The Sundance Film Festival is an annual showcase that debuts some of the most groundbreaking documentaries, short films and feature-length productions from the last year.
It is held in Utah during the month of January, and has evolved from a tiny gathering of independent filmmakers to a Hollywood extravaganza that attracts some of the biggest talent from all over the world. The following list looks at ten of the standout movies from this year’s festival.
Miles Teller stars as the determined young student, and J.K. Simmons puts in an incredible performance as the veteran teacher. Shortly after the movie opened the festival it was acquired by Sony Pictures. Audiences will most likely see director Damien Chazelle’s latest offering evolve into a far bigger success over the coming year.
2. Dear White People
It is reminiscent of Spike Lee’s School Daze as it attempts to address the delicate subject of racism within American colleges. The film is an incredible debut from Simien who also co-wrote the story. The director has managed to create a thought-provoking, humorous movie that gives a fresh take on a tried and tested storyline.
Big names in the movie include Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Ellar Coltrane and Patricia Arquette. Richard Linklater is a master of taking risks on film, and his unusual production method has succeeded in creating an extremely tender, thought-provoking movie.
4. Cold In July
Cold in July is the second entry to the Sundance Film Festival from director Jim Mickle who impressed the board with his remake of Spanish horror film We Are What We Are. The movie also stars Sam Shepard and Don Johnson and will be released this summer after IFC Films acquired the rights.
5. The Skeleton Twins
Maggie then convinces her brother to return to their hometown where the two siblings attempt to rebuild their shattered relationship that has kept them apart for ten years. The Skeleton Twins is a wonderful exploration of the bond between siblings and their ability to both support and destroy one another.
The film is a touching tale directed by Lynn Shelton who previously brought us Humpday. It also features a stellar performance by Sam Rockwell as Annika’s father Craig who clashes with Megan’s long-term boyfriend played by Mark Webber.
Frank brings together directors Jon Rohnson and Peter Straughan who previously collaborated on The Men Who Stare at Goats. It features superb performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domnhall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender as the mysterious man behind the head.
8. They Came Together
Paul Rudd is the master of goofy comedy and carries the movie with his sparkling performance as a corporate worker who is determined to put Amy Poehler’s character out of business. The movie received mainly positive reviews with one critic claiming that the film “combines broad, ludicrous potshots with precise, devastating sniper-fire.”
9. The Raid 2
Main actor Iko Uwais excels as a Jakarta police officer battling crime and corruption in his hometown. The sequel picks up immediately where the original left off and carries the story through a series of fast-paced action sequences leaving the audience breathless. The film also features an incredible set design.
10. Love is Strange
George then goes to live with a gay couple next door, whereas Alfred is forced to stay with his nephew. Love is Strange is directed by Ira Sachs whose previous work includes 40 Shades of Blue and Keep the Lights On. Incredible performances by Jon Lithgow and Alfred Molina in the main roles make this move a must-see.