5 Must-See Sundance Movies Coming to a Theater Near You

By: Liz Calvario / January 28, 2013

Every year, Colorado gets struck by a tidal wave of films — and film snobs — when the Sundance Film Festival comes to town. And each year, dozens upon dozens of films are screened there to much fanfare and debate, only to leave readers wondering which ones they should actually remember by the time they arrive in theaters in the rest of the country.

We’ve rummaged through the many releases of this year’s Sundance slate and assembled a list of the best and most talked-about offerings of the year. If you’re a lover of small, indie dramas, dark comedies, tense thrillers or flat-out, terrifying horror flicks, there’s something here for everybody. Watch out of the majority of these films to hit throughout the coming year.

And in addition to Celebuzz’ shortlist of promising Sundance movies, we’re giving away a selection of prizes from the festival which celebs took home — and you can, too! — by participating in a contest, the details for which are listed below.

Upstream Color

Director Shane Carruth was the mastermind behind the incredibly low-budget, super complex time-travel film Primer, a mind-bender made for seemingly pennies. Beautifully filmed and incredibly evocative, Primer set a high bar, and after many years away from screens, Carruth returns with Upstream Color, a purposefully esoteric tone-poem that’ll keep viewers debating the film’s actual meaning for years to come. Focusing on two lovers caught up in a surreal and abstract tale, the film will be distributed by Carruth through his own company later this year.

S-VHS

Last year’s found-footage horror anthology V/H/S received mixed reviews for its inconsistent short-film omnibus, which featured some spectacular highs as well as disappointing lows. Word out of Sundance this year, however, is that the follow-up S-VHS is flat-out amazing, featuring segments by Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener and Gareth Evans, the director of the unbelievably kick-ass action flick, The Raid. The distributor of the first film, Magnolia, picked this up with the expectation that it’ll be an even bigger critical darling and a hit with fans of the original.

Don Jon’s Addiction

Looper star and neo-Batman Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes up the reigns as director of this shocking/lurid/sexy/funny dramatic-comedy about porn addiction. Starring opposite Scarlett Johannson and Julianne Moore, Gordon-Levitt gives a wildly different performance from his previous, admittedly more dour roles and pulls off an equally impressive feat behind the camera, as well. The film kicked off something of an indie bidding war at the festival, but Relativity Media eventually beat out the Weinstein Company to distribute the film for a festival high of $4 million.

The East

This tense, taut thriller about an eco-terrorism cell calls into question the culpability of corporate executives at a time when they appear more untouchable than ever. Infiltrated by a member of a private security firm, the group attempts to hit three high-level targets in six months, unaware that there’s an intruder in their midst. Directed by Sound of My Voice helmer Zal Batmanglij, The East was picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight.

Before Midnight

Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are, for all intents and purposes, the equivalent of a filmed play, uber-indie romances that unfold over the course of a single, real-time conversation. Following lovers Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke through their first encounter in Vienna and their reunion ten years later in Paris, the films explore the idea of reality versus romance. Linklater returns nearly another decade later to see where the characters are now in their lives and how their relationship has evolved after seemingly getting together at the end of the last film. Before Midnight was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.

The Spectacular Now

Coming of age stories are a dime a dozen at almost any level of filmmaking, so you’d be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the thought of another indie, “true to life” teen flick. But The Spectacular Now tells a simple and moving story about growing up as a teenager that’s neither pandering nor manipulative. It’s incredibly honest. The film isn’t cast with twenty-something high-schoolers, but actual teenagers to give this story a real sense of authenticity. The film was picked up by a small New York distribution company called A24 for release later this year.

In addition to a checklist of upcoming movies that first made waves at Sundance, Celebuzz is hooking readers up with designer blankets, scarves and more from clothing companies that helped attendees keep warm in Park City.

Here are the prizes that are up for grabs, presented by Debbie Durkin’s ECO HIDEWAY:

1 Grand Prize Winner

  • Coral Floral Light Fixture from award-winning New Zealand lighting & furniture designer David Trubridge. (Retail value: $360.00, http://www.davidtrubridge.com/Designs/lighting)
  • HUGRZ Boot Wraps sustainably made in the USA. Hugrz boot wraps and accessories are the ultimate conversion kit, allowing you to update your boots and style their look to match your outfit or suit your mood. Wrap your favorite boots to look like fur, animal print or sweater boots.(Retail value: $50.00, www.HUGRZ.com)
  • A scarf designed by Michael Foster, made of 100% organic Egyptian cotton. Bright Bold colours to enhance mood and appearance. Be Bold Be Free. (Retail Value: $125.00, http://www.michaelanthonyfoster.com/)
  • Minky Couture Custom Designer Blankets & Scarves: Retail Value:  (Retail Value $85 – $160.00, www.minkycouture.com)

2 Runner-Up Winners

  • HUGRZ Boot Wraps sustainably made in the USA. Hugrz boot wraps and accessories are the ultimate conversion kit, allowing you to update your boots and style their look to match your outfit or suit your mood. Wrap your favorite boots to look like fur, animal print or sweater boots.(Retail value: $50.00, www.HUGRZ.com)
  • A scarf designed by Michael Foster, made of 100% organic Egyptian cotton. Bright Bold colours to enhance mood and appearance. Be Bold Be Free. (Retail Value: $125.00, http://www.michaelanthonyfoster.com/)
  • Minky Couture Custom Designer Blankets & Scarves: Retail Value:  (Retail Value $85 – $160.00, www.minkycouture.com)

HOW TO WIN:

  • Simply register and leave us a comment below telling us what movie you’re most excited to see in 2013 — even if it didn’t debut at Sundance — and let us know why.

This giveaway will close on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:59pm PST

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CONTEST RULES