The Playlist

Sundance London Line-Up Revealed, Festival Heads John Cooper & Trevor Groth Talk 2014 Slate & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • March 24, 2014 9:40 AM
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For the last few years, the Sundance hasn't just been in Utah in January: as of 2012, the most famous independent film festival in the world has been crossing the pond for an extended weekend in April for Sundance London. Bringing a few highlights from January's Park City festival, along with a few surprises (the fest has a particular emphasis on music), it takes place at the 02 in London's Greenwich, and has been a pretty nifty little time when we've attended in the past, with a good chance for UK audiences to catch films weeks, months or even years ahead of their eventual bow.

Sundance Review: Documentary 'Cesar's Last Fast' Has All The Right Intentions, But Lacks The Execution

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • January 31, 2014 4:20 PM
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Cesar's Last Fast
Being critical of a documentary that has such innocent and beautiful intentions is like giving your honest opinion to a smitten young couple about their ugly baby; one of those "Seinfeld" moments of brutal awkwardness. The baby in question here is Richard Perez's documentary "Cesar's Last Fast," which had its premiere at the recently-wrapped Sundance Film Festival, and details the circumstances surrounding Cesar Chavez's 36-day water-only fast in 1988. If, unlike this reviewer, you're in tune with recent North American socio-political history, then the name Cesar Chavez should be familiar. The Latino American answer to the same question asked his African-American equivalent (of sorts), Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez was a leader of farm workers, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW), a strong believer in non-violent means to ends, and a man who dedicated his life to helping others while promoting civil rights for immigrant workers. In other words, the man was a few degrees shy of sainthood if the documentary is to be believed. Believing is easy. But staying engaged is a different matter.

Sundance Review: Grand Jury Prize-Winning Doc 'Rich Hill' Is A Finely Observed Portrait Of Millenial American Boyhood

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • January 31, 2014 12:02 PM
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Rich Hill, Sundance
In looking at two of the lauded Sundance 2014 documentaries, “The Overnighters” (a Special Jury prize winner; read our review) and “Rich Hill” (which won the Grand Jury Prize), a common theme makes itself apparent, with these two films running parallel to each other in their milieus, but in very different ways. The particular concern is a wrenching, deeply intimate look at a specific kind of American masculinity—a masculinity that is very much in a state of instability. While “The Overnighters” takes up the grown men of the unstable Midwestern lower-middle class seeking riches in the North Dakota oil fields, “Rich Hill” focuses its lens on the boys and young men who might grow up into these oilmen.

Sundance Review: ‘The Babadook’ Is A Terrific Look At The Horrors Of Having Children

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 30, 2014 2:45 PM
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The Babadook
In a small, tucked-away and unnamed Australian suburb, the already ill-behaved Samuel is getting worse. A seven-year-old with an unchecked imagination, unruly hair and teeth, and an untamed nature, Samuel is running wild. Consequently, his widowed, single and stressed-out mother Amelia is having a hard time coping with his feral temperament. But if Samuel’s myriad problems appear to be the unfortunate, but characteristic, tantrums of a poorly-adjusted and damaged child without a father figure or friends, the boy’s issues soon takes on a much darker edge.

Podcast: The Playlist Talks The 2014 Sundance Film Festival

  • By Erik McClanahan
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  • January 29, 2014 1:37 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Sundance 2014
The podcast is back for a rundown of this year's Sundance Film Festival. Host Erik McClanahan is joined by Editor-in-Chief Rodrigo Perez and contributor Cory Everett, our two staff writers on the ground once again for this year's fest, to talk all things Park City. Don't forget to check out all our coverage this year (seriously, we covered a lot of ground), especially our wrap-up feature on the best films from Sundance '14.

The Ones To Watch: 20 Breakout Actors, Directors & Talents From The 2014 Sundance Film Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • January 28, 2014 2:40 PM
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  • 2 Comments
2014 Breakout Talent From Sundance
Because we're usually far too busy for the partying and snowboarding, the highlights of the Sundance Film Festival are, of course, the movies themselves. But almost as pleasurable as the films, is discovering new voices and talent, and seeing for the first time the performers and filmmakers whose careers will grow and rise long after the locals have reclaimed Park City for another year.

Interview: Lynn Shelton & Sam Rockwell On Working With Keira Knightley & Chloë Grace Moretz In ‘Laggies’

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • January 27, 2014 4:06 PM
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Laggies
Since her breakout film “Humpday” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival five years ago, writer/director Lynn Shelton has been one of the hardest-working women in the business. In addition to her last two features—“Your Sister’s Sister” and “Touchy Feely”—she has also directed episodes of “New Girl” and “Mad Men.” Her films are complex and touching explorations of human relationships and, until now, they have mostly been improvisational works developed with talented ensembles of actors.

The Best Films Of The 2014 Sundance Film Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • January 27, 2014 3:02 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Best of Sundance 2014
The film writing community is still catching up on sleep, getting over festival flu and showering off the stink of their blogger condos, but there's no escaping it: the Sundance Film Festival is over for another year. For over thirty years, the festival has provided a welcome opportunity to shake off awards season, and to start to look over some of the movies and faces that we'll be talking about for the next twelve months.

Interview: Aubrey Plaza, Matthew Gray Gubler & More on Zombie Comedy 'Life After Beth'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • January 27, 2014 2:01 PM
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Life After Beth, Aubrey Plaza
Sometimes the chemistry on a set works just perfectly, and you can just tell the cast had a ball making the movie. Such is the case with “Life After Beth,” Jeff Baena’s directorial debut, which premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival. The zombie comedy has a lively cast led by Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan, with comic talents Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Matthew Gray Gubler, Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser offering zany support.

Interview: Jason Schwartzman & Alex Ross Perry Discuss Misanthrophy Of 'Listen Up Philip'

  • By Kristin McCracken
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  • January 27, 2014 1:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
One of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance last week was Alex Ross Perry’s latest, “Listen Up Philip,” starring Jason Schwartzman as a misanthropic novelist without a filter in what’s being called “his best role since 'Rushmore' " (read our A-grade review here).The stellar cast is rounded out by Elisabeth Moss as Philip’s long-suffering girlfriend, Jonathan Pryce as his egotist-author role model (based, most likely, on Philip Roth), and a string of past and potential paramours (Dree Hemingway, Joséphine de La Baume, Kate Lyn Sheil). Even the peripheral acting by Krysten Ritter and Jess Weixler is first-rate, allowing Perry’s work to shine like it never has before.

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