6 Sundance Films Shine

With Gyllenhaal, Oyelowo, Moore, Efron + more

BY: Claire Connors

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival, which opens on January 24th, is shaping up to be a star-studded affair. From the heartbreaking family drama, After the Wedding with Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore, to the art/thriller Velvet Chainsaw starring Jake Gyllenhaal, we’re can’t wait to see these six sure-to-be-a-hit movies.

Velvet Chainsaw

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Toni Collette and Jake Gyllenhaal

Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy and his star Jake Gyllenhaal team up again in this crazy, murderous insider look at the soul-sucking New York City art world and the critics who can make or break an artist’s career with a wave of the pen. Art agent Josephina (Zawe Ashton) discovers the long-hidden, brilliant paintings of a recently deceased neighbor and hands them over to her boss, Rhodora (Rene Russo) to sell. Egomaniac art critic Morf (Gyllenhaal) makes the artwork, and their strange creator, famous, making everyone rich…until the paintings begin supernaturally punishing anyone who has made money off of them. We warned you it was a crazy story!

After the Wedding

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Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore

After the Wedding is a remake of the 2006 Danish film of the same name, nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Oscars. That movie starred the handsome Mads Mikkelsen and was helmed by the very hot director Suzanne Beir, who recently brought us the hugely popular Netflix film Bird Box.

In the American version, director Bart Fruendlich reimagines the original storyline with female leads, Julianne Moore (his wife IRL) and Michelle Williams. Williams is Isabel, a selfless woman who has been working in a Calcutta orphanage for most of her life. And Moore is Theresa, a successful media mogul with a sexy artist husband (Billy Crudup), two twin sons, and a deep, dark secret. She invites Isabel to visit New York City, ostensively intending to donate a few of her millions to the orphanage, but in reality, to invite her to a wedding where all of her complicated secrets will be revealed.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

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Zac Efron

True Crime documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger has been to Sundance before with his excellent docs Brother’s Keeper and Paradise Lost, among others. Here he tackles the fictionalized version of the tale of Ted Bundy, starring the talented, former teen heartthrob, Zac Efron as the charismatic serial killer. Lily Collins costars as his new wife Liz, a single mom whose world collapses when her seemingly normal, loving husband is exposed as one of the most prolific psychopathic predators ever born.

Official Secrets

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Keira Knightley

Based on the true story and the subsequent book, The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War, Official Secrets is about British whistleblower Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a secret-service officer who leaked a memo exposing a U.S.-U.K. spy ring, just days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Report

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Adam Driver

Another political thriller based on true events, The Report follows Senate staffer Daniel Jones’ (Adam Driver) tireless efforts to expose the truth behind the CIA’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorists. Those “techniques,” a euphemism for inhumane torture practices like waterboarding, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, as well as the usual beatings and starvation, were deemed ineffectual, immoral, and illegal, thanks to Jones’s 525-page report. Annette Bening costars as Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Relive

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David Oyelowo and Storm Reid

British actor David Oyelowo has been knocking our socks off in lead roles in films like Selma, Queen of Katwe, and A United Kingdom. In the sci-fi psycho-thriller, Relive, he plays Jack, an LA detective who gets a disturbing phone call from his niece Ashely, just minutes before discovering that she and her parents have been killed in what appears to be a murder-suicide. When Ashley, played by adorable actor Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time), calls him again—after her death—the two search for answers across time and space, that may help solve her murder.