sundance 2017

The /Film team of Angie Han, Ethan Anderton, and myself have returned from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Over the six days we were in Park City, we screened over 36 movies (with only one movie having been watched by all three of us). Here are 15-second capsule reviews of all the movies we saw at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

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Mudbound review

Any movie should consider itself lucky to have an ensemble as good as the one anchoring Mudbound, which includes Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, and, most unexpectedly, Mary J. Blige. Directed by Dee Rees (whose debut feature Pariah was a breakout favorite at Sundance 2011), the drama follows two families — one black, one white — living on the same farm in the Mississippi Delta around the time of World War II.

The white McAllans own the property, despite the fact that household head Henry (Jason Clarke) is a Memphis gentleman who knows little about the land, and seemingly moved his family to the country on a whim. The Jacksons, on the other hand, have worked these acres for generations, for one white owner after another. Both clans are forever changed when World War II hits, and then again when the war ends and brings their loved ones back home.  Read More »

A Ghost Story Review

If I told you there was a movie at Sundance where Casey Affleck appears for most of the film covered in a white sheet with black eyes like some kind of cheap Halloween ghost, you’d probably think it was some sort of quirky comedy. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

It should come as no surprise that A Ghost Story is about a ghost. Casey Affleck plays a man, only identified as “C” in the film’s credits who dies in a head-on collision outside of the house where he lives with his wife “M” (Rooney Mara) in a small town. After his wife sees his body one last time in the hospital and leaves, the camera lingers, and after a couple of minutes of ambient sound, the sheet covering “C” raises as if he’s alive. And what follows is not horror, thriller or comedy, but a drama from director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon) the likes of which you haven’t seen before.

Read on for our full A Ghost Story review. Read More »

the discovery trailer

We could have an argument all day about whether it’s more difficult to create a multi-million dollar, visual effects spectacular blockbuster or an independent film with a budget that is spread too thin. But there’s something extremely impressive about a high-concept sci-fi drama doing something so grand and ambitious with so few resources. Such is the case with the new film from The One I Love director Charlie McDowell.

The Discovery takes place in a world where Dr. Thomas Harber (Robert Redford) has proved that an afterlife exists. This revelation has prompted a huge increase in suicide in the two years since his historic finding, over four million and counting, with more being added everyday as people “celebrate” the anniversary of the discovery. The premise itself is intriguing enough, but this is just the beginning of the remarkable, fascinating, thought-provoking indie sci-fi film.

Read the rest of our The Discovery review after the jump. Read More »

The Incredible Jessica James review

When Jessica Williams first joined The Daily Show in 2012, she was a fresh-faced newcomer from seemingly out of nowhere. By the time she left last year, she’d established herself as one of the show’s biggest and brightest stars. Now Williams is taking her next big step forward, graduating to full-fledged leading lady status in The Incredible Jessica James with style and charm to spare.  Read More »

The Big Sick Review

At the Sundance Film Festival, indie romantic comedies are a dime a dozen, and it takes something really special to make one stand out among the horde of movies playing in Park City, Utah. Thankfully, one of those special movies premiered at the festival this weekend.

The Big Sick tells the story of up and coming Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani (who just so happens to be played by the Silicon Valley star of the same name, Kumail Nanjiani), living in Chicago and trying to land a gig at the Montreal Comedy Festival. After one of his sets at a local comedy club, he flirts with a woman named Emily (Zoe Kazan), and what starts as a one night stand eventually turns into real romance, and we all know how that goes. But the true story of how real life comedian Kumail Nanjiani met this woman has quite the curveball, making this one of the most unique and authentic romantic comedies I’ve seen in years.

Read our full The Big Sick review below. Read More »

Anne Hathaway in Colossal teaser

Even if you’re a monster movie aficionado, it’s likely you’ve never seen one quite like Nacho Vigalondo‘s ColossalAnne Hathaway stars as Gloria, whose charm helps paper over the fact that she’s a total mess. Unemployed and freshly single, she moves back to her hometown and reconnects with an old friend (Jason Sudeikis) who becomes her new drinking buddy.

So far, it sounds like just another quarter-life crisis indie dramedy, right? But Gloria, it turns out, shares a mysterious connection to a giant monster that’s been rampaging through Seoul. As the truth of the situation dawns on her, Gloria must figure out how to stop it from spiraling completely out of control. Watch the Colossal teaser below. Read More »

The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

Yesterday I posted part one of my two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. Today I return with the second installment, which takes a look at the best movies from the last 16 years of the festival as Park City became not only the mecca of American independent film but the launching pad for hundred million dollar award contenders.

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The Best Movies Of Sundance Film Festival History

The Sundance Film Festival isn’t just a film festival, but a look into the future of cinema. As we travel to Park City Utah this year, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the last 30 years of the festival. Today I begin part one of my two-day, two-part look at the best movies of Sundance Film Festival history. In part one I will focus on the first 15 years of the festival* as the small independent film festival grew into the launching pad for new filmmakers and ground zero for the independent movie boom of the 1990’s.

 

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Sleight Trailer - Jacob Latimore

With all the superhero movies hitting theaters each year, audiences are getting a little sick of origin stories. But in the Sundance selected film Sleight, we get a movie that takes a homegrown approach to the superhero origin thanks to some ingenuity and street-level drama.

Sleight follows a young high school boy named Bo (Jacob Latimore) who must take on the responsibility of caring for his younger sister after a family tragedy leaves them alone. Barely getting by with the money he gets from strangers for doing street magic, he can’t help but get involved with some of the wrong people, for the sake of his family. That creates all sorts of problems, but he just might have the right tricks to get out of them.

Watch the Sleight trailer below. Read More »