Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

Sundance Wrap: The 5 Best Films Of The Festival, Plus Our Complete Coverage

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist January 28, 2013 at 2:09PM

First festival of the year? Done and dusted. Every year, the movie industry heads en masse to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford's celebration of independent cinema, which has become increasingly important over the years, in the hope of uncovering the next big thing. Last year's festival brought "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which went on to be one of the best-reviewed films of the year, and a Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards, and while there wasn't a singular breakout in the same way, the festival was certainly in good form.
15
Sundance 2013 5 Best Films

First festival of the year? Done and dusted. Every year, the movie industry heads en masse to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford's celebration of independent cinema, which has become increasingly important over the years, in the hope of uncovering the next big thing. Last year's festival brought "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which went on to be one of the best-reviewed films of the year, and a Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards, and while there wasn't a singular breakout in the same way, the festival was certainly in good form.

With a buyers' market that seems to be showing the signs of an economic comeback (deals for "The Way Way Back" and "Don Jon's Addiction" number among the biggest in the history of the festival), there was a lot of buzz, and while there few consensus titles or outright raves, there seemed to plenty to see that was worthwhile. Below, our Sundance team have picked out their five favorites of the festival (although we couldn't see everything; Grand Jury and Audience Award winner "Fruitvale" was one that fell between the cracks), and you can also find links to every review and interview we ran during the festival. Many thanks to our team who contributed coverage, which included Rodrigo Perez, Cory Everett, William Goss, Chase Whale, Kristin McCracken, Katie Walsh and Drew Taylor.

Upstream Color
"Upstream Color"
Few films in Park City were more anticipated than this one, the first picture in nine years from Shane Carruth, who made a stellar debut in 2004 with his impossibly complex, mind-bending microbudget sci-fi "Primer." After a few false starts, he was back at the festival this year with his latest, "Upstream Color," and while it's as difficult as its predecessor, few films made such an impression on our Sundance team. "Almost like a sci-fi thriller without posessing either genre trait," according to Rodrigo Perez's review, the film is "an exploration of themes and abstractions rather than a concrete narrative, but also a like a puzzle box with all the pieces laying at your feet." A love story that involves plant essence, parasitic worms, award winning sound design and Henry David Thoreau, the film is "a social and cinematic experiment with a voyage of spiritual discovery, a surreal meditation on self," one that "not easy to process," but also "breathtaking and brilliant." Carruth is self-releasing the film on April 5th.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints
"Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
Thanks to its Oscar-nominated stars and a growing reputation on the festival circuit for filmmaker David Lowery, "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" was one that was eagerly awaited at Sundance, and not just because it has one of the best titles we've heard in ages. A 1970s Texas-set crime tale that follows Bob (Casey Affleck), who breaks out of prison in order to reunite with his wife Ruth (Rooney Mara), an accomplice in a crime spree four years earlier, and the daughter he's never met, the film has drawn comparisons to Terrence Malick, but according to Rodrigo's review, "it would be far too simple and reductive to just pass this film off as nothing more." With visuals from rising DoP Bradford Young that are "hickory smoked and sunstroked" and a "sublime, haunting and moody" score from Daniel Hart, the film looks and sounds terrific, while "the entire cast delivers pitch-perfect turns such that there's not a false note within." It's a little long, but ultimately, the film "is a wholly engrossing and impressive piece of work that the movie world will be talking about all year." IFC picked it up, so we should be seeing it later in 2013.

This article is related to: Features, Sundance Film Festival, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Prince Avalanche, Upstream Color, Escape from Tomorrow, The Kings Of Summer


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates