Shining at Sundance

Sundance features more than 100 full-length films from around the globe, here are our picks for the most promising movies showing this year.

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Michelle Williams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt , Marisa Tomei and James Franco are among the stars heading to Park City, Utah, to unveil their latest movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
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Robert Redford's once tiny little get-together has grown into an absolute force that can make careers overnight. This year's festival spotlights 113 feature-length films from 36 countries, and includes 44 first-time filmmakers. Check out some of the films we're most looking forward to...
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Cyrus
John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei star in the latest film from Sundance darlings Mark and Jay Duplass (Puffy Chair), about a man who must compete for his girlfriend's attentions with her 21-year-old son. Sounds hilariously uncomfortable.
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Howl
James Franco, right, plays poet Allen Ginsburg in this film about the obscenity trial sparked by his famous poem, and the events that led to his growth as a writer. This is twice Franco's played gay in the last two years, which should help put to rest those Japanese pillow rumors.
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The Runaways
Dakota Fanning and Kristen "Twilight" Stewart star as Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, respectively, in the story of one of the great all-girl rock groups. The film is based in part on Currie's 1989 autobiography, Neon Angel.
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Welcome to the Rileys
Kristen Stewart's other feature at the festival, in which she plays a young prostitute who forms a bond with a client, James Gandolfini, who is trying to recover from the deaths of both his daughter and mistress.
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Hesher
After playing an earnest, sweater-vest-wearing wannabe architect, Joseph Gordon-Levitt pivots 180 degrees to star as a lay-about anarchist who helps a young boy overcome the grief from his mother's death. Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson co-star.
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Blue Valentine
Two of the best young actors out there, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, star as a couple who ditch their kid for a weekend away in the hopes of getting their once-passionate relationship back on track.
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The Company Men
Following in the footsteps of Up in the Air comes a film about the pain of corporate downsizing. Stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Maria Bello. Coen Brothers cinematographer Roger Deakins shot the film.
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Splice
The latest Chimera horror story, about two young scientists, played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, who secretly incorporate human DNA into their latest creation, forging a monster mankind is not prepared for.
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Kristopher Li
Holy Rollers
Based on a true story, it stars Jesse Eisenberg as a young Hasidic Jew who tries to make a living importing Ecstasy from Amsterdam to New York City during the '90s, causing him to question the faith he was born into. Yeah, X will do that to you.
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Lovers of Hate
The story of two once close brothers whose lives go in very different directions, but lead them both to the same woman. Sounds like some good ol' fashioned anti-romcom schadenfreude. The title and poster alone are enough to pique our interest.
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CASINO JACK and the United States of Money
Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney holds up uber lobbyist Jack Abramoff as an example of the influence peddling that rots American democracy from the inside.
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Restrepo
Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) and Vanity Fair photographer Tim Hetherington spend a year documenting life with the Army's Second Platoon in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, a notoriously dangerous Taliban and Al Qaeda stronghold.
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Wild Bunch
Four Lions
Finally -- a terrorism comedy. When you consider all the pot-smoking, paint-balling morons who get swept up by the feds, it's a wonder like this one from the U.K. hasn't come along sooner.
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The Extra Man
Paul Dano plays a young man who fancies himself a writer and moves to New York to chase his dream. He ends up renting a room from a talented playwright, Kevin Kline, who augments his income as an "extra man," escorting wealthy, older women.
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The Man Next Door
In this Argentinean tale of architecture-porn comedy, a man looks out his window to realize that his neighbor is building a very large window that will look directly into his home.
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Sympathy for Delicious
Mark Ruffalo makes his directorial debut in this story about a DJ whose career suffers a major setback when a car accident confines him to a wheelchair, but giving him the power to heal others. Stars writer Christopher Thornton, Orlando Bloom and Laura Linney.
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GasLand
Promises to be an eye-opening documentary about the invisible deadly horrors that may be lurking in your water supply. Yes, the still above shows a man setting fire to his tap water.
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I'm Pat Tillman
If you're worried that your anti-war rage is on the wane, this film, about how the Army tried to cover up the circumstances surrounding the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, should bring it all back.
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Messhall
The Killer Inside Me
Based on the Jim Thompson noir classic comes this thriller about a small-town sheriff trying to deal with a pile of murder victims and a couple of very live women. Starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, directed by Michael Winterbottom.
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Cane Toads: The Conquest
Decades ago the Australian government imported tons of toads to battle a beetle infestation. It was a piece of eco-engineering that blew up in their faces, as the toads have slowly marched across the continent, leaving a swath of devastation in its wake. This is their story.
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Obselidia
Facing impending obsolescence, a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, decides to catalog all things obsolete. Along the way, he meets a silent film projectionist who believes that loves trumps obsolescence. Could be a wee precious, could be really good.
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Hudson Police
The Kids Are All Right
Annette Benning and Julianne Moore star as couple whose two grown kids conspire to find their biological father, played by Mark Ruffalo. Things get awkward when he accepts an invitation to dinner.
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Pixabay
Get Low
Robert Duvall plays an old eccentric who wants to throw himself a funeral before he’s not around to enjoy it. Bill Murray is the morally flexible mortician who is happy to help.
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Pixabay
The Freebie
What happens when a couple agrees to reboot their sex life by granting each other a no-strings-attached romp outside their marriage? Starring, written and directed by Katie Aselton (The League) and co-starring Dax Shepard.
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Armless
Just another movie about a guy who leaves his wife to chase his lifelong dream of having his arms surgically removed. Stars Daniel London of Old Joy fame and Janel Moloney, best known as Josh’s secretary Donna on West Wing.
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happythankyoumoreplease
How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor writes, directs and stars in this story about six young New Yorkers fighting the onset of adulthood. Malin Akerman and Kate Mara co-star.
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HIGH School
When a high school principal institutes a zero-tolerance marijuana policy, the class valedictorian, who has just tried pot for the very first time, is left with only one choice: to get the entire senior class stoned. Adrian Brody, Michael Chiklis and Mykelti Washington star.
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The Romantics
Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, Malin Ackerman and Candice Bergen star in an ensemble piece, based on director Galt Niedenhoofer’s novel of the same name, about a group of college friends who come together for a wedding. Drinking, promiscuity and jealousies ensue.
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Nowhere Boy
The story of John Lennon’s childhood growing up in Liverpool in the mid 1950s. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the future Beatle’s aunt, whose stern ways and love of Tchaikovsky offer a focus for his rebellious nature.
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Jack Goes Boating
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut while at the same time reprising a role he first played Off-Broadway. It’s a blue-collar romcom set in New York City, about a limo driver who loves Reggae and dreams of working for the subway system.
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