A new vacancy in our humanity

The Sundance Film Festival begins today, and Slamdance tomorrow. Our official selections:

Toy's House
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Supporting Cast: Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie

Three unhappy teenage boys flee to the wilderness where they build a makeshift house and live off the land as masters of their own destiny. Or at least that's the plan.

The thing about art made (or in this case, directed) by people you know is… what if it sucks?

Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez

In the first ever film adaptation of David Sedaris' work, a cocky young man travels to Oregon to work on an apple farm. Out of his element, he finds his lifestyle and notions being picked apart by everyone who crosses his path.

I would've guessed "SantaLand Diaries" as the first of Sedaris' work to be adapted, not some essay in Naked.

Alvarez previously directed Easier With Practice, based on a GQ article by Davy Rothbart (This American Life, Found).

Next: A Chuck Klosterman piece?

Upstream Color
Director: Shane Carruth

Kris is derailed from her life when she is drugged by a small-time thief. But something bigger is going on. She is unknowingly drawn into the life cycle of a presence that permeates the microscopic world, moving to nematodes, plant life, livestock, and back again. Along the way, she finds another being—a familiar, who is equally consumed by the larger force. The two search urgently for a place of safety within each other as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of their wrecked lives.

Carruth's follow-up to Primer. 'nough said.

Interior. Leather Bar.
Director: James Franco

The 1980 film Cruising, starring Al Pacino as an undercover cop investigating a murder in the New York City gay, leather, bar scene, was plagued with controversy, and its director was forced by the Motion Picture Association of America to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material. Those 40 minutes have never been screened publicly. James Franco set out to re-imagine what might have transpired in those lost scenes.

James Franco re-imagines deleted scenes from Cruising? James Franco re-imagines deleted scenes from Cruising.

Director: Evan Jackson Leong

Leong began filming this documentary before Jeremy Lin became a household name.

Director: David Andalman

In mid-1990's America, we follow the tragic sex life of Jolie Jolson, a wannabe thug (and great-great-grandson of legendary vaudevillian Al Jolson) in suburban DC as he strives to become something he can never be – black.

Director: Park Chan-Wook
Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller

From the director of Oldboy and the star of Fox's Prison Break!

Director: Ben Wheatley
Producer: Edgar Wright

A nerdish holidaying couple semi-inadvertently embark on a killing spree.

Among other descriptions we've seen:

"a Mike Leigh-directed version of Natural Born Killers"

"Terrence Malick's Badlands transposed to the English Midlands by Shane Meadows"

"James Gunn directing a feature-length spin-off of the British Office"

Lead actors Steve Oram and Alice Lowe also penned the screenplay.

The Look of Love
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh (Control – the Ian Curtis biopic)

The true story of British adult entrepreneur Paul Raymond. Seeing mediocrity in the smutty sex parlors of London, Raymond unveils his first "gentlemen's club" in 1958 and gradually builds an empire of clubs and erotic magazines that brings him vast wealth while affronting British sexual mores. It also brings a litany of obscenity charges, a failed marriage, troubled children, and personal tragedy.

Starting in black and white, the film's aesthetic transforms over time, mirroring the cinema styles of each period (with a soundtrack that follows suit).

Michael Winterbottom directing Steve Coogan (see: 24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, The Trip) has yet to disappoint us.

Battery Man
Directors: Dusan Saponja, Dusan Cavic

Slavisa Pajkic, aka Biba Struja (Electric Biba) is capable of conducting electricity and he can consciously control its power while discharging it. Battery Man follows the inner and outer journey of a rural superhero in his attempt to discover what exactly happens in his body, but also to enter the Guinness Book of Records before he loses his power.

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