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Sundance launches new films and stars

Courtney Cox | Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, has been the breeding ground for some of America’s quirkiest indie flicks as well as some of the most stunningly realistic portraits of human life. It has launched films like “Precious” and “Little Miss Sunshine” on a trajectory ending in success. It is a beacon of creativity in an industry so often concerned with receiving the highest numbers at the box office. The film festival took place this year from Jan. 20-30.

“Like Crazy”

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic Competition, this film has themes that would lead one to believe it is a stereotypical chick flick (first love, long distance romance, youth). Sundance, however, does not award Grand Jury prizes to films that lack creativity and emotional depth. It will tug at the heartstrings of audiences of all ages and will catapult its stars (Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones) to bona fide movie stardom. It also features Jennifer Lawrence, who captivated audiences at Sundance in last year’s U.S. Dramatic Competition winner, “Winter’s Bone.”

“How To Die In Oregon”

This film, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary Competition, touches on a subject very few like to think about. It follows the terminally ill of Oregon (the first state to legalize physician assisted suicide) and their desire to die with dignity. Sure to be controversial, this film takes audiences through some of the most important contemplations on life and why some choose to exit early.

“My Idiot Brother”

Paul Rudd stars in this comedy about getting knocked down and relying on the goodness of one’s family. His sisters pass him around until he eventually gets his life back in order. It promises to be one of the most endearingly funny portrayals of family life and the obligations that surround it. The cast, including Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Rashida Jones, should provide the perfect backdrop to Rudd’s inherent charm.

“Cedar Rapids”

Ed Helms as a salesman? Whoever thought he could pull it off! The actor, famous for his portrayal as Andy Bernard on “The Office,” stars in this film about salesmen attending a conference in Cedar Rapids. The characters, including John C. Reilly, seize the conference as an opportunity for personal growth. It may not be the most artistically moving film at Sundance, but it’s sure to be a lighthearted and fun film.