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Sundance Review || "People, Places, Things"


Having retired from his role as the Hiphopopotamus, Jemaine Clement frequents our living rooms and theaters all too infrequently. His 2014 cameo in Muppets Most Wanted didn't nearly suffice to fill our favorite Kiwi quotient and we've yet to take in his lauded vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows (though we eagerly anticipated its eventual stateside arrival.) Nor can we really kid ourselves into believing that Clement's existence beyond Flight of the Concords has been far-reaching - though his role as Boris the Animal was an easy highlight of Men in Black 3 and tapped into his unrealized Hollywood potential. So it's with a heaving sigh of relief that we can announce that Clement has finally been given a role worthy of his gawky stature in the delightful, funny and tender People, Places, Things.

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Sundance Review || "The Witch"

What do 1630, a silver cup, Christian fervor and a goat named Black Phillip have in common? The Witch. Unholy goodness through and through, Robert Egger's feature film debut is a horror masquerading as a costume drama that's as beady, black and misshapen as the center of a goat's eye. Beneath the dirt-stained, leather-bound waistcoats, the perfumed, toity language of the New World, the white bonnets and constrictive girdles, The Witch has a vicious, illict and suspicious center and though admittedly scaled back on "scares" is deeply atmospheric, deeply disturbing and deeply great.

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Sundance Review || "Z for Zachariah"

There are so many pivot points in Z for Zachariah that it becomes hard to nail down exactly what director Craig Zobel intended for it. At one point, it seems decidedly about gender politics, at another about race relations, and eventually it boiled down to themes of suspicion, greed and jealousy. Spliced with a domineering amount of ambiguity. All this from a cast of three. To call it thematically rich may be overly generous - maybe thematically crowded would hit the nail on the head more - but nonetheless, it strives for something thoughtful and great, even when it comes up just short.

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Sundance Review || "The Overnight"

Last year, Patrick Brice showed up to SXSW with Creep. Devilishly crafty and expertly focused, it fell in with the usual suspects of found footage horror, even though it was so much more than just another point and shoot, "gotcha!" scare effort. The natural tension that Brice was able to tease out of a scene - the inherent discomfort and overarching ambiguity of character relations - made for a plucky and generously bewitching offering of horror comedy.

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