Five Films We’re Excited About That May Premiere at Sundance 2012

The Projector

We know, we know: You're still trying to wrap your head around all the movies coming out for Oscar consideration this year, but it's not too early to start thinking about next year. Specifically, it's getting close to the time when Sundance reveals the slate of films that will play during its festival in January. No one know what films will be screened yet, but that didn't keep the fine folks over at ION Cinema from compiling a list of 80 possible movies headed to Park City. These are all guesses, of course, but it gives us an idea of what to look forward to in 2012. We culled through ION's list and picked out five we're particularly curious to see.

"Casa de mi Padre"
We've been tracking this Will Ferrell comedy since April for two very good reasons -- it's in Spanish, and it looks pretty funny. "Casa de mi Padre" stars Ferrell and Diego Luna as Mexican brothers who run afoul of a drug lord played by Gael Garcia Bernal. So you've got the cast of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" hanging out with Will Ferrell speaking Spanish. The movie opens in March, so Sundance could be an ideal launching pad for a potentially bizarro indie.

Director Craig Zobel made the great (but little-seen) 2007 comedy-drama "Great World of Sound," about two guys working for a small-time record label trying to scam aspiring musicians into giving them money in the hopes of putting out a record. His new film is described like this: "When a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent young employee, no one is left unscathed." Does that mean it's a comedy or a drama? We're not sure, but we're intrigued.

"The Great Invisible"
Margaret Brown's last documentary was "The Order of Myths," which subtly explored Mobile, Alabama's still-segregated Mardi Gras celebrations. Her next documentary is "The Great Invisible," and it will focus on people who work for the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast. After the BP spill, this sounds incredibly timely, and after watching "The Order of Myths" it's clear that Brown prefers getting to understand individuals rather than making sweeping, simplistic political statements.

"He Loves Me"
The filmmakers behind "Little Miss Sunshine," Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, haven't made a feature since the 2006 Sundance hit and Oscar-winner. They're back with "He Loves Me," which concerns a frustrated writer (Paul Dano) who decides to write about his ideal romantic partner -- only to have her come to life and look like Zoe Kazan. "Little Miss Sunshine" was a prototypical crowd-pleasing indie that drove some folks nuts. We have a hunch this one might be equally divisive.

"The Surrogate"
We've been interested in this film since March: John Hawkes plays Mark O'Brien, a real-life quadriplegic who in the '80s hired a "sex surrogate" (played by Helen Hunt) so he could lose his virginity. After "Winter's Bone" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Hawkes is the poster-child of dark Sundance roles. This movie feels tailor-made for the festival.

2012 Sundance Film Festival: 80 Predictions Recap [ION Cinema]