The Sundance Film Festival this afternoon unveiled the competition lineup for its 2009 incarnation (a/k/a the One You're Boycotting), and it's a sharp crop of international cinema that will no doubt be met with accolades and not just a few bounced checks from cash-strapped indie distributors. Follow the jump for our quick, dirty, reductive and completely arbitrary survey of the fest's hottest titles and trends.
· As assumed, the Michael Cera-Charlene Yi potboiler Paper Heart will screen in Park City, where it's one of the few competition features expected to find an immediate distribution suitor. A couple others: John Krasinski's directorial debut Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, an adaptation of a novel by the late David Foster Wallace starring Krasinski, Julianne Nicholson, Rashida Jones and Timothy Hutton; and Cold Souls, starring Paul Giamatti as a "famous American actor" who, "in the midst of an existential crisis [...] explores soul extraction as a relief from the burdens of daily life." So basically it's about joining CAA.
· Chris Rock crosses over to the gritty nonfiction world with Good Hair, a documentary about barbers.
· Pierce Brosnan will attend the world premiere of his drama The Greatest, prompting a burst of confetti and showgirls upon some unwitting attendee's 1 millionth grudging complaint that Sundance is "so fucking over."
· Complement your mid-January American Idol saturation with Afghan Star, about the nation's TV talent-competition hit Pop Idol; "this film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing." All that, just to succumb in the end anyway to Afghanistan's equivalent of Priscilla Presley. Heart-rending.
· Robert Siegel, former Onion editor and an Oscar-nomination lock for his Wrestler screenplay, makes his directorial debut with Big Fan, starring Patton Oswalt as "a parking garage attendant who happens to be the New York Giants' biggest fan." He life is "turned upside down after an altercation with his favorite player," whom we really, really hope isn't Plaxico Burress.
· It's a three-way tie for best synopsis, as far as we can tell:
The Cove — Dolphins are dying, whales are disappearing, and the oceans are growing sick. The horrors of a secret cove nestled off a small, coastal village in Japan are revealed by a group of activists led by Ric O’Barry, the man behind Flipper.
Dirt! The Movie — The story of the relationship between humans and dirt, Dirt! The Movie humorously details how humans are rapidly destroying the last natural resource on earth.
Humpday — A farcical comedy about straight male bonding gone a little too far.
Tough call, though we think we've already seen that last one. What do you think?