25 Movies We Can't Wait to See at Sundance 2019 - Rolling Stone
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25 Movies We Can’t Wait to See at Sundance 2019

From docs on ‘Alien’ and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to indie dramas, Aussie revenge flicks and more — our picks for the 2019 festival’s must-sees

Emma Thompson in Late Night, Noah Jupe in Honeyboy and Miles Davis.

Emma Thompson in 'Late Night'; Noah Jupe in 'Honeyboy'; and Miles Davis in the doc 'Birth of the Cool.'

Emily Aragones/Sundance, Natasha Braier/Sundance, Guy Le Querrec

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.

‘The Report’

They called it “enhanced interrogation techniques” — torture by any other name, and Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) isn’t about to pretend otherwise. When the man who’s been assigned to front an investigation on how America’s intelligence agencies conducted the War on Terror prepares to present his findings, however, both the C.I.A. and the government’s executive branch start running interference. Screenwriter/longtime Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns makes his directorial debut with what could be an All the President’s Men-level political drama; if you’ve ever wanted to see Annette Bening play Senator Dianne Feinstein, now’s your chance.

Troop Zero

‘Troop Zero’

What’s an alien-obsessed nine-year-old girl (Gifted‘s McKenna Grace) to do when she wants to win a chance to win a NASA-sponsored contest, but the Girl Scouts-like organization involved in the competition won’t have her? Why, start her own adjacent troop, of course! The cast — featuring Viola Davis, Alison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps — is strong; the directorial duo behind this comedy, Bert & Bertie, have been on our radar for a while now. Bring on the merit badges.


It makes a perverse kind of sense that it would be Sundance — a festival whose roots with the subject go back to the late ’80s/early ‘90s — would be the place to premiere this documentary on the rise and fall of the producer Harvey Weinstein. British filmmaker Ursula Macfarlane charts how this former concert promoter became one of the leading facilitators of the golden age of indie filmmaking, and allows numerous accusers to recount how that power was then abused in the worst possible ways. This is not going to be easy to watch; “uncomfortable” is the word we imagine will best describe seeing this in a room filled with people who had a lot of personal dealings with this monster.

Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal appear in Velvet Buzzsaw by Dan Gilroy, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Claudette Barius.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

‘Velvet Buzzsaw’

Personally, we like when Jake Gyllenhaal gets weird — and this thriller from Nightcrawler writer/director Dan Gilroy looks like it’s a showcase for a very out-there Jake. He’s a mover and shaker in the modern-art world who stumbles across a young woman (Zawe Ashton) with a series of paintings done by a deceased man in her apartment building. These canvases make their way to market, where they become sought after by rich collectors … only there’s something a little creepy about them. The trailer suggests both a satire and some sort of supernatural whatsit. Yes, please.

Of Mics and Men

‘Wu Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men’

Hip-hop journalist/historian Sacha Jenkins (Fresh Dressed) profiles Staten Island’s finest, a.k.a. the 10-person crew who changed Nineties hip-hop — and the game overall — when they dropped Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) back in 1992. The whole four-part miniseries will drop on Showtime in the spring, but Sundance is premiering the first two episodes; they’re also promising “special guests,” which we’re assuming means the Wu themselves or, at the very least, an Ol’ Dirty Bastard hologram. (RIP Dirt McGirt.)

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