The 2021 Sundance Film Festival kicks off this week and though this year’s festival might look a little different than most years, it is still bound to be a great festival. What I like best about the movies at Sundance is that you never know what you are going to get. You might get a trailer for a few movies but for the most part, you are going off the synopsis, the cast, and the director. It’s exciting stuff and a movie you never expected could end up being the best thing that you see at the festival. These are the five movies I am most excited to see at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
5 – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (Shaka King)
What’s It About: The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O’Neal. (per IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Since the Oscar’s changed their eligibility rules in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and pushed their release-date deadline to February 28th, many wondered if Sundance would be a launching point for a late-comer with awards aspirations. Judah and the Black Messiah seems to be one of those movies. Early word is that the film is electric and features top-notch work from Daniel Kaluuya -who plays Hampton- Lakieth Stanfield – who plays O’Neal – and that director Shaka King is the real deal. Can’t wait to see and find out for myself.
4 – A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX (Rodney Ascher)
What’s It About: Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher tackles this question “are we living in a simulation?” with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer. (per IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: With Room 237 and The Nightmare, director Rodney Ascher has made some of the most interesting documentaries I have seen over the last decade, diving into conspiracy theories and what happens inside our minds. A Glitch in the Matrix sounds like yet another trip from Ascher. I’m excited to have my mind blown and here more about this idea that we might actually be living in a simulation.
3 – MASS (Fran Kranz)
What’s It About: The aftermath of a tragedy tore all their lives apart of two families. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: Mass is going to be one of the heaviest movies I see at this year’s festival, if not the heaviest. Though this is bound to be an emotional juggernaut, what has me most excited is that the film feels like it is going to give our four main actors, Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney, and Ann Dowd, some great material to work with in what could be an acting showcase.
2 – ON THE COUNT OF THREE (Jerrod Carmichael)
What’s It About: Two guns. Two best friends. And a pact to end their lives when the day is done. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: The vagueness of this synopsis hooked me. Why does this pact exist? Who are these two friends? What is really going on here? Comedian Jerrod Carmichael makes his directorial debut in this drama that also boasts a stellar cast of Carmichaels, Christopher Abbott (one of my favorite working actors), Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, and Henry Winkler.
1 – PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND (Sion Sono)
What’s It About: A notorious criminal must break an evil curse in order to rescue an abducted girl who has mysteriously disappeared. (via IMDb)
Why I’m Excited: First and foremost, Prisoners of the Ghostland stars Nicolas Cage in the lead role of man named Hero. I like Cage as an actor and think that his recent run of wild-ass movies like Mom and Dad, Mandy, and Color Out of Space has been pretty great for the Oscar-winning actor. But according to director Sion Sono, Prisoners of the Ghostland could rank up there as one of Nicolas Cage’s wildest movies, which seems like a daunting task given then number of crazy movies Cage has been in, but I’m excited to see him try. Oh, and did I mention that the film features samurais, ninjas, and ghosts? I have no idea what’s in store for this one, but I can’t wait to find out.
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