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Sundance Film Festival 2017
Park City, Utah, is about to see another fresh flurry of indie films. EW critic Chris Nashawaty runs down his most anticipated titles at this year's Sundance Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 19-29.
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City of Ghosts
This year's documentary slate looks especially promising, with an emphasis on filmmakers responding to current events and no fewer than three ripped-from-the-headlines accounts about the civil war in Syria, including Last Men in Aleppo, Cries From Syria, and this doc about citizen journalists taking on ISIS from Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman.
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Director Charlie McDowell and screenwriter Justin Lader return to the festival—following the brainteaser rom-com The One I Love — with Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Jesse Plemons, and the Sundance Kid himself, Robert Redford, who plays a physicist who can scientifically prove there's an afterlife. It should be both metaphysically trippy and sentimental.
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Writer-director Alex Ross Perry's barbed literary comedy Listen Up Philip was one of the highlights of the 2014 fest. Now he's reunited with that film's leading man, Jason Schwartzman (plus Emily Browning, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, Adam Horovitz, and Chloë Sevigny), in this comedy of manners and upended domestic routines set (where else?) in Brooklyn.
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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Exactly a decade after Al Gore delivered a blistering (and yes, incontrovertible) wake-up call about global warming and climate change in the Oscar-winning power-point documentary An Inconvenient Truth, he's back (not that he ever took a break) with this hopeful travelogue tracking his tireless globe-trotting crusade to help save the planet.
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Jenny Slate and Gillian Robespierre's profane and stealthily profound Obvious Child wasn't just one of the sharpest films from the festival three years ago, it was one of the sharpest films of the year, period. Now the actress and director reteam for a '90s-set comedy about sisters confronting their father about his extramarital affair.
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In what promises to be a dizzying master class in shape-shifting persona swapping, actress Cate Blanchett takes on 13 different roles (including housewife, factory worker, and TV anchor) in German video artist Julian Rosefeldt's experimental whatsit on the inspirational, revolutionary power of the world's most influential art movements.
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Edge-pushing director Michael Almereyda has always presented a tricky love-hate conundrum to moviegoers. But his latest sounds promisingly daffy, centering on a dying elderly woman who spends her final days with a computerized version of her late husband. Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Tim Robbins, and Lois Smith head up the cast.
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Among the many filmmakers returning from Sundance 2014 is Craig Johnson, whose The Skeleton Twins was a certified bittersweet gem. Now he's teamed up with alternative-comics god Daniel Clowes for this misanthropic comedy about a middle-aged jerk (Woody Harrelson) who discovers he has a teenage daughter he's never met.
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After penning the fantastic one-two punch of Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan makes his directorial debut with this elemental thriller about a U.S. Fish & Wildlife agent who finds a dead body on a Native American reservation. The cast includes Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, and Jon Bernthal.
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In recent years, Sundance's Midnight section has unspooled such fiendish delights as The Babadook and It Follows. Now, with XX, it's showcasing this highly anticipated horror anthology helmed entirely by female directors. Hopeful signs include Karyn Kusama (The Invitation) behind the camera, and Melanie Lynskey in front of it.