The Best Films of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2016

After 10 glorious days, the 2016 Sundance Film Festival came to a close last night, with awards handed out Saturday night. And now that the festival is officially over and done with, we at /Film have tallied the movies we saw this year, to present to you a list of our favorites.

Three writers from /Film attended the festival this year: Peter Sciretta, Angie Han, and Ethan Anderton. Just three movies were viewed by all three members of the /Film team: Other PeopleHunt for the Wilderpeople, and Manchester by the Sea. Another 12 were seen by two members of the /Film staff, and 26 were seen by just one person. In all, the three of us caught 41 different movies. So how did the films we watched stack up? Run down the best of Sundance 2016 with us after the jump.  Read More »

The Birth of a Nation

Today the 2016 Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close, and Saturday night, the awards for feature filmmaking were handed out to the movies that played in Park City, Utah. The big prizes from the festival are the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, one given by a select group of jurors and the other chosen by the festival attendees themselves. In 2014, Whiplash took both awards, and this year we have another film taking the two honors as Nate Parker‘s slave rebellion tale The Birth of a Nation was announced to receive both.

Find out the full list of other 2016 Sundance Film Festival awards winners below. Read More »

Indignation Review

After finding fame as the titular hero in the Percy Jackson fantasy franchise, Logan Lerman has started to carve an impressive acting career over the past few years with praiseworthy performances in films such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury. But his latest leading turn in Indignation, an adaptation of Philip Roth‘s novel of the same name, shows the outstanding talent that Lerman has when given the right role. Indignation has the best performance of Logan Lerman’s career, and it helps that the film surrounding this stellar work is brilliant as well. Keep reading for my full Indignation review. Read More »

The Birth of a Nation

In his debut feature as a director, Nate Parker attempts to do no less than reclaim American history in the name of the slaves who had their own lives and their own stories ripped away from them. This re-appropriation starts with the title — The Birth of a Nation is stolen from D.W. Griffith’s racist epic — and continues with an opening epigraph. “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” reads the quote from Thomas Jefferson, famously a slave owner, “that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Parker himself stars as Nat Turner, a Virginia slave who in 1831 led the deadliest slave rebellion in American history. By the end, about 60 whites had been killed — and a hundred or more blacks had been slaughtered in retaliation. The Birth of a Nation is the sorrowful, righteously angry chronicle of how Nat, a kind, charismatic, and devout preacher, came to spark a bloody uprising.

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Life, Animated

Life, Animated is a joyful film about the true power of cinema. Movies are not disposable entertainment but stories that have the power to inspire and dramatically change our lives. Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams tells the story of an autistic boy named Owen Suskind who re-learned language and found understanding through Disney animated movies.
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The Hollars review

Angie Han’s review of Other People began by pointing out that the film “sounds like the most stereotypical of Sundance movies” but “in practice, every element is so well executed that the film itself feels like something special.” The same could be said of John Krasinski‘s The Hollars, which shares many of the same Sundance cliches. But The Hollars has an incredible ensemble cast that pushes this film from just another screening on the Sundance schedule to a funny and charming movie that will probably play at a theater near you.

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Under The Shadow

Ever since The Babadook premiered at Sundance in 2014, it feels like every new critically beloved, out-of-nowhere horror hit has been touted as “the new Babadook.” Most of the time, the descriptor is just a catchy way of saying “this horror film’s got buzz.” Many of these “new Babadooks,” from It Follows to The Witch, aren’t all that much like The Babadook at all, and — in my estimation — none of them have been quite as good.

In the case of this year’s Sundance horror Under the Shadow, though, the description really does seem apt. The film works for many of the same reasons The Babadook does. Like The Babadook, Under the Shadow relies more on tension and dread than cheap jump scares. And as with The Babadook, the uneasiness lingers long after the credits have rolled because it evokes real-life horrors, rather than simply relying on supernatural ones.  Read More »

Yoga Hosers

Yoga Hosers feels like a cross between an absurd live-action cartoon created by a stoner and a ’90s-style teenage comedy. It’s so strange, and unlike anything Kevin Smith has directed before. I’m honestly not sure if Yoga Hosers was terrible or if I am just not the target demographic for this story.

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Yoga Hosers Clip

This weekend brings the premiere of Kevin Smith‘s latest indie effort, the horror comedy Yoga Hosers, at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. There isn’t a trailer for the film just yet, but the writer/director who launched his career at the indie film fest decided to tease what’s waiting for all of us catching flicks in the mountains with the first Yoga Hosers clip.

Harley Quinn Smith (the filmmaker’s daughter) and Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp, who also stars in the film) take the leads in the movie, and here we get to see that they’re not too far removed from a couple of characters that Smith’s fans should be very familiar with. Read More »

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