What happens when death, the thing people fear most, becomes the most desirable part of life? Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery imagines a world where the afterlife has scientifically been proven, and as a result millions of people are committing suicide “to get there,” as it’s often referred to in the film’s not-so-distant future. But the biggest and most disturbing quandary is, what exactly is “there?” If life after death does exist, what if it’s worse than the world we know, or perhaps an even scarier thought, what if it’s better and what does that mean for the value and meaning we place on the lives we’ve been living?
Sundance Film Festival
Melanie Lynskey was surprised when she learned her latest role was written with her in mind. In Netflix’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, Melanie Lynskey plays Ruth, a depressed nursing assistant who appears to be your average woman in a quirky indie comedy. But Macon Blair’s (Blue Ruin) feature film debut isn’t interested in showing us anything we’ve seen before; he’s interested in showing us Melanie Lynskey as a badass action star.
Cate Blanchett is a force unlike any other on screen. Over the years we’ve watched her bring her vivacity to characters like Galadriel, Bob Dylan, Katherine Hepburn, Carol Aird, and Queen Elizabeth I. If it wasn’t already clear that Blanchett is one of the greatest actors of our time, then Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto will be living proof of her ability to transform into any character she sets her sights on.
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival doesn‘t technically end until Sunday, but ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer and Erin Whitney have already left behind the snowy (SO FREAKING SNOWY) peaks of Park City, Utah for New York City, so now’s the perfect time to put a bow on this year’s fest with a look back at their favorite movies. Here are the five films from Sundance 2017 either Matt or Erin (or both) think you have to see when they make their way to a theater or streaming service near you.
Nothing aches quite like first love. It grips hold of you like a disease, consuming you with desire, enveloping your day dreams with only thoughts of another’s face, scent, or smile. In Call Me By Your Name, Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino takes us to the sun-drenched Italian countryside for an exquisite queer romance that you’ll want to soak up every minute of.
Jordan Peele made it very clear before his movie Get Out’s surprise Sundance premiere that it was not about his in-laws.
Dee Rees’ short film Pariah debuted at the Sundance Film Festival 10 years ago, followed shortly after by her stunning 2011 debut feature of the same name, and a slew of Emmy wins for her HBO film Bessie. She’s been a talent to keep an eye on, but with Mudbound, a powerful period drama pulsing with urgency, she’s on her way to becoming a household name.
Here’s the the best endorsement I can give 78/52, a new documentary about the making of Psycho’s famous shower scene and its enormous impact on popular culture. I’ve seen Psycho countless times, and I’ve watched the shower scene on its own countless more. I’ve read Stephen Rebello’s book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, I took a class in college dedicated to Hitchcock’s career, and I once went through the shower scene a shot at a time with a scholar who had studied the film for decades. Despite all of that, I still learned new things about Hitchcock, Psycho, and the shower scene from 78/52. And I had a good time learning them.
“Sometimes,” says self-made musical impresario Jan Lewan (Jack Black) in The Polka King, “to make money you have to spend money.” The problem with Jan is he didn’t spend money sometimes, he did it every time. Every get-rich quick scheme he ever hatched up in his Pennsylvania gift shop required more investment than potential profit. He sold his polka fans on a “premium Pope package,” a lavish vacation to Rome that included a private audience with the Pope. But Jan had no way to deliver on his promise, so he just showed up at the Vatican with a briefcase full of cash. He got his audience, and delighted his tour group. But his “premium” vacation surely cost him more than he made.
If people were ever scared of the image of a ghost as a big white sheet with two black eyeholes those days are long gone. Today, the image is a total joke; the go-to costume for lazy children everywhere. One of the most amazing things about David Lowery’s A Ghost Story — and there are a few amazing things about this audacious movie — is the way it imbues that cliched ghost with renewed horror and even poignance. You will never look at that ghost emoji the same way again.