The 2014 San Diego Film Festival officially kicks off tonight with the California premiere of Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild starring . With 100 or so films being showcased throughout the next 5 days, audiences will have to pick and choose wisely. I’ve scoured the SDFF schedule of features, documentaries, and shorts and have handpicked eight films that I’m looking forward to seeing.
Gone Doggy Gone (Kasi Brown and Brandon Walter) Not Yet Rated [89 min] – A couple stuck in a lackluster marriage treats their dog like a baby. Working the grind in LA they leave little time for each other, and what free time they have they spend doting on the dog… until it gets kidnapped. Starring Kasi Brown, Brandon Walter, and Kate Connor
We’re always looking for fresh ideas, and Gone Doggy Gone is on the top of that list. With so many movies these days following the same formulaic path, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of direction this wacky comedy will take and how these characters will learn from the experience. (Watch the trailer here)
Gone Doggy Gone can be seen on Saturday, September 27 at 3:00 pm or Sunday, September 28 at 1:30 pm
You’re Not You (George C. Wolfe) Rated R [Time N/A] – A drama centered on a classical pianist who has been diagnosed with ALS and the brash college student who becomes her caregiver. Starring Josh Duhamel, Ali Larter, Hilary Swank, and Emmy Rossum
You had me at Emmy Rossum and Hilary Swank. Something about this pairing feels very natural, and you can see it in the trailer. Rossum has been killing it on Shameless and Swank, although a brilliant actress, hasn’t had too many big features as of late. So I will be excited to see this duo in action. After all the buzz about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to spread awareness for the disease, I am curious to see the audience’s reaction. (Watch the trailer here)
You’re Not You can be seen on Saturday, September 27 at 7:30 pm. The film will have a limited release in theaters on October 10.
Project-M (Eric Piccoli) Not Yet Rated [98 min] – Four astronauts have to stay 1000 days in a space station around Earth in order to prove that a trip to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moon, is possible. The experience goes well until something happens on earth. Starring Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Julie Perreault, and Hubert Gagnon
After last year’s exhilarating Europa Report I am anxious to see what new angle Piccoli will spin on this mission to Jupiter’s moon. One of the foreign features of the festival, I’d like to see what kind of perspective Canada has on space travel and the future of mankind. (Watch the trailer here)
Project-M can be seen on Thursday, September 25 at 6:00 pm
Time Lapse (Bradley King) Not Yet Rated [104 min] – Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop. Starring Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, and George Finn
Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned time travel movie? I first heard about Time Lapse from David Chen of the /Filmcast, who had raved about the movie after seeing it at the Seattle International Film Festival. I’m always fascinated in the way filmmakers plot out their time travel mechanics, and look forward to seeing how Time Lapse compares to the likes of Timecrimes, The Butterfly Effect and 12 Monkeys. (Watch the trailer here)
Time Lapse can be seen on Saturday, September 27 at 1:00 pm
Wild (Jean-Marc Vallée) Rated R [115 min] – A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Gaby Hoffmann, Laura Dern
Another actress who has been out of the spotlight, Reese Witherspoon is back with a vengeance with two films at the San Diego Film Festival – her other being The Good Lie. However, I am more inclined to see Wild because it comes from director Jean-Marc, who helped shape the McConaissance with last year’s Dallas Buyers Club. Wild has received mostly positive reviews from its premiere at TIFF and Telluride, which suggests this screening is worth while. (Watch the trailer here)
Wild can be seen on Wednesday, September 24 at 8:00 pm. The film will make its theatrical release on December 5.
The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum) Rated PG-13 [113 min] – English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II. StarringBenedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and Matthew Goode
How could you not turn out for a Benedict Cumberbatch performance? The man knows no bounds. He is an acting machine. A warrior. The Imitation Game also had its premiere at TIFF, but received some mixed reviews. I am not big on biopics or period pieces, but it is the cast that piques my interest. (Watch the trailer here)
The Imitation Game can be seen on Saturday, September 27 at 7:30 pm. This film will make its theatrical release on November 21.
Noble (Stephen Bradley) Not Yet Rated [100 min] – Christina Noble overcomes the harsh difficulties of her childhood in Ireland to discover her destiny on the streets of Saigon. A true story. Starring Deirdre O’Kane, Sarah Greene, and Gloria Cramer Curtis
This is the feel good movie of the festival. Just from the trailer, Noble takes on the appearance of an Oscar bait movie. With that said, I won’t hold that against the film, it just feels like that’s the audience it is catering to. I think the story is intriguing and the film looks very well done. (Watch the trailer here)
Noble can be seen on Saturday, September 27 at 6:30 pm. It will make its theatrical debut in 2015.
Laggies (Lynn Shelton) Rated R [99 min] – A woman stuck in permanent adolescence lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat and spends the time hanging out with friends instead. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Keira Knightley, and Sam Rockwell
Another Kiera Knightley film has made the list. And as swell as she is in period pieces, I adore her indie choices, such as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Add teen actor, superstar Chloë Grace Moretz into the mix along with Sam Rockwell and you’ve got yourself a cast that will not disappoint. (Watch the trailer here)
Laggies can be seen on Thursday, September 25 at 8:00 pm. This film will release in theaters on October 24
The San Diego Film Festival will be in America’s Finest City from Wednesday, September 24 through Sunday, September 28. You can purchase tickets on the official website now.
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