In 306 Hollywood (Grade: C), sibling visual artists Elan and Jonathan Bogarín pay tribute to their deceased grandmother by turning the 11-month process of cleaning out her home into a meditation on how our spirit lives on in the belongings we accumulate and leave behind.
Private Life (Grade: B) is plainly, painfully personal. Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins (The Savages) and starring Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti, it’s at its best when getting into the nitty-gritty of a tough ordeal.
In Blindspotting (Grade: B-), director Carlos López Estrada bites off a little more than he can chew with his first feature.
Read more about day one of our Sundance coverage.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot (Grade: B), Gus Van Sant’s peculiar, ultra-earnest biopic about the late cartoonist John Callahan. Don’t worry, Don’t Worry isn’t some tearfully inspirational tribute to Callahan’s triumph over his disability. It’s a tearfully inspirational tribute to his triumph over alcoholism. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill.
American Animals (Grade: B) finds documentarian Bart Layton relocating the true-crime fascination and unreliable point-of-views of his The Imposter to a narrative project. He hasn’t even ditched the nonfiction entirely: To retell the true story of four college kids who plot to rob the rare-books collection of their campus library, Layton disrupts his scripted scenes—featuring Evan Peters and Killing Of A Sacred Deer’s Barry Keoghan as the in-over-their-head ringleaders—with talking-head interviews with the real culprits.
Read more about day two of our Sundance coverage.
Mandy (Grade: B) is a midnight-movie festival onto itself; over two gonzo hours, it combines giallo, Clive Barker, Death Wish, prog rock, heavy metal, Heavy Metal, Guy Maddin, Mad Max, the dueling-chainsaw climax of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Nicolas Roeg, and Nicolas Cage at his most bugging-out unhinged.
Nicolas Pesce’s violent, irreverent Piercing (Grade: C+) centers on Reed (Christopher Abbott), a clean-cut, closet psychopath who checks into a hotel with the intention of murdering and dismembering a prostitute, in hopes that he can get homicide out of his system before settling down with his wife and newborn daughter.
Lizzie (Grade: C+) is Craig William Macneill’s unconvincing, oppressively somber take on the Lizzie Borden story. Starring Chloë Sevigny and Jamey Sheridan.
Read more about day three of our Sundance coverage.