out my list, and let me know what you think!
1. The Raid
This is seriously one of the most badass hardcore action films I've ever seen with some of the most intense fight sequences ever put on film. This was easily my favorite film of the festival, and a must watch film for every single one of you. I liked it so much that I actually had to see it a second time before the festival ended. The Raid is going to be the action film by which all other action films are judged by now. Read our review here.
2. Bones Brigade: An Autobiography
As a kid growing up in the early 80's and 90's I loved skateboarding and surfing. Bones Brigade is a documentary about the men who changed the face of skateboarding forever. The Bones Brigade was a team of skateboarders that pushed the sport to its limits, and everything we love and know about modern day skateboarding came from this group of kids. This is a truly inspiring doc that gives the audience an intimate look at the people behind the skateboarding revolution. Read our review here.
3. Red Lights
I had a a great time watching Red Lights, and I think I enjoyed it more than most people. I'm a big fan of stuff revolving around the supernatural, and it was great to see a film that dives into the world of debunking these supernatural claims that people make. The film is like a mix of Ghostbusters and The Prestige. Sigourney Weaver, Robert DiNiro, and Cillian Murphy were all pretty incredible in the film and gave some of their best performances. One of the things I liked most was the direction and story. It was like the director was channeling Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski. This movie is going to get a wide release, and when it does you need to see it. Read our review here, or watch our video review here.
4. Indie Game: The Movie
This is a film any gamer would enjoy watching. It was a fantastically well-made emotional documentary that follows the lives of four people and their journey to creating their own independent video games. I liked how this movie made me feel because I was able to connect with the talented people in the movie and how they turned their lives upside down to create something that is important to them. Read our review here.
V/H/S was like The Twilight Zone on crack. It's an anthology horror film that includes five short found footage films. The movie is seriously better than any of the other found footage films that I've seen over the years. It was twisted fun, and one of those movies I wouldn't have minded seeing again before I left. Most of the stories told in the film were pretty freakin' awesome, and the audience got really into it with some entertaining reactions. This is a must watch movie for any fan of horror. Read our review here.
6. Room 237
I had no idea that Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining had so many conspiracy theories surrounding it, but that's what this this awesome documentary focuses on. You think you know The Shining? Think again. The doc dives into the theories that the film contains hidden messages surrounding Nazis and the Holocaust, the slaughtering of the American Indians, the moon landing being faked by Kubrick, how the whole set up of the Hotel make no sense, and a bunch of other great stuff that will open your eyes to film and give you something to think about. I will never watch The Shining the same way again. Read our review here.
7. The First Time
This was my favorite romantic comedy type movie that I saw up at the festival. Anyone that has ever been a hopeless romantic like myself will appreciate this movie because that's what it's about... A hopeless romantic that ends up finding the girl he's been looking for. The movie can easily be compared to the 90's film Can't Hardly Wait because of its approach to teenage love. I think this movie was a bit more mature though. I really liked the main characters that the audience was introduced to, and it reminded me a lot of what I was like in high school. I think this is a movie some of you would enjoy. Read our review here.
8. Safety Not Guaranteed
This was a fantastic sci-fi love story with one hell of a satisfying ending a payoff. I loved this film and thought the story was incredibly fun and original. Aubrey Plaza was adorably amazing in the movie, and Mark Duplass was great in it as well. The film follows a journalist and a couple interns on a investigative story about a man looking for a time traveling partner. Safety Not Guaranteed was one of the more entertaining indie films at Sundance this year, and it's worth checking out when it is released. Read our review here.
9. West of Memphis
This Peter Jackson produced documentary was incredibly well-made and gives us the definitive story behind the West Memphis Three, which is a story I've been following for the last ten years. I was introduced to this sad story when I saw the HBO documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills. Since then I've been following everything surrounding the case of with Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley. The doc takes the audience through a frustratingly long journey of how these boys were part of a modern day witch hunt after three 8-year-old boys were found murdered and mutilated in West Memphis. It's amazing to see all of the real details surrounding this case unfold right in front of your eyes. Read our review here or watch it here.
10. Celeste and Jesse Forever
I thought this was one of the more humorous films that I saw at the festival. It has a good amount of drama in it as well, but it still ended up being very entertaining. I liked how heartfelt the story was. It was genuine and dealt with issues that I think a lot of people can relate to. I think that one of the main things about the movie I liked is that I was able to connect with the story because I've gone through similar emotions and feelings that these characters were going through. Read our review here.