Must-sees of The Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is an annual event in Park City, Utah that awards the best Independent films of the year. This year, it is occuring between January 22 and Febuary 1.  Here are some of the most talked-about movies of the year:

“Swiss Army Man”

This isn’t the critical pride Sundance Film Festival, but it features Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse with an erection. Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, this comedy-drama stars Paul Dano as Hank, a man who wakes up washed up on a deserted island with only a corpse as a companion. After trying to use the body to get back to land, he realizes that the corpse is still alive. The two form an unlikely friendship as the post-post-mortuem man rediscovers the world.

Rotten Tomato Rating: 60%

“Weiner-Dog”

What represents sadness more than owning a dachshund? “Weiner-Dog” tells the stories of various morose individuals who have all been parents to a weiner dog at some point in their lives. The film is directed by Todd Solondz and stars Greta Gerwig, Delpy and Kieran Culkin. Recently, the film’s rights have been bought by Amazon to be streamed exclusively on its website.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

“Under the Shadow”

Horror movies have always been some of the best tools for making metaphorical commentary on difficult historical events. For example, Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” perfectly captures the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. “Under the Shadow” is directed by Babak Anvari, a man who endured a difficult childhood during the Iran-Iraq War, which took place between 1980 and 1988. The film, which takes place during this time period, and follows a mother named Shideh, played by Narges Rashidi, and her daughter Dorsa, played by Avin Manshadi.  Dorsa begins to complain to her mother about spirits in the house. As tensions outside the house rise when bombs drop and neighbors flee, Dorsa’s experiences with the supernatural creature grow.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

“Goat”

From fraternity to Jonas, this film is all about the brothers. When Brad, played by Ben Schnetzer, goes off to college and immediately pledges a fraternity known for its harsh hazing policies, he had no idea what horrors would ensue. From animal cruelty to hours of physical punishment, he pushes himself to the limits of his mind and body for the sake of obtaining the abstract, unachievable concept of brotherhood. Nick Jonas stars as an active member of the club who Brad begins to idolize, despite the potentially fatal results. “Goat” is directed by Andrew Neel.

Rotten Tomatoes Review: 67%

“Holy Hell”

Imagine giving up years of your life to a man who claims to be a spiritual guru with an otherworldly connection. Imagine learning that this man is full of B.S., quitting the cult and directing a documentary about your experience. This is exactly what Will Allen did with his new documentary, “Holy Hell.”  The Buddha Tribe, led by a man clad in Speedos and sunglasses, who goes by the name Andreas, was a cult, which grew into prominence during the 1980s. The film specifically chronicles Allen’s fall from grace after he began questioning the teachings of his leader. He lost all his hopes, money and friends, but was able to create an exploratory and evocative documentary that gives insight into the human condition and what drives people to seek out extreme situations.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 75%

“Eyes of my Mother”

Nicholas Pearce’s directorial debut explains the nightmarish effects that loneliness can have on a person. The film is completely in black-and-white and tells the story of Francisca (played by Olivia Bond), a young woman who has been kept isolated her whole life by her mother. The psychological effects of this treatment are shown as Francisca begins displaying psychopathic behaviors. Overall, the film is both terrifying and poetic, something that fans of David Lynch will enjoy.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A