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Sundance Film Festival

Monday, February 4, 2019

Sundance 2019 Wrap-Up: 75 Movies in Brief

The best, the worst, the most political, the biggest crowd-pleasers and more.
Another Sundance Film Festival is in the books, with all the attendant buzz, Park City gridlock, celebrity sightings and good old-fashioned movie love. Our critics covered 75 features over the 11 days of the festival; here’s a roundup of that coverage.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Sundance Update: Saturday, Feb. 2

Paradise Hills, The Death of Dick Long, Queen of Hearts, Imaginary Order and more
Paradise Hills (NEXT) ** Allegorical science-fiction is hard enough to pull off without profound confusion as to what you’re being allegorical about. Emma Roberts plays Uma, a young woman involuntarily committed by her mother to an idyllic “center for emotional healing” where she and other young women are trained to be what other people want them to be.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Sundance 2019 Music Wrap-Up

The best performances and conversations with musicians in Park City
Sundance Film Festival might seem like it’s all about movies, but music plays a major role in the annual 10-day event as well.

Sundance Update: Friday, Feb. 1

Honey Boy, Sweetheart, The Brink, One Child Nation and more.
Honey Boy (U.S. Dramatic) * No point in mincing words: I found this enterprise distasteful—essentially a Daddie Dearest for the therapeutic society. Scripted by Shia LeBeouf, it tells two parallel stories involving Otis, a child-adult star very like LeBeouf.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sundance Update: Thursday, Jan. 31

The Report, Cold Case Hammerskjold, Official Secrets, Light from Light and more
The Report (Premieres) *** An elegantly-made information dump is still an information dump, and that is indeed what writer/director/longtime Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns offers in his paper-chase political thriller surrounding the investigation into the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Adam Driver plays Dan Jones, a staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee who heads up a task force trying to get to the bottom of why the CIA tortured prisoners, and what if anything was gained.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sundance Update: Wednesday, Jan. 30

Big Time Adolescence, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Before You Know It and more
Big Time Adolescence (U.S. Dramatic) *** Hypotheticallly speaking, if this movie consisted solely of 90 minutes of Pete Davidson smiling goofily at the world and describing everything as “sick,” it might still be hella-fun to watch. It turns out to be more than that, following the friendship between 16-year-old high-school student Mo (Griffin Glick) and his unlikely best friend: 23-year-old Zeke, the pot-smoking, layabout ex-boyfriend of Mo's sister.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sundance Film Festival Capsules: Day 9

Goat, First Girl I Loved, Michael Jackson's Journey, Cameraperson, Miles Ahead, The Intervention
Goat [U.S. Dramatic] ★ ★ In an early scene in Goat, an assault victim reports a campus crime to the police, a bit belatedly, which causes the investigating cop to doubt the details, question the victim's pre-assault actions as complicity, and suggest it was just another activity gone wrong. It's a teenage boy (Ben Schnetzer) beaten up for his ATM card by two hoods he had given a ride to, just to be a good guy, a cool bro.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sundance Film Festival Capsules: Day 8

The Lobster, The Fits, Lovesong, We Are X, Eat That Question, White Girl, Jacqueline (Argentine)
The Lobster [Spotlight] ★ ★ ★ If you’re going to make a movie about a society in which the only options are romantic couplehood or losing your humanity, the deadpan absurdist sensibility of Yorgos Lanthimos seems just right for the task. This story focuses on a man named David (Colin Farrell) who is left by his wife, forcing him per the laws of The City to go to The Hotel, where he has 45 days to find a new romantic partner or face the rest of his life transformed into the animal of his choosing.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sundance Film Festival Capsules: Day 7

Sing Street, Christine, Yoga Hosers, Kiki, Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny, A Good Wife
Sing Street [Premieres] ★ ★ ★ ½ Disclaimer alert: A musical romance directed by John Carney (Once), set in Ireland and built on an affectionate skewering of 1980s MTV aesthetics might as well be custom-designed to my particular specifications. But there’s still an ocean of charm in this tale set in 1985 Dublin, where 15-year-old Connor Lawlor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) responds to life upheavals—a new school, his parents’ fighting and a crush on mysterious older girl Raphina (Lucy Boynton)—by starting a band.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sundance Film Festival Capsules: Day 6

Birth of a Nation, Kate Plays Christine, Wiener-Dog, Newtown, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Wiener-Dog [Premieres] ★ ★ ★ Todd Solondz’s caustic view of the world hasn’t changed much in the 20 years since Welcome to the Dollhouse, but sometimes he can deliver just enough pitch-black humor to sweeten the despair. Here he follows a forlorn-looking dachshund through several owners: a boy (Keaton Nigel Cooke) recently recovered from illness; a film studies professor (Danny DeVito) whose own writing career is going nowhere; an elderly woman (Ellen Burstyn); and even Dollhouse’s own Dawn Wiener (Greta Gerwig).

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