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Sundance Film Festival

From the hot new discoveries of the independent film world to the buzzed-about big-name titles, we've got all of the latest news and reviews for this year's Sundance Film Festival

Z for Zachariah

It would be astounding if this year's Sundance Film Festival offered up as many goodies as did last year's, which gave us the world premieres of Love Is Strange, the new horror classic The Babadook and our number one in the best movies of 2014, Richard Linklater's Oscar-nominated Boyhood. But we're extremely hopeful—the fest is always good for surprises. (Don't expect lots of action movies, although we'd love to see another thriller like The Guest, also from 2014's edition.) In any case, we'll be in Park City, reviewing all the buzziest titles and unexpected sensations. Here's where the reviews will go live–bookmark us.

When is Sundance Film Festival?

This year, the fest runs January 22–February 1, 2015.

Where is Sundance Film Festival?

The festival takes place in Park City, Utah.

Sundance Film Festival 2015 coverage

Movies

The ten best movies we saw at Sundance 2015

We cut through all the buzz to bring you the ten best of the fest

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Movies

5 Sundance shorts that knocked us out

The features get all the buzz, but the festival is also known for the exceptional quality of its short films

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Movies

Brooklyn

Even in 1952, all the cool kids lived in Brooklyn. Unfolding like a Nicholas Sparks remake of The Immigrant, John Crowley’s Brooklyn is a lightweight historical romance about a young Irish woman caught in a transatlantic love triangle. Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a provincial twentysomething who’s come of age in a small town that has little to offer in regards to labor or love. Ostensibly in search of the former, Eilis sets sail for Ellis Island, leaving behind her mother, her sister and everything she’s ever known. But nothing cures homesickness like a new crush.  The kind of stereotypical Brooklyn kid who perpetually sounds like he’s auditioning for Guys and Dolls, Tony (Emory Cohen) is smitten with Eilis as soon as he sees her at a church party. But Eilis is so clever—and Ronan, emerging as one of her generation’s finest actors, is in such strong command of the character—that it’s hard not to feel as though she’s settling for the thickly accented Dodgers fan, less enamored by him than she is by the sense of belonging he provides. When a family emergency summons Eilis back to Ireland, she swoons for a local boy named Jim (Domhnall Gleeson), stretching her heartstrings taut in an international game of tug-of-war.  As broad as it is charming, Brooklyn is an old-fashioned Sunday afternoon drama told with rare pluck and humor. Although the film is based on the Colm Tóibín book of the same name, screenwriting duties fall to novelist Nick Hornby, who lends his usual (and ine

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

The Citizen Kane of teen cancer tearjerkers, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is like The Fault in Our Stars remade for Criterion Collection fetishists. Greeted by a rapturous standing ovation at its Sundance premiere—which precipitated it becoming the highest-selling acquisition in the history of the festival—this slick, funny and bruising high school saga transcends its YA trappings by dropping the full weight of film history on a thoroughly modern milieu.  Ostensibly spun from the same cloth as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and A Walk to Remember, Dying Girl is on its surface just the latest American indie about a pubescent boy who meets a terminally enchanted young lady only to be forever changed by the lessons he learns from her suffering. Glen (Thomas Mann) knows he’s that boy, but he’s powerless to escape from his archetype. Ruled by his fear of rejection, Glen is friendly with all of the disparate factions of his school (the goths, the theater kids, etc.) but he isn’t actually friends with any of them. Earl (excellent newcomer RJ Cyler) is his closest pal, but Greg refers to him as his “co-worker,” because the boys spend all of their time together making hilarious parody versions of classic films. There’s “Pooping Tom,” “Breathe Less” and my personal favorite, “Eyes Wide Butts.” The videos are a tremendous expression of Greg’s latent cinephilia, but what’s the use in making so many movies if none of them are truly your own?  Conveniently for a wet

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Blog

Our five favorite Sundance movies so far

The (non)blizzard may be (non)pounding on NYC, but this year's Sundance Film Festival is in full swing

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Movies

Mistress America

Noah Baumbach’s films are consumed with the terror of becoming, hence the reason why college has played such a large part in them. For the overeducated but developmentally stagnant characters who populated Kicking & Screaming, Baumbach’s 1995 debut, school was a place where you didn’t have to worry about being anyone, and graduation meant a cruel banishment from that protective embrace. In Mistress America, which begins on the first day of freshman year as Tracy (perfectly cast rising star Lola Kirke) moves into her Barnard dorm, college is a place where kids are soworried about being someone that they barely have time to learn. Frances Ha on Adderall, Mistress America finds Baumbach working with a manic screwball energy that has more in common with Preston Sturges or Howard Hawks than it does any of his previous films. Things begin with a running start as Tracy crushes on the first boy she meets (Matthew Shear) and yearns to be accepted into her school’s pompous literary society, but it’s not until Brooke (a gloriously hysterical Greta Gerwig) enters the picture that the film takes flight. Tracy’s mom is due to marry Brooke’s dad, and so the two girls are forced into a manufactured but mutually beneficial sisterhood.  They’re perfect foils: Tracy is paralyzed by the choices offered by her new life in the big city, and Brooke—a restauranteur-designer-musician-SoulCycle instructor who’s sustained by the sheer inertia of her schemes—has seemingly made all of those choices at

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Movies

The Forbidden Room

Welcome to The Forbidden Room, an exhilarating slipstream of two-strip technicolor havoc that feels like an exquisite corpse assembled from every leftover idea that filmmaker Guy Maddin has ever had. A dense quilt of nested scenes that were allegedly pulled from the cinema’s great abandoned films, The Forbidden Room never proves that Maddin is reanimating “real” lost projects, but how real can a film be if it was never shot?  Following a brief prologue in which poet John Asbery expounds on the wonders of bathtubs, we’re deposited into the bowels of a rickety submarine, whose crew can’t bring to the surface because the change in pressure would detonate the slabs of explosive pink jelly they have aboard. Then it’s off to the mountains, where a burly woodsman is determined to rescue a local beauty from a clan of cave-dwelling savages. From there, the characters pile up faster than you can keep track of, The Forbidden Room exploring every conceivable corner (and several inconceivable ones) of its rifts and wrinkles, the film cohering into a constellation of narratives in which the connective tissue between stories is an illusion but the light they shine on each other is real as can be.   The Forbidden Room may (or may not) be inventing narratives from thin air, but whatever history these abandoned projects might have had is completely supplanted by the present Maddin (and co-director Evan Johnson) invents for them. These stories belong to him now. The Forbidden Room may forego

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Movies

The End of the Tour

Like the black monolith in 2001, late novelist David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest casts a long shadow over the chatty, sharply observed The End of the Tour. The door-stopping 1996 book inspires several running gags: It's more than a thousand pages long, so it must be brilliant. It weighs in at over three pounds and stacks dangerously high. It makes women swoon, alienating them from their jealous writer boyfriends. Paradoxically, though, director James Ponsoldt's brainy comedy is built on the slenderest of spines—an extended interview made up of weaves and dodges—yet still manages to contain a blizzard of heartbreaking insights into loneliness, fame and ambition. Rolling Stone's David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) spent five days with the quirky Wallace (Jason Segel), recording their back-and-forth over car rides, late-night junk-food feasts and speaking engagements. That real-life conversation resulted in Lipsky's 2010 tragedy-tinged memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, but in the hands of Pulitzer-winning adapting screenwriter Donald Margulies, it becomes a spiky cinematic two-hander that rewards those who lean in. Eisenberg is fully within his neurotic element as Lipsky, skulking through NYC's literary hang KGB Bar, lunging at his doubtful editor for the Wallace gig and arriving in the author's snowy Illinois looking like a wet cat. Ponsoldt structures the film out of Lipsky's lingering reaction shots and you can see a riot of emotions on Eisenberg's face

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Chuck Norris vs Communism

Once upon a time, Dirty Dancing was considered too erotic to be seen in Romania. The ban on the triple-X-rated Patrick Swayze classic was nothing personal, but rather a symptom of a restrictive Communist regime that strictly prohibited any kind of “imperialist” influence, culturally stagnating 20 million people in the process. During the brutal (and ultimately bloody) reign of Nicolae Ceausescu, which stretched from 1965 to 1989, an American film was as illegal in Bucharest as a brick of heroin in Manhattan. Meanwhile, VCRs cost as much as a new car. But as video technology crept across the country, Romanians in the capital city were being exposed to all manner of American entertainments. One man, “Colonel” Zamfir, was smuggling tapes in from a neighboring country, and one woman—a translator on the National Television’s Censorship Committee named Irina Nistor—was secretly dubbing them into her native tongue. She even did the voices of the male actors like Chuck Norris.  Ilinca Calugareanu’s Chuck Norris vs Communism is a genial and wide-eyed documentary about the clandestine collaboration between Nistor and Zamfir, who respectively dubbed and distributed more than 3,000 films between 1985 and 1989. For Romanians of the time, Nistor was quite literally the voice of freedom, introducing them to Rocky, the Terminator and everyone in between. Her freeform translations, which were crudely recorded over the corresponding English dialogue, served as the soundtrack for a better worl

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

The Witch

There are confident first features, and there’s The Witch, the exhilaratingly scary debut in which writer-director Robert Eggers tramples over the cowardice of the genre he’s just grabbed by the throat. Reverentially adapted from a ghoulish piece of Puritan folklore (much of the dialogue is lifted verbatim from 17th-century documents), The Witch is one of the most genuinely unnerving horror films in recent memory because Eggers has the guts to earn your fear.  A family of fundamentalist pilgrims is banished from their walled New England settlement as punishment for an undefined conflict. They're forced to resettle in a gray stretch of field that lies on the lip of some truly sinister woods. Fresh off the boat from England and already outcasts in their adopted country, William the woodcutter (Ralph Ineson) leads his wife (Kate Dickey) and five children to the rotten clearing where they will begin again, isolated in their struggle against the elements, a fallow harvest and—most urgent of all—the paralyzing grip of their supposed sins. Before William’s brood can get comfortable and re-establish a link with the lord, their newborn is snatched into the forest with supernatural speed.  In most films, this would be the beginning of a coy flirtation with the audience, the monster remaining masked by shadows and cacophonous jolts until a grand finale arrives. Yes, there are a few jump-scares—and they’re calculated with the precision of a Swiss watch—but The Witch understands that th

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Past Sundance Film Festival coverage

Movies

Whiplash (2014)

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Camp X-Ray (2014)

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Frank (2014)

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

I Origins (2014)

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Love Is Strange (2014)

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Infinitely Polar Bear (2014)

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Movies

Boyhood (2014)

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Movies

The Trip to Italy (2014)

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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