Review: Lion

Starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara

Review: Allied

Starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard

Review: Bad Santa 2

Starring Billy Bob Thornton

Review: Rules Don't Apply

Directed by and starring Warren Beatty as Howard Hughes

Review: Moana

Featuring the voices of Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson

12/06/2016

Sundance 2017: First Look At 'Mudbound' With Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, And Jason Mitchell


The last time Sundance hosted such a racially-charged period film the result was Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation. It would end up the highest-selling title in festival history and, at least for a time, was seen as the early Best Picture favorite. Will any of that help Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) and her southern drama Mudbound? Or will buyers be a little gunshy?

Starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, and Rob Morgan, the film is based on the Hillary Jordan book set in post-WWII Mississippi.

SYNOPSIS: In the post–World War II South, two families are pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad. This epic pioneer story is about friendship, heritage and the unending struggle for and against the land.





Sundance 2017: First Look At Elle Fanning And Logan Lerman In 'Sidney Hall'


It's been a busy year for Elle Fanning, but the awards season is even busier with her roles in 20th Century Women and Ben Affleck's Live by Night. But she's already got a lot on her plate for next year, and in a month she'll be at the Sundance Film Festival with Sidney Hall, and here's a first look at it.

The film also stars Logan Lerman, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Monaghan, Nathan Lane, and Margaret Qualley with Shawn Christensen (Before I Disappear) directing.

SYNOPSIS: Over the course of 12 years, and three stages of life, Sidney Hall falls in love, writes the book of a generation and then disappears without a trace.






Sundance 2017:First Look At Cate Blanchett In Art Homage 'Manifesto'


One of the surprise films to arrive at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival is Manifesto, which I had only heard about because it featured Cate Blanchett in some kind of experimental art installation project from director Julian Rosefeldt. The film played in Australia and Germany, but there was no sign it would be hitting our shores, which makes its arrival in Park City pretty damn exciting.

More Blanchett is always a good thing, right? Well you'll get your fill because Manifesto finds her playing 13 different characters in which she re-enacts art manifestos from the 20th Century.

SYNOPSIS: Can history’s art manifestos apply to contemporary society? An homage to the twentieth century’s most impassioned artistic statements and innovators, from Futurists and Dadaists to Pop Art, Fluxus, Lars von Trier and Jim Jarmusch, this series of reenactments performed by Cate Blanchett explores these declarations’ performative components and political significance.







Ice Cube & Charlie Day Get Ready To Rumble In New 'Fist Fight' Trailer


The premise of Fist Fight is simple: Ice Cube is going to kick Charlie Day's butt. Do you really need any more than that to know it's at least going to be a fun time at the movies? If so, then this wasn't really for you in the first place.

Directed by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia director Richie Keen and co-starring Christina Hendricks, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, and Dennis Haysbert, the film finds Day as a meek English teacher who ruffles the feathers of a pissed-off colleague and gets challenged to a brawl after school. Reminds me of an old favorite of mine, Three O'Clock High, only this puts those in charge as the offending parties. Who said our education system is broken?

Fist Fight opens February 17th 2017.

12/05/2016

First 'Transformers: The Last Knight' Trailer Teases Time Travel Mayhem


It sounded so incredibly weird; so incredibly....Bay. A Transformers movie that would somehow include the Knights of the Round Table and the sword Excalibur? What in the holy Hell is Michael Bay trying to do with Transformers: The Last Knight? It's supposedly the final movie he'll ever direct in the franchise, and clearly he wants to go out doing EVERYTHING he's ever wanted to do. Will it make any kind of sense at all? Who knows, but the first trailer is here and you can decide for yourself.

Tossing a healthy dose of time travel into the mix, the trailer begins with a shot of the sword Excalibur, followed by what appears to be a flying Dinobot across a medieval landscape. Combined with the subtle, graceful notes and decided lack of mayhem you might think for a moment that this isn't another Transformers movie. Anthony Hopkins' narration carries us through until Bay finally throws up his hands and it's everything we've come to expect. Explosions, warfare, robotic battles, and more. This looks like it could be a chaotic, convoluted mess and I can't wait.

Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, and Josh Duhamel reprise their roles, joined by newcomers Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, and Laura Haddock. Transformers: The Last Knight opens June 23rd 2017.

Sundance Adds 'Wilson', 'Colossal', 'Wind River', And More To 2017 Lineup


The 2017 Sundance Film Festival already has an amazing lineup of titles, but I submit that it not only just got better, this may be the best slate in a few years. Today, Sundance revealed new titles in the Premieres and Documentary Premieres, Midnight, and Spotlight categories, and they are all worth getting excited about.

High on my list of must-sees is Wilson, which stars Woody Harrelson as a misanthrope who goes off in search of a daughter he never knew. There's also Wind River from Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeremy Renner with Elizabeth Olsen. You can bet that's going to be a popular screening. Pariah director Dee Rees returns to the big screen with Mudbound starring Carey Mulligan; I'm already eager for that one.

Also coming up is Call Me By Your Name, the latest film from I Am Love and A Bigger Splash director, Luca Guadignino.  Cate Blanchett stars in the German drama, Manifesto; Sidney Hall starring Logan Lerman and Elle Fanning; horror anthology XX featuring Melanie Lynskey (!!!); Jeff Baena's The Little Hours starring Alison Brie; and in the Spotlight section is the monster flick Colossal starring Anne Hathaway. Lots to get amped over. Check out the full list of titles below!

The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19th-29th.

PREMIERES
A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated narrative films of the coming year.
Beatriz at Dinner / U.S.A. (Director: Miguel Arteta, Screenwriter: Mike White) — Beatriz, an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a health practitioner. Doug Strutt is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same. Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow. World Premiere
Before I Fall / U.S.A. (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriter: Maria Maggenti) — Samantha Kingston has everything. Then, everything changes. After one fateful night, she wakes up with no future at all. Trapped into reliving the same day over and over, she begins to question just how perfect her life really was.Cast: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Diego Boneta. World Premiere
The Big Sick / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani) — Based on the real-life courtship: Pakistan-born comedian Kumail and grad student Emily fall in love, but they struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail must navigate the crisis with her parents and the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher. World Premiere
Call Me by Your Name / Italy, France (Director: Luca Guadagnino, Screenwriters: James Ivory, Luca Guadagnino) — The sensitive and cultivated Elio, only child of the American-Italian-French Perlman family, is facing another lazy summer at his parents’ villa in the beautiful and languid Italian countryside when Oliver, an academic who has come to help with Elio’s father’s research, arrives. Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois. World Premiere
The Discovery / U.S.A. (Director: Charlie McDowell, Screenwriters: Charlie McDowell, Justin Lader) — In a world where the afterlife has just been scientifically proven—resulting in millions of people taking their own lives to get there—comes this love story. Cast: Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jesse Plemons, Riley Keough, Ron Canada. World Premiere
Fun Mom Dinner / U.S.A. (Director: Alethea Jones, Screenwriter: Julie Rudd) — Four women, whose kids attend the same preschool class, get together for a “fun mom dinner.” When the night takes an unexpected turn, these unlikely new friends realize they have more in common than just marriage and motherhood. Together, they reclaim a piece of the women they used to be. Cast: Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Adam Levine. World Premiere
The Incredible Jessica James / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jim Strouse) — Jessica James, an aspiring NYC playwright, is struggling to get over a recent breakup. She sees a light at the end of the tunnel when she meets the recently divorced Boone. Together, they discover how to make it through the tough times while realizing they like each other—a lot. Cast: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, Keith Stanfield, Noël Wells. World Premiere. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
The Last Word / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Pellington, Screenwriter: Stuart Ross Fink) — Harriett is a retired businesswoman who tries to control everything around her. When she decides to write her own obituary, a young journalist takes up the task of finding out the truth, resulting in a life-altering friendship. Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Heche, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Baker Hall. World Premiere
Manifesto / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Julian Rosefeldt) — Can history’s art manifestos apply to contemporary society? An homage to the twentieth century’s most impassioned artistic statements and innovators, from Futurists and Dadaists to Pop Art, Fluxus, Lars von Trier and Jim Jarmusch, this series of reenactments performed by Cate Blanchett explores these declarations’ performative components and political significance. Cast: Cate Blanchett. World Premiere
Marjorie Prime / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Almereyda) — In the near future—a time of artificial intelligence—86-year-old Marjorie has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? Cast: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, Tim Robbins. World Premiere
Mudbound / U.S.A. (Director: Dee Rees, Screenwriters: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees) — In the post–World War II South, two families are pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad. This epic pioneer story is about friendship, heritage and the unending struggle for and against the land. Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund. World Premiere
The Polka King / U.S.A. (Director: Maya Forbes, Screenwriters: Maya Forbes, Wally Wolodarsky) — Based on the remarkable true story of the world’s only known Polka Ponzi scheme, this mix of comedy and tragedy is about Jan Lewan, a polish immigrant who believed in the American Dream. But with big dreams came big mistakes for the man who became the “King of Pennsylvania Polka.”Cast: Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, Jacki Weaver, J.B. Smoove. World Premiere
Rebel in the Rye / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Danny Strong) — This portrait of the life and mind of reclusive author J.D. Salinger goes from the bloody front lines of World War II to his early rejections and the PTSD-fueled writer’s block that led to his iconic novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Hope Davis, Victor Garber. World Premiere
Rememory / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Mark Palansky, Screenwriters: Michael Vukadinovich, Mark Palansky) — A visionary inventor found dead. A machine that can record people’s memories. A man haunted by the past. This noir mystery explores the ways in which memory defines the present. Cast: Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Martin Donovan, Anton Yelchin, Henry Ian Cusick, Evelyne Brochu. World Premiere
Sidney Hall / U.S.A. (Director: Shawn Christensen, Screenwriters: Shawn Christensen, Jason Dolan) — Over the course of 12 years, and three stages of life, Sidney Hall falls in love, writes the book of a generation and then disappears without a trace. Cast: Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Monaghan, Nathan Lane, Margaret Qualley. World Premiere
Where is Kyra? / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Dosunmu, Screenwriters: Andrew Dosunmu, Darci Picoult) — Pushed to the brink after losing her job, a woman struggles to survive. As the months pass and her troubles deepen, she embarks on a perilous and mysterious journey that threatens to usurp her life. Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Kiefer Sutherland. World Premiere
Wilson / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Johnson, Screenwriter: Daniel Clowes) — Wilson, a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope, reunites with his estranged wife and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter he has never met. In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, he sets out to connect with her. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer. World Premiere
Wind River / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Taylor Sheridan) — An FBI agent teams with the town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that ocurred on a Native American reservation. Cast: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal. World Premiere
DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES
Renowned filmmakers and films about far-reaching subjects comprise this section highlighting our ongoing commitment to documentaries.
500 YEARS / U.S.A. (Director: Pamela Yates) — From a historic genocide trial to the overthrow of a president, the sweeping story of mounting resistance played out in Guatemala’s recent history is told through the actions and perspectives of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society. World Premiere
Cries from Syria / U.S.A., Syria, Czech Republic (Director: Evgeny Afineevsky) — This documentary attempts to recontextualize the European migrant crisis and ongoing hostilities in Syria, through eyewitness and participant testimony. Children and parents recount the revolution, civil war, air strikes, atrocities and ongoing humanitarian aid crises, in a portrait of recent history and the consequences of violence. World Premiere
Give Me Future: Major Lazer in Cuba / U.S.A., Cuba (Director: Austin Peters) — In the spring of 2016, global music sensation Major Lazer performed a free concert in Havana, Cuba—an unprecedented show that drew an audience of almost half a million. This concert documentary evolves into an exploration of youth culture in a country on the precipice of change. World Premiere
Legion of Brothers / U.S.A. (Director: Greg Barker) — Afghanistan, immediately post-9/11: Small teams of Green Berets arrive on a series of secret missions to overthrow the Taliban. What happens next is equal parts war origin story and cautionary tale, illuminating the nature and impact of 15 years of constant combat, with unprecedented access to U.S. Special Forces. World Premiere
Oklahoma City / U.S.A. (Director: Barak Goodman) — The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 is the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history; this documentary explores how a series of deadly encounters between American citizens and federal law enforcement—including the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco—led to it. World Premiere
Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman / U.S.A. (Directors: Susan Froemke, John Hoffman, Beth Aala) — From the Montana Rockies to the wheat fields of Kansas and the Gulf of Mexico, families who work the land and sea are crossing political divides to find unexpected ways to protect the natural resources vital to their livelihoods. These are the new heroes of conservation, deep in America’s heartland. World Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE
TAKE EVERY WAVE: The Life of Laird Hamilton / U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy) — This is the remarkable story of an American icon who changed the sport of big wave surfing forever. Transcending the surf genre, this in-depth portrait of a hard-charging athlete explores the fear, courage and ambition that push a man to greatness—and the cost that comes with it. World Premiere
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities / U.S.A. (Director: Stanley Nelson) — A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries—and path of promise toward the American dream—Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told. World Premiere
This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous / U.S.A. (Director: Barbara Kopple) — Are there limits to your love for your family? One family’s acceptance is tested when a champion diver, destined for the Olympics, announces he’s transitioning into a woman—and invites his YouTube followers along for every moment. It’s a story about unconditional love and finding the courage to be yourself. World Premiere
Untitled Lucy Walker / Buena Vista Social Club Documentary / U.S.A., United Kingdom, Cuba (Director: Lucy Walker) — The musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club exposed the world to Cuba’s vibrant culture with their landmark 1997 album. Now, against the backdrop of Cuba’s captivating musical history, hear the band’s story as they reflect on their remarkable careers and the extraordinary circumstances that brought them together. World Premiere
MIDNIGHT
From horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification, these films will keep you wide awake, even at the most arduous hour.
78/52 / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Philippe) — This is an unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the “man behind the curtain,” and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema. World Premiere
Bad Day for the Cut / Northern Ireland (Director: Chris Baugh, Screenwriters: Chris Baugh, Brendan Mullin) — A middle-aged Irish farmer, who still lives at home with his mother, sets off on a mission of revenge when the old lady is murdered. Cast: Nigel O’Neill, Susan Lynch, Józef Pawłowski, Stuart Graham, Anna Próchniak, Ian McElhinney. World Premiere
Bitch / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marianna Palka) — A woman snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, absentee husband is forced to become reacquainted with his four children and sister-in-law as they attempt to keep the family together during this bizarre crisis. Cast: Jason Ritter, Jaime King, Marianna Palka, Brighton Sharbino, Rio Mangini, Kingston FosterWorld Premiere
Bushwick / U.S.A. (Directors: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott, Screenwriters: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick) — Lucy emerges from a Brooklyn subway to find that her neighborhood is under attack by black-clad military soldiers. An ex-Marine corpsman, Stupe, reluctantly helps her fight for survival through a civil war, as Texas attempts to secede from the United States of America. Cast: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Arturo Castro. World Premiere
Killing Ground / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Damien Power) — Ian and Samantha arrive at an isolated campsite to find an SUV and a tent—with no sign of the occupants. The discovery of a distressed child wandering in the woods unleashes a terrifying chain of events that will test the young couple’s breaking point. Cast: Aaron Pedersen, Ian Meadows, Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane. International Premiere
Kuso / U.S.A. (Director: Steven Ellison, Screenwriters: Steven Ellison, David Firth, Zach Fox) — Broadcasting through a makeshift network of discarded televisions, this story is tangled up in the aftermath of Los Angeles’s worst earthquake nightmare. Travel between screens and aftershocks into the twisted lives of the survived. Cast: Iesha Coston, Zack Fox, Hannibal Buress, The Buttress, Tim Heidecker, Mali MatsudaWorld Premiere
The Little Hours / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) — A young servant fleeing from his master takes refuge at a dysfunctional convent in medieval Tuscany. Cast: Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly ShannonWorld Premiere. DAY ONE
XX / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Annie Clark, Karyn Kusama, Roxanne Benjamin, Jovanka Vuckovic) — This all-female horror anthology features four dark tales from four fiercely talented women. Cast: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Christina KirkWorld Premiere
SPOTLIGHT
The Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year.
Colossal / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nacho Vigalondo) — An unapologetic party girl dreams of a fresh start only to discover a mysterious and fantastical connection between herself and a city-wrecking monster on the other side of the globe. Cast: Anne Hathaway, Dan Stevens, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, Austin Stowell.
Frantz / France, Germany (Director: François Ozon, Screenwriters: François Ozon, Philippe Piazzo) — In a small German town after World War I, Anna mourns daily at the grave of her fiancé, Frantz, killed in battle in France. One day a young Frenchman, Adrien, also lays flowers at the grave. His presence, so soon after the German defeat, ignites passions. Cast: Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner, Marie Gruber, Johann von Bülow, Anton von Lucke.
Lady Macbeth / United Kingdom (Director: William Oldroyd, Screenwriter: Alice Birch) — Rural England, 1865: Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man and his unforgiving family. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a stableman from the estate, the force unleashed inside her is so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank. U.S. Premiere
Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry / U.S.A. (Directors: Laura Dunn, Jef Sewell) — This cinematic portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture is seen through the mind’s eye of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. THE NEW CLIMATE
Raw / France (Director and screenwriter: Julia Ducournau) — When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, she develops an unbidden taste for meat, with unexpected consequences. Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laurent Lucas, Joana Preiss.
Sami Blood / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Amanda Kernell) — Elle Marja, 14, is a reindeer-breeding Sámi girl. Exposed to race biology examinations at her boarding school and the racism of the 1930s, she starts dreaming of another life—one that demands she become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture. Cast: Lene Cecilia Sparrok, Mia Sparrok, Maj-Doris Rimpi, Olle Sarri, Hanna Alström, Malin Crépin. U.S. Premiere
Their Finest / United Kingdom (Director: Lone Scherfig, Screenwriter: Gaby Chiappe) — During the 1940 London Blitz, untried screenwriter Catrin struggles to find her voice amidst war, as she and a makeshift cast work under fire to create a film to lift the nation’s spirits—and inspire America to join the war. Cast: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Jake Lacy, Jeremy Irons. U.S. Premiere
KIDS
This section of the Festival is especially for our youngest independent film fans. Programmed in cooperation with Utah Film Center, which presents the annual Tumbleweeds Film Festival, Utah’s premiere film festival for children and youth.
The Mars Generation / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Barnett) — Aspiring teenage astronauts reveal that a journey to Mars is closer than you think. World Premiere. SALT LAKE CITY OPENING NIGHT FILM
My Life as a Zucchini / Switzerland, France (Director: Claude Barras, Screenwriter: Céline Sciamma) — After his mother’s death, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to a foster home filled with other orphans his age. There, with the help of his newfound friends, Zucchini eventually learns to trust and love as he searches for a new family of his own. World Premiere (English Version)
RED DOG: True Blue / Australia (Director: Kriv Stenders, Screenwriter: Daniel Taplitz) — When 11-year-old Mick is shipped off to his grandfather’s cattle station in Australia’s remote Pilbara, he prepares himself for a life of dull hardship but instead finds myth, adventure and a friendship with a scrappy, one-of-a-kind pup that will change his life forever. Cast: Levi Miller, Bryan Brown, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence, Thomas Cocquerel, Jason Isaacs. North American Premiere
SPECIAL EVENTS
One-of-a-kind moments highlighting new independent works that add to the unique Festival experience. An evolving section, this year includes episodic work, short films and live post-screening discussions.
Downward Dog / U.S.A. (Showrunners: Kat Likkel, John Hoberg, Creators: Michael Killen, Samm Hodges) — The story of a struggling millennial, Nan, as observed from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. The Festival will premiere the first four episodes of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with the cast, creators and showrunners. Cast: Allison Tolman, Samm Hodges, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart. World Premiere
The History of Comedy / U.S.A. (Executive Producers: Mark Herzog, Christopher G. Cowen, Sean Hayes, Todd Milliner) — Utilizing archival footage punctuated by contemporary interviews with comedy legends and scholars, this is the history of not only what makes us laugh, but how comedy has affected the social and political landscape throughout history. The Festival will premiere two episodes of this docuseries, Spark of Madness and Going Blue, followed by an extended Q&A. World Premiere
I Love Dick / U.S.A. (Directors: Jill Soloway, Andrea Arnold, Kimberly Peirce, Executive Producers: Jill Soloway, Sarah Gubbins, Andrea Sperling, Victor Hsu) — Chris and Sylvere, a married couple in the intellectual community of Marfa, Texas, become obsessed with a charismatic artist named Dick. What follows is the unraveling of a marriage, the deification of a reluctant messiah and the awakening of the female gaze. The Festival will present the first three episodes of this Amazon original series, followed by an extended Q&A. Cast: Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Hahn, Griffin Dunne, Roberta Colindrez, India Menuez, Phoebe Robinson. World Premiere
RISE / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Latimer) — This vibrant and immersive documentary series explores the front lines of indigenous resistance. Episodes Apache StrongholdSacred Water and Red Power examine factors that threaten indigenous liberation in the 21st century. A series of contrasts, this series is both a condemnation of colonialism and a celebration of indigenous peoples. Continuing Sundance Institute’s ongoing commitment to presenting bold stories from within the Native American and Indigenous communities, we are proud to debut three episodes: Apache StrongholdSacred Water and Red Power, followed by an extended Q&A. World Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE
Shots Fired / U.S.A. (Executive Producers: Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo) — After racially-charged shootings in a North Carolina town, an investigator digs into the cases alongside a special prosecutor. Together they seek justice while navigating the ensuing media attention and public unrest threatening the divided town. The Festival will premiere two episodes of this 10-hour series, followed by an extended Q&A.Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Helen Hunt, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, Mack Wilds. World Premiere
TIME: The Kalief Browder Story / U.S.A. (Director: Jenner Furst, Executive Producers: Jenner Furst, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Harvey Weinstein, David C. Glasser, Nick Sandow, Julia Willoughby Nason, Michael Gasparro) — After his arrest at age 16, Kalief Browder fought the system and prevailed, despite unthinkable circumstances. He became an American hero. The Festival will debut the first two episodes of this in-depth, humanizing look at a broken justice system, followed by an extended Q&A. World Premiere
Docuseries Showcase — The Festival is proud to debut individual episodes from two exciting new Netflix docuseries, featuring an extended Q&A with directors Morgan Neville and Rashida Jones.
  • Abstract: The Art of Design / U.S.A. (Director and executive producer: Morgan Neville) — A look beyond blueprints and computers into the art and science of design, showcasing great designers from every discipline whose work shapes our world. The Festival will debut one episode of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with Director and Executive Producer Morgan Neville. Cast: Christoph Niemann. World Premiere
  • Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On / U.S.A. (Director: Rashida Jones, “Women on Top,” Executive Producers: Rashida Jones, Ronna Gradus, Jill Bauer, Peter LoGreco) — Porn has gone mainstream; the question is, can we handle it? This exploration of the intersection of sex and technology is told through the stories of the people whose lives are defined by the current explosion of internet porn—whether they’re creating it, consuming it, or both. The Festival will debut one episode of the series, followed by an extended Q&A with Director and Executive Producer Rashida Jones. World Premiere
Independent Pilot Showcase — We are proud to present the world premieres of these outstanding pilot presentations, highlighting the best in episodic series work from the independent community.
  • Playdates / U.S.A. (Writers: Giles Andrew, Dan Marshall, Creators: Giles Andrew, Dan Marshall, Alex Bourne) — Uprooted from their Midwestern life, Bennett, a new stay-at-home dad, and Julie, a working mom, are forced to take their kids on playdates inside the elitist parenting culture of Silicon Beach. Cast: Paul Scheer, Carla Gallo, Miles Fisher, Craig Frank, Gemma Brooke Allen, Landon Gordon. World Premiere
  • Shit Kids / U.S.A. (Director and creator: Kyle Dunnigan) — The daughter of an earth-shatteringly boring couple, along with the son of an equally humdrum set of parents, have decided to plot their parents’ murders. Cast: Kyle Dunnigan, Kevin Berntson, Candace Brown, Margee Magee, Grace van Dien, Doug Noble. World Premiere
  • When The Street Lights Go On / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Morgen, Screenwriters: Eddie O’Keefe, Chris Hutton) — The residents of a small town grapple with the ruthless killing of a young girl and a teacher. Cast: Max Burkholder, Odessa Young, Adam Long, Ben Winchell, Kelli Mayo, Graham Beckel. World Premiere
Made in Cuba — We are proud to present these three cinematic and affecting Cuban short documentaries, reflecting Sundance Institute’s longstanding commitment to international artists. These films were guided by the Institute’s Documentary Film Program in collaboration with La Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) and The Guardian Multimedia Program.
  • Connection (Conectifai) / Cuba (Director: Horizoe Garcia Miranda) — ETECSA—Cuba’s only telephone company—installed Wi-Fi routers in 18 public parks in 2016. For many Cubans, this meant being able to go online for the first time. This film shows us how Cubans of all ages initially explore social media, online dating and more. U.S. Premiere
  • Great (Muy Bien) / Cuba (Director: Sheyla Pool Pástor) — The United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, making it no longer unrealistic for Cubans to dream of one day living and working abroad. Cubans of all ages and diverse aspirations enroll at the makeshift Big Ben English school in Havana. U.S. Premiere
  • House for Sale (Casa en Venta) / Cuba (Director: Emanuel Giraldo Betancur) — After more than 50 years, the ban on individuals in Cuba selling their houses was lifted in 2011. Three Cubans invite us into their homes—full of memories, souvenirs and family members—to hear their “sales pitch.” U.S. Premiere
Midnight Episodic Showcase — For the after-dark crowd, we present the world premieres of two thrilling new episodic additions to our Midnight lineup:Pineapple, from Adaptive Studios, and Snatchers, from Stage 13, followed by an extended Q&A with the creators of both series.
  • Pineapple / U.S.A. (Director and writer: Arkasha Stevenson) — When a miner’s daughter is assaulted in the local coal mine, she utters only one word, leaving the town’s sheriff baffled. The event quickly spirals out of control, impacting the entire town. The Festival will premiere three short-form episodes of this uniquely cinematic drama series. Cast: Tyler Vickers, Kel Owens, Ron Gilbert, Gloria Vonn, Lucille Sharp, Brooklyn Robinson. World Premiere
  • Snatchers / U.S.A. (Directors: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, Screenwriters: Scott Yacyshyn, Benji Kleiman, Stephen Cedars) — After status-obsessed teen Sara has sex for the first time, she wakes up the next day nine months pregnant—with an alien. Turning to her nerdy ex-bestie, Hayley (the only person she can trust without ruining her reputation), they strive to put an end to all the carnage. The Festival will premiere eight short-form episodes of this otherworldly horror-comedy series. Cast: Mari Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, Austin Fryberger, J.J. Nolan, Nick Gomez, Rich Fulcher. World Premiere
Short-Form Episodic Showcase — A celebration of the evolving landscape of content consumption, we present these short-form episodic series as new voices in the medium, defying broadcast boilerplates with a redefinition of traditional episodic conventions.
  • The Chances / U.S.A. (Director: Anna Kerrigan, Creators: Josh Feldman, Shoshannah Stern) — Best friends Kate and Michael, who are deaf, try their best to see their friendship through new changes in their lives, as Kate adjusts to being newly married and Michael attempts to get over his ex-boyfriend. The Festival will debut five episodes of this short-form episodic series. Cast: Josh Feldman, Shoshannah Stern, Aaron Costa Ganis, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Darryl Stephens, Wilson Cruz. World Premiere
  • Gente-fied / U.S.A. (Creator: Marvin Lemus, Executive Producers: Charles D. King, Aaliyah Williams, America Ferrera) — Seven characters deal with the effects of change in LA’s Boyle Heights. Bicultural millennials and old-school business owners hustle to create spaces that celebrate their Latino identities—even while faced with rent hikes, a housing crisis, and a steady stream of outsiders threatening to gentrify their barrio. The Festival will debut three episodes of this short- form episodic series. Cast: Edsson Morales, Alicia Sixtos, Victoria Ortiz, Yareli Arizmendi, Salvador Velez Jr, Rafael Sigler. World Premiere
  • Strangers / U.S.A. (Director: Mia Lidofsky, Executive Producers: Michael B. Clark, Alex Turtletaub, Jesse Peretz, Mia Lidofsky) — Isobel decides to rent out her spare bedroom in order to generate much-needed extra income after a messy and painful breakup. With the help of her best friend, she navigates the most emotionally, sexually and professionally complicated time of her life, while hosting a constant stream of new guests. The Festival will debut the first three episodes of this short- form episodic series. Cast: Zoë Chao, Meredith Hagner, Jemaine Clement, Breeda Wool, Matthew Oberg, Shiri Appleby. World Premiere

Giveaway: Enter To Win 'The Secret Life Of Pets' On Blu-Ray


We're happy to offer our readers the chance to win Illumination Entertainment's hit animated film, The Secret Life of Pets on Blu-Ray/DVD! The film features the voices of Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Eric Stonestreet, and more!

SYNOPSIS: In their fifth fully animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead when we leave for work or school. Max, voiced by Louis C.K., is a loyal terrier living a perfectly happy existence until his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper) brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet) a big, boisterous mutt she finds at the shelter. When Max and his unruly new “roommate” slip away from their dog-walker, they find themselves lost in the urban jungle of New York City. In an attempt to stay ahead of animal control and a rebel band of abandoned pets led by an unhinged bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), they put aside their differences to survive the epic journey back home.

To enter, simply complete the Rafflecopter contest form below. Five winners will be selected on Friday, December 9th and contacted by email. Good luck! Man's best friend is counting on you!

Own The Secret Life of Pets on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD tomorrow December 6th.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

X-Men Series 'Legion' Gets New Trailer And Premiere Date On FX


Following the disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse the state of 20th Century Fox's franchise is in flux. So that would make this the perfect time to do like the mutants do and evolve. That brings us to Legion, the FX series starring Dan Steven as the schizophrenic but all-powerful son of Charles Xavier. And while the connections to the movies may be loose at this point, you can bet fans will be combing over every episode with a fine-tooth comb looking for any sign of a relationship.

FX has revealed a new trailer for the series' first season, as well as revealed the premiere date. Fargo creator Noah Hawley is running the show here, with Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart, Rachel Keller, Katie Aselton co-starring. Stevens plays David Haller, the son of Xavier and Gabrielle Haller who has been confined to a psychiatric ward, only to learn the voices in his head and visions he sees may be real. In the comics, Legion is one of the strongest mutants alive but also one of the most dangerous. How much if any of that will play out on the show remains to be seen, but I will be watching to find out.

Legion will hit FX on Wednesday, February 8th at 10pm EST. 

Review: 'Nerdland' Starring Paul Rudd And Patton Oswalt


Do you like classic Adult Swim animated shows like Metalocalypse and Superjail!?  Well, do I have the movie for you!  Adult Swim-regular production company Titmouse, Inc. picked up 8MM screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker's pitch for Nerdland, and the resulting movie is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from there.

Which is to say, if you're in or just out of college -- or maybe a high schooler up past your bedtime -- it's going to seem pretty edgy and subversive and maybe even a great way to stick it to The Man in some vague, unspecified way.  Much older than that and you're more and more likely to respond with an indifferent meh, and maybe fond memories of a time when you were young and thought anyone cared about this sort of thing.  Maybe Phyllis Schlafly's kid or the Family Research Council does.

Nerdland stars Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt as John and Elliot, a struggling actor and screenwriter, respectively, trying to make names for themselves in Hollywood.  On the verge of turning 30, they panic, and decide they need to get some sort of flash-in-the-pan notoriety today if not sooner.  And yes, we get the joke that Rudd and Oswalt are both 47, and the joke that these guys have failed to get any traction at least as much because they're both terrible as because Hollywood is a superficial, soulless meat-grinder.  Which again, nobody is disputing, nor have they the last few hundred times a Hollywood production has made the exact same point or joke.

The movie's running time carves up nicely into Adult Swim-friendly eleven-minute segments -- if you miss the one-night-only theatrical event, you can probably look forward to seeing it endlessly in syndication -- featuring one episode or another of the pair's ill-advised attempts at infamy.  In one, they try giving away money to a homeless man (Mike Judge).  In another, they try cyber-vandalizing a rich guy (Paul Scheer).  And there's the arc where they decide to turn themselves into hardened serial killers by watching a supercut of gory, violent movie clips.  Because there is totally a still-relevant conspiracy to ban violent content in movies or television outside of the minds of 15-25-year-old boys.

Along the way there's a cluster of recurring characters, like The King (Hannibal Buress), who runs the nerd-oriented Kollectables Kingdom, or Sally and Linda (Garfunkel & Oates members Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome), who John and Elliot most directly want to impress.  I wouldn't be surprised if Titmouse tries to spin this out into a longer series, in which case they'll probably become regular characters, if only because we see them slightly more than the one- or two-offs who we see most of the time.  It feels a little too easy, given the medium, to call them "two-dimensional", but there you have it.

But that's par for the course.  Sure, the occasional series that run on Adult Swim manages to mutate into a weird sort of brilliance over the course of its run, but that seems a ways down the line, if Nerdland will ever get there at all.  For now it's the same tepidly "outrageous" post-adolescent tantrum with occasional self-satisfied moments of anti-humor thrown into the mix for "depth".  It's fine if you're into that sort of thing, but it wears thin pretty quickly.

NOTE: A one-night-only special presentation of Nerdland takes place tomorrow night, December 6th. Check out Fathom Events for details and tickets.
Rating: 2 out of 5

You Can Forget About 'Dracula Untold' As Part Of Universal's Monster-Verse


With yesterday's reveal of the full trailer for The Mummy, more focus than ever has been placed on Universal's classic monsters cinematic universe.  We've heard a lot about what could be part of it going forward, such as the Invisible Man with Johnny Depp, a Wolf Man movie, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and more to go along with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Russell Crowe plays Jekyll in The Mummy to help set that whole thing up. One monster that won't be a part of it is Luke Evans' Vlad the Impaler, who was seen in Dracula Untold, the movie that was supposed to launch Universal's franchise if things had gone according to plan.

Collider caught up with The Mummy director Alex Kurtzman and when asked if Dracula Untold was still considered part of the universe's canon, he replied simply "No". Apparently the journalist interviewing him was quite pleased with that answer, but personally I would have preferred they stick to the original plan. The movie, which was basically a Dracula origin story using elements of Vlad the Impaler's true history, was a box office success even if the reviews weren't so good. So what happens if reviews of The Mummy aren't good, which is more likely than not? Do they start over yet again?

So for now it's mummy action that kicks everything off, and Kurtzman is quick to remind us that Universal basically created the idea of cinematic universes. So take THAT Marvel...

"The thing people forget is that the Universal Monsters were the first mash-up; they were the first universe built. It started with, I think, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and that was the first time that they put them together and then from there they started cross-pollinating all the monsters. But that was only because Frankenstein had succeeded so many times as a film, and had spawned its own sequels, and Wolf Man had done the same, that Universal was at a point where they said, “God, we don’t know what to do with these characters anymore. Why don’t we put them together?” and then new stories emerged.

So I can’t tell you how much I believe that in order for you to enjoy The Mummy, you have to have a satisfying mummy experience. If we are then in that context able to set up a larger world? Great! But the setup of that larger world and whatever characters Tom may meet over the course of the mummy movie have to be part of the mummy movie. It cannot take you out of that."

As for the inclusion of Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, Kurtzman says the character is there basically to be a connecting thread between the movies. Of course, he will eventually come to be more than that because of his alter ego...

"In looking to figure out how to place The Mummy in a larger context and setting up this organization that has actually been dealing with monsters for longer than any of us have been around, it became clear that we needed somebody to be the voice of that organization. The next thought was like, “Well, it could be Joe Mcgillicuddy, or we could actually go into another character that makes sense organically.” It was a real point of conversation with Tom. If we’re going to bring in Henry Jekyll, how is bringing Henry Jekyll into the mummy story not a detractor from the mummy story? How does Henry Jekyll become part of this story in an organic way? And part of what Tom’s character, Nick, learns about the mummy and about the history of the mummy comes through Jekyll’s very deep understanding of monsters and how monsters have existing quietly in this world for eons."

All of this depends on the success of The Mummy, which opens June 9th 2017 and co-stars