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Our five favorite Sundance movies so far

By
Joshua Rothkopf
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The (non)blizzard may be (non)pounding on NYC, but this year's Sundance Film Festival is in full swing with many East Coasters trapped for at least another day. Even though we're only at the halfway mark, a handful of films have dominated the conversation. You could check out our Sundance Film Festival page for complete coverage, but here's the quick scratchpad. Our five favorite films at Sundance are:

RECOMMENDED: Read our full coverage of Sundance Film Festival

1. Mistress America

Noah Baumbach's effervescent latest, with its breakthrough performance by Lola Kirke as a lonely, evolving Barnard student, feels like his youngest film to date. Says our critic David Ehrlich in his five-star review, it's "Baumbach’s lightest, funniest and most dexterous film."

2. The Witch

Nothing like an expertly atmospheric, 17th-century-set folk-horror film (think The Crucible or The Wicker Man) to get the spook juices flowing. Our review (Ehrlich, five stars) says it's "one of the most genuinely unnerving horror films in recent memory because [director Robert] Eggers has the guts to earn your fear."

3. The End of the Tour

We're as surprised as you are to hear that Jason Segel has stepped up his game mightily to play the elusive, psychologically fragile novelist David Foster Wallace. In his four-star review, Joshua Rothkopf calls Segel "totally persuasive as a troubled brainiac…not exactly approachable, but understandable."

4. The Forbidden Room

A new movie from retro-silent auteur Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World) is always a mysterious and wonderful thing—and his latest doesn't disappoint. According to David Ehrlich's four-star review, it's "an exhilarating slipstream of two-strip technicolor havoc."

5. Dope

One of the fest's true breakouts, this beautifully plotted comedy about a nerdy clique of hyperintelligent Inglewood high-schoolers (they don't exactly fit in) feels like a new Risky Business in our midst. Our review is coming soon.

We've got plenty more reviews on the way—of the postapocalyptic love triangle Z for Zachariah, of standing-ovation-getter Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, of Alex Gibney's Scientology exposé Going Clear. Check back here for daily updates.

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