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Category: Now Playing

Dark Family Secrets Lurk in ‘Take Me to the River’

With Take Me to the River, director Matt Sobel delivers not only an atypical take on the coming-of-age story, but one of the most original movies to have premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Sobel’s button-pushing mindfuck about adolescent sexuality and family secrets is a tenacious and taut drama that veers between comedy, drama, and thriller – sometimes within the same scene. It’s not an easily accessible film, but as described by programmer David Courier at the 2015 Sundance premiere, it’s the kind that defines what the NEXT section of the Festival is about.

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What to Watch in March: Love is Absurd in ‘The Lobster’

Yorgos Lanthimos’ relentless trademark absurdism is at its best and most pointed in The Lobster, the Colin Farrell-led drama that sees its protagonist defect from a matchmaking hotel where he has 45 days to find a partner or be transformed into an animal of his choice. The Lobster operates on any number of frequencies, from its acute sense of pacing to its dreary, nearly monochromatic visual aesthetic, Lanthimos’ writing and direction pull the viewer in varying directions while chopping at the cultural underpinnings of modern love – or worse, what it could become. The film finally makes its commercial theatrical run next Friday after premiering at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

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What to Watch In January

Nestled among awards season bedlam is our own little Festival set for later this month. But before we introduce audiences to a fresh roster of filmmakers and films, make the rounds on these Sundance indies coming to Netflix, DVD, and other digital platforms this January, as well as a slate of Sundance Institute Theatre Program productions coming to the stage.

Coming to NetflixFriday, January 1
How to Change the World

Friday, January 15
The Overnight

Monday, January 25
Turbo Kid

iTunes via #ArtistServicesTuesday, January 12Blind Bob and the Trees Chisholm ’72Good Morning Karachi Stray DogIvy DVD, Blu-Ray, and DigitalTuesday, January 5
Infinitely Polar Bear
Sleeping With Other People

Tuesday, January 12
The Stanford Prison Experiment
The Look of Silence
Tuesday, January 19
The Diary of a Teenage GirlOn the StageGrey Gardens, Southwark Playhouse, Jan.

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Christopher Abbott Melds Arrogance and Empathy in ‘James White’

For all the autobiographical narratives, in-depth profiles, and passion projects at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, James White may have been the most intimate film at Park City. From first scene to last, wherever James White (Christopher Abbott) goes, the camera follows, and closely. Whether he’s wandering through a crowded New York club, getting into a bar fight, bombing at a job interview, navigating his deceased father’s Shiva, or tending to his ailing mother (Cynthia Nixon), we’re right there to read his face, register his desperation or confusion, and ride his emotional rollercoaster.

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Enter ‘The Forbidden Room,’ Guy Maddin’s Coiling and Hallucinatory Ode to Lost Cinema

It’s all but impossible to describe all that happens in The Forbidden Room, since it’s all but impossible to track all that’s happening in the moment.
So let’s just say it has something to do with a doomed submarine, a woodsman determined to save his beloved from humanoid wolves, a manacled gardener, a soused parachutist attorney, a poisonous skeleton unitard, posthumous drinking buddies, an inner child murderer, and baths, for starters. It’s a film in which digressions aren’t really digressions, but rather thresholds to new flights of fancy, to more and more fervent valentines to lost and imagined cinematic worlds, to beautiful imagery and bawdy jokes.

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What to Watch in October: Sarah Silverman Leads a Double Life in ‘I Smile Back’

A pair of Sundance breakout films coming to theaters in October examine the disparate but mesmerizing charades carried out by their subjects. In the documentary (T)ERROR, cameras infiltrate a real life counterterrorism sting carried out by a veteran FBI informant, and in I Smile Back, Sarah Silverman secretly inhabits a world of compulsion and duplicity that belies her idyllic family life. Check out all that October has to offer below.

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‘Welcome to Leith’ Will Infuriate You, But That’s Why You Should See It

As often as cinema can operate as a vehicle for empathy, it can just as easily provoke the contrary. Co-directors Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker never intended for their film to pander to audience’s entrenched beliefs, and that was on display front-and-center at a hot-blooded screening of the film at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where its most nefarious subject joined via Skype during a rowdy Q&A session.

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Three’s a Crowd for Ejiofor, Pine, and Robbie in ‘Z for Zachariah’

The last time Craig Zobel premiered a film at the Sundance Film Festival, he wasn’t sure he’d make it out of the theater. After debuting his film Compliance in 2012, the film’s post-screening Q&A session was reduced to a shouting match as a combative audience member lobbed criticisms at the director’s intentions with the film. Earlier this year during Zobel’s second time around in Park City, the drama stayed on the screen.

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Beck, Cat Power, and Others Go ‘Station to Station’

Is a film really a film if it’s actually more of a kinetic collage that weaves through canyons and countrysides, picking up Beck or Cat Power or the Kansas City Marching Cobras along the way? We like to think so, and Doug Aitken, the ever-inventive multimedia artist, often makes it so. Aitken’s newest project, Station to Station, can seem inscrutable at first. The Aitken-prescribed tagline, “62 one-minute films.

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Marielle Heller’s Sundance Hit ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ Explores a Sexual Coming-of-Age

While introducing The Diary of a Teenage Girl at the Sundance Film Festival, senior programmer David Courier prepared the audience to meet two striking new talents. He noted that he was honored to have Marielle Heller, an alum of the Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs, return with her debut feature, and predicted actress Bel Powley’s future is “so bright that we’re going to be seeing her work here for years to come.”
This wasn’t typical pre-screening hyperbole.

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