Movie Article

'Giants' Steps

Sundance announces more star-heavy premieres. The festival will have the first U.S. screenings of new movies starring Kate Beckinsale, Hilary Swank, Ashton Kutcher, Mandy Moore, and Ray Romano

Following Monday's announcement of the star-studded indie films competing at Sundance next month, festival organizers announced on Tuesday the nearly 90 films on rest of the equally celebrity-heavy slate. Festival chief Geoff Gilmore also announced the opening night movie, surfing documentary ''Riding Giants'' by Stacy Peralta (who previously brought his skateboarding doc ''Dogtown and Z-Boys'' to Sundance), will be held not in Salt Lake City but with the rest of the fest in Park City, marking a first in the festival's 20-year-history. Both the high star quotient and the opening-night shift are indications that Sundance has become bigger than ever as a marketplace for filmmakers looking to sell art films and for Hollywood actors looking to sell themselves.

Among the newly listed films, the most eagerly anticipated may be those in the Premieres section, many of which are all but certain to hit theaters or premium cable by the end of 2004. Noteworthy selections include ''Iron Jawed Angels,'' a made-for-HBO film about early 20th-century suffragists, starring Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston; ''The Motorcycle Diaries,'' a biopic about the young Che Guevara, starring ''Y Tu Máma También'''s Gael Garcia Bernal and directed by ''Central Station'''s Walter Salles; Bernardo Bertolucci's ''The Dreamers,'' likely to be the director's most controversially sexual film since ''Last Tango in Paris''; ''Gettin' the Man's Foot Outta Your Baadasssss!,'' Mario Van Peebles' portrait of his father, pioneering blaxploitation filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; ''Tiptoes,'' an offbeat romantic tangle starring Gary Oldman, Kate Beckinsale, Matthew McConaughey, and Patricia Arquette; ''The Butterfly Effect,'' in which Ashton Kutcher tries his hand at the psychological thriller genre; Ernest Dickerson's ''Never Die Alone,'' a gangster drama based on the Donald Goines pulp novel and starring DMX; Vondie Curtis Hall's ''Redemption,'' starring Jamie Foxx as the founder of Los Angeles' Crips gang; ''Saved'' about a girl's struggle at a Baptist high school, with Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, and Macaulay Culkin; and ''Eulogy'' a comedy about a family funeral, featuring Ray Romano, Zooey Deschanel, Hank Azaria, and a rare appearance by Debra Winger.

The ''Park City at Midnight'' section, competing with the edgier fare offered concurrently at alternative festivals like Slamdance, includes ''Overnight,'' about Troy Duffy, the man who got Miramax to buy him a pub; and ''Grand Theft Parsons,'' starring Johnny Knoxville in the strange-but-true story of what became of the corpse of country-rocker Gram Parsons after he died in 1973.

World cinema will be represented in several sections, with works by such internationally acclaimed filmmakers as Takeshi Kitano, Stephen Fry, Mike Hodges, Julio Medem, Guy Maddin, and Hector Babenco. The festival runs Jan. 15-25.

Originally posted Dec 03, 2003
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