Ranking Sundance 2016

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Below, I rank the films I saw at Sundance last week, separated by features and docs, with links to full reviews where available. I missed out on some much-talked about films like Manchester by the Sea and Swiss Army Man and only saw three docs. The top three films really feel like they're tied for first place, and the top six are all must-sees. … [Read more...]

At Sundance: THE LAND

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A couple of years ago at a friend's film festival, I had the privilege of screening director Steven Caple Jr.’s short film, A Different Tree, which HBO ultimately purchased. Unfortunately, that great short is difficult to find, so when I saw that Caple’s first feature, The Land, was premiering at Sundance, I couldn’t miss it. … [Read more...]

Winning Sundance: THE BIRTH OF A NATION

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I had booked my ticket for The Birth of a Nation long before the news broke of its $17.5 million sale. As something of an armchair film historian, I couldn't resist seeing a film renamed after one of the most (in)famous films of all time. Knowing a bit about the backstory of the film and its plot, I knew it would be an important, must-see at Sundance. While I'm not sure that it lived up to the hype that the week placed on it (and what film could?), it's still a vital film and one that will be … [Read more...]

At Sundance: GLEASON

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If you know me, it'll come as no surprise that Gleason was one of my most anticipated films at Sundance this year. It was the first one that I scheduled when ticket booking opened. Walking into the theater I instantly got chills as Pearl Jam blared through the speakers. No other film I've seen this week has had pre-screening music. As in so many other areas of life, Steve was leaving his mark in special ways. … [Read more...]

At Sundance: THE LOBSTER

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On more than one occasion, I've heard it said about Sundance films that you’ll either love the film or you’ll hate it, and you’ll know in about five minutes which one it’ll be. This is the case with Yorgos Lanthimos’ (Dogtooth) latest film, The Lobster, an absurd comedy that asks us to think about relationships, love, and commitment in some odd ways. … [Read more...]

At Sundance: MORRIS FROM AMERICA

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Earlier this week, I reviewed The Fits, which I felt was remarkable for its mix of aesthetic (European) and subject matter (African American teenagers in Cincinnati). Another standout here at the festival is Morris from America, which takes a similar hybrid approach, setting a young African American teenager's coming of age story in Europe. … [Read more...]

At Sundance: AGNUS DEI

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“Faith is twenty-four hours of doubt with a minute of hope.” --Sister MariaScandal, doubt, and brokenness cloud Agnus Dei, the new film from French director Anne Fontaine, but hope ultimately and miraculously shines through in authentic, hard-won ways. … [Read more...]

At Sundance: THE FITS and BRAHMAN NAMAN

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Monday at Sundance felt like a completely different festival. With shorter lines and smaller audiences and crowds at theaters and bars, Park City felt like a ghost town compared to just the night before. So the two small films that I saw felt like a fitting choice before the cinematic three-a-days begin tomorrow. Though radically different in genre, tone, and subject matter Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits and Q’s Brahman Naman both ask us to look at identity and belonging in new ways. … [Read more...]


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