The 2017 Sundance Film Festival kicks off Thursday, Jan. 19,
and with it come some of the most exciting, unexpected and experimental
independent films from Hollywood and around the world.
From surreal comedies to near-future sci-fi dramedies to
female-driven horror, this year's festival has some great films to choose from.
Here are 11 that sound simply too good to miss.
1. Brigsby Bear
This offbeat dramedy tells the story of a sheltered man-child
who is forced to strike out on his own after his favorite children's TV show
comes to an abrupt end and he decides to create a proper conclusion to the
story. Starring Saturday Night Live's
Kyle Mooney and his compatriots in the sketch group Good Neighbor, Brigsby Bear sounds like the perfect
blend of surreal comedy and heartfelt soul searching.
2. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
When a depressed woman (Melanie Lynskey) becomes the victim
of burglars, she finds a renewed purpose in her life by hunting down the people
who robbed her. She soon finds herself in over her head and facing a serious
threat from ruthless criminals. Elijah Wood co-stars as her neighbor and
compatriot who joins her on her revenge mission.
3. To the Bone
Marti Noxon writes and directs this dark dramedy about a young woman battling
anorexia who joins a recovery group and goes on a journey of self-discovery
with an unconventional doctor. Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves co-star in this
story based loosely on Noxon's own early-life battle with the eating disorder.
4. Ingrid Goes West
Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen and O'Shea Jackson Jr. star in
this dramedy about a mentally unstable woman (Plaza) who becomes obsessed with
an Instagram "influencer" (Olsen) and moves to Los Angeles in an
attempt to befriend her, as her behavior becomes increasingly dangerous and
A depressed and overburdened housewife -- who has to deal
with a cheating husband and a score of turmoil -- finally snaps one night and
takes on the persona of a vicious, killer dog to terrifying results. While
Sundance always has its share of bizarre horror offerings, not all of them star
the awesome Jason Ritter.
6. The Discovery
This romantic sci-fi drama follows a scientist (Robert
Redford) who scientifically manages to prove beyond a doubt that there is an
afterlife, and the ramifications this discovery has on society. Jason Segel
stars as the scientist's son, Will, who crosses paths with Isla, a woman with a
mysterious past played by Rooney Mara. This high-concept look at science and
progress' effects on culture and morality could prove to be the kind of sci-fi
story with a lasting impact on the genre.
7. Casting JonBenet
This quasi-documentary blends fact and fiction in a
fascinating examination of the JonBenet Ramsey murder mystery as told through
the eyes (and words) of those in the Ramsey family's Colorado community. The
film shows how the suspicious and high-profile murder case impacted the lives
of those who lived in and around the scandal.
8. Marjorie Prime
Set in the future, Jon Hamm plays an artificially
intelligent robot replica of an old woman's dead husband. As the synthetic doppelganger
attempts to learn about the man he's supposed to be, he learns more about the
story of a family with different recollections of difficult aspects of their
Set in the not-too-distant future, Texas has seceded from
the Union and rebel forces are attempting to seize control of Brooklyn's
Bushwick neighborhood in order to gain another bargaining chip to use with the
U.S. government. Brittany Snow plays a young woman who gets caught up in the
bloodshed and finds protection under the guidance of a stoic war veteran,
played by Dave Bautista. This near-future horror story seems like it could be a
harrowing look at a disturbingly possible reality.
10. The Polka King
In this film based on a true story, Jack Black plays Jan
Lewan, a striving and struggling shyster who builds a polka music empire by
swindling, cheating, lying and conniving his way up a social ladder to create
the world's only "polka Ponzi scheme." Jenny Slate stars as Lewan's
adoring wife, while Jason Schwartzman plays his friend and sidekick. What could
be better than a Polka crime dramedy?
This female-driven anthology horror series strings together
four tales of terror directed by four different filmmakers: Annie Clark (aka
St. Vincent), Karyn Kusama, Roxanne Benjamin and Jovanka Vuckovic. If "female-driven
anthology horror series" isn't enough to get you excited about XX, it also stars Melanie Lynskey, who’s
awesome enough to appear twice on this list alone! (See: I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.)