get out

Get Out

Peter: Jordan Peele‘s impressive directorial debut Get Out, a Blumhouse-produced horror movie, takes on the monster of racism in modern times. Imagine Meet the Parents mixed with The Stepford Wives. It’s smart, visceral, thrilling and, of course, funny. Read my full Get Out review.

Gook

Gook

Angie: Writer-director-star Justin Chon takes a slice-of-life approach to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, following a day in the life of two Korean-American brothers who spend the day alternately serving customers at their shoe store, bickering with one another, and hanging out with the young black girl (Simone Baker) who always seems to be around. It doesn’t always work, but enough of it does to make me wonder what Chon will do next.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore Trailer

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Peter: A suburban revenge comedy with reluctant badass Melanie Lynskey teamed with a nerdy Napoleon Dynamite/Foot Fist Way-like badass played by Elijah Wood. The tone of the film fluctuates between heartfelt comedy and violent revenge thriller, and sometimes that feels a bit jarring.

Ethan: Darkly funny, brutally violent revenge. Melanie Lynskey is an irresistibly charming vigilante, Elijah Wood makes for a kick-ass weirdo and Macon Blair shows promise as a writer and director. Read my full review.

Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid Goes West

Peter: My second favorite film of this year’s fest. A hilarious dark comedy version of Single White Female, it stars Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen and is set in the age of social media idolatry. Not just your average comedy film, but a smart commentary on our social media obsessed world. The surprise breakout performance of the film comes from O’Shea Jackson Jr. Read my full Ingrid Goes West review.

Ethan: An Instagram-age Talented Mr. Ripley/Single White Female that takes a funny approach to the stalker storyline, but doesn’t quite dig as deep as it should in order to have substantial meaning. Still, it’s a solid, twisted comedy featuring a solid lead performance by Aubrey Plaza, and stellar supporting turns from Elizabeth Olsen and O’Shea Jackson Jr., proving that he’ll have a bright future ahead of him in acting.

LA Times

L.A. Times

Peter: L.A. Times was one of my most anticipated movies of this year’s Sundance and was by far the biggest disappointment. It feels like a movie about Los Angeles made by people from New York City. I also violently disagree with the apparent message of this film which is that we are all just settling.

Landline

Landline

Ethan: An honest portrayal of a dysfunctional family struggling to stay together. Shows each character’s flaws and charms, which can sometimes be grating, but is more often endearing. It’s almost like a spiritual sequel to Obvious Child about how hard it can be to keep a relationship stable. Jenny Slate is wonderful as always, but Abby Quinn is the standout.

Angie: As a huge fan of Gillian Robespierre‘s Obvious Child, I really, really wanted to love Landline. Alas, I could not. Everyone in this movie is so self-evidently miserable that I found it difficult to root for them, and its supposedly happy ending seems oddly naive and conservative. On the bright side, the relatively unknown Abby Quinn really seems like she’s going places.

lemon

Lemon

Peter: Another one of those “look at how crazy those people in LA are” movies that doesn’t quite connect. One of the worst movies I saw at the festival.

Marjorie Prime

Marjorie Prime

Angie: Marjorie Prime is based on a play, feels like a play, and seems like it probably would’ve been better off left as a play. Despite an intriguing Black Mirror-esque premise and strong performances from its central cast (Lois Smith, Geena Davis, Jon Hamm, and Tim Robbins), the film comes out feeling static and distant.

Ethan: An interesting sci-fi concept is used in an attempt at moving character drama, but it’s a bit of a slog and never really makes a personal connection.

Mudbound

Mudbound

Angie: Dee Rees‘ Southern epic might feel a bit too novelistic at times, but her patience proves to be a virtue when everything comes to a head in the third act. Jason Mitchell and Carey Mulligan are as fine as you’d expect, and Garrett Hedlund has probably never been better. The real revelation, though, is Mary J. Blige, who is downright unrecognizable as a gritty matriarch. Read my full review of Mudbound.

Ethan: A harrowing, relentless drama that is chock full of Oscar-worthy performances with the most noteworthy coming from Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and, surprisingly, Garrett Hedlund. For being Dee Rees’ third film, this is an impressive Southern epic full of pure emotion, even if it’s a bit clunky to start with.

newness

Newness

Ethan: Director Drake Doremus heads back into familiar problematic romance territory, this time with a modern dating twist. Raw, emotional performances from Nicholas Hoult and Laia Costa make it more captivating (and sexier) than it otherwise might be.

Nobody Speak Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Trials of a Free Press

Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press

Peter: Brian Knappenberger‘s timely documentary about how the Gawker lawsuit might lead to the loss of free press in the United States. It’s an informative, fascinating, and terrifying look at how people with big pockets and large power can silence media. Read my full Nobody Speak review .

Ethan: This may be the most timely and relevant documentary at Sundance. It’s an infuriating look at the lurking menace, both in politics and in business, that threatens free press. A must-see piece of non-fiction cinema.

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About the Author

Peter Sciretta is a film geek and popcultured fanboy living in Los Angeles. He created /Film in 2005.