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Swiss Army Man (dirs. Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)
You probably know of this movie as "the one with Daniel Radcliffe's farting corpse," and with good reason: it's every bit as revolting and beguiling as that description might suggest. When near-suicidal Hank (Paul Dano) finds Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washed ashore on his island, he discovers that the corpse has a sort of, well, built-in compass ("Your wang is guiding us home!"). Part buddy comedy, part existential adventure movie, this Sundance premiere will surely prove memorable, if not divisive.
Cosmos (dir. Andrzej Zulawski )
Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski passed away this year at age 75, leaving behind the final film in his strange and surreal cult cannon. A self-described "metaphysical noir thriller," Cosmos is the story of two friends vacationing in a countryside house. They begin to encounter bizarre signs—like a hanging cat—that catapult them into a storm of histrionics and horror.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWTrBMIFtfs
Equity (dir. Meera Menon)
At Sundance this year, we interviewed Equity's screenwriter, Amy Fox, who told us, "I was fascinated by the women who started on Wall Street in the '80's. It was such a blatantly sexist, misogynistic environment and I wanted to know, who were these women who were the trailblazers? How did they build the strength to believe they deserved to be there, and to show up at work and do an amazing job?" Her screenplay focuses on an investment banker (Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn) as she ascends the Wall Street ladder. It looks to be a political thriller for the ages.
Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World (dir. Werner Herzog)
Who doesn't want to hear Herzog wax poetic about whether the internet will dream of its own existence? Herzog's latest features early internet pioneers and current experts on the topic, ranging from Elon Musk to victims of online harassment and addiction. Because he views it as "one of the biggest revolutions we as humans are experiencing," we can rest assured that Herzog has put a lot of effort into this one.
The Fits (dir. Anna Rose Holmer)
Like an after-school special of cinematic poetry, first-time director Anna Rose Holmer delves into the psychological isolation of a prodigious young boxer, Toni (Royalty Hightower), as she tries out the school dance team—and femininity—for size. The film perfectly captures the ennui of childhood by depicting small moments of reflection, triumph, and disappointment. Holmer's direction is confident; she directs our attention sparingly, often leaving a speaking character out of focus or choosing to follow an action that might, in other films, happen off-camera. It's a strong debut from a promising filmmaker.
Breaking a Monster (dir. Luke Meyer)
Nobody knows overnight fame better than a group of seventh graders in a particular heavy metal rock band. When Unlocking the Truth went viral on YouTube, the trio was catapulted into stardom, receiving a $1.8 million deal with Sony for five albums. Director Luke Meyer began following the group as they navigated the pernicious waters of the music industry, gaining backstage access to the band's gradual disillusionment. The moments Meyer captures range from poignant to absurdly hilarious.