Yesterday and today, the Sundance Film Festival announced the films that will be screening in and out of competition between January 21st and 31st, 2010. Once again, The A.V. Club will be there, with Nathan Rabin and Noel Murray providing daily dispatches via Twitter and via this very website. Last year, we gave you advance notice on such films as Moon, Precious, Passing Strange, Humpday, Paper Hearts, Black Dynamite, Adventureland, The Girlfriend Experience, Good Hair, The Cove and Big Fan. What will be hipping you to this year? Well, it's always tough to know what the breakout films will be, but this year's line-up holds a lot of promise, if the track record of the filmmakers and actors involved means anything:
-Popular documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, Taxi To The Dark Side) returns with Casino Jack & The United States Of Money, a film about Jack Abramoff.
-Top-drawer indie filmmaker Nicole Holofcener makes her first film in four years with Please Give, about a squabble among New York neighbors. (And yes, Catherine Keener is in the movie.)
-James Franco plays Alan Ginsberg in the reportedly offbeat biopic Howl, co-starring David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeff Daniels.
-British comedian Chris Morris writes and directs Four Lions, a satire about inept jihadists.
-Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams co-star in Blue Valentine, telling the story of a relationship's past and present.
-The American Splendor (and, uh, The Nanny Diaries) team of Shari Springer Bergman and Robert Pulcini return with The Extra Man, a film about New York artists and society types, starring John C. Reilly, Katie Holmes, Paul Dano and Kevin Kline.
-John C. Reilly also stars in the Duplass Brothers' new, as-yet-unnamed comedy, also starring Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener.
-My Kid Could Paint That director Amir Bar-Lev is back with I'm Pat Fucking Tillman, about the life and death of the NFL star and "friendly fire" victim.
-How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor makes his directorial debut with the ensemble romantic comedy happythankyoumoreplease.
-Mark Ruffalo makes his directorial debut (and reunites with his You Can Count On Me co-star Laura Linney) with Sympathy For Delicious, about a paralyzed DJ who considers faith-healing.
-Philip Seymour Hoffman joins the actor-turned-director party with his Jack Goes Boating, in which he also stars as a cab driver who goes on a fateful blind date with Amy Ryan.
-Veteran TV producer John Wells writes and directs The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper as corporate types dealing with downsizing.
-Veteran video and feature director Tamra Davis helms the documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, about the late pop artist.
-Bus 174 director José Padilha considers what anthropologists are doing to the Amazonian tribes they study in Secrets Of The Tribe.
-Prolific British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom directs Casey Affleck in The Killer Inside Me, about a lawman turned psychopath.
-Winterbottom also co-directs (with Mat Whitecross) Shock Doctrine, about a controversial economic policy.
-Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a rogue who torments a grieving family in Hesher.
-James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo take in troubled stripper Kristen Stewart in Welcome To The Rileys.
-Kristen Stewart also stars in The Runaways, the long-awaited Joan Jett biopic.
-Spellbound/Rocket Science director Jeffrey Blitz returns to documentaries with Lucky, tracking the post-jackpot lives of lottery winners.
-Offbeat quasi-documentarian Mark Lewis revisits his brilliant early film Cane Toads, this time in 3D.
-Avant-garde documentarian Sam Green examines foolhardy idealism in Utopia In Four Movements.
-Jesse Eisenberg moves from Hasidism to drug-smuggling in Holy Rollers.
-Entourage star Adrian Grenier makes another documentary (following the acclaimed Shot In The Dark) with Teenage Paparazzo, about the trickle-down effect of celebrity culture.
-Leon Gast, best-known for When We Were Kings, has a new documentary called Smash His Camera, about legendary paparazzo Ron Gallela.
-The upcoming ESPN 30 For 30 effort Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs. The New York Knicks gets a shot on the big screen.
-Daniel Perez and Animal Collective collaborate on the "visual album" ODDSAC.
-The concert film Louis C.K.: Hilarious promises to be just that.
And that's just a fraction of what'll be showing in Park City. (We didn't even mention Toronto holdovers like Get Low, Lourdes, Mother & Child, Enter The Void and the excellent A Prophet, or any of the midnight films) Last year's fest was a good one; we're hopeful that this one can top it. Back at you next month with the results.