January 21, 2010 / 2:14 AM / 8 years ago

Five pictures that could surprise Sundance buyers

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Could one of these pictures become this year’s “Saw” or “Precious” at the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off in Park City, Utah, on Thursday?

“ANIMAL KINGDOM”

Director: David Michod (World dramatic competition)

A gritty revenge tale set in the Melbourne underworld, “Kingdom” could be the well-executed crime drama that acquisitions execs often are unable to find at Sundance.

“FOUR LIONS”

Director: Chris Morris (World dramatic competition)

A Sacha Baron Cohen-esque comedy about terrorism? British comedian Morris dares tell the story of four jihadists whose deadly plans devolve into farce. If it works, look for a progressive-minded distributor like Magnolia to take notice.

“LUCKY”

Director: Jeffrey Blitz (U.S. documentary competition)

Every year there are a handful of docs that tap the zeitgeist. This look at what happens when ordinary people win the lottery could echo Americans’ ambivalent relationship with money amid a grueling recession. And Blitz (“Spellbound”) won the dramatic directing award in 2007 for “Rocket Science.”

“SPACE TOURISTS”

Director: Christian Frei (World documentary competition)

Swiss-born Frei hitches a ride with Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist, who dropped $20 million to train with the Russian space program before booking passage to the International Space Station. With Virgin Galactic still a few years away, this may be the closest moviegoers can get to deciding whether or not they have the right stuff.

“TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL”

Director: Eli Craig (Midnight screening)

A horror send-up about two country bumpkins headed to the familiar cabin in the woods, “Evil” could lure a genre buyer looking for the next “Scream.” But the no-name cast might limit appeal.

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