22. Robot And Frank
Director: Jake Schreier
Stars: Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jeremy Strong
Release info: Sold at Sundance in a package deal between Sony Pictures Worldwide and Samuel Goldwyn Films; no release date has been announced yet
Why you should be excited: Robot And Frank appears to be one taken right out of the late Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone handbook, specifically from the sentimental, non-threatening section. The first-rate actor Frank Langella plays, you guessed it, Frank, an older man heading into dementia and making the lives of everyone around him miserable in the process. His son (James Marsden) gives him a robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to help Frank with chores and enforce proper dietary and exercise habits. And here’s the kicker: Frank used to be a cat burglar, and his new robot companion represents an intriguing new way for him to get back into his criminal ways.
Such a high concept could very easily derail into utter, laughable silliness, but Langella’s presence alone hints at a script that’s more profound than the bizarre plot description might lead one to believe.