Tag Archives: Katy Brand

Sundance Wrap Part II: Pronounced Culture-Shifting Art

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival promised culture-shifting voices and none were more pronounced than Director Sophie Hyde and Writer Katy Brand’s, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, starring Dame Emma Thompson, as a retired schoolteacher who has yet to experience the joy of sex. Enter Daryl McCormack as the young and debonnaire sex worker, Leo Grande. What starts out as a cold transactional relationship ends up as a deep, warm, caring transactional relationship opening hearts and minds to a retelling of modern love. Picked up by Searchlight Pictures and scheduled to stream exclusively on Hulu. Four stars.

Good Luck To You Leo Grande (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute).


Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane, set in the mid to late 1960’s follows the pursuit of women’s rights led by Elizabeth Banks, progressive suburbanite wife, and homemaker, Joy, who discovers a more engaging life in helping women get safe medical procedures for their unwanted or life-endangering pregnancies. Nagy wrote the 2015 Douglas Sirkian style melodrama, Carol, directed by Todd Haynes. Jane has a similar look with a joyous, optimistic, and forward-looking narrative. Four stars.

Elizabeth Banks appears in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb.

Emily The Criminal from Director John Patton Ford addresses the fallout from the collateral damage of a young woman’s college experience and relationship troubles. Aubrey Plaza portrays Emily, a young woman who went to college on student loans, partied, got an education, then received an assault conviction for her role in a relationship fight. Unable to land suitable work with her criminal record, Emily becomes a “dummy shopper,” in an illegal, underworld enterprise. Fast-paced, this psychological, neo-thriller reverberates an age-old adage, “desperate people do desperate things.” Highly recommended. A top pick.

Emily The Criminal (Photo courtesy of Sundance Film Festival).


Emergency, the recipient of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic, harkens the impact racism can have on life-threatening, real-life situations and its ramifications on human potential. Told through a darkly comedic lens with moments of “throw it all at the kitchen sink” style of comedy. Guaranteed to “shock, enlighten, and infuriate.” From two-time Sundance alum Carey Williams (2021’s modern, social media retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,”  R#J), based on his 2018 Sundance short film of the same name. Excellent writing and strong acting. Four stars.

Emergency (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)


Director Rachel Lears, whose Lears 2019 Sundance film Knock Down the House followed four women who ran insurgent congressional campaigns in 2018, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush. The film won the Audience Award and the Festival Favorite Award and was shortlisted for an Oscar and nominated for an Emmy. Lears 2022 offering, To The End, is a visionary look behind the scenes of a philosophical movement, social and political, where young people have rejected the cynicism and complacency of a power structure that has failed to meaningfully address the existential threat faced by climate change. Told through the narratives of four instrumental leaders and women of color — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Varshini Prakash, Alexandra Rojas, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright. This is more than the Green New Deal. It’s planetary survival. Four stars.

Obscured Pictures Slate at 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Things are warming up with the approaching 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Obscured Pictures released their slate of films that are sure to heighten viewer sensibilities. To quote St. Louis, MO,  hip hop/rapper Nelly, “it’s getting hot in herre (So hot).” Check out these fiery films:

(Acquisition Title)
Nancy Stokes, a retired schoolteacher, is yearning for some adventure, and some sex. Good sex. And she has a plan: she hires a young sex worker named Leo Grande.
Section: Premieres
Directed by: Sophie Hyde
Written by: Katy Brand
Cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack
Producer: Debbie Gray, Adrian Politowski
Run Time: 97 mins


(Bleecker Street)
During their last days of summer and childhood — the weekend before middle school begins — four girls struggle with the harsh truths of growing up and embark on a mysterious adventure.

Section: Kids
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Written by: James Ponsoldt & Benjamin Percy
Cast: Lia Barnett, Lake Bell, Sarah Cooper, Ashley Madekwe, Madalen Mills, Megan Mullally, Eden Grace Redfield, and Sanai Victoria
Producers: P. Jennifer Dana, Peter Block, James Ponsoldt

Run Time: 87 Minutes
(Focus Features)
Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, YOU WON’T BE ALONE follows a young girl who is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit. Curious about life as a human, the young witch accidentally kills a peasant in the nearby village and then takes her victim’s shape to live life in her skin. Her curiosity ignited, she continues to wield this horrific power in order to understand what it means to be human.
Section: World Cinema Dramatic Competiton
Directed by: Goran Stolevski
Written by: Goran Stolevski
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud, Sara Klimoska
Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Sam Jennings
Run Time: 109 mins
(Acquisition Title)
Destitute without electricity and running water, Yolanda Signorelli Von Braunhut has lost control of her late husband Harold’s iconic Amazing Live Sea Monkeys novelty. Yet she alone knows their secret formula, and from her crumbling estate on the Potomac, Yolanda wages legal and existential battles to fully win them back.
Section: Indie Episodic Program
Directed by: Mark Becker, Aaron Schock
Producers: Mark Becker, Aaron Schock, Julie Gaynin
Run Time: 180 mins

(Sourced from Obscured Pictures News Release)