sundance 2021

We’re still many months away from Sundance 2021, but rather than delay the inevitable, the Sundance Film Festival has already begun planning for how they’re going to handle the fest in the age of COVID-19. There was a time not so long ago when we were hoping that the coronavirus would be a distant memory when 2021 rolled around, but that’s clearly not going to happen. With that in mind, Sundance 2021 will host online screenings and also expand to theaters outside of Utah.

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Sundance 2020 Movies Sold

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close, and the awards for various achievements in filmmaking have been announced. As usual, the awards were spread out among a wide variety of films, honoring dramatic narratives, documentaries, world cinema, and more. But one movie came away with the top prizes from jurors and audiences.

Coming Away with the U.S. Grand Jury Prize in the dramatic category, as well as the Audience Award, is Minari from director Lee Isaac Chung. The film follows a 7-year-old Korean-American boy whose life is turned upside down when his father decides to move their family to rural Arkansas and start a farm in the mid-1980s. But there are plenty of other awards that were handed out, and you can learn about all of them with the full list of 2020 Sundance Film Festival awards winners below. Read More »

wendy review

Filmmakers just can’t stop returning to the world of Peter Pan. The story of the boy who never grew up holds sway over seemingly everyone, from Walt Disney, to Steven Spielberg, to Joe Wright, and beyond. The latest to tackle to the tale is Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild. That 2012 indie was once acclaimed, but has since fallen out of favor. Zeitlin’s return, Wendy, is more of the same, for better or worse. If you enjoyed and still enjoy Beasts, you’ll probably find something to love about Zeitlin’s Peter Pan riff. But the filmmaker’s sophomore effort is also messier, and save for a handful of choices, ultimately brings nothing new to a familiar story.

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amulet review

Amulet is the type of film where you spend more time noticing the production design than you do giving a shit about the story. A painfully slow slog, this horror film from Romola Garai has plenty of good ideas and a few neat creature effects, but that’s not enough to salvage things. Some may come away thrilled with Amulet‘s big finish, which sends a message folks can get behind – especially in this day and age. But that doesn’t excuse the rest of the movie.

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horse girl review

How do you even begin to talk about Horse Girl? The new Netflix film from director Jeff Baena, co-written by Baena and star Alison Brie, dares you to classify it. It exists in its own little world, blending genres with surprisingly strong results. What starts off seeming like a quirky rom-com quickly morphs into something far more disturbing, and strange.

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the nowhere inn review

On stage, St. Vincent is sexy, mysterious, and seemingly all-powerful. Offstage, though, she’s Annie Clark – and Annie Clark is a bit of a boring nerd. Or so says The Nowhere Inn, a surreal meta-comedy about fame – and what we demand from the famous people we idolize. Framed as both a faux documentary and a narrative film, The Nowhere Inn finds Clark’s best friend Carrie Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia fame, setting out to make a documentary about St. Vincent on tour. But as Clark tells us right from the start, in a Blair Witch Project-style warning, things don’t go according to plan, and the documentary was never finished.

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downhill review

If you watched Ruben Östlund’s uncomfortable dark comedy Force Majeure and thought, “This is good, but it would be better if it was nicer and more watered-down,” you’re in luck. Downhill is exactly that – a remake that is more or less the same movie as its original – with most of what made the original so special tactfully removed.

That’s not to say Downhill is bad – it’s not. It’s perfectly fine. And anyone watching it who hasn’t seen Force Majeure beforehand might find even more to love. But even removing Force Majeure from the equation, Downhill harkens back to the era of forgettable ’90s rom-coms, where any semblance of conflict is tidily wrapped up by the time the credits roll.

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Kajillionaire review

If Parasite didn’t satiate your hunger for family teams of con artists, you might be curious to check out Kajillionaire, the latest work from Miranda July. But while Parasite is a tale of capitalism and class-warfare, Kajillionaire has other things on its mind. In fact, it’s not really even a con artist movie. July uses that scenario to draw us into the surreal world she’s created, and then pulls the rug out from under us to create something far more emotional.

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shirley review

No mere biopic, Shirley is a haunting portrait of author Shirley Jackson, telling a tale that didn’t actually happen. This is a fictional biography, and yet every moment rings true. Director Josephine Decker and screenwriter Sarah Gubbins have captured Jackson’s literary voice, while Elisabeth Moss has captured the late author’s very essence itself. Moss is so good here it’s scary, playing Jackson as a raging, neurotic mess prone to fits of crippling depression and bursts of brilliance. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

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the night house review

Jump scares get a bad rap, primarily because filmmakers use them in cheap ways. The worst kind of jump scare – the kind that deserves scorn – are of the fake-out variety. As in: someone opens a closet door and a cat jumps out, or a completely harmless person suddenly pops into frame and the soundtrack blares for a second. These types of jump scares can hit the bricks. But there are good jump scares. These are the ones designed to startle and shake you with genuinely scary moments, not faux distractions. David Bruckner‘s The Night House is full of several of these genuine jump scares – and boy oh boy are they effective.  Read More »