Canadian director Denis Côté glides effortlessly between narrative and documentary filmmaking, maintaining his minimalist approach to storytelling regardless of whether he’s dealing with fact or fiction.
This comedy musical is centred on an aspiring Broadway entertainer and a stripper who accidentally get miscast and have to swap roles. Written by Jeffrey A. Johns (who also stars in the film as the leading character), the motion picture features Adam Huss, Shirley Jones and Rena Strober. Waiting in The Wings: The Musical was directed by Jenn Page and released in 2014.
You might think you know the story: two men meet at a remote cruising spot, where men have been mysteriously disappearing for weeks, and find themselves falling deeper into a murderous cat and mouse chase. But this surface level synopsis is the only true similarity between Devil’s Path and 2013’s widely acclaimed anti-thriller Stranger by the Lake, a film to which it will likely be compared based on the subject matter alone.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is set in the early nineties in Montana, but the film doesn’t wear the cultural differences separating then and now too heavily; a cassette tape here, a “Clinton/Gore” bumper sticker there, but no detail significant enough to leave the audience thinking that what we’re seeing is a relic of the past, and not something that’s unfortunately still taking place well into the 21st century.
Quirky American coming of age dramas aren’t exactly hard to come by – every other film that has emerged from the Sundance film festival feels like it could easily fall into this category, with very few managing to stand the test of time. Hearts Beat Loud undeniably fits into the pantheon of stereotypical “Sundance movies”, but offers something far more emotionally substantial than your run of the mill coming of age tale.
Released in 1999, this Spanish motion picture follows the life of an Argentine nurse in charge of organ donations, a single mother whose son is an aspiring artist. Starring Cecilia Roth, Penélope Cruz and Marisa Paredes, All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) was directed and written by Pedro Almodóvar.
Freelancers Anonymous taps into the current issue of underemployment, where employers cut hours and benefits, forcing people to take multiple jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully, director Sonia Sebastian and writers Lisa Cordileone and Amy Dellagiarino never get overly serious about this, keeping things very light while grounding the humour in likeable characters.
Released in 1997, In & Out was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe and won many awards with Joan Cusack receiving many Best Actress category awards including American Comedy Awards and New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Filmed in New Jersey and New York, In & Out was directed by Frank Oz and written by Paul Rudnick. The film stars Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack and Tom Selleck.
Anything is a warm and thoughtful drama that examines some very big themes without taking the usual route through them. Not only is it centred on a middle-aged man, but it also features a main character whose gender identity is never defined because it doesn’t actually matter. No, this is a film about community and belonging, and it fiercely refuses to fit in a box.
Released in 1987 and directed by Pedro Almodovar, Law of Desire won 10 awards including Best Feature Film at Berlin International Film Festival and Best Feature at San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Shot in Andalucía and Madrid, the film stars Eusebio Poncela, Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas.
Released in 2010, Howl was directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film won two awards with Best Actor going to James Franco at Central Ohio Film Critics Association and Freedom of Expression Award at National Board of Review USA. Shot in New York City, the film stars James Franco, Todd Rotondi and Jon Prescott.