FILM

Sundance

Engaging Independent Cinema

Every year a group of students from Fuller Theological Seminary descend upon the Sundance Film Festival to take part in a course offered by Fuller Theological Seminary in partnership with the Windrider Forum

To register for the Sundance class, "Theology, Film, and Culture: Engaging Independent Films," visit the "Noncampus Locations" section of Fuller's course schedule.

In a past issue, Relevant Magazine wrote an article on our Sundance course with a wonderful description of what we do at the Sundance Film Festival and why we do it - to engage "with culture-makers of the cinema in a community of believers."

The reviews below are of Sundance films by students in the immersion course. Peruse them, add your own as these independent films make their way into your local theaters, and explore the world of independent cinema.

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2016 Sundance Details

2016 Sundance Details

September 08, 2015

Mandy February 12, 2018

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” - Romans 12:19 (NRSV) If there was ever a film that represented the platonic ideal of a “midnight movie”, Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy might just be it....


The Queen of Fear February 11, 2018

The Queen of Fear opens in darkness. The stillness alerts you to the fact that the power is out but you do not know why. Eeriness grips the audience as we anticipate some kind of horror; and there we sit, anxiously. Turning each dark corner the apprehension builds and so do the absurd reactions...


Monster February 11, 2018

“Monster” centers around the story of a Harlem teenager (Steve Harmon) who’s artistic passions and film-school background inadvertently get him mixed up with the wrong crowd and a robbery gone wrong, where bad timing and a few mis-steps conspire to find him under arrest for murder. Alone and...


Leave No Trace February 11, 2018

Leave No Trace, from Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik, is the story of a father (Ben Foster) and daughter (newcomer Thomasin McKenzie) who live in a paradise of their own creation in the woods, removed from civilization. One mistake sends the world as they know it into turmoil and they are...


I Think We’re Alone Now February 11, 2018

“It is not good for man to be alone.” This is the premise and theme that Reed Morano’s film I Think We’re Alone Now explores. After an unexplained catastrophic event kills the entire human race Del, played by Peter Dinklage, finds himself to be that last man on planet earth…literally....


The Miseducation of Cameron Post February 11, 2018

In "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," director Desiree Akhavan explores the depths of the human soul in situations where it is confronted with conflicting messages of identity. Set in a Christian camp meant to rehabilitate teens with SSA (same sex attraction), the film follows its main character...


Come Sunday February 11, 2018

This film initially peaked my interest when I first heard this story on a This American Life broadcast. I found out later that the broadcast was the catalysts in turning the story of Bishop Pearson into a feature film. Then when I made the connection that this film was directed by the same director...


The Tale February 11, 2018

The Tale is a quite unique film in terms of its autobiographical nature. The director Jennifer Fox literally named her protagonist using her own name, explicitly telling the audience that it is her own story. It is very rare in filmmaking that an auteur would do so because most of them would avoid...


Nancy February 10, 2018

In Nancy, written and directed by Christina Choe, the idea of belonging drives a young woman to perform as an imposter, leaving those in relationship with her confused and negatively affected by her act. The audience is brought into the world of Nancy, a disheveled adult who longs to write, but is...


The Tale February 09, 2018

The Tale is an autobiographic film that tells the story of filmmaker, Jennifer Fox, and how making a film about abuse triggered memories of her own sexual abuse by her running coach as a thirteen-year-old. The film brilliantly documents the complexities of post-traumatic stress disorder. As she...


Hearts Beat Loud February 05, 2018

“Love” can be more of a taunt than a descriptor. Its brevity betrays it as those four letters cannot possibly contain all the nuances, yearnings, and even pains that are wrapped up in what it attempts to denote. It is like trying to explain the anatomy of a joke – it needs to be felt, not...


Dead Pigs February 05, 2018

Dead Pigs is loosely based on the true event in 2013 in China, where over ten thousands of dead pigs mysteriously floated in the rivers of Shanghai. However, the movie’s focus isn’t so much on the plot: solving what caused such an unusual scene. The movie mainly deals with a few characters, and...


Dead Pigs February 05, 2018

Dead Pigs is loosely based on the true event in 2013 in China, where over ten thousands of dead pigs mysteriously floated in the rivers of Shanghai. However, the movie’s focus isn’t so much on the plot: solving what caused such an unusual scene. The movie mainly deals with a few characters, and...


The Cleaners February 05, 2018

The Cleaners is a documentary which addresses the cleaning up of offensive or inappropriate content on social media, and it was a topic that I was completely unaware. I was under the impression that the people who do this are hired by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They are not, they are hired...


The Cleaners February 05, 2018

The Cleaners is a documentary which addresses the cleaning up of offensive or inappropriate content on social media, and it was a topic that I was completely unaware. I was under the impression that the people who do this are hired by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They are not, they are hired...


I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore February 14, 2017

This quirky comedic thriller is set in small town Oregon where middle-aged Ruth Kimke (Melanie Lynskey) lives a painfully mundane existence and feels she has nothing to live for until her home is burglarized. This gives her a new purpose in life: find her stolen things including her grandmother’s...


Manifesto February 12, 2017

Manifesto joyfully makes fun of imitation art and a world consumed by synthetic media. This underscores the film’s exasperated plea for artists to “be authentic”. Director Julian Rosefeldt has carefully selected thirteen manifestos that endeavor to help artists to see the errors of their ways...


Look and See:  A Portrait of Wendell Berry February 12, 2017

Where many movies take us to highly imaginative and creative worlds, Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry, reminds us that we already live in one. Laura Dunn’s film about poet, essayist, writer and farmer Wendell Berry is a reminder that activism can take place at many levels, and that many...


The Workers Cup February 12, 2017

The Workers Cup is oddly a light-hearted yet serious film that deals with the complexities of poverty, wealth, human necessity, image, big business, and the exploitation of employees by their contractors. Along with stunning shots of Qatar, the film does superb job of highlighting several...


Gook February 12, 2017

This film premiered in the Sundance film category NEXT. Justin Chon is the brain child behind the film. He plays one of the main characters, has written the script and directs the film. Justin Chon gives a voice to his own story during the time of the LA riots. In the first few minutes of the film...


Dayveon February 12, 2017

Assembled with a cast of gifted amateurs, the talented and multi-tooled Amman Abbasi quietly rises to the surface with his directorial feature debut Dayveon, a melancholic coming of age film that intimately follows the life of a young boy as he flirts with a future in a gang. Shot in the...


Menashe February 12, 2017

Set in the ultra-orthodox Brooklyn Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe tells the story of a depressed grocery store clerk that’s bumbling his way through life after the death of his wife. Challenged to meet the standards and expectations of his Hasidic community so that he can maintain the custody...


Brigsby Bear February 12, 2017

It makes the short list of every parent’s worst nightmare: the abduction of their infant child. This is where Brigsby Bear opens, some 25 years after James was taken from his parents to be raised by his captors in a desert home of bomb-shelter seclusion. He has been completely cut-off from...


The Discovery February 12, 2017

If there was unequivocal, scientific proof of life after death, how would it impact your life? This is the question at the center of the film, The Discovery starring Robert Redford, Rooney Mara, Jason Segal, and Reiley Keough, and directed by Charlie McDowell.

Thomas Harbor (Redford) is a...


Burning Sands February 11, 2017

Walking through a fraternity hazing cycle with freshman Zurich at a (fictional) Historic Black College (HBC) moved me to tears and left me with more questions than answers. McMurray introduced Zurich and his pledge brothers who were referred by number as a hint of the dehumanizing done in nearly...


A Ghost Story February 10, 2017

Sundance surprisingly offered a bounty of theologically curious visions and intuitions, whether consciously or not. From day one, I infiltrated the narratives of an all-too human but forgivable Menashe, witnessed an attempt at divine marriage in Margaret Betts euphoric Novitiate, overheard the...


The Polka King February 10, 2017

The Polka King is the true story of Jan Lewan, the “polka king” of the 1980’s-90’s, who inadvertently starts a Ponzi scheme and, even though he’s warned by the government to cease his activities, can’t stop and ends up bilking an ardent group of his fans of millions of dollars. Like so...


The Polka King February 10, 2017

The Polka King is the true story of Jan Lewan, the “polka king” of the 1980’s-90’s, who inadvertently starts a Ponzi scheme and, even though he’s warned by the government to cease his activities, can’t stop and ends up bilking an ardent group of his fans of millions of dollars. Like so...


Patti Cake$ February 10, 2017

Patty cake, patty cake Baker’s wo-man
Bake up some cake as fast as you can
Lifespan that’s circular like a cul-de-sac
Only one way out and She ain’t comin’ back.

Inflated dreams of fame and fortune, stemming from a genuine passion and an authentic talent, Patricia Dombrowski, better known...


Brigsby Bear February 08, 2017

One of the standout films I saw at Sundance was Brigsby Bear. In Dave McCary’s feature length directorial debut, he approached the unique mundanity of life in 21st century America with a curiosity and grace that is effused throughout the script and the actor’s portrayals. Drawing on a familiar...


City of Ghosts February 08, 2017

City of Ghosts is haunting. A visceral documentary which deals with the subject of death and impending death in the most brutal and relentless fashion. What makes this film surprisingly soul stirring is not the depravity and strength of evil but the fortitude and bravery of the citizen journalists...


Mr. Pig February 15, 2016

Mr. Pig, by the name of the movie, it may be hard to try and figure out what this movie could possibility deal with. One may guess that it has something to do with a pig and it does, but this movie was so much more than that. It was a movie about father and daughter’s relationship. What does it...


Anomalisa February 14, 2016

I went into Anomalisa with high expectations. It’s a stop motion-animated Charlie Kaufman film (Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind). It’s about Michael’s business trip to Cincinnati. He’s desperately seeking human connection, suffering hallucinations, and on the verge of a...


Goat February 14, 2016

Goat (2016), directed by Andrew Neel, explores the meaning of strength, masculinity, and the search for community in the midst of the shallow, painful, college hazing process. The film follows the story of two brothers, Brett and Brad Land, whose brotherhood is tested when Brad, (the younger...


Newtown February 14, 2016

Newtown Sleepy towns are the backbone of the United States of America. They are made up of unassuming, hard-working people that have chosen the quiet life by eschewing the hustle-and-bustle of the big city. These people don’t care to be known. All they ask for in return is a peaceable and quiet...


The Birth of a Nation February 14, 2016

Offered as a corrective to the 1915 racist propaganda film by the same name, The Birth of a Nation tells the story of Nat Turner, an African-American slave preacher who led a rebellion against white slave owners in Southampton County, Virginia, 1831. The film is the multi-year project of Nate...


Lovesong February 14, 2016

“Lovesong”, the sometimes tragic, sometimes hopeful, and always beautiful offering from director So Yong Kim, tells the story of a young mother (Sarah) who tries to equalize the difficult joy of raising her young daughter with the disappointment of a strained marriage (her husbands work takes...


Suited February 14, 2016

The New York tailoring firm of Bindle and Keep asserts that a bespoke suit of clothes is a “self-portrait in fabric” (www.bindleandkeep.com). The documentary film, “Suited”, focuses on the work the firm has done with members of the transgendered community, and draws parallels between the...


Goat February 13, 2016

“I’m not an advocate filmmaker. I don’t make films to fix a thing. There’s a lot of vagaries at the end of it. I would prefer people walk out of the movie asking questions, rather than having answers.” - Andrew Neel Andrew Neel’s Goat may not have been created to advocate against the...


Tallulah February 12, 2016

Sian Heder’s latest film, 'Tallulah', is a beautifully crafted masterpiece filled with emotional highs and lows, cheerful laughs and heart-wrenching tears. The movie begins with a young girl named Tallulah (Ellen Page) being abandoned by her boyfriend, Nico (Evan Jonigkeit), who takes all of her...


Swiss Army Man February 12, 2016

You may have heard about the infamous “farting corpse” movie at Sundance—yes, “farting corpse”—and the walkouts that resulted during its premiere. Sadly, those people missed filmmaking at its finest. Swiss Army Man is a work of collaborative genius. The script writing, directing,...


Equity February 10, 2016

Most reviews of the film Equity begin with a description along the lines of this… EQUITY, the first female-driven Wall Street film, follows a senior investment banker who is threatened by a financial scandal and must untangle a web of corruption. Starring Anna Gunn, James Purefoy and Sarah Megan...


Agnus Dei February 09, 2016

Agnus Dei (or Les Innocentes, as it was originally titled) is a film spilling over with beauty. It tells the tale of a young French Red Cross doctor who finds herself in Poland at the tail end of the Second World War. One day her normal duties are interrupted by a nun from a local convent who has...


3 and a 1/2 minutes February 16, 2015

One of the best films I was able to experience at Sundance 2015 is 3 ½ minutes. Three and a half minutes is the amount of time that it took, for a black teen to be shot dead in the back of his friend’s car by an older white male named Michael Dunn. The documentary was very well done, and in the...


I Smile Back February 15, 2015

I SMILE BACK is a dark tale of a suburban NYC housewife and mother, Laney (Elaine), attempting to deal with depression and fears of abandonment. She longs to be the perfect mother, ever present for her own children. In numbing her emotional pain, she is actually not present for her son, daughter,...


The Witch February 15, 2015

I wanted to like The Witch (spoilers below). While I am not a fan of horror genre film Robert Eggers Puritan period landscape was constructed with an alluring attention to detail that the viewer is drawn into the harsh reality of early American life. But this is a witch story, not a History Channel...


I Smile Back February 15, 2015

“I Smile Back” is a raw and unflinching portrait of an incredibly broken human being desperately seeking redemption. Sarah Silverman departs from her usual comedic fare to play Laney Brooks, a mom and housewife deteriorating beneath her fragile façade of suburban perfection. As Laney’s...


Chorus February 15, 2015

Chorus is a French-Canadian drama. It presents the story of a separated couple, Irène and Christophe, who lost their son ten years ago. Each has dealt with the agony in different ways. Irène has given herself to singing. Christophe has resorted to living by the ocean. One day, Irene receives news...


Digging For Fire February 15, 2015

My initiation into the Sundance Film Festival couldn’t have been better scripted. After a long day of travel and orientation, I was ready to see my first movie, so I waitlisted Digging For Fire and was number 300/300. The waitlist line at Eccles was buzzing with anticipation, and when the last...


Call Me Lucky February 15, 2015

This documentary chronicles the story of the life of Barry Crimmins, a gritty, angry comedian turned political activist. Written and directed by his friend and fellow comedian, Bobcat Goldthwait, Call Me Lucky offers an intimate portrayal of Barry’s complicated personality, including how a tragic...


I Am Michael February 15, 2015

I Am Michael is director Justin Kelly’s portrayal of the unbelievable story of once gay rights activist and journalist Michael Glatze, who finds God and eventually becomes a heterosexual Christian pastor. This movie will definitely not appeal to the typical Christian moviegoer that chomps at the...


Dark Horse (United Kingdom 2014, 84 min.) February 15, 2015

In a sport normally only accessible for the wealthy elite of British society, a group of friends from a mining village in Wales breed a champion and break the barriers of the class system. But Dark Horse is far more than a film about friends who get interested in horse racing. BAFTA nominated...


Racing Extinction February 15, 2015

Racing Extinction, directed by Louie Psihoyos (The Cove, 2009), is a documentary depicting the current environmental crisis facing the earth. Rather than centering on a single subject or aspect of environmental responsibility, the movie offers a holistic view of the devastation that is occurring on...


The Babadook February 09, 2014

The Babadook is a horror film about a widowed mother haunted by the corporeal manifestation of her unwillingness to deal with past trauma. Simply put, The Babadook is a film about the boogey-man.

Amelia, played by Essie Davis, becomes increasingly frazzled by, her elementary-school-aged son,...


The Overnighters February 09, 2014

The Overnighters, a film by Jesse Moss is a documentary that was entered in the US Documentary Competition at Sundance. The catalogue offers the following synopsis - When hydraulic fracturing unlocks a vast oil field in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, tens of thousands of unemployed men descend on...


Difret February 09, 2014

Difret is a striking film about a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl named Hirut who is captured on her way home from school, raped, and forced into marriage with a much older man. Instead of remaining complacent and living a life of forced bondage, Hirut escapes from her captors and ends up shooting and...


Calvary February 09, 2014

Calvary, the second film from writer/director, John Michael McDonagh, finds a unique and effective way to deal with the horror of the Catholic sex abuse scandals in Ireland. Instead of making a polemic denouncing the priesthood and the Catholic Church, McDonagh makes an interesting choice to...


Happiness February 09, 2014

During my time at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival I had the privilege of watching a thought provoking film called Happiness. This documentary follows the life of a family in one of the mountain village within Bhutan. Now a village is made up of a small group of people that live across a couple of...


Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory February 09, 2014

As a newcomer to Sundance this year, all I had to prepare myself were legends, rumors and the occasional wise words of those who had gone before. Going in, I prepared myself for exhaustion, altitude sickness and a possible fight between Harvey Weinstein and enter the name of any other powerful...


Rudderless February 09, 2014

*****Spoiler Alert***** Rudderless is a film that deals with a father (Billy Crudup) who has lost his son in a school shooting. At the beginning of the film you see a father who is so lost in the fact that his world has been shattered. The he pulls away from society, and become somewhat of a...


Of God and Dogs February 08, 2014

Eerie, chilling, and raw. Of God and Dogs is a film that punches you in your ethical and theological gut. It leaves you unsettled and horrified at the realities of life amid violence in the Middle East.

Produced by the Abounddara Collective, this documentary short is the latest installment in...


Little Hope Was Arson February 08, 2014

This movie is good because it actually helped me in my life after I watched it. In the movie, the two teenagers wanted to revenge against Church because they think the church did not help them at all. But when they were kept in prison, they realized that “never fight with God”.

My thoughts...


Song One February 08, 2014

Song One is a film about the connective power of music. The film opens when Henry, a struggling yet budding young musician, is hit by a car and falls into a coma from which he may never wake up. His sister Franny, an anthropology student portrayed by Anne Hathaway, rushes home upon hearing the...


The Lock Charmer (El Cerrajero) February 07, 2014

The Lock Charmer takes place in Buenos Aires during a period of time in which the city was covered in smoke. The smoke is so thick and oppressive that it reduces people to shells of themselves, only able to concentrate on eating and sleeping. Against this backdrop we are introduced to Sebastian,...


The Skeleton Twins February 06, 2014

The Skeleton Twins follows estranged fraternal twins Milo and Maggie in their attempt to repair their years-long broken relationship. After both contemplate suicide on the same day, with one of them attempting, they decide the best case scenario is for Milo to move from Los Angeles to Upstate New...


Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter February 06, 2014

(Warning: This film review contains spoilers, and I really hope you get to see this movie and enjoy it as much as I did.)

A bunny and a VHS copy of Fargo. Those are the closest companions of the young Japanese woman who is the eponymous hero of Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. This film tells the...


The Green Prince February 05, 2014

Director Nadav Schirman presents an unbelievable story of the coming together of two conflicting worlds. However, this film about a unique relationship between an Israeli and a Palestinian is no drama, it is a documentary! In presenting the incredible relationship of trust that forms between...


Calvary February 04, 2014

Calvary is undaunting in its attempt to meld the realities of fading religious influence with the growing levels of cynicism, pain and resentment in society. Calvary tells of a noble priest in a small Irish town populated by a distinct group of characters all struggling with their own unique...


Camp X-Ray February 04, 2014

Despite the bleak setting of a Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Camp X Ray gives viewers reason to have hope in humanity. Prison Guard Amy Cole (played masterfully by Kristen Stewart) befriends detainee Ali Amir (played equally masterfully by Paymen Moaadi) despite the warnings of her superiors at...


Stories We Tell February 10, 2013

This documentary uses multiple voices to tell the story of the director, Sarah Polley’s mother, Diane who died when Sarah was eleven. Through interviews with her family and Diane’s old friends Sarah weaves together a narrative that turns her family dynamic upside down. She discovers that her...


Afternoon Delight February 10, 2013

Afternoon Delight is a comical look at some of life’s deepest longings.  The film follows Rachel, a thirty-something wife and stay at home mother who, despite her seemingly perfect life, is searching for something more.  Determined to spice up her marriage, Rachel visits a strip club where she...


Upstream Color February 10, 2013

Shane Carruth, winner of the 2004 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Primer comes back on the scene 9 years later with Upstream Color. His DIY style of filmmaking is overwhelmingly present as the credits roll. Carruth, writes, directs, scores, costars, co-edits and shoots the beautiful and haunting...


After Tiller February 10, 2013

Giving a Face and Story to Third Term Abortions: Admittedly I have not held an opinion on abortion. The Christian title that I carry would stereotypically say that abortion is wrong and without really ever giving it any thought I think that’s probably where I’d side. But as directors Martha...


There Will Come a Day February 10, 2013

Augusta attempts to remove herself from the pain of life in Italy by fleeing to Brazil. Her husband has left her after a miscarriage and she wrestles with her grief and questions about her life while traveling on a boat in the Amazon basin with her aunt who is a catholic nun ministering to...


Fill the Void February 10, 2013

(90 min - Hebrew w/ English subtitles) Fill the Void was one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. It was shown as a spotlight film at Sundance under the category of World Drama. Shot almost entirely in close-ups, I felt I was a member of this Orthodox Jewish family in Tel-Aviv...


Mother of George February 10, 2013

Mother of George is a visually stunning film that deals with issues of cultural identity and the value placed on tradition and family systems. The film centers around Ayodele and Adenike, a recently married Nigerian couple who move to Brooklyn, NY to start a life of their own. To their dismay,...


Hell Baby February 10, 2013

Losing My Religion: The Revelation of Hell Baby Religion can’t save you, the police can’t protect you, and medicine won’t cure you. Sometimes, a man has to turn his back on institutional help and dig deep within his own soul to solve the problem. Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon’s...


Austenland February 09, 2013

Sometimes the best movies are ones where you are surprised by both genuine humor as well as truth in an unexpected genre. The whimsical romantic comedy Austenland provided both of those for me. Austenland centers on Jane Hayes, a lifelong excessive Jane Austen fan with an unfulfilling work and...


There Will Come A Day February 07, 2013

“There Will Come A Day” is a powerful story of loss and pain for Augusta, the female protagonist. She experiences the loss of her child, assuming a miscarriage, and her husband leaving her as a response, she goes on a pilgrimage to Brazil. The opening scene is the sound of the night, with the...


Upstream Color February 07, 2013

Upstream Color is the second film by director Shane Carruth. Carruth’s first film, Primer, took Sundance by storm in 2004 winning the Grand Jury Prize and stunning audiences with its complex, scientific plot-line about time travel. Not only did Carruth write, direct, produce, and star in...


Blood Brother February 07, 2013

Blood Brother, by American Documentarian Steve Hoover It is a story of a young man, who is trying to figure out his purpose in life, and we see before our eyes, that he indeed finds it. Young Rocky is a child from a broken home. His grandparents raise him after being abused by the boyfriends of...


Narco Cultura February 06, 2013

While many contemporary US-Mexico immigration films focus on the migrant’s treacherous journey, the will to survive and sometimes point fingers at problematic United States economic policies (like 2013 Sundance film Who is Dayani Cristal?), Narco Cultura looks at a relatively unexplored...


Virtually Heroes February 06, 2013

Virtually Heroes is a witty and entertaining comedy about two guys trapped in a video game. The film was directed by G.J. Echternkamp and Roger Corman was the executive producer. Roger gave G.J. old clips from some of his earlier Vietnam films and G.J. spliced them into his movie. It added a...


The Invisible War February 06, 2012

I left The Invisible War almost sick to my stomach with its statistics and stories about rape in the US military – and the complicity of those in power in systematically ignoring, denying, and even punishing their victims of rape for choosing to step forward. The documentary begins with the...


Monsieur Lazhar February 06, 2012

A French-Canadian film with subtitles, Monsieur Lazhar was a slow paced character story of a “teacher” who comes into substitute for a class in a Montreal school that just lost their teacher when she hung herself in the classroom. Lazhar, who we later learn is a refugee with no previous...


Beasts of the Southern Wild February 06, 2012

Beasts is a true Sundance film: bold, fresh, unknown actors (local residents of the Mississippi delta were used as actors), an epic story, beautifully photographed, and . . . . I have no idea what it was about! Ok, that is not quite true – I have a few ideas, but it is definitely a film that...


Price Check February 06, 2012

The promotional poster for Price Check subtitles the film “a comedy with value.” This is an unfortunate choice or language, because this movie is not much of a comedy and it has very little value to offer the audience. Sure, there are some comedic moments, and in all fairness, Parker Posey...


Violeta se fue a los cielos (Violeta Went to Heaven) February 05, 2012

Overall, this was my favorite film of Sundance Film Festival for a variety of reasons. It was the winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize for best international film. Violeta is a film about Violeta Parra, a Chilean folk artist who transformed folk art. She was the inspiration for some of the...


Joven y alocada (Young & Wild) February 05, 2012

The Chilean film Young & Wild was the winner of the Screenwriting award in the World Cinema competition at Sundance Film Festival. This is a racy film, based on a true story, about an outspoken 17-year-old girl and her graphic sex-themed blog. This movie had quite a bit of “buzz” during...


THE SURROGATE February 05, 2012

SUNDANCE FILM ANALYSIS THE SURROGATE The film, based on the actual life story of Mark O’Brien who was paralyzed by polio at around age six, opens with actual footage of Mark in his automated gurney "driving" around Berkeley in the 1980s. We are introduced to this remarkably tenacious and...


Middle of Nowhere February 05, 2012

Personally, I was drawn to this film simply because of it’s premise. I find the idea of extreme love commitment and endurance particularly compelling. And, so from the get go it already had my attention. I though both the writing and directing by Eva Duvernay was excellent. I noticed that she...


Corpo Celeste February 05, 2012

I thought this film, although it felt lengthy, was a beautiful contemplation of religion and spirituality. The director, Alice Rohtwacher, is gifted with a poetic eye and a knack for capturing subtle nuances in simple human behavior. I don’t think I’ve seen a film that depicts religious...


Predisposed February 05, 2012

Predisposed is about a young man who has to get his drug-addicted mother high so she will be accepted into rehab. I thought this film was good over-all. The jokes would sometimes fall flat or perhaps a bit too silly. Tracy Morgan tries his best to bring in some laughs which are at times hit and...


Grabbers February 05, 2012

This movie was awesome! I had such a good time at this midnight screening. It’s a pretty simple premise: Bloodsucking aliens terrorize the coast of Ireland and the only way to defeat them is by getting drunk. With this sort of set-up you know you’re in for a good time. We had a blast! I guess...

Red Hook Summer February 04, 2012

(**Contains Spoilers**) While thematically, ‘Hook’ seems to be a little schizophrenic (is it a ‘coming of age’ tale, a cultural piece on urban black America, or is it a story of secrecy and redemption?), I found the film emotionally stirring on two levels. First, that late twist in the end...

I am Not a Hipster February 04, 2012

I am not a Hipster Brooke Hyde is what I call the “Typical Sundance Anti-Hero.” A tortured musician who insists on inflicting his own pain on others, Brooke starts off playing a set of original tunes to a small crowd of loyal fans, but partway through the first song, he rushes to the bathroom...

Where Do We Go Now? February 04, 2012

Where Do We Go Now? sweeps the viewer along in a mad story that leads to both delighted laughter and heartbroken tears. The film also serves to shine a light into a deeper understanding of the violence that grips the Middle East from the perspective of those most effected by it: the women. It is...

The Ambassador February 04, 2012

It's hard to say if I was thrilled or disturbed by Mads Brugger's documentary, The Ambassador. I can say that I loved it! Throughout the movie, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next: would he get caught? Would he expose the extreme corruption and save the day? Well, neither of those things...

Ethel February 04, 2012

What a beautiful piece of work Rory Kennedy has created around her amazing mother, Ethel! Mrs. Kennedy became a real person rather than simply a sad public figure that was a part of the so called "American Royalty". Chronicling her life exposed who she was as a person: a wonderful and spirited...

I AM NOT A HIPSTER February 03, 2012

It would not be hard to passionately rave about this film’s thematic strength, incredible and original soundtrack, and formal excellence. But there is so much more to say beyond that. I AM NOT A HIPSTER captures the maturation and healing of Brook, an angst-and-grief-stricken singer/songwriter...


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