All film festivals are crap shoots, even the ones with sterling reputations. But looking over the competition titles and sidebar programs of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off in Park City, Utah, on January 24th, it’s hard not to be impressed by the eclectic, all-over-the-map lineup that the indie-moviemaking tastemakers have out together for 2019. Dramas on capital punishment and and immigration and gentrification, comedies on Girl Scout rivalries and kindergartners dropped into the zombie apocalypse, horror flicks on serial killers and maternal surrogates — yup, they’re in there. And don’t even get us started on the documentaries, which is looking particularly strong for the ’19 edition: David Crosby, Miles Davis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Wu-Tang, Dr. Ruth, a deep-dive into one of the scariest sci-fi scenes ever filmed.
Here are the 25 movies we’ve singled out in our screening cheat-sheet once everything kicks off — check back here for daily dispatches, reviews and news reports starting on Thursday and running through February 2nd.